SLIMMING DOWN WINDOWS XP: THE COMPLETE GUIDE
MY BATCH FILES ARE AVAILABLE HERE
My site went down for the full month of September. I really haven't much control over the site, because it really isn't "my" site. The site belongs to a generous lady named Sadie who lives in England. She gave it to me to support my work on Slimming Down Windows XP: The Complete Guide.
The guide was always for you. That is why I created it. It is my gift to those who always wanted to know which files they can delete from Windows XP, but couldn't find their answers. My site was only an afterthought.
Should the unforeseen happen, should my site go down again, whether temporarily or permanently, you should know that two other sites now host my guide for you, WinCert.net and Jan's Graphix an Stuff.
Slimming Down Windows XP: The Complete Guide has always been and will always be a work in progress. I edit and make changes to its contents on a continuous basis. I will continue my work on my guide on my site as well as on the above two sites.
Thanks go out to Fred Langa for his acknowledgment of Slimming Down Windows XP: The Complete Guide in The LangaList.
Awesome job on the "Slimming Down XP" article. I especially like the fact that your penchant for deleting files is tempered by the idea that (1) the OS should still work as required and (2) that there be zero errors in the Event Viewer. Like you, I can't stand errors in the Event Viewer; makes me feel dirty! And any schmuck can delete files willy-nilly, but it takes real talent, thought, and patience to do it the way you did. I can only imagine how long all the trial and error must have taken. Years, I'd bet.
Anyway, just wanted to drop a note letting you know that your efforts are appreciated.
From Gizmo's Top Picks, Ian Richards' Support Alert Newsletter:
If you want to slim down your version of Windows, I suggest you read Bold_Fortune's "Complete Guide to Slimming Down Windows XP" first. It will not only tell you what to do, but also alert you to the pitfalls you need to avoid. Highly recommended.
Why I Don't Use Programs Like XPLite and nLite
Sure, programs can be written that will remove some applications and their specifics. Many programmers use the "inf file method". That is to say, if files are listed within the .inf file for a certain Windows component, all you have to do is remove those particular files, and wallah! component gone.
Deleting whole components, however, oftentimes also removes some files that are necessary to an individual's use of a computer.
Users put their computers to many different uses. And all have very different needs from another.
Let me give you a couple of examples of what I'm talking about.
You decide you no longer want Windows Media Player on your system.
You set your file removal program to delete all files associated with WMP. ...Which would mean you also won't be needing the codecs installed for WMP. So you set the program to also delete all WMP codecs.
But you're also a big fan of Yahoo Chat.
Only now, you can't get Yahoo Chat to work properly. You want to talk with your friends in Voice, but you no longer have the ability...because along with all the other WMP codecs, you've deleted the specific codecs that allow this function.
So now we're talking about a program that would have to have a setting to delete Windows Media Player and all its codecs, while keeping only the codecs needed by Yahoo Chat.
There are many other variables that would also need to be written into the program. It would have to take into consideration all of the many individual users who all put their computers to all very different uses.
You don't play games on the Internet.
Then you won't be needing all the DirectX files. Unless you decide you like Windows Media Player after all. Then you're going to need to keep nine specific DirectX files on your system.
In this instance, you would need have incorporated into your file removal program a special setting that would single out and keep the specific DirectX files needed for WMP, while deleting the other ninety-six DirectX files that you won't be needing, because you don't play games on the Internet.
You elect to remove DirectX with your file-removal program.
You don't play games on the Internet. You could care less if Windows Media Player needs nine specific DirectX files. Because you never use it anyway, and you had the program remove WMP too.
Then you make yourself a nice TV dinner. Grab a bottle of pop from the refrigerator. And make yourself comfortable in front of your computer. It's movie time!
You pop in a DVD. Up springs NVDVD Player. Only it's telling you, "Sorry, you don't seem to have the proper files installed on your system."
You see, NVDVD Player needs seven specific DirectX files to work.
So you decide to re-install DirectX so you can watch your movie.
And now you've defeated your purpose (Remember your purpose?) to remove all unnecessary files from your system. ...Because now you have ninety-eight DirectX files installed on your system that you really don't need.
File removal programs give you a choice: keep an entire Windows component and all its associated files, or remove the component completely, and lose functionality elsewhere.
You set your program to remove the Computer Management and Disk Management.
