Sunday, April 11, 2010

(Remove) The system reserved partition (windows 7 / 2k8 r2)

This “system reserved partition” is used for two things:

  • When booting from an encrypted volume (bitlocker), some bootfiles simply can’t be crypted. They reside on this partition
  • Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)

If you do not need bitlocker and you want to keep things simple (e.g. for imageing purposes), you might want to remove this partition when installing Windows. In this example i assume there’s only one drive and it’s empty.

  • Start Windows setup as usual
  • At the screen where you select your language, keyboard and locale, press Shift+F10. You now enter a dos prompt.
  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk 0
  • create partition primary
  • select partition 1
  • format fs=ntfs quick
  • exit
  • exit
  • now resume setup as normal, but select the primary partition at the partitioning screen

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Windows 7 Audit Mode

Windows 7 audit mode is used for preparation of computers in order to add software and drivers without the need to do the final OOBE (Out Of Box Experience), which should be done by the end-user.
It is also used to create images for deployment, but i’ll do an article on that later.

  • Insert Windows 7 DVD and boot from it
  • Choose language and keyboard
  • Choose Install
  • Choose I Agree and Next
  • Custom installation and Next
  • Partition as you like, then select the disk or partition you want to install to, then press Next
  • The computer will reboot a couple of times
  • When the setup asks for a username, press CTRL+SHIFT+F3
  • The computer will now reboot
  • After reboot, you will automatically log in as Administrator and you’ll see a Sysprep screen. You can close it.

You are now in audit mode and will have the opportunity to install any application you want.

Reboot as many times as necessary. After reboot, you’ll see the sysprep window again, just close it every time until done installing.
Do a final reboot. At the sysprep screen choose the OOBE option.
Don’t check the Generalize option, unless you want to create an image for deployment purposes.

The system is now ready for the end-user with all applications pre-installed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Always defragment your partitions!

The net is full of discussions whether severe fragmentation will be able to cause a system crash or not. Allthough in theory it will only cause a performance bottleneck, from own experience i can tell you it will be able to crash your system!
Therefor always defragment your partitions. It will not only gain performance but also stability!