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Author Topic: Simplifying Your Computer  (Read 4420 times)
TaoPhoenix
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« on: August 22, 2012, 01:58:03 AM »


I just now decided to begin deleting a ton of experimental stuff from my machine. One item did trigger a threat warning (Daz studio) due to a less-than-clean install, but overall it's just because I am growing tired and can't recall what 200 programs installed at 20-per-project do anymore. Even a few DC items, fine in themselves, went. It's just that I am slowly consolidating what I do on comp-time to eventually do more off-line time.

I won't even bother listing the programs, they're just random-typical utilities and programs. I sorta only stopped at 50 because I was tired of waiting for installers today, the whole thing was urged that every time Adobe wants to update it wants to reboot, so I said "hell, if I have to reboot, let's make it good!"

Another 150 programs to go later. Anyone else have cleanup stories?
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 01:37:45 PM »

Quote
Anyone else have cleanup stories?

Only that, like many of us here, I move 'older' machines out to good homes. The last one went to a friend who uses much of the same software as I. Over a period of several days I rooted out masses of other software ( >600) and data, then optimized the box. As I gave it away I wondered why I'd not done this for myself. It was flying along compared to when I'd been using it.
 embarassed
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Chris
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 02:19:25 PM »

I've been doing this for years but I'm taking a slightly different approach. With hardware being so cheap...
First, my needs are basic. No huge files or big downloads, mostly text, gathering data and processing it.
Box 1:
Linux Mint 12 by Ethernet cable to modem and Firefox for gathering and forums. Linux Shutter, editors, and side-interests (Bender, Inkscape, Getting Things Gnome, org-mode, Freeplane, prolog), AV, Web Of Trust. No file storage except temporary/daily.
Windows 2K, not connected to the Internet. Wordperfect, Irfanview. Temporary processing and to CD/USB
Box 2:
Laptop XP email, software download, ImageBurn ViaVoice 8 Advanced. No file storage. Save to CD or USB. Occasional Live Linux CD use.
Box 3:
Windows 2K, not connected to modem or Internet. Wordperfect, Photoshop, Imageburn.
Box 4:
Windows 2K, not connected to modem or Internet. Wordperfect, Photoshop.
I removed XP from several boxes and have the licenses but prefer 2K. It serves all of my needs and I know it better.

I'm planning on simplifying further with a box/board with no hard drive for Live CD/USB Linux. I am also watching for developments in small specialized OSes like Puppy for RPi. My wife has Ubuntu on a laptop and we share email accounts on the same ISP. Her start was Pascal, mine was Fortran. We are not Luddites but we do like efficiency.   Grin

I have wiped lots of database apps, OneNote, Access, firewalls, AV and file organizing apps and keep going back to basics.
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40hz
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 03:17:36 PM »

Don't know if this counts, but after 6+ months of constantly asking everyone I could if they wanted a Linux-based PC or server absolutely free, I gave up hanging onto my small fleet of perfectly usable project and "giveaway" machines. (There were 18 in all - including two older Proliant servers.)  

So, after a deep sigh (and an ale or two) I grabbed my trusty power screwdriver and went into full Hellboy vs Golden Army mode...

'The Fleet' is now completely disassembled. And all the pieces have since been given away, sold as scrap, or responsibly recycled. (Note: It's amazing the amount of "stuff" in an average PC that you do not want to just dump in a landfill even if it is still legal to do it where you live.)
 
For future projects I'll primarily be using VMs on my two workstations, abetted by some inexpensive low-power single-board computers if separate hardware is needed..

My old lab space now looks barren. It's a liberating feeling. Cool Thmbsup
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 03:34:52 PM by 40hz » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 04:23:31 PM »

Don't know if this counts, but after 6+ months of constantly asking everyone I know if they wanted a Linux-based PC or server absolutely free, I gave up hanging onto my small fleet of perfectly usable 'giveaways.'  (There were 18 in all, including two Proliant servers.) 

So, after a deep sigh (and an ale or two) I grabbed my trusty power screwdriver and went into full Hellboy vs Golden Army mode...

'The Fleet' is now completely disassembled. And all the pieces have since been given away, sold as scrap, or responsibly recycled. (It's amazing the amount of stuff in the average PC that you do not want to be guilty of just dumping in a landfill even if it were still legal to do so.)
 
For future projects I'll primarily be using VMs on my two workstations, abetted by some inexpensive low-power single-board computers if separate hardware is needed..

My old lab space now looks barren. It's a liberating feeling. Cool Thmbsup
Wait...what is the meaning of this?!  No more lab?
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2012, 04:35:43 PM »

constantly asking everyone I could if they wanted a Linux-based PC or server absolutely free

You didn't ask me  tongue
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Curt
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 04:59:13 PM »

... Anyone else have cleanup stories?

I went from approx 500 to 137  thumbs up
And Yes, I had to use several weeks to do so, waiting for Revo Pro to scan and scan and scan and...  thumb down
but I think the result has been worth it.  Wink

On my next computer I would like to have even fewer but better programs, instead of these cheaper but inferior ones.


