Win7 new computer setup guide?

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Win7 new computer setup guide?

Due to needing a new machine, and wife wanting one that works, I picked up a Dell 8100 (core i7-860, 8GB ram, 1TB HDD, ATI 5770) today.  It's got Win7 Home Premium, which I've only used a few times at friend's places.  I've also got a spare copy of Win7 Pro (tried it on my 05 home office machine, but couldn't score an index - don't know if the ati AIW X800XT messed it up or something else).

Is there a good guide or how-to to set up a new computer?  Last time I had a "new" computer was when I built one for the home office in 2005 with XP and then the HTPC that I last installed XP on it in 2005/2006.

Thanks,
Mike

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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Well you already got a rough road going OEM with your latest build. First step is to remove everything Dell put on there. Then, IMO, install MS Security Essentials. After that it depends on what you plan on doing with it.

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Windows 7 is pretty easy to set up from scratch, so I'm not sure that a guide is even necessary.  Everything from folders to users to connecting to a home network or direct internet connection is pretty much explained to you or even done for you.  Or are you looking for tips and tricks for after the installation is completed?

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Like Meester.Rip mentioned, it really depends on what you want to do with it.  Is it going to be a dedicated HTPC?  If so, what HTPC software will you be using?  Windows Media Center?

Mikinho | Missing Remote | Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP

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It's going to be a home office pc.  I've got a dedicated HTPC (running SageTV) in the family room.  I'll probably run Sage client software on it, but it's main use will be MS Word & Excel, photo organization, video from the camcorder, web and email, etc.  Some gaming too if I ever have time.

It came with a 1 TB hard drive - should I consider partitioning it?  I did on my machine I'm using now, and the HTPC (put a 50 gb partition for the OS, and then about 100GB for other stuff) but both of those were XP machines.

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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As mentioned by others I would recommend reformatting and starting clean.  Any OEM will put a lot of crap on there.  Just make sure you have the activation key before doing so.

I always recommend either a dedicated drive for the OS\Apps or at the very least partitioning your OS\Apps.  For Windows 7 my magic number has been 64GB (though as low as 30GB would work as well).  Having a separate partition makes data recovery and rebuilding so much easier.

And in terms of software Microsoft Security Essentials, 7-zip, Virtual Clone Drive and ImgBurn are my essential for any build.  I have more depending on what role.

Mikinho | Missing Remote | Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP

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A 1TB drive. Perhaps you should pull that out and swap it for a smaller drive if you have one and put that drive in your HTPC. Then store your video camera recordings and photo stuff on the HTPC. Prior to having a WHS I used my HTPC as my file server. This improved WAF factor seeing as the HTPC is always on and she can access the photos from any PC in the house.

If the HTPC is on Windows 7 you can turn on homegroup and sharing is as easy as right clicking a folder and selecting share with homegroup.

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The HTPC isn't on Win 7 yet, and already has a 750GB (to be replaced with a 1TB sitting on the shelf) and a 1TB WD Green data drives, and a 160GB drive that's partitioned into a OS & Documents partitions.  My HTPC case only has room for 3 hard drives. Sad

I've got a Seagate 7200.10 500GB/16MB Cache drive and a Seagate 7200.10 320GB/16MB cache drive.  One was going to become a external backup, and the other replace the OS drive in my HTPC (unless I did that with the 750GB WD - hadn't decided yet).

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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You might check the specs on your new drive. IMO I'd use the 320 either by itself in the new machine or use both the 320 and the 500 in it with os on the 320, page file and apps on the other. Partiton the 500 to have a backup location of your OS.

Or take 180 gig loss and put the two in RAID 0. If you happen to have an Intel raid chip you can keep that 180 gig but I've found that causes performance issues if the non raid spindle is spinning along with the system trying to use the raid array. I'd rather lose the 180 gig.

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Agreed with having the OS on a separate disk (preferable SSD or WD VelociRaptor if fast access is needed) or partition.  Also, instead of downloading each popular program needed, use a mass downloader such as Ninite http://ninite.com.  Then, maybe take note of the hard drive's health via CrystalDisk and the memory with MemoryTest.  Lastly, I would do a burn-in test with at least the CPU and if possibly, all the other components with a program like Burn-in by Passmark.

