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How I Got Full Windows XP Installed Under 2GB!

 
 
BillW50
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      01-14-2010, 10:25 PM
Well it is partly true. As I moved the Program Files folder to a flash
drive. I believe this is a useful tip for those with small system
drives. And unlike Hitachi microdrive filter, it doesn't slow down the
computer and isn't a pain in the butt to install. I came up with this
because my nephew's 4GB netbook was always running out of drive space.

You can't normally just install new programs on a flash drive, because
about 50% of them will refuse to install on a removable drive. Nor does
it help for the programs already installed. This method fixes both
problems.

I used BartPE to move all of the folders and files found in the Program
Files folders to a flash drive. I suppose any boot disc would work as
long as you can move folders with it. I tried using Windows Safe Mode,
but it wouldn't move everything. If someone gets it to work, let me
know. I didn't try that hard.

Now the system drive must be in NTFS format, the flash drive doesn't
matter. Now boot Windows in Safe Mode. If you miss the opportunity,
Windows will recreate some of the Program Files once again in Normal
Mode. I haven't tested what to do in this case, so you are on your own
here.

Now with Windows in Safe Mode, I haven't seen Windows needing anything
in the Program Files folder to function, so it appears to behave. Next
you need to use diskmgmt.msc to mount the flash drive in the Program
Files folder. And that is it. Now reboot normally.

Now all of your programs lives on the flash drive. And any programs you
add to Program Files, also gets saved to the flash drive. This frees up
lots of space on the system drive. Also I found no program that
complains running from a flash drive yet.

I only found two side effects so far. And I like to hear from others who
may have found more.

1) Best to uninstall Avast if you are using it. Then reinstall it after
the mounting is complete. It wasn't in the System Tray afterwords. So I
don't know if it was running or not. But uninstalling before or after
and reinstalling it again works great.

2) MS Works v9 breaks if you move the folder and then put it back again.
I don't know why, maybe this is some sort of copy protection.

And like always, make backups before you do anything. <grin>

--
Bill
Gateway MX6124 ('06 era) 2 of 3 - Windows XP SP3


 
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flamer die.spam@hotmail.com
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      01-14-2010, 10:52 PM
flash drives are NOT made for this application. constant read/writing
to the drive will kill it very quickly as they are limited to the
number of re-write cycles and have a limited number of years data
retention.

Flamer.
 
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Charlie Hoffpauir
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      01-14-2010, 11:33 PM
On Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:52:02 -0800 (PST), "flamer
(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>flash drives are NOT made for this application. constant read/writing
>to the drive will kill it very quickly as they are limited to the
>number of re-write cycles and have a limited number of years data
>retention.
>
>Flamer.


How quickly is "quickly"? A check with wikipedia says modern flash
drives are rated for 1 million write/erase cycles per cell. I don't
know how he uses his drive, but that far exceeds my expected remaining
lifetime (I'm 70). Now data retention is a limitation, with only 10
years.... I do expect to be around for longer than that. But I doubt
I'd still be using the same netbook for that long.
 
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mike
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      01-15-2010, 01:08 AM
Charlie Hoffpauir wrote:
> On Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:52:02 -0800 (PST), "flamer
> (E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> flash drives are NOT made for this application. constant read/writing
>> to the drive will kill it very quickly as they are limited to the
>> number of re-write cycles and have a limited number of years data
>> retention.
>>
>> Flamer.

>
> How quickly is "quickly"? A check with wikipedia says modern flash
> drives are rated for 1 million write/erase cycles per cell. I don't
> know how he uses his drive, but that far exceeds my expected remaining
> lifetime (I'm 70). Now data retention is a limitation, with only 10
> years.... I do expect to be around for longer than that. But I doubt
> I'd still be using the same netbook for that long.


This is a very complex issue. Most of what's going on is trade secret
and unknowable by mere mortals.
Reading is not a problem. Writing is the problem.

