I am a settings fiddler. I’m constantly optimizing, but there are a few things I do every time I face a new windows install.

I figured I’d include some here to keep track of them and maybe help someone out in the process who might not know about some of these.

1.) Data drive – Always keep a separate data drive.  This used to be a partition of the main drive, one for the operating system, and one for the data.  This helps because Windows doesn’t always live forever, at least it didn’t used to but the latest UEFI booting and Win 10 makes this point moot.  I find comfort in knowing my data is separate from my OS.

This is especially useful in the case of an SSD since they’ve been limited in space and lifespan.  The more times you read/write to an SSD drive the closer it is to death. If data is written to another drive, that’s less reads and writes against the SSD.  I have had some which did not stand the heat, literally (Crucial Vertex 3 – I had 2 go kaput on me) but they’re just as reliable as mechanical drives now, if not more-so.

a.) Pick the drive  you want to use, note the drive letter. (I use D – for data!)  

b.) Create all your folders on the data drive: Documents, Pictures, Videos are the main ones and you can also add 3D Objects, Favorites, Searches as you see fit.

b.) Right click on my Documents, chooses location… and move.  Give your data drive location (d:\Documents) and click ok.

c.) Rinse and repeat for each folder you want to relocate.

Right click Computer: Documents folder, choose properties and location tab.

2.) Temp folders – Another process I learned from countless OS installs and reinstalls.  If you want to watch your space, or even do some effective spring cleaning, why have all your temp folders strewn around? For example
* c:\users\%username%\AppData\temp
* c:\windows\temp

a.) Create a folder on your C: drive (or your Data drive) named Temp

b.) Right click on Computer/This PC and choose properties.

c.) Click Advanced system settings

d.) Click Environment Variables button

e.) Change the 2 temp locations in top section to the temp folder you just created by clicking the item, clicking the edit button, and changing the path to the single Temp of truth! (open the location and delete all the files if it will let you else you’ll have orphan temp files until your next OS refresh)

f.) Do the same for the 2+ entries in the System variables section.

Right click on Computer / This PC and choose properties
Click the Environment Variables button to modify your TEMP folder locations
Click each entry and change it to the same one. 

You’ve now got one location to go delete from if you’re feeling like doing a little digital spring cleaning!  

Windows should make a system checkpoint for you after these changes but you may want to make a checkpoint before and after to be sure they’ll stick.

One Reply to “Things We Do to Windows In the Dark”

  1. Or you can try and do NTFS hard links (or Junctions as they are also called).

    But they might not work over physical disks, but I have found them to be quite useful.

    Failing that, I love using synced cloud drives on the same drive, and then just junction them into the right places.

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