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  1. #16
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    My solution to the Windows Maintenance Merry-Go-Round:

    I use Ubuntu Linux (64-bits).

    About the only thing I have to do for maintenance is run Clonezilla Live once in awhile. Everything else takes care of itself until the next LTS kernel update in 2016. Due to very much smaller disk space used, Ubuntu backups take less than one-third the time to create and verify as compared with Windows 7 backups using Macrium Reflect Free from within Windows.

    I *can* clean up a few things in Linux. But that is strictly optional. Performance issues seldom arise unless something in an update wrecks the entire installation. Which has happened about twice since I started out with Ubuntu a year and a half ago. Ubuntu, unlike 64-bit Wndows 7, has never expanded much beyond its original installed footprint. Windows 7 has gone up by over 400 percent since my original installation. These figures do not take into account software installations or user files generated, but refer to the overall amount of disk space used. Linux simply does not hog hard drive real estate the way 64-bit Windows does.

    I can mess things up myself (done that a few times), but I can do the same or worse in Windows.

    The worst thing about Windows is the need for antivirus scans. They take up about 80 percent of my Windows maintenance time. Given that I have my own files on my System (C: ) Drive, this is unavoidable. I am talking about full File System scans and Rootkit/Bootkit scans. Not the weekly Quick Scans or online spot-checks.

    The worst system performance killers I have on my Windows 7 laptop are MSE-4 boot-time definitions updates, MS Updates checks and the Avast File System Protection Shield. The avast Web Shields also kill Chrome and Google Search performance fiercely.

    Other background processes have minor impacts on my Windows performance compared with these top offenders. Both are security related.

    My Linux has an Inbound Firewall, but uses no active antivirus and is never scanned for virus or spyware issues. That's because in Linux, there are very few issues with anything other than Rootkits. And these can't install if you aren't running as Root.

    There are things I'd rather do in Windows than in Linux, and things for which Android seems a better choice. But when it comes to maintenance, Windows is the most difficult and time-consuming Operating System I have yet used.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-08-18 at 00:03.
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  2. #17
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    The worst thing about Windows is the need for antivirus scans. They take up about 80 percent of my Windows maintenance time. Given that I have my own files on my System (C: ) Drive, this is unavoidable. I am talking about full File System scans and Rootkit/Bootkit scans. Not the weekly Quick Scans or online spot-checks.
    I do my AV and Malwarebytes scans while I continue to work with minimal impact.

    The worst system performance killers I have on my Windows 7 laptop are MSE-4 boot-time definitions updates, MS Updates checks and the Avast File System Protection Shield. The avast Web Shields also kill Chrome and Google Search performance fiercely.
    I sleep my Windows systems when not in use and rarely have to reboot but when I do I see minimal impact due to this. I also keep my browser add ons to a minimal amount. I don't have any web checking add ons like Avast Web Shield and just use common sense when browsing the web.

    Jerry

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    My solution to the Windows Maintenance Merry-Go-Round:

    I use Ubuntu Linux (64-bits).

    ...

    There are things I'd rather do in Windows than in Linux,
    Linux isn't a solution then.

    Bruce

  4. #19
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Linux isn't a solution then.

    Bruce
    Actually, I personally don't find anything other than a few video streaming services, which I can't do in Linux. I'm just used to doing a few things in Windows, so I haven't set myself up to do those things in Linux. It's more a convenience thing than an absolute lack of Linux software or drivers. Maybe that's just me...

    Usiing Windows very infrequently does greatly reduce the amount of time I would otherwise have to spend maintaining Windows. So in this sense, I have (mostly) gotten off the Windows Maintenance merry-go-round.

    If more folks would jump to Linux, more developers might be encouraged to port their software and drivers to Linux. But then Linux might become a target of more malware, and we'd be back to the AV scan and update merry-go-round. So it goes, I'm afraid...

    If Linux ever needed more AV/AS protections than Linux already has built-in, I have a feeling these programs would impact Linux system performance much less than their Windows counterparts can impact Windows system performance. That is, as long as the security programs themselves were not in conflict. (Linux is already hardened against attacks by its structures and permissions, among other built-in safeguards.)

    Nevertheless, with no file fragmentation, smaller file sizes, no resource duplication, little disk swapping, no Registry, and generally, a smaller disk and resources footprint, Linux maintenance would still hold a very substantial edge over Windows and its bloated ways. At least, in my experience this seems to be the trend.

    Other folks who have tried Linux may have found that something mission-critical just does not have a Linux equivalent. I am not one of those folks.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-08-19 at 13:10.
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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Using Windows very infrequently does greatly reduce the amount of time I would otherwise have to spend maintaining Windows.
    Really? It sounded to me as though you spent more time on Windows maintenance than most people who use it every day.