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xjboonie wrote:

My HTPC case only has room for 3 hard drives. Sad

Mine too, but I figured out a way around that without going external. When I got a 2.5" SSD drive I realized that there was no reason that it had to be mounted securely in a 3.5" bay. Instead the SSD drive is dangling/laying off to the side, and the old 160GB OS drive will shortly be swapped out for a 2TB drive.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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Phew. I am not the only one to dangle my SSD.

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I'm glad to see we are pioneering the new standard for SSD installs Smile We don't need no stinking mounting brackets.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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lol, I do as well.  In my Antec case it sits on top of the Blu-ray drive.

Mikinho | Missing Remote | Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP

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That's what I plan on also for the HTPC - there's space to put one on top of the Blu-Ray drive. What's an affordable one?

Also, on the new Dell, will the "reinstall" disc let me reinstall to different/smaller hdd?  Is there good software to figure out if my older seagates are going to be reliable as an os drive?

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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Affordable Blu-ray? SSD? OS Drive?

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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Naylia wrote:

Affordable Blu-ray? SSD? OS Drive?

Sorry - mean SSD.

Mike

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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Kingston SSDNow drives aren't to bad. That is what I run. I got lucky at Fry's and got the 64GB model for 100. There is a PQI 32GB for 89.

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I also have a Kingston SSDNow, I hope everything continues to go smoothly with it. The model I have was discontinued about 2 months after it launched. I hoping it just means they switched controllers (and hence models), but it's a little weird.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

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I am partial to the OCZ SSD drives as they have been around one of the longest.  I believe most of OCZ's now have TRIM support and I would choose one with an Indilink controller.  They also have an excellent support forum.

Acronis True Image is an exceptional disk imaging software and I know it comes with a lot of retail packaged hard drives (or is downloadable) now including Seagate and WD.  You should be able to use it with a SSD imaging.  This software has saved me a lot of headaches when compared to Norton Ghost and DriveImage XML.

Re: testing of the Seagate drive, CrystalDisk will give you basic SMART info but something that would do a "burn-in" error checking/correcting would be ideal.  GRC's SpinRite would be recommended for that.  Might be a good investment if considered to be used with all of your drives but if only used to test one, you might as well pay for a new one.  Again, Passmark Burn-in might work and not aware if HDTune or equivalence would be appropriate.

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If I can't afford a SSD now, should I make a 64GB partition on the 1TB that came with it and then image it over later?

Mike

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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I assume you're choosing 64GB because that is typical size of some SSDs?  That might not be a bad idea but with a program like Acronis True Image, I believe you can go from a larger capacity drive/partition to a smaller capacity one - in my opinion, the new one should be at least 2 times the size of the used area being transferred over.

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I seeem to remember having to shrink my partiton once before moving it. Anymore I just copy the data I need and reinstall.

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What do you think of this SSD?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227475

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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Looks good. I'm tempted myself

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If you're going for a SSD for your OS drive, I'd recommend installing W7 from scratch.  You will be amazed by how quickly W7 installs (maybe 10-15 minutes?), plus W7 will make all of the necessary settings changes because you're using a SSD instead of a HDD.

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Speaking strictly from an HTPC perspective does the use of an SSD for your O/S return any significant overall benefits? 

Are the benefits worth the $130 (after MIR) investment in the drive?

My guess is that the answer to both questions is no.

On a personal note when the $/GB ration begins to narrow a little more then I'll take a closer look at using SSDs.  Even then I imagine that my initial foray into SSDs will be to augment the performance of my office/gaming PC not for the HTPC. 

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It all depends on your wants.  If you want as close to CED (Consumer Electronic Device) experience as possible with your HTPC then the cost is worth it.  For me it comes down to the WAF I'm willing to achieve.  The use of SSD lets me use standby (my personal preference) while maintaining a very high WAF as Media Center is ready-to-go by the time the TV is on.

Mikinho | Missing Remote | Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP

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CED?

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Consumer Electronic Device

I use acronyms too much.

Mikinho | Missing Remote | Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP

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I think 130 is worth it assuming you need a drive or the existing drive you have are a few generations old. My MCE GUI used to hang now and then before I went with an SSD. Sometimes to the point I'd push a button morethan once thinking the signal wasn't received only to have the GUI catch up and start flipping thru screens out of my control.
And I still hear my Seagates chatter away when they are recording and I am not watching anything. I plan on getting a small 40 - 60 gig temp drive for recordning in the future when one comes out with good write speeds. All my stuff gets moved to the WHS overnight so I don't need a lot of space locally

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Well it's for my home/office machine, not the HTPC - the new computer with win7 came with a 1TB hd all in one partition, and my spare's are a few generations old (seagate 7200.10).  I want something small for OS/Programs, either a seperate drive or to partition the 1TB drive.  Just not sure.