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Target
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 06:03:04 PM »

I cleaned out dozens of app's a couple of months ago when my mobo failed

sadly no noticeable difference performance wise...
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40hz
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2012, 06:17:20 PM »


Wait...what is the meaning of this?!  No more lab?

Nope. Or at least not a full-bore setup like I used to have. It's all virtual going forward baby, virtual! tongue Grin

Besides, I need the space for musical instrument design and construction. My new career if Microsoft walls off its garden like Apple did. And with all the cloud and managed service moves taking place, I can see an end for smaller SMB support operations like mine where I live. I'm not a coder, so that's not a path that's open to me. And I can't see spending most of my remaining work years doing basic PC repairs...or selling subscriptions to Office 360 or some other big cloud service. nono2

"...the times, they are a changing," as Uncle Bob D once said. Makes sense that they change too. Especially since not enough people and businesses are concerned about putting all their eggs in too few baskets - to say nothing about being unbelievably careless about whom they trust with their information. I'm tired of fighting that battle. About the best I can do now is wish them well. Seriously. I do wish them well. mrgreen

I'll still keep a small hand in the game I guess. But it will be more along the lines of my getting back to my roots with things like the Raspberry Pi or Arduino boards.

Can't hardly wait! Thmbsup

« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 06:25:28 PM by 40hz » Logged

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40hz
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2012, 06:22:50 PM »

constantly asking everyone I could if they wanted a Linux-based PC or server absolutely free

You didn't ask me  tongue

Apologies. Grin Actually, I had thought about throwing it up online. But shipping costs would make it hardly worth it, so I kept the offer local. Besides, when you can score an i3/4Gb/500Gb combo with full warranty plus a copy of Windows for <$500 why bother unless you can just go and pick it up? The new machines are quieter and have better energy footprints so there's also that to consider.

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superboyac
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2012, 07:10:49 PM »


Wait...what is the meaning of this?!  No more lab?

Nope. Or at least not a full-bore setup like I used to have. It's all virtual going forward baby, virtual! tongue Grin

Besides, I need the space for musical instrument design and construction. My new career if Microsoft walls off its garden like Apple did. And with all the cloud and managed service moves taking place, I can see an end for smaller SMB support operations like mine where I live. I'm not a coder, so that's not a path that's open to me. And I can't see spending most of my remaining work years doing basic PC repairs...or selling subscriptions to Office 360 or some other big cloud service. nono2

"...the times, they are a changing," as Uncle Bob D once said. Makes sense that they change too. Especially since not enough people and businesses are concerned about putting all their eggs in too few baskets - to say nothing about being unbelievably careless about whom they trust with their information. I'm tired of fighting that battle. About the best I can do now is wish them well. Seriously. I do wish them well. mrgreen

I'll still keep a small hand in the game I guess. But it will be more along the lines of my getting back to my roots with things like the Raspberry Pi or Arduino boards.

Can't hardly wait! Thmbsup


That actually sounds pretty right on.  COunt me in.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2012, 12:18:26 AM »

Good stuff guys. I didn't really see any performance hits yet when I started all this, it was just that it nagged me to have all those loose ends left over, and I too am nearing the end of my rabid project days.
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2012, 05:20:40 AM »

i think when you get to wanting to uninstall 100 programs, that's when you are probably better off formatting the hard drisk, and installing a clean coy of windows, and just reinstalling the programs you use on the new clean pc.
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nosh
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2012, 05:32:11 AM »

+1 for a clean install. Back it up later using a drive imaging program. Try whatever programs you want to and when you find the system slowing down just restore the 'clean' image and install only those new programs that you found genuinely useful since you saved the system state. I've been running the same XP install since 2005 using this method and even after several hardware changes (including a couple of full system upgrades - guess I got lucky  Cry ) the PC is blazing fast.
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Renegade
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2012, 06:02:01 AM »

My cleanups used to be:

-- Buy new computer.

Then I moved on to:

-- Buy new hard drives.

Now, I think I'm going to go with just restoring from backups. smiley (This is the first system that I've run total system backups every day. I have a dedicated 2 TB drive for it.)
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40hz
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« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2012, 09:09:10 AM »

+1 with above three posts.

There reaches a point where you just want to start from scratch and do a clean install, if for no other reason than to be sure you have a factory fresh registry to work with.

I keep a list of my must have apps. When things reach a certain point I reinstall the OS off a previously created "gold" image and go from there. And if you keep an updated offline WSUS archive somewhere, installing the usual 250M worth of Windows updates doesn't take very long or chew up your bandwidth.
 Thmbsup
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superboyac
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2012, 09:18:08 AM »

My cleanups used to be:

-- Buy new computer.

Then I moved on to:

-- Buy new hard drives.

