System Admin - ms windows
Windows 7 - System Maintenance / Cleanup
Regular activities to help avoid a system filling up with temporary files and old system restore data:
- Run "Disk Cleanup"
On a system that has been running a while without a cleanup the scans can take quite a while (ie >10 minutes)
- Include extra files by clicking the "Cleanup system files" button
Once system files are included, an "More Options" tab is included where old restore points can be removed. Note that by default Windows allows up to 25% of the disk to be used by by restore points. With PC disks regularly over 1TB this can mean hundres of gigabytes of old restore points (which may also contribute to slowing the system down).
- Be cautious about the "Programs and Features" function as you may accidentally remove programs that you use irregularly (but that you still want installed).
- Check the "Recycle Bin" - users often do not clean this up (so again it may contain hundreds of gigabytes of files managed by the system).
- Configure lower limits for temporary files:
Recycle Bin: Right-click on the "Recycle Bin", select "Properties" and set a reasonable (depends on the user) "Custom size" for each disk.
Restore Points: Click on the windows icon (main menu, lower left corner of the screen), right-click on "Computer", select "Properties"; select "System protection", select a drive under "Protection Settings" and press "Configure" button; under "Disk Space Usage" note the current "Max usage" remembering that the number is probably gigabytes (on a typical system with 1TB of drive the default allowed 170GB of restore points); drag the "Max usage" bar to the left to reduce the threshold - even the minimum of 1% on the above example system allowed 6GB of data. NOTE: it's important to do this for each drive, and note that on some systems with a much smaller recovery partition the numbers can look misleading because the 25% there is a much smaller number and the recovery partition will probably have restore points disabled.
Consider a registry scan/cleanup. One example is CCleaner Free; with this tool the free tool includes a quick registry scan and cleanup which works well. The tool also includes a general system scan for files to remove but by default this will wipe out thing like browser cookies, HTML5 local storage and other files which you probably want to keep.
- (I throw in a few steps in this last step, they cover general windows sysadmin activities that have been common practice since XP) With the system cleaned up, run a disk check and defrag on each drive. It wouldn't hurt to install the latest virus definitions and run a full system scan as well. Check for any system updates available. Run msconfig and check things like the "Services" and "Startup" tabs to see if anything is automatically running that you don't need.
Base software list for a safe and sane installation
Setting up a windows workstation without immediately being compromised can be a struggle, here's a few tools that help:
In addition the following tools make it possible to use windows without the pain and suffering incurred by using the microsoft tools:
The "Windows Sysinternals" suite can be useful for various sysadmin tasks:
Work-arounds for system lock-downs
http://www.petri.co.il/forgot_administrator_password_alternate_logon_trick.htm - Administrator password reset/recovery
http://www.winguides.com/registry/display.php/1097/ - Wallpaper changing via the registry
/WindowsWallpaper - Other ways to change the wallpaper
Outlook is an evil, and mostly an unncecessary one - the exchange server should have an IMAP interface on it so that your favourite mail client (for me: mutt) can be used.
With an appropriate html->ascii renderer (w3m, lynx, htmlview, etc.) mutt will do a far superior job showing html messages as plain text (outlook just seems to strip markup leaving almost unreadable emails whenever structural markup has been used
As soon as you learn to decipher text/calendar attachment you should even be able to read your calendar and respond to meeting requests (or perhaps there's an application out there that does this already. )
- Outlook has a charming habit of saying "You asked for plain text in every possible configuration location, but the moment someone sends me a HTML email I will switch back to HTML for that email"
To which the user would usually say: ARRRRGGGHHHH
This can be fixed (note earlier comment about awful HTML->plain-text conversion) by setting the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Options\Mail\ReadAsPlain (DWORD) key to 1 (See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307594)
- Exchange Servers don't use internet standards for mail headers (yes yes, I can here your gasp of astonishment from here...)
When a mail client like Thunderbird displays dates it will attempt to convert them to the local timezone. If the date information is supplied by exchange (at the time of writing, for a particular exchange server, this means without any GMT offset or timezone information) this conversion can be rather painful (sort by date fails completely because the dates are wrong)
Thunderbird can be told to not convert dates, in the user.js file (http://kb.mozillazine.org/Time_and_time_zone_settings#Displayed_dates_and_times) :
The default limit for TCP retries under windows is very small - the result being that even a momentary loss of network connectivity can cause applications like putty to prematurely lose network connections.
As per the putty FAQ (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/faq.html#faq-timeout):
A.7.11 PuTTY's network connections time out too quickly when network connectivity is temporarily lost. This is a Windows problem, not a PuTTY problem. The timeout value can't be set on per application or per session basis. To increase the TCP timeout globally, you need to tinker with the Registry. On Windows 95, 98 or ME, the registry key you need to create or change is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\ MSTCP\MaxDataRetries (it must be of type DWORD in Win95, or String in Win98/ME). (See MS Knowledge Base article 158474 for more information.) On Windows NT, 2000, or XP, the registry key to create or change is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\ Parameters\TcpMaxDataRetransmissions and it must be of type DWORD. (See MS Knowledge Base articles 120642 and 314053 for more information.) Set the key's value to something like 10. This will cause Windows to try harder to keep connections alive instead of abandoning them.