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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xjboonie wrote:

Well it's for my home/office machine, not the HTPC

I was curious why someone would buy a rig with such beefy components for HTPCing.  Talkin' about the i7 860 and the HD5770 of course. 

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Waffleing on the SSD... So is there a way to resize a win7 partition without reinstalling the OS?

And I know someone mentioned reinstaling the OS (rather than swapping an image over) if I went with a SSD, but would I be better off with a fresh in stall from a win7 OS disc or the "reinstall" disc that came with the Dell?

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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I think you can increase the size of a partition in most of the recent MS OSes as long as their is free space in front of the partiton to extend into. Otherwise you have to get rid of the partition to the right, expand the left and then recreate the right.

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xjboonie wrote:

Waffleing on the SSD... So is there a way to resize a win7 partition without reinstalling the OS?

And I know someone mentioned reinstaling the OS (rather than swapping an image over) if I went with a SSD, but would I be better off with a fresh in stall from a win7 OS disc or the "reinstall" disc that came with the Dell?

In the past the Dell OS discs just installed the OS, without all of the other Dell nonsense. 

If it were me, I wouldn't get a SSD given your intended use of the PC, unless I wanted to try the latest and greatest.  However, I'm very happy I installed a SSD in my HTPC.  Everything is just faster, including boot-up, resume from standby, navigating the Media Center menu system, accessing network shared data, etc.  As was stated by Anand, it is "the single most noticeable upgrade you can do to your computer".

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As Meester stated you can extend the volume/partition as mentioned.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/2670-partition-volume-extend.html

You can also shrink one too.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/2672-partition-volume-shrink.html

Both of them have a number of concerns/limitations with each method so make sure you meet each one if applied.

Regarding resizing a Win7 partition (and others), Acronis Disk Director (and Acronis True Image) have saved me numerous hours of troubleshooting with their use.  If moving the Win7 partition, I remember there were some hiccups though as the Boot Manager partition possibly need to be moved too (or it couldn't be moved) and since it wasn't a startup repair needed to be done.

I would recommend a fresh install (from a Win7 OS disc) over a swap too as the install would then recognize the SSD natively rather than depending on it to find it afterwards and can apply the TRIM settings and other adjustments automatically from the start.

Also, here is a SSD Tweak Utility that can save a lot of time - make sure you read the forum to see others' experiences with it.
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?49779-SSD-Tweak-U...

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mados123 wrote:

Also, here is a SSD Tweak Utility that can save a lot of time - make sure you read the forum to see others' experiences with it.
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?49779-SSD-Tweak-U...

She actually wrote that before W7 was RTM.  It's mainly for people using Vista/XP since those OS's don't optimize for SSDs during installation.  I suppose it could also be used if you create a W7 image and go from a HDD -> SSD system.

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Good observation re: the tweaking software.  Do you know what the Win7 installation specifically optimizes for new SSDs, fresh installs?  Thanks!

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I tried to use Archronis to do a migration from a 320GB drive to my G1 Intel SSD and it failed to set the boot properly.  Instead of fiddling with it, I decided to do a full reinstall from scratch since I had only had my new Dell laptop for a few days.  I am so happy I went with the OS install from scratch, since my program manager went from a large list of things I would never use, to being very slim and optimized.  I am amazed how fast this machine boots now.    My old Vista 32 machine took 3 minutes to boot even with the SSD.  Most of that time it looked like the computer was just waiting on a process and doing nothing.  This fresh install is less than 30.

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mados123 wrote:

Good observation re: the tweaking software.  Do you know what the Win7 installation specifically optimizes for new SSDs, fresh installs?  Thanks!

yes, you want to a clean install so Windows 7 recognizes it is on an SSD and enables TRIM support and stops scheduling the SSD volume for defrags, prefetching, and a few other tweaks that are pointless for an SSD based system.

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Matt wrote:

yes, you want to a clean install so Windows 7 recognizes it is on an SSD and enables TRIM support and stops scheduling the SSD volume for defrags, prefetching, and a few other tweaks that are pointless for an SSD based system.