(The only reason I personally would have for accessing Computer Management would be to utilize Disk Management. The only reason I would have for utilizing Disk Management would be to format a drive. I do that with XP's installation disc during the installation process. The only utilities I need in Computer Management are the Services and Event Viewers, and I can access both from my Start Menu.)
Your program takes out these files:
capesnpn.dll....Microsoft Certificate Template Management Extension
certmgr.dll.....Certificate MMC (Microsoft Management Console) Snap-In Tool
compmgmt.msc....Computer Management Console
diskmgmt.msc....Disk Management Console
DmAdmin.exe.....Local Disk Manager Administrative Service
dmconfig.dll....Logical Disk Manager Configuration Library
dmdlgs.dll......Disk Management Snap-in Dialogs
dmdskmgr.dll....Disk Management Snap-in Support Library
dmdskres.dll....Disk Management Snap-in Resources
dmintf.dll......Disk Management DCOM Interface Stub
DMREMOTE.EXE....Logical Disk Manager
DmServer.dll....Logical Disk Manager service dll
dmutil.dll......Logical Disk Manager Utility Library
dmview.ocx......Disk Management Snap-in
fsmgmt.msc......Microsoft Common Console Document (Shared Folders)
localsec.dll....Local Users and Groups MMC Snapin
lusrmgr.msc.....Microsoft Common Console Document
mmcshext.dll....MMC Shell Extension DLL
ntmsapi.dll.....Removable Storage Public Interfaces
ntmsmgr.dll.....Removable Storage Service
sendcmsg.dll....Send Console Message
smlogcfg.dll....Performance Logs and Alerts Snap-in
Oops! Now you can't get into your Device Manager, because Device Manager is dependent upon the dmocx.dll.
See what I mean? There are just too many variables involved. It is impossible to have a file removal program remove whole components without disrupting an individual's use of a computer. Many times, while removing components, these programs remove along with them files that also have other uses.
"Aha!" you say. "nLite has an 'additional files to keep' box. Why not use this nLite feature to keep all the files you don't want it to remove along with certain whole components?"
With some 1,800 individual system32 files alone, a person would have quite a few decisions to make. You would really need to know your stuff to setup that program effectively.
And it is not always just about the choices we make about which files to keep or delete. It is also about which registry entries should be intact after the installation.
Some files we delete should never be UnRegistered...meaning their registry entries, or at least some of them, should never be removed. The files themselves can be removed, but UnRegister them, and you've got problems.
If certain files are removed before the installation, their registry entries are not delivered to the registry. Would it not follow, that if some of their registry entries are needed, they would not be present?
Some people refuse to look at this, or choose to ignore it. I personally believe it is one of the reasons programs that remove files pre-installation are doomed to forever leave the individual user with post-installation problems.
Take for example my favorite (or at least one of the more interesting) .OCX files, the daxctle.ocx.
This one .OCX file is attached to 11,741 Registry Keys and 12,864 Values under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Interface...and every one of them will be removed by UnRegistering it.
11,741 Registry Keys and 12,864 Values That's a lot. ...No, that's really a lot. And those numbers show up after I have run registry cleaners. I have seen it associated with as many as 13,583 Registry Keys before any registry cleaner was used.
It's not so much I need the daxctle.ocx on my system, I don't. But UnRegistering it removes registry entries that belong additionally to other files that I do need on my system. I can delete the daxctle.ocx, no problem. But UnRegister it, and Windows Media Player will not play...anything.
Here are a few other examples of files I delete, but I do not UnRegister.
initpki.dll.....(Microsoft Trust Installation and Setup). Contains functions that support encryption. Should I UnRegister this file, I experience a few problems with Internet Explorer displaying certain items on Webpages, and also some problems entering certain Websites. I can delete the initpki.dll and no such problems will occur...just so long as I do not UnRegister it.
mssip32.dll.....(MSSIP32 Forwarder DLL). Should I UnRegister this file, Microsoft Update will not function. I can delete the mssip32.dll and Microsoft Update will still function...just so long as I do not UnRegister it.
softpub.dll.....(Softpub Forwarder DLL). Contains functions that support encryption. Should I UnRegister this file, I experience a few problems with Internet Explorer displaying certain items on Webpages, and also some problems entering certain Websites. I can delete the softpub.dll and no such problems will occur...just so long as I do not UnRegister it.
Many people have asked for my personal batch files. I have declined to release them to the general public. I will however help you get started making your own batch files. You can then add any individual files you want to them. Which individual files you choose to remove from your system will be entirely up to you.