I thought that moving the program files folder would be ok, because
it's all read stuff and the volatile stuff would be stored in the
registry on the HD. But when I checked it out, I found over a hundred
..ini files that store volatile stuff like most recently used files.

If it gets written once when you close the program, you're probably safe.
If you're copying 10,000 files and the MRU entry gets updated for
every file, you've got a problem.

Some programs may also store temporary files or caches in their install
directory.

Depending on the wear leveling algorithm, if any, it may matter a LOT
whether the flash drive is mostly empty of mostly full.

You'll have to google it, but there are some tools designed for embedded
windows that dramatically reduce writes to the drive. Not at all clear
if they would work the way you've set up your system. There was a long
thread a few months ago about longevity of SSD. Think it was in
comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage.

A million sounds like a big number until you start talking about how fast
a computer can run through it.
 
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HeyBub
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      01-15-2010, 01:49 AM
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> flash drives are NOT made for this application. constant read/writing
> to the drive will kill it very quickly as they are limited to the
> number of re-write cycles and have a limited number of years data
> retention.
>
> Flamer.


Sort of. It's the writing, not the reading, that wears them out. But the
entries in the Program Files folder, no matter where it's located, are
written only once.


 
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the wharf rat
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      01-15-2010, 03:40 AM
In article <#(E-Mail Removed)>,
HeyBub <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>Sort of. It's the writing, not the reading, that wears them out. But the
>entries in the Program Files folder, no matter where it's located, are
>written only once.


Not true. Many aplications regularly write state and initialization
data to their "home" directories in Program Files.

 
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BillW50
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-15-2010, 04:01 PM
In news:(E-Mail Removed),
Pegasus [MVP] typed on Fri, 15 Jan 2010 00:29:12 +0100:
> "BillW50" <(E-Mail Removed)> said this in news item
> news:hio5le$ml5$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org...
>> Well it is partly true. As I moved the Program Files folder to a
>> flash drive. I believe this is a useful tip for those with small
>> system drives. And unlike Hitachi microdrive filter, it doesn't slow
>> down the computer and isn't a pain in the butt to install. I came up
>> with this because my nephew's 4GB netbook was always running out of
>> drive space. You can't normally just install new programs on a flash
>> drive,
>> because about 50% of them will refuse to install on a removable
>> drive. Nor does it help for the programs already installed. This
>> method fixes both problems. I used BartPE to move all of the folders
>> and files found in the
>> Program Files folders to a flash drive. I suppose any boot disc
>> would work as long as you can move folders with it. I tried using
>> Windows Safe Mode, but it wouldn't move everything. If someone gets
>> it to work, let me know. I didn't try that hard.
>>
>> Now the system drive must be in NTFS format, the flash drive doesn't
>> matter. Now boot Windows in Safe Mode. If you miss the opportunity,
>> Windows will recreate some of the Program Files once again in Normal
>> Mode. I haven't tested what to do in this case, so you are on your
>> own here. Now with Windows in Safe Mode, I haven't seen Windows
>> needing
>> anything in the Program Files folder to function, so it appears to
>> behave. Next you need to use diskmgmt.msc to mount the flash drive
>> in the Program Files folder. And that is it. Now reboot normally.
>>
>> Now all of your programs lives on the flash drive. And any programs
>> you add to Program Files, also gets saved to the flash drive. This
>> frees up lots of space on the system drive. Also I found no program
>> that complains running from a flash drive yet.
>>
>> I only found two side effects so far. And I like to hear from others
>> who may have found more.
>>
>> 1) Best to uninstall Avast if you are using it. Then reinstall it
>> after the mounting is complete. It wasn't in the System Tray
>> afterwords. So I don't know if it was running or not. But
>> uninstalling before or after and reinstalling it again works great.
>>
>> 2) MS Works v9 breaks if you move the folder and then put it back
>> again. I don't know why, maybe this is some sort of copy protection.
>>
>> And like always, make backups before you do anything. <grin>

>
> There is a lot of bad advice in this post.
>
> - As flamer sais, flash drives have a very limited number of write
> cycles. They will die quickly when used the way you suggest.


