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Sean's Windows 8 Install & Optimization Guide for SSDs & HDDs

post #1 of 649
Thread Starter 

Sean's Windows 8 Install & Optimization Guide for SSDs & HDDs





Please do not PM me for help with the guide or any questions about SSDs/HDDs and Windows!
Post your questions in this thread or make a new thread!
I will no longer be replying to PMs about this information!
If you have any personal questions/offers/requests then feel free to PM me.

Note: For Windows 7 please go here: (link)

Why I created this guide:
Well, because of all the positive feedback I got from my Windows 7 Install and Optimization Guide I decided to make one for Windows 8! This guide meant to help anyone with a SSD/HDD install and optimize their Windows 8 installation. I am currently using Windows 8 in virtual machines, I am pretty new to the new OS design so I will constantly update this guide for everyone's benefit as I learn more. If you have any suggestions please feel free to let me know as well!

If you have any problem or question on the guide, windows, storage, firmware, drivers, whatever please do not hesitate to ask in this thread!

A quick word on SSDs:
SSDs do NOT require the confusing and intense setup that a lot of people seem to suggest. The current day SSDs are much more reliable and literally all that is necessary is to change the SATA mode to AHCI in the BIOS/UEFI, install, and you are good to go. I highly recommend reinstalling your OS instead of migrating/mirroring it from a HDD when you get a SSD. It may take longer, but it is worth it in the end. Also, if you want to learn more about SSDs or see my recommended SSDs then click here: (More info here)

System Requirements:
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device or higher
  • To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch
  • To access Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768

Before you begin:
  • Installation and optimization will take anywhere from 10min-3hrs depending on your system.
  • Windows will take up ~ 7-15GB after the guide is complete.
  • Make sure you have all your personal data you want to keep backed up, all the data on your OS drive will be deleted before installation.
  • The installation section of this guide is not for those of you who are going to dual boot. For that please look here: (link)
  • Make sure you have all your drivers for your motherboard and other hardware, especially the network driver just in case Windows does not have the right one for your PC.
  • Any program installed in a previous Windows installation drive will not be usable on a new installation, you need to reinstall them again even if installed on another drive.
  • There may be compatibility issues with some of your programs so please be aware.

Windows 8 ISO download links: -> (Click to show)
There are currently no direct digital river download links, however, you can still download the installer/iso if you have your product key.

  1. Follow this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only
  2. Click the "Install Windows 8" button
  3. Download the file
  4. Open it and enter your product key
  5. Download the Windows 8 installer files
  6. Once downloaded you will have the option to make a Windows 8 iso or to create a USB install device

Make a Windows 8 Bootable USB Installer: -> (Click to show)
Burn the ISO to a DVD easily with the Windows Disc Image Burner: (link)

Burn the ISO to a DVD or USB with the USB/DVD download tool: (link)
With the Windows tool it formats the USB to NTFS, so if you are going to do a GPT install do not use the tool. For the UEFI to see your USB for a GPT install it needs to be formatted to FAT32.

How to make a bootable Windows 8 USB Installer with CMD:
  1. Open and run CMD as Administrator
  2. Type Diskpart, press Enter
  3. Type List Disk, press Enter
  4. Type Select Disk # (where # is the number your USB drive shows up as), press Enter
  5. Type Clean, press Enter
  6. Type Create Partition Primary, press Enter
  7. Type Active, press Enter
  8. Type Format Quick FS=FAT32, press Enter
  9. Type Assign, press Enter
  10. Type Exit, press Enter
  11. Copy everything from the Windows 8 installation DVD onto the USB key (a simple drag and drop will do; if you have an .iso extract or mount first).
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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Crucial MX100 WD Blue WD10EZEX Toshiba DT01ACA300 Thermalright Silver Arrow 
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Intel RES2CV240 
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post #2 of 649
Thread Starter 
System Preparation!
Be sure to not only go over my checklist but to make your own and see if you need to do anything else or not. Feel free to share any changes you make.

The Checklist:
  1. Read your motherboard manual! This saves you the hassle of asking which SATA port is which and much more; almost everything is in there!
  2. If your hardware is overclocked please revert to stock clocks for installation to prevent data corruption.
  3. Enable AHCI SATA mode in the UEFI/BIOS. Use RAID mode if you are going to use a RAID array or Intel SRT aka. SSD caching. Guide here: (link)
  4. Check to see if ACPI 2.0 or newer is in the UEFI/BIOS and enable it if it is there, if not then don't worry about it.
  5. Check and see if there is an update to the firmware of your SSD/HDD and update if necessary. Storage drivers, firmware, and utilities here: (link)
  6. Disconnect all the drives but the one you are installing to. You will reconnect them in step 5 of "System Setup after Installation." This is to prevent the installer from installing the Windows 8 boot partition on another drive in the system.
  7. If you are using a SSD use the native Intel or AMD SATA 3Gb/s or SATA 6Gb/s ports, I advise that you do NOT use the Marvell or other 3rd party SATA ports for your SSD/HDD.

The installation of Windows 8!
The installation process is pretty straight forward. Just put in your install media, boot from it, and follow the onscreen instructions. Once you complete installation a and get to the start screen move on to the "Now It's Time For The System Set Up and Optimization!" section.

Here however, I am going to show you how to install on either MBR (Master Boot Record) formatted or GPT (GUID Partition Table) formatted disks. By default Windows will use MBR, but for UEFI motherboards you can use GPT. You can decide to use either if you have an UEFI motherboard. If you have a BIOS use MBR.

