Boot camp with Windows 7 and a SSD
As not all programs are available on MacOS 10.7, you may want to install Windows 7 either on a virtual machine or, to get the whole performance of your machine, on a Boot Camp partition. As described in the last article, I switched to a Vertex 2 SSD, which is much faster then the HDD before, but provides with 240GB only half of the space compared to the replaced hard disk. As a very result, I didn't want to waste space on a second partition that needs already more than 20GB for the operating system (we can forgive Steve Jobs that Lion has a similar disk usage, but for any reason we can't forgive Steve Ballmer). So, 50GB was my choice for the Boot Camp partition, and the Windows 7 space had to be trimmed somehow. The major issue was to prevent that the disk usage grows too much after the installation (due to indexing, backups, shadow images, memory dumps etc). The updates will increase the required space enough anyway. Furthermore, SSDs and convendtional HDDs require different handling, e.g. SSD do not need to be defragmented. Here are the steps that helped me keeping the system clean and speedy. I hope it helps you, too. Note: Every change has its side effects, so checkout if you need a feature or not.
Cleanup and removing the disk shadow copy
A simple way of freeing space is to use the normal disk cleanup. This package also contains the functionality to remove a disk shadow copy.
- Go to START > Computer
- Right click on drive C:, select "Properties"
- Switch to tab "General" and click the "Disk Cleanup" button
- If the button "Cleanup system files" is shown, click it
- The tab "More options" should be visible, switch to it
- Under "System Restore and Shadow Copy", click "Cleanup" and confirm the deletion
Hybernation is principally a good thing. However, it has the side effect that a file is created, which contains the RAM state during hybernation. Depending on the RAM size, this preserves gigabytes of disk space (in my case a 1/6 of the disk space!), and the file is not deleted after hybernation. Disabling it is easy (the file will be automatically removed). Side effect: The system can only switch to sleep mode, which still requires battery. If latter is empty Windows would normally hybernate, but can't. So it will either force a shutdown or just go off.
- Click START, search "cmd.exe", and run it as admin (don't hit RETURN, but right click on the found item "cmd.exe")
- Enter "powercfg -h off" in the shell window
Disabling Indexing service
The indexing service is the Windows-Spotlight background task and uses disk space as well. Side effects: Finding programs and files still works, but more detailled searches, such as words in mails or PDFs does not work.
- Go START:, search for "services.msc"
- Locate "Windows Search Service", right click: Properties
- Select "disabled" in the dropdown "Startup type"
Trimming page file size
The page file is the virtual memory and similar to the scratch partition. It can grow quite a lot. Side effects: You could run out out of memory. This never happend to me up to now, but if you use Software, which needs huge amount of RAM ... well - could happen that the program crashes or throws an allocation error.
- Go START
- Right click on "Computer", select "Properties" from menu
- Select "Advanced System Settings" on the left side menu
- Under "Performance", click on the "settings" button
- Click the "Advanced tab"
- In section "Virtual memory" click on "Change"
- Uncheck "Automatically manage paging file size [...]"
- Click option "Custom size" enter "500" under Initial size and what you want (e.g. 1000 for 1GB) for maximum size.
Disable System Restore
The System Restore Points are principally a good Idea, but they need space. Here how to disable this feature. Side effects: You don't have a direct undo operation for your system setup (I use incremental network backups to get around this problem).
- Go START, search for "gpedit.msc" and hit return
- Browse to the folder "Local Computer Policy"/"Administrative Templates"/"Windows Components"/"Backup"/"Client"
- Double click "Turn off the ability to back up data files" and select the "enabled" option. (Yes, it is ENABLED), click OK
- Double click "Turn off restore functionality" and select the "enabled" option. Click OK
- Double click "Turn off the ability to create a system image" and select the "enabled" option. Click OK
Disable Defrag schedule
SSDs don't need to be defragmented, indeed it is a waste of resources and decreases the life time unnecessarily.
- Go to START/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Defragmenter
- Click the "Configure Schedule" button
- Untick the checkbox "Run on a schedule (recommended)"
Disable MacOS X partition visibility
If you don't want that windows programs can access your Mac partition, you can unassign its drive letter. This is not a "really secure security feature", but it should help a bit, because admin permissions are required to reassign a drive letter.
- Click START, search for "Administrative Tools"
- Doubleclick on "Computer Management"
- Click in the side bar on "Disk Management" (in folder "Storage")
- Right click on the partition, which file system is HFS and select from the context menu "Change drive letter and paths"
- Remove the drive letter by clicking the "Remove" button and ignore the warning that programs may rely on this drive.