Nonsense. MTBF for solid state drives are 227 years. 7 times longer than
hard drives. Writing 100MB per day to a 4GB flash would take like 4,000
years to wear it out. To wear one out very quickly, I would have to
overwrite it completely 24 times per day for the next 11 years before it
was toast.

Secondly what everybody is missing completely is the netbook also has a
4GB solid state drive (aka flash drive). So you are moving stuff from
one flash drive to another. The one in the netbook is soldered in place
and cost $150 to replace (if you do it yourself). And the one you all
are worried about costs $8 and can be replaced in a second.

> - Flash drives are much, much slower than hard disks. A moment ago I
> copied a 10 MByte file from my hard disk to a USB2 flash drive. I
> then copied a different 10 MByte file from drive C: to drive E: (both
> are partitions on the same disk). Here are the copy times:
> to flash drive: 1,700 ms
> to hard disk: 220 ms
> In other words, the flash disk copy took 8 times longer than the hard
> disk copy.


Not all flash drives are created equal for one. They come in different
speeds for both read and write. And there are two types of flash. SLC
and MLC types. The later are much slower at writing than SLC types are.
And the vast majority of the time things in the Program Files folder are
only being read and not written too.

> - You say that the Windows system drive must be NTFS. This is
> incorrect. It can be FAT32.


Incorrect. You cannot use mount a drive in a FAT32 folder. It must be
formatted in NTFS.

> - You propose your method as a way to overcome the limitations of a
> small laptop disk. Yesterday I bought a 240 GByte laptop disk for
> $70.00. What is the point of buying a slow 10 GByte flash disk that
> will wear out quickly when you can have a fast 240 GByte hard disk
> that will last longer than the laptop?


You propose to install a 240GB hard drive in a netbook which has a solid
state drive soldered on the motherboard? How in the world are you going
to pull that off? I do have two netbooks with replaceable solid state
drives. But they use PCIe connections and 2.5 inch hard drives don't
fit. There just isn't enough room inside for one.

Secondly, you just believe you can wear out a flash drive. Cheap ones,
you probably can. As they can only handle a few thousand writes and they
are toast. Others won't die in your lifetime. ADATA for example
guarantees theirs for life. Or you get a free replacement.

Thirdly, your hard drive suggestion is a very expensive option when you
want portability. As hard drives are lucky to get just a years worth of
use while being moved around. This is do to vibrations and shock. I just
got two disk errors show up in my event logs just this morning while
using this laptop on my lap. Yet SMART shows 100% healthy. With flash,
you can move around all you want too. Even go on a Space Shuttle launch
if you want (this is what NASA uses for their computers).

Fourth, solid state drives are usually faster than hard drives. It isn't
uncommon to have half of the boot time when moving to a flash drive vs.
a hard drive. In the next couple of years, I will replace all four of my
laptops hard drives with flash drives. One of them that lives mostly in
a dock, can't even be undocked while running do to the fact that disk
errors will appear in the event log. Moving to flash drive, this problem
disappears.

--
Bill
Gateway MX6124 ('06 era) 2 of 3 - Windows XP SP3


 
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BillW50
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-15-2010, 04:42 PM
In
news:(E-Mail Removed),
(E-Mail Removed) typed on Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:52:02 -0800 (PST):
> flash drives are NOT made for this application. constant read/writing
> to the drive will kill it very quickly as they are limited to the
> number of re-write cycles and have a limited number of years data
> retention.
>
> Flamer.


First of all, the system drive is already a flash drive. It is called a
solid state drive (SSD). So you would rather burn out the SSD soldered
on the motherboard ($150 worth) than to replace a flash card ($8), eh?