Important! You should not use GPT format unless you need to. The MBR format is what most people should use. You should only use GPT if you want to boot Windows off a 2.2TB+ partition or if you want to test it out. People are having issues with the GPT format because they don't know how to troubleshoot and since I can not have their PC in front of me I can't troubleshoot for them either. So I highly recommend that if you do not need to use the GPT format or if you don't know what you are doing and don't have a real reason to use GPT then you should use the MBR set up.

If you guys ever get an issue with a system image restoration with GPT this may help. (link)

Configure a drive using a BIOS/UEFI motherboard and MBR format: -> (Click to show)
Booting and partitioning of Windows 8:
  1. Boot from your Windows 8 installation media.
  2. After booting you see the Install Windows 8 screen, press Shift + F10 to open command prompt.
  3. At the command prompt, type Diskpart, press Enter.
  4. Type List Disk, press Enter.
  5. Type Select Disk # (where # is the number your drive shows up as), press Enter.
  6. Type Clean, press Enter.
  7. Type Exit, press Enter.
  8. Close the Command Prompt window.
  9. Click the "Next" button.
  10. Click the "Install now" button.
  11. Put in your product key and click the "Next" button.
  12. Accept the terms and click the "Next" button.
  13. Choose "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)."
  14. Select the partition and click "Drive options (advanced)"
  15. Click "New" and then click the "Apply" button. Two partitions should appear. Click the bottom partition.
  16. Click the "OK" button and then click the "Next" button.
  17. From then on follow the on screen instructions till you get to the desktop.

Video Tut:


Configure drive using an UEFI motherboard and GPT format: Info on GPT (Click to show)
This guide is for utilizing a Microsoft Operating System (Apple OS and Linux distros, may require different steps).

A UEFI (GPT) boot drive can only be configured from a blank "unallocated" drive. The drive must initially contain no partitions or formatting. When configuring the blank drive as a boot drive, (GPT Boot), it is necessary to configure your drive utilizing 3 partitions. Your motherboard should be an UEFI enabled motherboard. Although a BIOS can be configured (through hacks) to boot GPT drives, that configuration is beyond the scope of this guide. When configuring a GPT boot drive, only x64 (64-bit) OSes support this feature. x86 (32-bit) Windows installations do not support GPT boot devices. If the steps are performed properly, Windows installation media from Vista SP1 and above are GPT "aware" when launched from a device marked as "UEFI" in the boot device list. Earlier versions of Windows, can have attached storage formatted as GPT, but these volumes cannot be booted from.

The four partitions involved in a GPT boot are as follows:

Recovery - 300MB

ESP - 100MB - This is the UEFI System partition. It is the First partition that is placed on the drive. This partition contains the EFI boot loader, hardware abstraction layer (HAL), drivers, and other pre-OS utilities utilized Pre-Boot by the UEFI during its boot or system check processes. Windows 8 requires that this partition be formatted as FAT32.

MSR - 128MB - This partition is the Microsoft Reserved Partition. It is a required partition for any GPT formatted drive under Windows. This partition will initially be empty after you install Windows, but will be used later by the OS when performing certain disk tasks. GPT disks do not allow for hidden sectors (as was the case with MBR). This space is reserved for software operations that formerly used hidden sectors. You will not format this partition.

Data Partition - This is the remainder of your drive that will contain the OS, User Data, programs, etc.

Benefits of a UEFI/GPT boot disk vs. MBR:
  • Although not currently applicable to SSDs, GPT disks can exceed the 2.2TB bootable limit of a MBR partitioned drive. MBR drives are limited to four partition table entries, unless a secondary "extended" partition structure is created.
  • Data critical to platform operation is located in partitions, and not in un-partitioned or "hidden" sectors which in certain instances, can lead to system instability. Data contained in hidden sectors that result in system problems are difficult to debug.
  • GPT disks use primary and backup partition tables for redundancy and 32-bit cyclic redundancy check (CRC32) fields for improved partition data structure integrity.
  • A UEFI boot is more secure, and less vulnerable to pre-boot malware.
  • A system utilizing a UEFI boot, will boot and recover from sleep faster than the same machine using MBR.
  • UEFI is the future, and as different implementations of UEFI mature, UEFI will be used for much more than just booting a computer.
Click here to see guide! (Click to show)
Note first on UEFI boot: http://www.overclock.net/t/1429005/ocz-vertex-4-256gb-windows-7-efi-boot#post_20862366
Quote:
...unless you disable the Compatibility Support Module (CSM) either directly with a setting in the BIOS, or via enabling Secure Boot (disabling CSM is a side affect of this), a Windows installation otherwise configured for EFI booting will not boot in EFI mode.


