Guy’s Best Practice and Litmus Test � Ezine #3 – Readme
Contents for Ezine #3
When you buy a program, look out for the readme.txt file on the CD or in the zip file. These tiny text files may seem insignificant but they are full of late breaking information on drivers and compatibility problems. A modern variation of the readme file is XP and Office’s relnotes.htm.
Guy’s Litmus test for readme files. This test works at 2 levels.
Level a) Assessing the software: If your program / package has a readme (Relnotes) file, then it’s likely to be professionally written and will install easily. Just as good programmers use comments in their code, so the better software packages include readme files to explain how to get the most from their product.
Level b) Assessing you – the operator! A professional spends 2 minutes planning the install and that includes checking the readme file to see what tips apply to their system. Another job for the installer is assessing how much disk space the program needs.
Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT)
Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets. IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:
For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges.
For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker
One of the most avoidable problems that I see on both desktops and servers is not enough free disk space on the c:\ drive. A variation of this lack of planning is a machine with only one drive and no unallocated space.
The scenario: It’s Christmas and you have a new machine. Litmus Test: How do you partition the 60 GB hard drive?
Amateurs use a 2GB c:\driveProfessionals create a 5GB or even 10GB c:\drive.
Firstly, it is well worth 2 minutes planning your partitions. Example:
C:\ Windows D:\Programs E:\Data, F:\CDs, leave 25% unallocated (free) space.
Before you create your C:\ drive partition, think about all the possible programs that will call for disk space on that boot and system partition.
Here are 6 processes that request space on the c:\drive (If you can think of more, let me know.)
2a) *Pagefile = size of RAM typically 512MB
2b) Updates and patches for the operating system and service packs for Office applications.
2c) *TEMP or TMP. When service packs or other programs uncompress, they need temporary disk storage. Remember the tip from last week where we moved the TEMP settings in the System Icon, to another drive?
2d) *Documents and Settings. All manner programs store files here, for example Outlook.pst. Remember the offline files from last week? They store those offline files under Documents and Settings. In addition, every user that logs on creates a profile and consumes disk space.
2e) Hiberfil.sys � used by the hibernation feature so popular on laptops. Size again will be equal to physical RAM.
2f) *Spooler files. Print jobs need had disk storage while they wait their turn at the print device. While this is more of a problem on a print server than a desktop, nevertheless low disk space means no printing. This is probably the easiest setting to move to another partition. Print Folder, File Menu, Server Properties, Advanced (Tab).
* Means these files can be moved to another partition (volume).
Why keep 25% as unallocated space?
a) You may not know which of the D: E: F: drives will grow the faster. With unallocated space, you can extend the volume that is low on free space. The key tool is the Disk Administrator. (Call for built-in help if you are stuck here.)
b) Trust me, one day ‘Mount Points’ will get you out of a pickle. But you do need an area of pure free space. The key to mount points is to create an empty folder. Either create a folder from new, or moving existing data to another partition (then move it back once you have created the mount point). Then open the Disk Administrator, and instead of creating an new volume, switch the radio button to ‘Mount in the following empty NTFS folder’ You probably know by now that I am a great fan of built-in help, so call for help if you get stuck.
I have a friend called ‘mad’ Mick, he is obsessed with getting the most out of his machine and he has passed on tips for speeding up your machine. Even by his own admission, each tip only speeds up his machine by half of one percent, however, as ‘mad Mick has dozens of these zany ideas, they do all add up to faster performance.
Whether or not it actually speeds up the machine, I do like his idea of stopping the Error Reporting Service. This is the service that pops up and expects you to report the fault to Microsoft. Personally, I find that at that moment, I am annoyed because my office program has stopped working, and, I am in no mood to grapple with unnecessary dialog boxes. If you feel the same, just disable the service called ERROR REPORTING SERVICE; this is how you do it; navigate to Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, then Services. Next, double click the Error Reporting Service and set:- Startup type: = Disabled. Finally click on the Stop button and see the Service status change to Stopped.
Lots of useful disk and file articles