Jul 252010
 

I have a Dell Inspiron 910, bought from cash converters for £150 3/4 of a year ago. As I had tested Windows Visa and found it to be in many ways an advert not to upgrade from Windows XP I left my machine with the XP installation that the Dell originally came on. Something that surprised me was the 8Gig solid state hard disk. I bought a cheap 4 gig SD card and shoved that permanently into the side for some extra space but I mainly relied on an external 360GB Western Digital slimline hard disk.

When windows 7 came out my usual fear of learning the nuances of a new OS evaporated as I found it to be in almost every way and pleasure to deal with. After testing on a Dell Optiplex 780 for some time I though I should get my Dell Inspiron upgraded to 7 also.

Windows 7 space requirements

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit with a standard install takes about 7gig and even though you can disable many core feature these features are not removed. After some searching I found vLite a utility that is (I assume) mainly used by companies to create tailored Windows installs that suit the corporate image. More searching around on the net and I found that Windows 7 starter was probably the best choice for my netbook. Though Starter removed many features so low powered computers can run it it seemed to be the best choice as a starting package to reduce further in size. After hacking the image with vLite and successfully installing I found that there was no domain support, you could not easily personalise the theme and there was no Aero. Finding this I used vLite to reduce a Windows 7 Ultimate installation. Below is the howto.

vLite

This is my vLite configuration file for a Windows 7 Ultimate installation. If you want to use it copy the text and save as a text file with a .ini extension in C:\Program Files\vLite\presets or wherever you installed vLite to.

; vLite preset file
;
;#Environment:
; vLite v1.2
; Framework 2.0.50727.4200
; Microsoft Windows NT 6.0.6002 Service Pack 2 32-bit
;
;#Target:
; Windows 7 Ultimate Activated 32Bit - Orbit30 32-bit
; Version 6.1 English (United States)
;
[Compatibility]
ACDSee / XnView
DriveimageXML
Aero Glass
File and printer sharing (Server)
Recommended
Scanners and Cameras
Windows Update

[CustomHide]

[Components]
;# Accessories #
Accessibility
Games-Inbox Games
Games-Premium Inbox Games
Speech Support
Welcome Center
;# Drivers #
Diva Server
Modems
QLogic Fibre Channel Adapter
Scanners
Storage controllers-Adaptec
Storage controllers-Elxstor
Storage controllers-IBM ServeRAID
Storage controllers-ICP vortex
Storage controllers-Intel (Matrix)
Storage controllers-nVidia
Storage controllers-SiS
Storage controllers-Via
TV Tuners-ADS Technologies
TV Tuners-ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
TV Tuners-AVerMedia Technologies, Inc.
TV Tuners-Compro Technology Inc.
TV Tuners-Creatix
TV Tuners-Hauppauge
TV Tuners-KNC ONE GmbH
TV Tuners-KWorld
TV Tuners-Lumanate, Inc.
TV Tuners-Philips Semiconductors
TV Tuners-Pinnacle Systems
TV Tuners-TerraTec Electronic GmbH
TV Tuners-VidzMedia Pte Ltd.
;# Hardware Support #
Firewire (1394)
Floppy Disk Support
Infrared Support
Microsoft Multi-Path Bus
Modem Support
Smartcards
TV Tuner support
XBOX 360 Controller
;# Languages #
Arabic
Brazillian
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Estonian
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Latvian
Lithuanian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Serbian
Simplified Chinese
Slovak
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
Table Driven Text Input Processor
Thai
Traditional Chinese
Turkish
Ukrainian
;# Multimedia #
Media Center
Music and Video samples
Sample Pictures
Screensavers
;# Network #
Connect to a Network Projector
Distributed File System (DFS)
Internet Information Services (IIS)
Telnet Client
Telnet Server
TFTP Client
Windows Collaboration
Windows Mail
;# System #
Disk Quota
Help
IMAPIv2 Burning Support
Microsoft Client For NFS
Natural Language
Parental Controls
Run a legacy CPL elevated
Tablet PC
Windows Easy Transfer

[Options]
DEP (Data Execution Prevention) = Default
User Account Control (UAC) = Enabled
AntiSpyware Realtime Protection = Default
Memory requirement = 256MB
AutoPlay = Disabled
Paging Executive = Enabled
Power scheme = Power saving
Power button = Shutdown
Sleep button = Sleep
Control Panel - Classic View = Default
Show hidden files and folders = No
Show protected operating system files = No
Show extensions for known file types = Yes
IE Phishing Filter = Default
IE Phishing Verification Ballon Tips = Default

[Services]

[Protection]

[Drivers]
E:\Downloads\Applications\Drivers\Pippin\R200081\Driver\x32\jmcr.inf

[Unattended]
SkipAutoActivation

[Hotfixes]

[LanguagePacks]

vLite Points of interest

Anything listed in the above ini file are things that will be REMOVED. The items you may not want to remove are listed sequentially below:

  • Modems
  • Scanners
  • TV Tuners
  • Firewire
  • Floppy Disk support
  • Infra Red Support
  • Language (select your own)
  • Media Centre

The install image is around 1.5gig

Installing your vLite image using a usb drive

Seeing as my dell has no cdrom drive the iso that vLite produces should be put on a memory stick. Here are some good instructions.

Compress your Windows Drive

During the initial windows setup I formatted my hard disk with compression enabled. After clicking advanced for a new windows setup and being shown my disks you can press Control F10 to get to command prompt. Here run diskpart, select the correct hard disk, if necessary clean, create a partition and format with the command

FORMAT FS=NTFS LABEL=”Win 7″ QUICK COMPRESS

exit and refresh and continue the install.

Activating Windows

Use Windows 7 activator by SuBasH

Further Space Saving, Post Install.

There are various ways you can reclaim a few gig of space.

  1. Disable pagefile, or set it to 200MB
  2. Disable hibernate support by using the following command in an administrator command prompt: powercfg -h off As shown here
  3. Compress the entire drive, if you did not format during setup; right click drive c and check compress and ignore all access denied messages.
  4. Disable System Restore.
  5. Disable Recycle Bin or reduce its size to 50Meg.
  6. Remove Hotfix files.

Many of the above tips are explained here, there are more but the above produces the greatest gain.

Result

A 4 gig Windows 7 Ultimate install for a dell mini or similar laptop. Leaving me with 4 gig to install applications, though running them, especially at the same time, may require more virtual memory.

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