Booting and partitioning of GPT for Windows 8:
  1. Boot from the Windows 8 install media (You must initiate this boot from a device labeled as a UEFI device, or the installation of Windows 8 will produce an error that the OS cannot be installed to a GPT partition) These UEFI boot devices will have a prefix UEFI: "name of your device", and show as a boot option in your UEFI.
  2. After booting to the UEFI device you see the Install Windows 8 screen, press Shift + F10 to open a command prompt.
  3. Type Diskpart, press Enter
  4. Type List Disk , press Enter
  5. Type Select Disk # (where # is the number your drive shows up as), press Enter
  6. Type Clean, press Enter
  7. Type Convert GPT, press Enter
  8. Type Exit, press Enter.
  9. Close the Command Prompt window.
  10. Click the "Next" button.
  11. Click the "Install now" button.
  12. Put in your product key and click the "Next" button.
  13. Accept the terms and click the "Next" button.
  14. Choose "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)."
  15. Select the partition and click "Drive options (advanced)"
  16. Click "New" and then click the "Apply" button. Four partitions should appear. Click the bottom partition.
  17. Click the "OK" button and then click the "Next" button.
  18. From then on follow the on screen instructions till you get to the desktop.
    Note: If you can't boot after the install you need to make sure the boot is set to "Windows Boot Manager" in the UEFI. Also, important info.
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 WD Blue WD10EZEX Toshiba DT01ACA300 Thermalright Silver Arrow 
OSPowerCase
Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit bequiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Corsair 650D 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Intel Xeon L5520 Intel Xeon L5520 Dell  ASPEED 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
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Other
Intel RES2CV240 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
A8 5600K BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W G.Skill Ripjaws X  Crucial M4 
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ROG Bench
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Terrorbyte V2
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Le Papa's
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k Asus Maximus VI Extreme  MSI GTX 660 Ti PE OC 32GB G.Skill Ares 1866MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 850 Pro Samsung 840 EVO  Samsung 830 Crucial MX100 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 WD Blue WD10EZEX Toshiba DT01ACA300 Thermalright Silver Arrow 
OSPowerCase
Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit bequiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Corsair 650D 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Intel Xeon L5520 Intel Xeon L5520 Dell  ASPEED 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Nanya 72GB 1066MHz ECC Registered Kingston V300 SanDisk Extreme II WD Red 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samung Spinpoint F4 Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 Samsung Spinpoint F3  Seagate 7200.12 
OSPowerCaseOther
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Dell C1100 PSU and Corsair 650TX  Dell C1100 Chassis and Norco RPC 4224 LSI 9261-8i 
Other
Intel RES2CV240 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
A8 5600K BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W G.Skill Ripjaws X  Crucial M4 
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post #3 of 649
Thread Starter 
Now It's Time For The System Set Up and Optimization!
Ok, optimizations are split up into three sections. The first of which is the "System Setup after Installation:" section. This one is the most important one to look over. Even if you set up your system already still look this part over, especially you people who are using OS cloning/migrating software! The next section, "Optimizations after System Setup:," is more of an optional set of optimizations to get a little more out of your system. You do not need to do them all, read what each one does and see if it could help you improve your system. And finally there is the "System Maintenance:" section in which there is info on how to keep your system maintained and in tip top shape, feel free to suggest anything to add.

Furthermore, I advise making a system image at this point and after complete system set up (link). But you don't need to. It is just easier for me than reinstalling later.

System Setup after Installation: -> (Click to show)
Be sure to see if the steps apply for either SSDs only or applies to both SSDs/HDDs.
For example...
You install the OS onto a HDD, only do the steps marked SSD/HDD.
You install the system on a SSD then do the steps marked SSD/HDD and SSD only.

  1. Turn Off or Shrink the Hibernation File: Applies to SSDs/HDDs (You need hibernation enabled for "fast startup" (Hybrid Boot))
    I advise you keep your hibernation file as it will allow for fast start up. If you don't use hibernation mode, disabling it will save you several GB of disk space. If you do use hibernation mode, you can still shrink the hibernation file size. I say to do it at this point if you want to b/c it prevents extra writes as well. Also, hibernation is different than the normal sleep mode. In Windows 8 it will allow you to have "fast startup" when it is enabled. (link) If you really want to disable or shrink it click me! (Click to show)
    1. Go to the Desktop.
    2. Press the "Windows Key" + "X" on your keyboard.
    3. Click the "Command Prompt (Admin)" option.
    4. Type powercfg -h off and press enter to delete it or type powercfg -h -size 75 and press enter to shrink it.

  2. Disable or Shrink System Protection: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    You will not be able to run a system restore with system protection this disabled. However, disabling system protection will save you several GB of disk space, and saves time when installing new stuff since no restore points are created. I say to do it at this point if you want to because it prevents extra writes if you have a SSD. Personally I use system restore and it is nice to restore back a day or two when there is an issue i am encountering, it only takes up a tiny bit of space my SSD (3.58GB) so I leave it.
    1. Press the "Windows Key" + "Pause|Break Key" on your keyboard.
    2. Click "System protection" (it's on the left side).
    3. Select "Local disk (C:) (System)."
    4. Click the "Configure..." button.
    5. Click "Disable system protection" or using the slider adjust to the "Max Usage" size desired.
    6. Click "OK."

  3. Turn Off or Shrink Page file: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    If you shrink your page file most people recommend 512MB or 1024MB, the minimum for a dump file to be created is 400MB. I suggest that if you have 4GB of RAM or less or do heavy multitasking do not disable the page file just shrink it to a reasonable size because the rule of having page file equal to or set to 1.5x the amount of your RAM is outdated. Several programs use page file when enabled like VMWare, some games, graphics software, MS office, etc. Windows 8 does use the page file if present and will only use it when it is efficient to do so. Page file is also read at boot to speed things up. Do not put the page file on a RAM disk, it is much better to have it on the SSD or HDD. (Why to have the page file on an SSD) (Why to not have page file on a RAM disk)
    1. Press the "Windows Key" + "Pause|Break Key" on your keyboard.
    2. Click "Advanced system settings" (it's on the left side).
    3. Under "Performance" click the "Settings..." button.
    4. Go to the "Advanced" tab.
    5. Under "Virtual memory" click "Change..."
    6. At the top uncheck the "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives."
    7. Select the C: drive.
    8. Click "No paging file" radio button or click the "Custom size:" radio button and set the min and max to what you like.
    9. Click the "Set" button.
    10. Click the "OK" button.
    11. Click the "OK" button when the "System Properties" window appears.
    12. Click the "OK" button.
    13. Click the "OK" button.
    14. When the "Microsoft Windows" window appears click "Restart Later."