    Bruce

  6. #21
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Usiing Windows very infrequently does greatly reduce the amount of time I would otherwise have to spend maintaining Windows. So in this sense, I have (mostly) gotten off the Windows Maintenance merry-go-round.
    Windows can do that for you; no merry-go-round needed.

    Setting up Disk Cleanup in Task Scheduler

    Windows Defender Automatic Update, Scheduled Scans

    Once and done. And many other routine chores can be automated through the Task Scheduler.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  7. #22
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    Windows can do that for you; no merry-go-round needed.

    Setting up Disk Cleanup in Task Scheduler

    Windows Defender Automatic Update, Scheduled Scans

    Once and done. And many other routine chores can be automated through the Task Scheduler.
    If you like the default options, or are clever to know how to program custom options, Windows maintenance can be ALMOST automatic. There will always be things like finding a virus or false-positive and dealing with that. Things like selecting what to clean up if you don't want to rely on the Windows defaults.

    And file system virus scans still take several hours apiece on my laptop. No way to get around that. It's the biggest single time-waster of my Windows maintenance routines. Defragmenting the C: Windows drive takes a long time too, even if this is only an occasional task. After MS Updates or a large number of third-party updates (each of which takes up time which I don't have to spend in Linux, with its one-stop updater) there is Registry cleanup and defragmenting to do. Say what you want about your Windows installations -- on my laptop, these steps do improve speed of Windows startup and program launches, expecially the browsers and big programs like LibreOffice.

    Yes, I spend more time on Windows maintenance than most folks do. And I have had a leaner, cleaner Windows installation with better stability to show for it. My choice of anitvirus programs is why MSE and Avast conflict at launch time. I could choose one or the other and improve that situation. Without MSE, I could use the Microsoft Safety Scanner online and get good results for detection and removal when necessary.

    None of which saves even one minute of my time. These tasks simply would get pushed into overnight hours when I am not actively using the computer. Time is still time. The laptop is still not available for use until the scans and backup get done. And again, what if something suspicious shows up and has to be dealt with?

    Heck, most folks who use Windows don't ever do full file system scans for virus issues, let alone the three programs I run one after the other each month.

    So yes, some folks may have developed ways of shortening their Windows maintenance routines. And I applaud that. But for most of us who don't understand constructing batch files or complex Windows Task Lists, many of these shortcuts are simply not available.

    Choose what works best for yourselves. For me, Linux works perfectly well, and wastes less of my time with maintenance than Windows. Automatically wasting my time is just the same to me as manually wasting my time. I don't sit at the keyboard while the virus scans are running -- but I can't work on the laptop either, during these scans. Nor even after the scans are finished, until a clean-PC backup is finished and verified.

    Linux is always clean of infections. And backups are a trivial expenditure of time. Updates do not require cleanups afterwards, and take place smoothly in the background over 98 percent of the time.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-08-21 at 17:25.
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  8. #23
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    All of my routine maintenance, disk cleanup, AV/AM scans (including full scans weekly), defrag, etc. are fully automated, running in the wee hours when I'm asleep. The only thing I do at the mouse/keyboard are drive/partition images, but I boot into the other side (Windows 7 if I'm imaging in Windows 8 and vice versa) and can still use my PC freely.

    I've already invested my time on Windows maintenance in setting everything up to run in Task Scheduler (except for those utilities that have their own scheduler); once and done (and it doesn't really take very long, either). The only time spent now is in booting into the other side of my dual-boot, about a minute, and setting up a drive image, less than a minute. That's it. The drive image is working on drives/partitions that are not in use, and there is no noticeable performance hit while that's going on.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  9. #24
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    And file system virus scans still take several hours apiece on my laptop. No way to get around that. It's the biggest single time-waster of my Windows maintenance routines
    None of which saves even one minute of my time. These tasks simply would get pushed into overnight hours when I am not actively using the computer. Time is still time. The laptop is still not available for use until the scans and backup get done. And again, what if something suspicious shows up and has to be dealt with?
    As I stated above, I can continue to work while doing a Virus scan with minimal performance impact so it doesn't waste any of my time. Any PC with at least two cores (the vast majority of systems today) should be able to do that. I do both AVG and Malwarebytes scans regularly. Unless you have really bad browsing habits, weekly scans are sufficient for the average user.

    Linux is always clean of infections
    Not true. See http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials...une-to-viruses.

    If you are happier with Linux, more power to you. Far be it from me to suggest what works best for you but Windows works best for the vast majority of PC users. (Not tablet or phone users).

    Jerry

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  11. #25
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    When I start setting up Windows 9, I will take note of everything which can be simplified and automated, and see what I can do to minimize the impact of maintenance on system usability.

    I have never found a way to do disk maintenance (defragment or clean up) while using another partition. That would indeed free up the laptop for productive use during maintenance.