Second of all, SLC flash drives are good for 100,000 writes. MTBF is 227
years, or 7 times longer than hard drives. Writing about 100MB per day
on a 4GB flash would take about 4,000 years to wear it out.

And if you are really worried, just get an ADATA flash which is
guaranteed for life. Or you get a free replacement. Although that won't
happen for another 4,000 years.

--
Bill
Asus EEE PC 702G8 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Windows XP SP2


 
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BillW50
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      01-15-2010, 04:47 PM
In news:(E-Mail Removed),
Charlie Hoffpauir typed on Thu, 14 Jan 2010 17:33:16 -0600:
> How quickly is "quickly"? A check with wikipedia says modern flash
> drives are rated for 1 million write/erase cycles per cell. I don't
> know how he uses his drive, but that far exceeds my expected remaining
> lifetime (I'm 70). Now data retention is a limitation, with only 10
> years.... I do expect to be around for longer than that. But I doubt
> I'd still be using the same netbook for that long.


Actually it should be 100,000 write cycles for most SLC flash drives.
Which has a 227 years MTBF. Or 7 times longer than hard drives.

And that 10 years data retention starts the clock all over once again
you make one backup and one restore.

--
Bill
Asus EEE PC 702G8 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Windows XP SP2


 
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BillW50
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-15-2010, 05:06 PM
In news:hiof7h$5a1$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org,
mike typed on Thu, 14 Jan 2010 17:08:19 -0800:
> Charlie Hoffpauir wrote:
>> On Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:52:02 -0800 (PST), "flamer
>> (E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>> flash drives are NOT made for this application. constant
>>> read/writing to the drive will kill it very quickly as they are
>>> limited to the number of re-write cycles and have a limited number
>>> of years data retention.
>>>
>>> Flamer.

>>
>> How quickly is "quickly"? A check with wikipedia says modern flash
>> drives are rated for 1 million write/erase cycles per cell. I don't
>> know how he uses his drive, but that far exceeds my expected
>> remaining lifetime (I'm 70). Now data retention is a limitation,
>> with only 10 years.... I do expect to be around for longer than
>> that. But I doubt I'd still be using the same netbook for that long.

>
> This is a very complex issue. Most of what's going on is trade secret
> and unknowable by mere mortals.
> Reading is not a problem. Writing is the problem.
>
> I thought that moving the program files folder would be ok, because
> it's all read stuff and the volatile stuff would be stored in the
> registry on the HD. But when I checked it out, I found over a hundred
> .ini files that store volatile stuff like most recently used files.
>
> If it gets written once when you close the program, you're probably
> safe. If you're copying 10,000 files and the MRU entry gets updated
> for every file, you've got a problem.
>
> Some programs may also store temporary files or caches in their
> install directory.
>
> Depending on the wear leveling algorithm, if any, it may matter a LOT
> whether the flash drive is mostly empty of mostly full.
>
> You'll have to google it, but there are some tools designed for
> embedded windows that dramatically reduce writes to the drive. Not
> at all clear if they would work the way you've set up your system.
> There was a long thread a few months ago about longevity of SSD. Think
> it was in comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage.
>
> A million sounds like a big number until you start talking about how
> fast a computer can run through it.


Well for starters, I use 100,000 per cell write cycles for my SLC flash
drive figures, which are more conservative. And if I wrote 4GB per hour
for 24 hours per day on a 4GB flash drive, it would take 11 years to
wear it out.

MTBF for a SLC flash is 227 years, 7 times longer than hard drives.

I average 100MB to 150MB writes per day of writes to SLC flash drives.
At that rate, it would take 4,000 years to hit 100,000 writes per cell.

So unless you are buying inferior MLC flash drives which the real cheap
ones are only good for 5,000 writes per cell, there is little to worry
about. But even if you do, they are so cheap, so what if you replace
them once a year or so?

--
Bill
Asus EEE PC 702G8 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Windows XP SP2


 
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