  4. Shutdown for the first time: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    This applies all the changes and you should have a nice amount of free space now. If you have any secondary drives plug them in now.
    1. Press the "Alt Key" + "F4 Key" on your keyboard.
    2. Choose "Shutdown" from the drop down menu.
    3. Click the "OK" button.
    4. Power back on your PC once the shutdown has finished to continue.

  5. Install Motherboard Drivers: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    This is to ensure your components will work properly and efficiently.
    1. Attain drivers for your motherboard, graphics card, sound card, and etc. via. download or installation disk, preferably the most up to date ones from the manufacturer's website.
    2. Install as instructed and restart as needed.

  6. Install newest SATA and chipset drivers: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    This it to make sure your SSD/HDD run in tip top shape.
    • For AMD systems, use the newest chipset driver. (link)
    • For Intel systems, use the newest Rapid Storage Technology driver. (link)
    • For all other brands and products look here: (link)

  7. Run Windows Update: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    Make sure every update is installed. It may take a few restarts. This will make sure your system has no vulnerabilities and will most likely solve any issues may encounter due to the updates not being installed. You can do this step later if you like, I just like to do it at this point myself.
    1. Once done press the "Windows Key" + "F" on your keyboard and type Windows Update, press Enter.
    2. It will be under "Settings," click the "Windows Update" icon.
    3. Click the "Check for updates" button.
    4. Install as needed.

  8. Change power options: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    I recommend at least setting to high performance, as for laptops it is up to you, I would leave the default for a laptop. This step is so that Idle Time Garbage Collection can run for your SSD if you have one when the system is at idle rather than going to sleep and you get more performance out of your system just by setting it to high performance. But feel free to set it up however you like.
    1. Go to the Desktop.
    2. Press the "Windows Key" + "X" on your keyboard.
    3. Click the "Power Options" option.
    4. Click "Show additional plans."
    5. Select the "High performance power plan" radio button.
    6. Click "Change plan settings."
    7. Click "Change advanced power settings."
    8. Expand the "Hard disk" option and change the "Turn off hard disk after" setting to "Never."
    9. Expand the "Sleep" option and change the "Sleep after" setting to "Never."
    10. Click OK.

  9. Run Windows Experience Index Assessment: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    This makes windows recognize you have an SSD as well as other things.
    1. Press the "Windows Key" + "Pause|Break Key" on your keyboard.
    2. Click "Windows Experience Index."
    3. Click the "Rate this computer" button.

  10. Install virus protection and apps: Applies to SSDs/HDDs
    1. Windows 8 ships with antivirus built in. It is simple, light on resources and easy to use. Other antivirus's are not really needed. Though I suggest you have Malwarebytes as well. You can choose whatever you like though, it is up to you.
    2. Go on the internet and install all your favorite apps.

Optimizations after System Setup: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  • Move user folder locations to Secondary HDD:
    1. Go to your User folder.
    2. Right click your user folder you want to move (ex. the "My Pictures" folder).
    3. Click "Properties."
    4. Click the "Location" tab.
    5. Change the destination to another location bu clicking "Move..." and selecting the destination (ex. "D:\Pictures").
      Note 1: If there are two of the same folder in the User folder after the move (ie. My Documents "A" and My Documents "B") you should delete the empty one located on the C: drive. (May need to go into safe mode to delete it) Do not delete the other User folders, only duplicates that come up after the move within the User folder.
      Note 2: If the folder already exists that you are linking it to you may want to merge the folders.

  • Disable unneeded services:
    This is more for advanced users. This helps you go through and edit which services you want or not.
    1. Press the "Windows Key" + 'R" on your keyboard and type Services.msc, press Enter.
    2. Go to BlackViper.
    3. Follow the info to your OS.

  • Turn off Unused Windows 8 Features:
    This can help regain some space and free up resources by uninstalling unneeded features you never use.
    1. Go to the Desktop.
    2. Press the "Windows Key" + "X" on your keyboard.
    3. Click the "Control Panel" option.
    4. Go to "Programs."
    5. Go to "Programs and Features."
    6. Click "Turn Windows features on or off" from the left pane.
    7. Now uncheck all the features that you don't use in Windows 8.
    8. Click the "OK" button.
    9. Restart the system for the changes to take effect.

  • Disable UAC:
    Stops the annoying popups that ask "Are you sure you want to do something?"
    1. Once done press the "Windows Key" + "F" on your keyboard and type UAC, press Enter.
    2. It will be under "Settings," click the "Change User Account Control settings" icon.
    3. Move slider to "Never notify."
    4. Click the "OK" button.
    5. Click "Yes."
    6. Restart.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Miggins View Post

    It is also advised to disable or turn off UAC control for Win 8 by sliding the slider to "Never Notify" This actually does not DISABLE UAC - at all, it only reduces the amount of annoying messages you get - Disabling UAC requires you to go around and hack the registry (which you don't want to do anyway)

    The way that Win 8 works differently to 7 in this respect Win 8 has another security system that involves an "Integrity" check which is a little more advanced than the UAC on its own. Even though you drop UAC to "Never Notify" it is not disabled. Win 8 uses some software called "App_container" as far as I can gather, a type of Sandbox for Apps.