    I prefer to scan the Windows file system offline, so that new files and Internet activity don't add something new to already scanned files and disk areas. Maybe this isn't necessary, but for the monthly full scans, it seems to me to be prudent.

    Backups really don't take up all that much time by themselves. Linux backups are much faster, but it's not like Windows backups take more than an hour per month anyway.

    Fascinating article on Linux security in that link, Jerry.

    As for Linux having some vulnerabilities, I am well aware of this. Ubuntu has a built-in Inbound Firewall, and I have this active. AppArmor exists for a reason. Not running as Root while connected to a network or the Internet is also a rule for reasons. Particularly of concern in Linux are Flash Player and Java, just as in Windows. Browsers do benefit under Linux from security-related settings and extensions. Software installations must be from trusted sources. Where possible, I use DEB installers and run them through the Ubuntu Software Center, even if these programs did not originate within the official Ubuntu archives. (RPM Extractions are almost exclusively from the Google Chrome Beta Channel downloads.) And I run the Ubuntu Software Updater. In fact, even as I type this, I am getting a new version of Chromium Beta. I'd bet there are several security fixes in there. Also, Flash Drives and SD Cards should be regarded as potentially unsafe in Linux just as much as in Windows.

    Introducing WINE or other cross-platform environments into Linux brings on additional security issues.

    So I overstated my case in these and other areas. This was partly to spark discussion, but also to learn about Windows methods for speeding up and making more efficient maintenance processes which I will be doing with Windows 9.

    I figure, if I set it up just right, Windows 9 can leverage File History to make data backups almost fully automatic. (There's always something in a non-standard location which needs special attention from time to time.) And there may be more automatic ways to make System Backups take place during non-use hours.

    But Windows security is the one area in which much could be done to improve the efficiency and reliability of current software offerings. Windows itself is getting better, and Windows Defender may be improved someday. But third-party security applications like Avast need to improve their performance in my experience. Assuming this will happen over time, Windows 9 may not prove to be much more difficult to maintain than Linux.

    When I get a mobile device, it will probably be an Android Tablet. Unfortunately, security apps aren't very well developed for Android, although there are a few pretty good offerings.

    Backup of a Tablet, with its limited storage, should be trivial, once I establish Root Access to the device. An entire Device Image can be created for many Android Tablets using the Linux Java JDK Tools. This would be ideal. Not a practical solutiion for Windows devices, but adequate for today's (and near-term tomorrow's) Android Tablets.

    As I read things, it's mostly a matter of selecting a brand and model of Android Tablet which allows Root Access and which can receive the latest Android OS upgrades. Onda is one brand which comes close, but they don't yet have an Intel-based Android Tablet with Kit-Kat (Android 4.4) upgrades. Not in the 10-inch screen size anyway. Not yet.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-08-22 at 13:30.
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  12. #26
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I have never found a way to do disk maintenance (defragment or clean up) while using another partition. That would indeed free up the laptop for productive use during maintenance.
    In Windows 7 and above, Defrags (and TRIM for SSDs) are automatically scheduled and don't need to be run manually. I find that deleting temporary files is strictly a disk space issue and have no effect on system performance. I don't do it more than once or twice a year.

    Particularly of concern in Linux are Flash Player and Java
    I don't believe Java is much of a security risk as it was in the past now that they have gone to white listing every Java app executed. I use Java every day without infection.

    I have been backing up my 4 year old Windows 7 box on line while continuing to work, use Windows automatic defrag, do both Malwarebytes and Avira scans while continuing to work, Do disk cleanup once or twice a year and my system performs as well as when I first bought it. Windows maintenance is trivial for me.

    Jerry

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  14. #27
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jerry. I will keep track of these recommendations as I move from Windows 7 to Windows 9.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hall View Post
    For some reason, I can't get the batch files to write to timelog.txt. I've double-checked pathing to be sure nothing's amiss there; I've tried jimruby's modification (above); I've manually created timelog.txt (and deleted it after rebooting and finding it still empty).

    The batch files are executing: I can see the terminal window flash, and the restart is normal. Ideas?
    I am having the same problem, Steve I "rem-ed" out the shutdown line and added a pause :
    echo Restart began at %time% >>“C:\USER\Tim\Desktop\timelog.txt”
    pause
    rem shutdown -f -r -t 00
    And copied and pasted this from the DOS Window:


    C:\Users\Tim\Desktop>echo Restart began at 16:02:23.73 1>>ôC:\C:\Users\Tim\Desktop\timelog.txtö
    The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

    C:\Users\Tim\Desktop>pause
    Press any key to continue . . .

    I originally copy and pasted Fred's example into the Batch file and just removed {username} and replace with Tim.

    Is my Computer screwed up?
    Last edited by xlcrider; 2014-09-08 at 17:13.

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