There's nothing like an answer that is exactly what you are looking for ;D!  Thanks!

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I've done 4 Windows 7 install now and not once has it disabled the defrag. These were the Kingston Value series drives 64 and 128Gb.

MBs used were the ASUS Atom chipset I won here, a HP P4 system and two AMD Gigabyte 785 systems. Those SSds do not support trim, newer versions might.

Just an FYI to check the expected tweaks when you are done.

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Meester.Rip wrote:

I've done 4 Windows 7 install now and not once has it disabled the defrag. These were the Kingston Value series drives 64 and 128Gb.

MBs used were the ASUS Atom chipset I won here, a HP P4 system and two AMD Gigabyte 785 systems. Those SSds do not support trim, newer versions might.

Just an FYI to check the expected tweaks when you are done.

Interesting, in that article by MS, they talk about the criteria Windows 7 uses to flag a drive as an SSD. I wonder if it is failing one of their metrics slightly and so it doesn't optimize for it.

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Hard telling. I wonder if the problem was that in each case I might of had a HDD in there also. But even so it did not move the page file or set the D: drive to be defragged.

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I believe the SSD firmware also has to be updated, however I couldn't find an update for the Kingston Value series.

According to the MSDN article the pagefile should remain on the SSD.

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I think I'm going to skip the SSD for now, and just repartition the drive.

The built in tool will only shrink it to 480 GB, and I was thinking the OS/programs partition should be 100GB or so (can probably be smaller).  So probably a reinstall...

One question: looking at the built in Computer Management tool, there are three partitions:

39 MB, no label, under status says (OEM Partion)
14.65 GB, labeled Recovery, under status says (System, Active, Primary Partition)
and 916.83 GB, labeled OS (C:), under status says (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

Any idea what the first two are?

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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xjboonie wrote:

One question: looking at the built in Computer Management tool, there are three partitions:

39 MB, no label, under status says (OEM Partion)
14.65 GB, labeled Recovery, under status says (System, Active, Primary Partition)
and 916.83 GB, labeled OS (C:), under status says (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

Any idea what the first two are?

If this is referring to your Dell I would say the 1st is a hardware utility partition for testing, etc. and the 2nd is as the name says as, a recovery that is just an OS factory image that is there to revert to, if need be.  There might be some sort of utility like "GoBack" (don't even know if that is still around) pointing to it too, although I don't think those are standard on Dells.

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Yes, it's the Dell, sorry should have mentioned that.

How would I know if anything is pointing to the Recovery partition? (it doesn't even get a drive letter).

Standing on the Starboard side of the Red Line.

MSI K9N Platinum | AMD A64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz | ATI HD 4670 | 3GB DDR2 800 | Uneed X11 rev. 1 case w/ VFD&IR & rev. 2 HD cage | Cosair 520W PS | Mitsumi floppy w/ USB 2.0 card reader built in | Seagate 160GB (OS/docs); WD GP 750GB (videos), WD GP 1TB (videos) | LG GGC-H20L BD/HD player/DVD Burner | PVR-500 MCE | DVICO FusionHDTV Lite | Vbox Cat's Eye 150 | M780 | XP Pro w/ SP2 | SageTV 6.6.2 | SageMC 6.3.8a | Catalyst 10.6 driver | purevideo decoder 1.02-223 | Samsung LN46C630 46" LCD | Pioneer Elite VSK-21TXH receiver (HDMI to receiver to TV)

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mados123 nailed it, that's what those two are. You should be able to get rid of them both since you don't care about restoring an old OS and probably would never use Dell's diagnostics.

The recovery partition isn't mapped to a drive letter because the end user is never supposed to see it. It is only used if you boot from the Dell restoration media.

Windows 7 actually does something similar. It creates a hidden 100MB partition it uses for its new recovery and diagnostics boot menu, no need to boot to a CD first.

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xjboonie wrote:

How would I know if anything is pointing to the Recovery partition? (it doesn't even get a drive letter).

Since it is a Dell, the 2nd partition and its contents are used for emergency purposes.  If there was a program, such as GoBack, it would be part of the boot up sequence where you can specify to disable it - but that is not the case here.  I would not worry about the 2nd partition's contents at all since Matt confirmed that it is part of the Dell Restoration media.

Cheers!

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