I have incorporated a failsafe feature into my batch files.
Files and folders will be moved and saved (Not deleted permanently. Later that will be up to you.) to a backup folder on C:\. The backup folder is simply named "Backup".
Within the Backup folder, you will find the files and folders you removed, in smart placement. Their order of appearance will be identical to how XP's files and folders appear on your C Drive.
When you remove files and folders from the WINDOWS and system32 directories, in the Backup folder you will first see a WINDOWS folder. Within the WINDOWS folder you will see the individual files and subfolders you removed, including the system32 folder. And within the system32 folder you will see its individual files and subfolders you removed. The same applies to the Documents and Settings and the Program Files directories.
I created this smart placement so you would always know exactly where these files and folders came from should you decide to replace any to their original locations.
Note: Be sure to temporarily delete the Backup folder filled with files and subfolders before using any registry
cleaners. The registry cleaners will more than likely correct the files paths to the Backup folder, rather than remove their paths.
This batch file I designed with individual system32 files in mind.
Copy and Paste between the lines to Notepad. Save as "any name you choose.bat" Then insert your file choices where I have mine.
IF NOT EXIST "c:\backup\WINDOWS\system32" md c:\backup\WINDOWS\system32 MOVE c:\WINDOWS\system32\$winnt$.inf c:\backup\WINDOWS\system32\ MOVE c:\WINDOWS\system32\aaaamon.dll c:\backup\WINDOWS\system32\ MOVE c:\WINDOWS\system32\ac3filter.cpl c:\backup\WINDOWS\system32\
I designed this particular batch file below a little differently, with the inf folder files in mind. As with the system32 batch file above, it will "move and save" (not delete) files to a Backup folder on C:\.
This one, however, will move all files in the inf folder (C:\WINDOWS\inf), and will instantaneously return the inf files you choose to keep to the inf folder. All this takes place so fast you'll think the files you chose to keep never moved at all.
IF NOT EXIST "c:\backup\WINDOWS\inf" md c:\backup\WINDOWS\inf MOVE c:\WINDOWS\inf\*.* c:\backup\WINDOWS\inf\ IF NOT EXIST "c:\WINDOWS\inf" md c:\WINDOWS\inf MOVE c:\backup\WINDOWS\inf\865.INF c:\WINDOWS\inf\ MOVE c:\backup\WINDOWS\inf\acpi.inf c:\WINDOWS\inf\ MOVE c:\backup\WINDOWS\inf\branches.inf c:\WINDOWS\inf\---------------------------------------
One very important step before we set about deleting files together.
Create a full system backup image using a good backup program like Acronis or Ghost.
This backup image should be of a full install of XP. It should include all of your programs, drivers, setting changes, and tweaks applied...everything you normally do to make your Windows experience an enjoyable one.
So now when you set about deleting files, you'll always have a the perfect safeguard. And you should never have to say on a forum, "I deleted this, and now that doesn't work!"
Well, revert back to your backup image, and don't delete that anymore.
The first thing I do is download the "Preview Version of XPLite." It's really makes it easy to disable Windows File Protection.
Go to this page. In the upper right-hand corner click on "Download Preview".
Open its zip folder and copy the "XPLite_TRIAL.exe" to your Desktop or a folder of your choice.
Open it and go to its "Windows File Protection" tab. Select "Disabled" and then "Apply". Close the program and reboot your computer.
This registry tweak helps me easily UnRegister DLL and OCX Files I remove.
It puts two entries into the right-click context menu: "Register" and "UnRegister" when you highlight and right-click on a single DLL or OCX File, or when you highlight and right-click on multiple DLL and OCX Files.
It really makes Registering and UnRegistering DLL and OCX Files very easy. Plus it gives me the ability to UnRegister multiples (even hundreds) of these files at once.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 ;Add register / unregister to the context menu for .dll files [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.dll] "Content Type"="application/x-msdownload" @="dllfile" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile] @="Application Extension" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\Shell\Register\command] @="regsvr32.exe \"%1\"" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\Shell\UnRegister\command] @="regsvr32.exe /u \"%1\"" ;Add register / unregister to the context menu for .ocx files [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.ocx] @="ocxfile" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ocxfile] @="OCX" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ocxfile\Shell\Register\command] @="regsvr32.exe \"%1\"" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ocxfile\Shell\UnRegister\command] @="regsvr32.exe /u \"%1\""I normally do not use any registry cleaners, or UnRegister any DLL and OCX files, for a very long time after I have Slimmed Down my installation. I want to be certain everything is A-OK first.