    If you hack your registry and disable UAC altogether, then you will never be able to run or install an APP with Metro.

    If you want to hack it - "enableLUA" key and set it to 0 from the registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System.

  • Disable GUI on boot:
    This speeds boot up a second or two. You will no longer see the boot splash screen.
    1. Press the "Windows Key" + 'R" on your keyboard and type MSConfig, press Enter.
    2. When the "System Configuration" window opens click the "Boot" tab.
    3. Check the checkbox for "No GUI boot."
    4. Click the "Apply" button and restart.

  • Enable write back caching and turnoff windows write-caching buffer flushing on C:\ drive:
    Intel users read this: What's The Deal With Write-Cache Buffer Flushing? The performance improvement is not universal (some drives do not seem to like it for whatever reason), but it does usually apply to both SSDs and HDDs. HDDs are just at higher risk for data loss as they tend to be slower at writing their cache information to the drive and require more power when in operation, thus are less likely to finish writing everything to disk when there is a power failure. Many SSDs have enough power stored in their capacitors for the half second or so it takes to flush the buffer, most rotating platter drives do not. There is still some element of risk on most SSDs, but some (especially enterprise models) have a supercap specifically meant to power the drive long enough for a complete flush. Most consumer level drives do not have such a feature. In the end its about the level of risk you are willing to accept. Turning off buffer flushing on an HDD is moderately risky. On a normal SSD it's low risk (much faster random wirtes get data off the cache onto the NAND fast). On an enterprise SSD it's virtually no risk (supercapacitor gives these drives even more time to write data).
    1. Press the "Windows Key" + "X" on your keyboard.
    2. Click "Disk Management."
    3. Right click C:\ drive.
    4. Click "Properties."
    5. Go to the "Hardware" tab.
    6. Select your drive.
    7. Click Properties."
    8. Go to the "Policies" tab.
    9. The "Enable write caching" box should be checked by default, if not tick the check mark.
    10. Tick the check mark for "turnoff windows write-caching buffer flushing."
    11. Click the "OK" button.
    12. Once you do this reopen the policies tab and uncheck both boxes and then apply then open it again and recheck both boxes. Sometimes there is a glitch where it doesn't work the first time and you don't know it isn't working.

  • Adjust drive indexing:
    Indexing creates and maintains a database of file attributes to use for search so results show up quicker.
    1. Press the "Windows Key" + "F" on your keyboard and type Indexing Options, press Enter.
    2. It will be under "Apps," click the icon.
    3. The "Indexing Options" window will pop up and you can adjust Indexing how you like.

System Maintenance: -> (Click to show)
CCleaner:
CCleaner has to be the best "cleanup" utility I have ever used, it cleans up all your temp files and cleans your registry better than any other software I know. I have never had an issue with it over the last two years of using it. I have tried many others and CCleaner has come out to be the best. I highly recommend you use this as your sole maintenance cleanup software over everything else.

Download here: (link)

Disk Cleanup:
This is the integrated Disk Cleanup in Windows 8. I often use this after using CCleaner just in case CCleaner misses anything. Does a good job and I recommend you use it too.
  1. Once done press the "Windows Key" + "F" on your keyboard and type Disk Cleanup, press Enter.
  2. It will be under "Settings," click the "Free up disk space by deleting unnecessary files" icon.
  3. Select your drive you want to clean.
  4. Check any of the check boxes you wish.
  5. Click "OK" button.
  6. Click "Delete Files"

Disk Defragment for HDDs and Optimize SSDs
Haven't really had a need to use anything other than the built in disk defragmenter in Windows. It works good for me and since it is integrated I don't need to waste space on getting any 3rd party software. Also, with Windows 8, optimize runs TRIM automatically to your SSDs so you don't need to worry about them being defragmented or anything bad.
  1. Once done press the "Windows Key" + "F" on your keyboard and type Defragment, press Enter.
  2. It will be under "Settings," click the "Defragment your hard drive" icon.
  3. Select your drive and click the "Optimize" button.

Alternatively you can use Defraggler for your HDDs: (link)

Remove Start up Items and more:
This is one of my favorite apps, just uncheck an item you wish to disable and it won't run upon start up. This can decrease your boot time as well as become a great troubleshooting tool.

Download Autouns here: (link)

Space Sniffer:
Cool app that lets you see what is taking up your space on your system and manage it.

Download Space Sniffer here: (link)

You are done!
Congrats! Now that all is over and your system is all set up, brand new, and ready to go I say have fun, be safe, and enjoy! I advise making another system image now so you can easily revert your system back to this point if anything goes wrong from any circumstance.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
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post #4 of 649
Thread Starter 
Windows 8 pointers

