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My Windows 7 setup uses around 16GB while Windows XP only needs around 4GB hard disk space. Seems weird. I use Windows only for gaming so I don't need a lot of stuff they have to offer.

What is the best way to reduce the size of Windows 7? What can I delete / uninstall and how?

I'd also like to reduce the CPU and memory usage as much as possible (as long as it doesnt hurt game performance) - turning off all that fancy stuff and so on. What can I turn off and how?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

4GB XP? 16GB Win7? That seems an awful lot. My vanilla win7 install on VirtualBox was around 5GB, and you can certainly get XP down to 700MB or so.

Use a visualisation tool such as WinDirStat to find out what's taking up all that disc.

Stuff to target, if you don't need it and you really know what you're doing:

  • unused Windows components (Control Panel -> Add/Remove -> Windows components, or in Vista+, All Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows features on or off)
  • System Restore
  • \Windows\System32\dllcache on XP
  • \Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository on Vista+, if you're sure you're not going to need any more drivers out of it
  • \Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  • %TEMP%, the IE cache, the trash
  • patch rollbacks (hidden $ folders in \Windows on XP)
  • example shared media and \Windows\Web
  • disable virtual memory to get rid of the pagefile (assuming you have enough memory to run swapless)
  • disable hibernation to get read of hiberfil
  • delete the large Chinese/Japanese/Korean fonts, if you don't use them
  • all vendor crapware (if an OEM install) must be destroyed as a matter of course

For some of these on Win7 you have to take ownership of the files back from SYSTEM before you can delete them.

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You can turn off Aero by selecting one of the basic themes. This will reduce the load on your graphics card as Aero uses DirectX, which should improve performance while in Windows. It won't affect gaming performance as that uses full screen mode which bypasses Windows.

To reduce the disk space Windows takes up look at removing some components. On XP this was "Control Panel > Add/Remove Windows Components" - I don't have Windows 7 on this machine to double check if it's in the same place. As to what you could remove, I couldn't say. You'll know what you do and don't use.

Also, I've just checked in XP and there's not a lot you can remove and those items such as the games won't take up that much space.

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One idea would be to create a slipstream install cd for windows 7. This involves removing all the stuff you dont want installed and adding additional files (like drivers)

Simply google slipstream windows 7 installation and there are so many sites who can help you with this

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  1. Use Disk Cleanup frequently to clean out temporary things.
  2. See where data is being spent with WinDirStat and look if you can clean something.
  3. Remove programs and windows components you don't need from the Control Panel.
  4. Resource Monitor is great for checking out what things are happening when your PC is idle, see it as an improved version of Task Manager that is meant for power users instead of system admins.
  5. If you want to know more about a folder, you can Google for it, back-up if you don't know...
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Windows Vista/7 doesn't provide explicit way to disable hibernation. (I don't know why) You can make this with following steps :

  • Open command prompt with administrator privilege.
  • Type this : powercfg -h off

If c:\hiberfil.sys file disappear, it has worked.

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