— Compared toMicrosoft’s other OSs, Windows95/98 works on a relatively sim-ple architecture, and thus islimited in what you can do tooptimize it short of hacking intothe Registry:
To start, use your trusty“Magic Boot Floppy” to loadthe machine up to DOS. Agoodfloppy comes loaded with the basic DOS system files, DEL-PART, FDISK, and a genericCD-ROM driver. To ensureyou’re starting completely fromscratch, delete all the partitionsyou have on the hard drive.
Create new partitions, formatthem, and install Windows 95or 98 onto it. For a faster install,I use DOS commands to copythe
directory from theinstall CD directly onto thehard disk, and then execute theinstall from the local drive.
At the DOS command promptunder
and run the install. If you chosethe no-frills install option notedabove, upon your first start upyou will notice some of theintro graphics and third-partyicons are either empty or“dead-linked.” Don’t worryabout this. You are merelyrunning a lean, clean versionof Windows 98 without allthe extras.
Windows 98 comes with itsown proprietary file systemconverter, which changes thefile system from standard FATto FAT32. I suggest you makethe conversion. On the chanceyou don’t have this converter,you can always use a good diskmanagement utility, such asPowerQuest’s Partition Magic.
Before installing any productionsoftware (like MS Office), Isuggest you install and run athird-party system optimizer(I use Symantec’s NortonUtilities) to ensure that systemfiles and the hard disk don’thave any snags that will impairperformance.
Immediately after doing asystem check with this soft-ware, defragment the disk inorder to consolidate the systemand swap files closely together,thus reducing the disk’s readtime when these two file setscommunicate with each other.
Install your various end-userapplications. Then run anotherfull defrag.
As an option, clone an imageof your pristine install on thechance the system degradesafter several months of heavy-duty use. When the time comes,you can reinstall your clone,and in no time flat, you willhave a fresh machine again.Your machine is now ready forheavy-duty action. Defrag thehard disk as often as necessary.
Windows NT 4.0 Workstation
—Optimizing NT 4.0 Workstationis a little more involved.Nevertheless, it can be done:
After installing NTWorkstation, do a Service Pack(SP) update (preferably SP5 orSP6a) immediately after the
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For a clean, no-frills installation of Windows 9x without all thethird-party ISPdeals and tutorial files that usually come with a fullinstall, try doing the install from the hard disk by copying only the base
directory from the install CD
without its subdirectories
. Todo this, use the
the subdirectory copy switch(
) when copying from the install CD to the local drive. For example(where
is the CD-ROM drive and
is your local hard disk).First, create your
Then do the file copy:
xcopy E:\WIN98 C:\WIN98