One final word before we get started. What you will find in this Guide are the "possibilities" of which files and folders can be removed from a Windows XP Installation, while maintaining stability and keeping functionality in Microsoft's operating system.
The "possibilities" of what can be removed. That is very important to keep in mind before proceeding from here.
I could not expect anyone other than myself to remove everything listed in the guide. It would be practically impossible for anyone to duplicate what I do without running into problems.
Yes, I delete every file and every folder you will see listed....but my computing needs are different from yours. My system is different from yours. The programs I have installed are different from yours.
Which files and folders to remove from your own Windows XP Installations, you will have to make these choices for yourself. I have given you as much information about these files and folders as I could, given the limitations of my knowledge and understanding of their uses and functions.
Now let's remove some files.
Slimming Down Windows XP: The Complete Guide PART 1
TEMP and Junk Files
There are a lot of very good TEMP and Junk File Cleaners out there. I use two: IE Privacy Keeper and CCleaner. I think they are both great. TEMP and Junk File Cleaners will remove most TEMP and Junk Files. There are some TEMP and Junk Files they do may miss, though.
This is a list of TEMP and Junk Files I delete on my own because my TEMP and Junk File Cleaners miss them:
*.bak Files...Backup Files
*.chk Files...Lost Cluster Log Files
NOTE: If the edb.chk is deleted from the C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore\Logs folder, you will need to reboot your computer before your next visit to the Microsoft Update Website...otherwise, the Microsoft Update Website will not function. The same holds true for the edb.log located in this folder. Further note: the edb.chk can be deleted only after your system settles in from after rebooting, or after a time from a visit to the Microsoft Update Website.
*.edb Files...Exchange Server store (a database)
This system *.edb file can usually be deleted after a reboot:
These system *.edb files can be deleted only after your system settles in from after rebooting, or after a time from a visit to the Microsoft Update Website:
*.gid Files......Windows Help Index Files
I delete all *.log files I find. However, these system *.log files cannot be deleted:
C:\WINDOWS\WindowsUpdate.log. (The WindowsUpdate.log can only be deleted if the Automatic Updates Service is stopped.)
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\NTUSER.DAT.LOG
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat.LOG
C:\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\ntuser.dat.LOG
C:\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat.LOG
If you look through the ReportingEvents.log in Notepad you will notice time-stamped, Microsoft Update installation information, which can date back quite awhile. Normally the ReportingEvents.log cannot be deleted, nor can its text be altered.
However, something interesting about the ReportingEvents.log file was discovered by nataliecv one of our forum members.
"If you go into Services and STOP Automatic Updates Service for a moment, ReportingEvents.log CAN be deleted. A fresh copy of the ReportingEvents.log will be created upon your next visit to the Microsoft Update Website, and it starts anew. NOTE: Do not forget to restart the Automatic Updates."
These system *.log files can usually be deleted after a reboot:
These system *.log files can be deleted only after your system settles in from after rebooting, or upon a visit to the Microsoft Update Website:
NOTE: If the edb.log is deleted from the C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore\Logs folder, you will need to reboot your computer before your next visit to the Microsoft Update Website...otherwise, the Microsoft Update Website will not function. The same holds true for the edb.chk located in this folder. Further note: the edb.log can be deleted only after your system settles in from after rebooting, or after a time from a visit to the Microsoft Update Website.
I DO NOT DELETE any INSTALL.LOG or UNINSTALL.LOG files. Without them I cannot uninstall certain programs.
*.old Files....Backup Files
*.sav Files....Backup Files
I delete all *.txt files I find. However, these system *.txt files cannot be deleted:
C:\WINDOWS\SchedLgU.Txt. (The SchedLgU.Txt can only be deleted if the Task Scheduler Service is stopped.)
C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\WebSetup\wuident.cab\wuident.txt (The "wuident.txt" can only be deleted if the Automatic Updates Service is stopped.)
I DO NOT DELETE these program *.txt files:
C:\Program Files\RAXCO\PerfectDisk\Readme.txt because PerfectDisk 6 will not operate without its "Readme.txt" or "Register.txt" files. (PerfectDisk 8 does not include this file.)