Alternative Start Menus: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Windows 8 shortcut keys: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  • Windows key: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
  • Windows key + C: Access the charms bar
  • Windows key + Tab: Access the Modern Desktop Taskbar
  • Windows key + I: Access the Settings charm
  • Windows key + H: Access the Share charm
  • Windows key + K: Access the Devices charm
  • Windows key + Q: Access the Apps Search screen
  • Windows key + F: Access the Files Search screen
  • Windows key + W: Access the Settings Search screen
  • Windows key + P: Access the Second Screen bar
  • Windows key + Z: Brings up the App Bar when you have a Modern Desktop App running
  • Windows key + X: Access the Windows Tools Menu
  • Windows key + O: Lock screen orientation
  • Windows key + . : Move the screen split to the right
  • Windows key + Shift + . : Move the screen split to the left
  • Windows key + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications
  • Windows key + Shift + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications in reverse order
  • Windows key + PrtScn: Takes a screenshot of the screen and automatically saves it in the Pictures folder as Screenshot
  • Windows key + Enter: Launch Narrator
  • Windows key + E: Open Computer
  • Windows key + R: Open the Run dialog box
  • Windows key + U: Open Ease of Access Center
  • Windows key + Ctrl + F: Open Find Computers dialog box
  • Windows key + Pause/Break: Open the System page
  • Windows key + 1..10: Launch a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
  • Windows key + Shift + 1..10: Launch a new instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
  • Windows key + Ctrl + 1..10: Access the last active instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
  • Windows key + Alt + 1..10: Access the Jump List of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number
  • Windows key + B: Select the first item in the Notification Area and then use the arrow keys to cycle through the items Press Enter to open the selected item
  • Windows key + Ctrl + B: Access the program that is displaying a message in the Notification Area
  • Windows key + T: Cycle through the items on the Taskbar
  • Windows key + M: Minimize all windows
  • Windows key + Shift + M: Restore all minimized windows
  • Windows key + D: Show/Hide Desktop (minimize/restore all windows)
  • Windows key + L: Lock computer
  • Windows key + Up Arrow: Maximize current window
  • Windows key + Down Arrow: Minimize/restore current window
  • Windows key + Home: Minimize all but the current window
  • Windows key + Left Arrow: Tile window on the left side of the screen
  • Windows key + Right Arrow: Tile window on the right side of the screen
  • Windows key + Shift + Up Arrow: Extend current window from the top to the bottom of the screen
  • Windows key + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Move the current window from one monitor to the next
  • Windows key + F1: Launch Windows Help and Support

  • PageUp: Scroll forward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
  • PageDown: Scroll backward on the Modern Desktop Start screen
  • Esc: Close a charm
  • Ctrl + Esc: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application
  • Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel: Activate the Semantic Zoom on the Modern Desktop screen

  • Alt: Display a hidden Menu Bar
  • Alt + D: Select the Address Bar
  • Alt + P: Display the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer
  • Alt + Tab: Cycle forward through open windows
  • Alt + Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through open windows
  • Alt + F: Close the current window Open the Shut Down Windows dialog box from the Desktop
  • Alt + Spacebar: Access the Shortcut menu for current window
  • Alt + Esc: Cycle between open programs in the order that they were opened
  • Alt + Enter: Open the Properties dialog box of the selected item
  • Alt + PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the active Window and place it in the clipboard
  • Alt + Up Arrow: Move up one folder level in Windows Explorer (Like the Up Arrow in XP)
  • Alt + Left Arrow: Display the previous folder
  • Alt + Right Arrow: Display the next folder
  • Shift + Insert: CD/DVD Load CD/DVD without triggering Autoplay or Autorun
  • Shift + Delete: Permanently delete the item (rather than sending it to the Recycle Bin)
  • Shift + F6: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
  • Shift + F10: Access the context menu for the selected item
  • Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box
  • Shift + Click: Select a consecutive group of items
  • Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program
  • Shift + Right-click on a Taskbar button: Access the context menu for the selected item
  • Ctrl + A: Select all items
  • Ctrl + C: Copy the selected item
  • Ctrl + X: Cut the selected item
  • Ctrl + V: Paste the selected item
  • Ctrl + D: Delete selected item
  • Ctrl + Z: Undo an action
  • Ctrl + Y: Redo an action
  • Ctrl + N: Open a new window in Windows Explorer
  • Ctrl + W: Close current window in Windows Explorer
  • Ctrl + E: Select the Search box in the upper right corner of a window
  • Ctrl + Shift + N: Create new folder
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open the Windows Task Manager
  • Ctrl + Alt + Tab: Use arrow keys to cycle through open windows
  • Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Access the Windows Security screen
  • Ctrl + Click: Select multiple individual items
  • Ctrl + Click and drag an item: Copies that item in the same folder
  • Ctrl + Shift + Click and drag an item: Creates a shortcut for that item in the same folder
  • Ctrl + Tab: Move forward through tabs
  • Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Move backward through tabs
  • Ctrl + Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program as an Administrator
  • Ctrl + Click on a grouped Taskbar button: Cycle through the instances of a program in the group
  • F1: Display Help
  • F2: Rename a file
  • F3: Open Search
  • F4: Display the Address Bar list
  • F5: Refresh display
  • F6: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
  • F7: Display command history in a Command Prompt
  • F10: Display hidden Menu Bar
  • F11: Toggle full screen display
  • Tab: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box
  • PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the entire screen and place it in the clipboard
  • Home: Move to the top of the active window
  • End: Move to the bottom of the active window
  • Delete: Delete the selected item
  • Backspace: Display the previous folder in Windows Explorer Move up one folder level in Open or Save dialog box
  • Esc: Close a dialog box
  • Num Lock Enabled + Plus (+): Display the contents of the selected folder
  • Num Lock Enabled + Minus (-): Collapse the selected folder
  • Num Lock Enabled + Asterisk (*): Expand all subfolders under the selected folder

  • Press Shift 5 times Turn StickyKeys on or off
  • Hold down right Shift for 8 seconds Turn FilterKeys on or off
  • Hold down Num Lock for 5 seconds Turn ToggleKeys on or off


