Posted by & filed under General, Windows / Server.

I recently picked up an Asus EEE PC (7″ screen, 900MHz Pentium M, 4GB SSD, 512 MB RAM, etc). It’s a welcome change from using my Treo 700w or my ThinkPad. It came with a custom version of Xandros that simply wasn’t up to the challenges of a system administrator – so I installed Windows XP. I’ve outlined some tips on slimming down the Windows XP install so you can use some of the 4GB drive for other things.

The default install of Windows XP is pretty hefty, so I’ve done a few things to slim it down.

  1. Changing Virtual Memory
    The virtual memory in Windows XP is set to 1.5 – 3 times the amount of memory in the system. This is sufficient for most machines, but on a 4GB hard drive, we have no room to spare. Set this to 256MB or 512MB max. Keep it on your 4GB drive; do not move the pagefile to an external drive or SD Card. It simply won’t perform fast enough. Go to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced Tab -> Settings -> Performance.
  2. Turn off System Restore
    This is dangerous, however if you know what you are doing (or are a sysadmin and don’t care) go for it. Turning off system restore disables any restore files and points in the system history. If you get a virus, corrupt file, etc, you’re out of luck. Go to Control Panel -> System -> System Restore ->Click Turn Off System Restore.
  3. Relocate My Documents to an SD Card
    Relocating the My Documents folder not only allows the shortcut to point to an SD Card, Windows and many programs will now store temporary documents and configuration files normally reserved for the My Documents folder on the external card. Go to Start -> Right-Click My Documents -> Select Properties -> Click Move.
  4. Reduce or Move Internet Explorer Temporary File Storage
    Reduce the amount of space IE temporary files use. In Internet Explorer go to Tools -> Internet Options -> General -> Click Settings under Temporary Internet Files. In the dialog box move the slider to the desired disk space and/or click Move Folder and place the temporary files on an SD Card or external drive.
  5. Delete Unnecessary Windows Components
    Go to Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs -> Click Add/Remove Windows Components. Uncheck the components you do not want.
  6. Clear System Backup Data
    Go to Start -> Run -> Type CMD -> type: sfc.exe /purgecache
  7. Delete Windows Files
    Go to Start -> My Computer -> Tools Menu -> Folder Options -> Click the View Tab -> Click “Show hidden files and folders” and uncheck “Hide protected operating system files.” This step needs to be done in order to see the files we wish to delete.
    1. Delete Windows Help Files. In Safe Mode go to C:\Windows and delete the “Help” Folder.
    2. Delete DLL Cache. In Safe Mode go to C:\Windows\System32\dllcache and delete files inside.
    3. In C:\Windows delete all KB*.txt files. These are SP2/Hotfix update readme files.
    4. In C:\Windows delete all SET*.tmp files.
    5. In C:\Windows delete \$hf_mig$ and \$NtUninstallKB*$ folders. These are SP2 and hotfix uninstall files. These are necessary for rolling back Windows.
    6. Delete everything inside C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\. This is a big space saver. It holds the install files for hotfixes, SP2, Windows Update files, etc.
    7. Delete everything inside C:\Windows\ie7updates\.
    8. Delete C:\MSOCache folder. This holds Office 2003/2007 install files.
(5.00 out of 5)

9 Responses to “Slimming down Windows XP Pro SP2 Install”

  1. Maiasaura

    Your guide is awesome! I am reconditioning a laptop with a 4gb harddrive, and I just retrieved 1.86gb of harddrive space–more than HALF the drive was given over to wasted just-in-case Microsoft backup files!

  2. admin

    Ah yes, be sure to backup the files first!

    I will have more tips coming. Those are the most effective and will see the largest reduction in space.

  3. Cengiz

    I also picked up an Asus EEE PC with the same characteristics as yours. Followed your guide. Great…

    Thanks a lot.

  4. Chandrakant Bandmantri

    Hi Chris,

    Lovely. I was troubled with hard disk space as it ‘s just 8 GB Hard Disk and on C drive it had just 4 GB and all space was eaten with all the stuff you mentioned in your article. So it was very difficult to open even internet explorer.

    Thanks a lot, now I got relief.

    - Chandrakant Bandmantri

  5. laney

    this is perfect! i’ve tried to revert to linux to save disk space, but it’s too much work for a lazy person like me. great share. thanks a lot! :)



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