Now, I think I'm going to go with just restoring from backups. smiley (This is the first system that I've run total system backups every day. I have a dedicated 2 TB drive for it.)
I almost don't care that much about any other piece of hardware.  Hard drives have been one of my favorite "things" since mid-90's.
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widgewunner
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« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2012, 09:20:29 AM »

i think when you get to wanting to uninstall 100 programs, that's when you are probably better off formatting the hard drisk, and installing a clean coy of windows, and just reinstalling the programs you use on the new clean pc.
+1 just what I would suggest.

Just last week I hauled off 3 old boxes to the dump. They have a section there which recycles electrical waste (hopefully in a better manner than the Colorado outfit highlighted on "60 Minutes"). Its really hard to throw away perfectly operational devices, but doing so is quite liberating. Now its onto the still-usable pile destined for goodwill...
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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2012, 11:25:05 AM »

I haven't flattened my primary machine since I built it in (iirc) 07 ... I upgraded it from Vista to 7 when 7 came out, but haven't done anything since (I do enough of that at work). I might take it on up to 8 ... undecided... But I gotta make peace with 8 on my laptop first.

Cleanup = deleting whatever test VM I'm done with, and grabbing a fresh copy from the archives.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2012, 03:08:45 PM »

Hmm, reinstalling the OS bothers me, it's that crossover point where my skills start to fail. But in a sense, this machine is getting pounded from all corners, from the Hard Drive caution note in the other thread, to it was my primary test machine for all my projects, to the fact that I'm kinda racing the clock to get past Win8 Was-Metro to know what my future machine will be. So I'm mostly happy just to let the OS do its thing with uninstall, and hang on for the ride. Then if I ever pay off my bills, my next comp would be Windows 9 or something.
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rgdot
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2012, 03:51:50 PM »

I have original Windows discs sitting right here but for the purpose format/reinstall is there legal *up to date* Windows image available somewhere or is there some mystery method I am clueless about? (there have been 100s of MB updates since SP3 alone)
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40hz
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2012, 04:07:17 PM »

I have original Windows discs sitting right here but for the purpose format/reinstall is there legal *up to date* Windows image available somewhere or is there some mystery method I am clueless about? (there have been 100s of MB updates since SP3 alone)

You can slipstream all the updates, but it's far more trouble and work than it's worth for a single PC IMHO.

Easier is to just get the full archive of all available updates and install from that. Fortunately, there's a handy and free tool that will download a full set of updates and pack them onto a DVD or USB key for you to use, along with a utility that handles getting everything installed afterwards. It's variously known as the c't Updater or the WSUS Offline Update. Download it from here.

Note: It will take a while to retrieve all the files from Microsoft, so it's usually easiest to kick it off overnight the first time you gather the updates. Subsequent runs take significantly less time because the utility is smart enough to know what it's already downloaded.
 Thmbsup


Addendum: if you do decide to do a clean reinstall, don't forget to backup all your current hardware drivers first. Hunting down drivers - especially XP drivers - is a real PITA. So if you already have a working machine, take advantage of that and get copies of the drivers prior to flat-lining your current system disk. You'll thank yourself later on. Thmbsup

« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 04:14:02 PM by 40hz » Logged

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rgdot
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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2012, 04:12:33 PM »

I have original Windows discs sitting right here but for the purpose format/reinstall is there legal *up to date* Windows image available somewhere or is there some mystery method I am clueless about? (there have been 100s of MB updates since SP3 alone)

You can slipstream all the updates, but it's far more trouble and work than it's worth for a single PC IMHO.

Easier is to just get the full archive of all available updates and install from that. Fortunately, there's a handy and free tool that will download a full set of updates and pack them onto a DVD or USB key for you to use, along with a utility that handles getting everything installed afterwards. It's variously known as the c't Updater or the WSUS Offline Update. Download it from here.

Note: It will take a while to retrieve all the files from Microsoft, so it's usually easiest to kick it off overnight the first time you gather the updates. Subsequent runs take significantly less time because the utility is smart enough to know what it's already downloaded.
 Thmbsup

Thanks  smiley
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tomos
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2012, 04:45:44 PM »

I have original Windows discs sitting right here but for the purpose format/reinstall is there legal *up to date* Windows image available somewhere or is there some mystery method I am clueless about? (there have been 100s of MB updates since SP3 alone)

do you mean original as in SP0 so-to-speak?
If so, according to the nlite forums, you can slipstream it with SP3 (using nlite) and it should work. But I cannot guarantee that. I dont have links but did research it during the week. I actually tried it but it didnt work in a VM install - but I think that may have been to do with me adding the key in nlite and VMWare trying to also use a quick install system. Or maybe it just doesnt work...

There was an XP-up-to-SP3 download at one stage from MS -
I actually still have it I think, but it didnt work for my keys cause they are for OEM version.
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Tom
TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2012, 05:03:37 PM »

Minor Rant. Can people stop using "Here" to mean all kinds of random sites? Can't y'all mention the site first and then just post the link?
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