Where did all my space go? Indexing database may be eating up a lot of your space by accident. Check this post: http://www.overclock.net/t/1240779/seans-windows-8-install-optimization-guide-for-ssds-hdds/490#post_21036647


Bypass the logon and lock screen: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  1. Open Run (Windows key + R)
  2. Type "netplwiz"
  3. Find & click on the user you want to change
  4. Uncheck "Users must enter user name and password to use this computer"
  5. Click "Apply" and "OK"

Create this window borders: http://www.overclock.net/a/how-to-create-thin-borders-in-windows-8

Disable lock screen without GPEdit: http://www.overclock.net/t/1240779/seans-windows-8-install-optimization-guide-for-ssds-hdds/460#post_20904439

Disable lock screen: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
If you like your PC to boot just as fast as possible then the new Windows 8 lock screen may not appeal. Don't worry, though, if you'd like to ditch this then it only takes a moment.

Launch GPEdit.msc (the Local Group Policy Editor) and browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalisation.

Double-click 'Do not display the lock screen', select Enabled and click OK.

Restart and the lock screen will have gone.

If you can't easily find GPEdit.msc by searching in the Start screen, search for 'mmc', and then press Enter. On the File menu, click 'Add/Remove Snap-in', then in the 'Add or Remove Snap-ins' dialog box, click 'Group Policy Object Editor', and then click 'Add'.

In the 'Select Group Policy Object' dialog box, click 'Browse'. Click 'This Computer' to edit the Local Group Policy object, or click 'Users' to edit Administrator, Non-Administrator, or per-user Local Group Policy objects, then click 'Finish'.

How to Do a Dual Boot Installation with Windows 8 and Windows 7 or Vista: (link)
How to Do a Clean Install of Windows 8: (link)
How to Install "Windows 8 Consumer Preview" in VirtualBox: (link)
How to Install "Windows 8 Consumer Preview" on VMware Player: (link)
How to Create a Bootable USB or DVD with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO: (link)

Disable password on Wake: http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/11685-password-protection-wakeup-enable-disable-windows-8-a.html

http://www.howtogeek.com/109968/6-great-tricks-for-windows-8-that-you-probably-dont-know/
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/operating-systems/50-windows-8-tips-tricks-and-secrets-1028220
http://www.overclock.net/t/1240779/seans-windows-8-install-optimization-guide-for-ssds-hdds
http://communities.intel.com/thread/24948
http://www.eightforums.com/
http://www.overclock.net/t/1241111/windows-8-help#post_16935821
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/habibh/archive/2011/09/14/how-to-create-a-bootable-usb-flash-drive-to-install-windows-8-developer-preview.aspx
http://cwtuning.com/windows-8-optimization-index.htm
http://www.addictivetips.com/tag/windows-8/
http://www.eightforums.com/installation-setup/5620-install-gpt-disk-system-reserve-questions.html
http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/2328-uefi-unified-extensible-firmware-interface-install-windows-8-a.html?filter[2]=Installation%20and%20Setup
http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/2829-windows-8-log-collector.html#post33808
http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/5607-power-user-tasks-menu-win-x-edit-window-8-a.html
http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/2031-windows-8-tutorial-index.html
http://gigaherz.pcsx2.net/NPowerTray/


Check to see if the TRIM command is being issued: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
TRIM basically keeps your SSD running in top shape by optimizing Garbage Collection. You shouldn't have to do this step, but it is always something I do just to be sure. More info on TRIM, Garbage Collection, and SSDs here: (link)
  1. Go to the Desktop.
  2. Press the "Windows Key" + "X" on your keyboard.
  3. Click the "Command Prompt (Admin)" option.
  4. Type fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify
    DisableDeleteNotify = 1 (Windows TRIM commands are disabled)
    DisableDeleteNotify = 0 (Windows TRIM commands are enabled)

To enable TRIM:
  1. Go to the Desktop.
  2. Press the "Windows Key" + "X" on your keyboard.
  3. Click the "Command Prompt (Admin)" option.
  4. Type fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0
ROG Bench
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Terrorbyte V2
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Le Papa's
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k Asus Maximus VI Extreme  MSI GTX 660 Ti PE OC 32GB G.Skill Ares 1866MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 850 Pro Samsung 840 EVO  Samsung 830 Crucial MX100 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 WD Blue WD10EZEX Toshiba DT01ACA300 Thermalright Silver Arrow 
OSPowerCase
Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit bequiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Corsair 650D 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Intel Xeon L5520 Intel Xeon L5520 Dell  ASPEED 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Nanya 72GB 1066MHz ECC Registered Kingston V300 SanDisk Extreme II WD Red 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samung Spinpoint F4 Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 Samsung Spinpoint F3  Seagate 7200.12 
OSPowerCaseOther
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Dell C1100 PSU and Corsair 650TX  Dell C1100 Chassis and Norco RPC 4224 LSI 9261-8i 
Other
Intel RES2CV240 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
A8 5600K BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W G.Skill Ripjaws X  Crucial M4 
Optical DriveOSMonitorMonitor
Asus DVD Burner Microsoft Windows 7 Professional  ASUS VE276Q HPw1907 
PowerCase
Antec Neo Eco 520 HAF 912 
  hide details  
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ROG Bench
(15 items)
 
Terrorbyte V2
(17 items)
 
