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Vista X64 tips and advice

indyjones

OSNN.net Adventurer
#1
Hi all,

I shall shortly be (I hope) getting all my new computer components Clicky, and due to getting 4 gigs of ram I fancy giving X64 a go :)

I have started this thread as I wanted to know if there are any do's and don'ts or any top tips for running a 64 bit system (which I have never done).

Even things like what size your pagefile should be (hmmm one for perris there) etc etc

Cheers
 
#2
I'm assuming you're installing Vista x64, not XP x64.

IMHO, here's some tips that although they apply to both 32 and 64-bit, my conscience forces me to give my 2 cents:

1. Use vLite. Among other things, I use it to force allowing me to use the one, true (normally hidden) Administrator account. Besides bypassing UAC (or maybe because of it) several things that work in a way I don't like in normal Vista installations work more closely like they did in XP. I never made up a list and never ever install Vista the normal way anymore, so I don't recall what all they were exactly, but I know "Open With" behaved differently with some programs. This is true of Vista SP1 as well as I did try a plain jane SP1 install just to check it out.

2. There's much debate about RAID 0 stripe size and file system cluster size, and it arguably makes little difference, but here's what I believe in:

I use a 2-disk RAID 0 with a stripe size of 32k and a file system cluster size of 64k. I once calculated the average size of the files in a Vista installation compared to XP and it was indeed higher. More than that, I deal a lot with video and other large files so the large cluster size doesn't result in much, if any, space loss. The cluster size of 64k and being double that of the stripe size results in half of each cluster being stored on each hard drive of a 2-disk array.

If you're dealing with large files (games generally do, too), then the result is optimal as it's more efficient to deal with large files if the cluster size is large, plus both hard disks of the array are more or less equally read and written for storing the large files.

3. I still use a pagefile manually set to twice the minimum and maximum that Microsoft recommends. I also put the pagefile on a different partition or even on a different (as long as it's equally performing) hard disk.

The size for you with four gigs would be minimum of 12 gigs and maximum of 24 gigs. Wow. Yes I know that's huge. This also reduces the chance of pagefile fragmentation since it's not "system managed" and therefore up to the o/s to resize it as it likes. It's also a lot less likely to resize since it's twice MS's recommended values.
 

ming

OSNN Advanced
#3
I think the MAJOR DO for you is to run the Upgrade advisor! I know you will want to run a large majority of the current software in Vista, so this is a must, to ensure that they are compatible with vista 64-bit, especially your drivers.
If you feel like being lazy, you can use vlite as mentioned to do those nitty gritty stuff of removing certain functions and enabling others... but you can always do this after installing in the normal manner. Probably advise the latter and then create a backup image of your drive.
 

Sazar

F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
#4
Hi all,

I shall shortly be (I hope) getting all my new computer components Clicky, and due to getting 4 gigs of ram I fancy giving X64 a go :)

I have started this thread as I wanted to know if there are any do's and don'ts or any top tips for running a 64 bit system (which I have never done).

Even things like what size your pagefile should be (hmmm one for perris there) etc etc

Cheers
You can run it as is and let the system handle the pagefile, which it does a decent job of. I reckon it should work just fine for you out the box/fresh install. But if you want to customize, you have the ability to just as with regular Vista 32-bit.
 

indyjones

OSNN.net Adventurer
#5
Cheers for the help :)

Thanks for the Raid 0 stuff I will try that when I format. I am not too worried if programs don't work and I may install a striped down XP (x86) to run difficult programs
 
#6
If you feel like being lazy, you can use vlite as mentioned to do those nitty gritty stuff of removing certain functions and enabling others... but you can always do this after installing in the normal manner. Probably advise the latter and then create a backup image of your drive.
That reminds me. I remove System Restore on both Vista and XP installation CDs with vLite and nLite, respectively, since I use Acronis True Image to create my backups. In my experience back when I still left System Restore enabled, a very small percentage of the time would it actually successfully restore to the Restore Point it let me choose. And when it would succeed, very rarely would that solve whatever problem I was having. I'd rather keep my Windows and Data/Documents partitions separate and perform both automatic and manual Windows backups with a third-party program.

Off the immediate subject, personally I also disable Indexing. Of course, so far I only run Vista on my Media Center box as my regular desktops are too weak to really use Vista on. If I had a strong regular desktop I probably would use Vista's indexing because I have a lot of files! :)

FYI there are a lot of things you can do with vLite that you can't do post-install.
 

indyjones

OSNN.net Adventurer
#7
Yeah I am only currently running Vista X86 on my media center pc. (Though I did play with it a fair bit on my desktop). I take it that from your signature that's your media center spec? If so I am planning to eventually run something simular as an extender :)
 
#9
Yeah I am only currently running Vista X86 on my media center pc. (Though I did play with it a fair bit on my desktop). I take it that from your signature that's your media center spec? If so I am planning to eventually run something simular as an extender :)
Yes, I'm too embarassed to post my meager regular desktop specs. :D
 

indyjones

OSNN.net Adventurer
#10
Hey Indy, I know this is off-topic but will you be adding a fourth animation to your sign any time soon? I've always found them entertaining :)
:D depends on if they guys who did this one do the new one.
Though not looking yet as still not seen the fourth (shame on me) things are manic here hoping to go this weekend :)
 
#12
Yes, but mine are even worse, but thanks for trying to cheer me up. :D And mine is a little better than the one I built my wife.

Originally Athlon XP 1700+ for mine and Duron 1.6 GHz for my wife, but both now running Sempron 2400+. Can't tell much difference between any of the three. Both 512MB RAM and generic cases, although I do at least have an Enermax power supply in mine (I want to swap it out to give the best p/s to my newest computer), Radeon 9600 (software overclocked) for mine and GeForce 5200 FX for my wife's.

My motherboard uses the VIA 8237 with 2xSATA RAID, so I use it that way with one additional PATA HD. My wife's uses the VIA 8235 so no SATA or RAID, so I took an old Promise Ultra-ATA 66 IDE controller and modded it so it thinks it's the RAID version for her computer. It's arguably the same speed though with only ATA 66 performance.

I do have Zalman heatsinks in both of our computers. The all copper version of something like this with the fan hovering over it via a pain-in-the-butt bracket pictured here, which I replaced with a 120mm fan.

That bracket is such a pain in the butt for someone like me who is quite often inside their computers.
 

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