C:\Program Files\RAXCO\PerfectDisk\Register.txt because PerfectDisk 6 will not operate without its "Register.txt" or "Readme.txt" files. (PerfectDisk 8 does not include this file.)
You yourself might want to take a look in any program's folder to consider which, if any, *.txt files just might be important to them.
Additional Note: Windows Genuine Advantage installs the WGAErrLog.txt to the C:\WINDOWS\Temp folder. Should you delete this file, be sure to reboot your system, so that a new WGAErrLog.txt can be created. Otherwise, Microsoft Update may not work for you.
Make Your Own TEMP and Junk File Cleaner
You can make your own TEMP and Junk File cleaner using Search Assistant.
In Notepad, make a list of TEMP and Junk File extensions you would like to remove.
*.bak, *.chk, *.cnt, *.diz, *.doc, *.edb, *.gid, *.lic, *.gid, *.log, *.old, *.query, *.sav, *.txt
Copy and Paste your list into the search box of Search Assistant.
Be sure that under Search Options you have checked "Advanced Options."
Under Advanced Options check "Search system folders," "Search hidden
files and folders," and, "Search Subfolders."
Now run your search by clicking on Search Now.
Now, at the top of the Search Assistant, select File then Save Search.
Next time you want to search for those particular TEMP and Junk files, just click on your new search file.
Search Assistant will automatically popup, and your ready. Just click Search Now.
Here's an extensive list of TEMP and Junk Files I compiled. You may find it useful.
*.~* ......Temporary Files
*.^* ......Temporary Files
*.---......Setup Temporary Files
*__ofidx*.*...Microsoft Find Fast Indexer File
*._dd......Lost Cluster Files
*.&db......Temporary Files (dBASE IV)
*.?$?......Temporary Files(st Reader)
*.$$$......MS-DOS Temporary Files
*.000......sequential file in split Zip archive?
*.001......sequential file in split Zip archive?
*.002......sequential file in split Zip archive?
*.1st......(system.1st is a Windows diagnostic file)
*.b~k......Backup File, some text editors
*.bsc......Visual Studios Temp File
*.chk......Lost Cluster Log Files
*.db$......Temporary Files (dBASE)
*.edb......Exchange Server store (a database)
*.fnd......Find Result Files
*.ftg......Word List File of *.HLP
*.fts......Word List File of *.HLP
*.gid......Windows Help Index Files
*.ilc .....Borland Temporary File
*.ild .....Borland Temporary File
*.ilf .....Borland Temporary File
*.ilk......Visual Studios Temp File
*.ils......Borland Temporary File
*.log.txt...Log Files Windows diagnostic files
*.MS.......Microsoft Product Backup Files
*.nu3......Symantec Backup File
*.pch......Visual Studios Temp File
*.prv......Backup Files (bootlog.prv: Windows diagnostic file)
*.res......Visual Studios Temp File
*.sdi......Archive Content File
*.spc......Temporary Files (WordPerfect for Windows)
*.tds......Borland Temporary File
*.wbk......Word Backup Files
*modemlog.txt...Windows Modem Log File
0*.nch....Temporary Files created by MS Outlook Express
ABEND.LOG...Novell Abend Log
anti-vir.dat...Created by F-Prot Anti-Virus
chklist.*...Lost Cluster Files
eula.txt...Microsoft end-user license agreement
file_id.diz...Description of Shareware
ghosterr.txt...Norton Ghost Error File
iebak.dat...Internet Explorer Junk File
modemdet.txt...Windows Diagnostic File
mscreate.dir...Setup Temporary File
msoe.txt...Readme for Microsoft Outlook Express
mssecure.xml...Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer File
pq_debug.txt...PowerQuest PartitionInfo file
pspbrwse.jbf...Paint Shop Folder Image Information Cache File
suhdlog.dat...Windows diagnostic File
system.st...Windows diagnostic File
twain???.mtx...TWAIN Temporary File
ws_ftp.log...WS_FTP Temporary File
Slimming Down Windows XP: The Complete Guide is my gift to those who always wanted to know which files they can delete from Windows XP, but couldn't find their answers. I have always offered my guide freely, and never asked anything in return.
Those of you who wish to make a donation, showing your support and appreciation for Slimming Down Windows XP: The Complete Guide, My Batch Files Are Available Here
Edited by Bold_Fortune, 07 August 2008 - 23:40.