Le Papa's
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k Asus Maximus VI Extreme  MSI GTX 660 Ti PE OC 32GB G.Skill Ares 1866MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 850 Pro Samsung 840 EVO  Samsung 830 Crucial MX100 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 WD Blue WD10EZEX Toshiba DT01ACA300 Thermalright Silver Arrow 
OSPowerCase
Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit bequiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Corsair 650D 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Intel Xeon L5520 Intel Xeon L5520 Dell  ASPEED 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Nanya 72GB 1066MHz ECC Registered Kingston V300 SanDisk Extreme II WD Red 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samung Spinpoint F4 Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 Samsung Spinpoint F3  Seagate 7200.12 
OSPowerCaseOther
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Dell C1100 PSU and Corsair 650TX  Dell C1100 Chassis and Norco RPC 4224 LSI 9261-8i 
Other
Intel RES2CV240 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
A8 5600K BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W G.Skill Ripjaws X  Crucial M4 
Optical DriveOSMonitorMonitor
Asus DVD Burner Microsoft Windows 7 Professional  ASUS VE276Q HPw1907 
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post #5 of 649
Thread Starter 
Q/A -> (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Webster View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikey View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Webster View Post

Disable Prefetch and Superfetch: .... However, this may hurt performance in older first gen SSDs and HDDs.
Thanks for the new guide Sean , very helpful! A quick question if I may?
Can you pin down a bit what you mean by first gen SSD's? Cheers!
SSDs like the OCZ Vertex, Agility, Crucial M225, etc and before.






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Le Papa's
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k Asus Maximus VI Extreme  MSI GTX 660 Ti PE OC 32GB G.Skill Ares 1866MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 850 Pro Samsung 840 EVO  Samsung 830 Crucial MX100 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 WD Blue WD10EZEX Toshiba DT01ACA300 Thermalright Silver Arrow 
OSPowerCase
Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit bequiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Corsair 650D 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Intel Xeon L5520 Intel Xeon L5520 Dell  ASPEED 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Nanya 72GB 1066MHz ECC Registered Kingston V300 SanDisk Extreme II WD Red 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samung Spinpoint F4 Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 Samsung Spinpoint F3  Seagate 7200.12 
OSPowerCaseOther
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Dell C1100 PSU and Corsair 650TX  Dell C1100 Chassis and Norco RPC 4224 LSI 9261-8i 
Other
Intel RES2CV240 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
A8 5600K BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W G.Skill Ripjaws X  Crucial M4 
Optical DriveOSMonitorMonitor
Asus DVD Burner Microsoft Windows 7 Professional  ASUS VE276Q HPw1907 
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  hide details  
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ROG Bench
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Terrorbyte V2
(17 items)
 
Le Papa's
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k Asus Maximus VI Extreme  MSI GTX 660 Ti PE OC 32GB G.Skill Ares 1866MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 850 Pro Samsung 840 EVO  Samsung 830 Crucial MX100 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 WD Blue WD10EZEX Toshiba DT01ACA300 Thermalright Silver Arrow 
OSPowerCase
Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit bequiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Corsair 650D 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Intel Xeon L5520 Intel Xeon L5520 Dell  ASPEED 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Nanya 72GB 1066MHz ECC Registered Kingston V300 SanDisk Extreme II WD Red 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samung Spinpoint F4 Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 Samsung Spinpoint F3  Seagate 7200.12 
OSPowerCaseOther
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Dell C1100 PSU and Corsair 650TX  Dell C1100 Chassis and Norco RPC 4224 LSI 9261-8i 
Other
Intel RES2CV240 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
A8 5600K BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W G.Skill Ripjaws X  Crucial M4 
Optical DriveOSMonitorMonitor
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post #6 of 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Webster View Post

Disable Prefetch and Superfetch: .... However, this may hurt performance in older first gen SSDs and HDDs.

Thanks for the new guide Sean , very helpful! A quick question if I may?

Can you pin down a bit what you mean by first gen SSD's? Cheers!
   
Slate8
(1 item)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 960T ASUS M5A97 PRO ASUS HD6950 DirectCU II 1GB 4G x 2 Crucial Ballistix 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 128G SSD WD 1TB Black Optiarc DVD-RW AD7420S CM Hyper 212 EVO 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
MS Windows 7 64bit SP1 Achieva Shimian 27" QH270 Microsoft Entertainment 8000 OCZ 700W ModXStream Pro 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Cooler Master Elite 430 Microsoft 8000 Beer towel .. Altec Lansing 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
AMD Athlon II X3 445 ASUS M4A88T-M 2G x 2 PNY Electronics Maxtor 80GB 
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post #7 of 649
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikey View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Webster View Post

Disable Prefetch and Superfetch: .... However, this may hurt performance in older first gen SSDs and HDDs.

Thanks for the new guide Sean , very helpful! A quick question if I may?

Can you pin down a bit what you mean by first gen SSD's? Cheers!

SSDs like the OCZ Vertex, Agility, Crucial M225, etc and before.
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post #8 of 649
Great guide as usual, Sean thumb.gif

If I may make a suggestion, maybe sometime you could further add-on to this guide into also a basic "how to" for Windows 8, like what has changed from Windows 7, and how it's better, worse, etc.. if you get what I mean smile.gif
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post #9 of 649
Thread Starter 
That would be madness lol

atm tho i wish that there was a start button at the desktop, instead what you have to do now to get anywhere is press the Windows Key + X and it will give you a menu.
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post #10 of 649
BUG: The current version of CCleaner deletes needed shortcuts from Windows 8 consumer preview.
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