Laptop: Reducing Processes (26th November 2011)
When I first got my laptop, Task Manager reported it was running over 60 processes on a clear desktop. All of the above changes (and a few more, below) had reduced it to fewer than 50.
From the Start Menu, I typed msconfig to see the System Configuration window and went to the Startup tab. Unticking the following items has cleared my notification area and reduced process counts, whilst keeping any features I actually want:
- QuickSet (
- Displays a black square with a while 9 in it when NumLock is on. Pointless since I have a full number pad to the side. Unrecognisable, too, took quite a few searches to find what it was actually for!
- Catalyst Control Center
- Unwanted icon for the ATi
- DW WLAN Tray Applet (
- Corresponds to the PeerNet: Local Area Connection 2 icon and is a feature I don’t use.
- IAStorIcon (
- Provides the icon for the Intel Rapid Storage Technology feature, which is available from the Start Menu.
- Roxio Burn (
- Adds an icon and balloon whenever a disk is added. It’s available from Start Menu if I ever need it, so this launcher is just noise for me.
On a clear desktop there are now just 41 processes, including Task Manager! Notifications area has just 5 icons, too.
Heavy HDD Use at Startup (8th December 2011)
The disk light on my laptop was starting to be constantly on after starting up and logging into my main account. One culprit is
wmpnetwk.exe, the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service. But I have no need to stream my media across my network.
Task Manager in Windows 7 has a button called Resource Monitor on the Performance tab. That opens a tool which has a Disk tab. This is awesome. It lets me see all Processes with Disk Activity and I can sort them by the highest average Total (B/sec) transfer rate. Yay!
Happily, it is easy to disable
wmpnetwk.exe. Just press Windows+R, type services.msc and press Return. This opens the Services window.
Click the Name column sorts by name, so I then scrolled to the entries starting with W and found Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service. It has the Startup Type set to Automatic (Delayed Start) along with a few others.
Since I never use this feature, why is it doing anything anyway? Huh?
Anyway, double-clicking it opens a Properties window for it. I changed the Startup type to Disabled. From here I learnt the Service name is WMPNetworkSvc. Maybe that helps people searching for this answer.
I clicked OK and then closed the other 3 windows.
Uninstalled Dell Support Centre (8th December 2011)
No problems were being caused by it but I’ll never use it. This is solved by web searches.
Also, I noticed an entry for it in the Startup tab of the System Configuration window. So I decided to remove it by using the Program and Features window. Just right-clicked it, then clicked Uninstall and was gone without fuss. That’s very polite for something which might otherwise be described as ‘bloatware’.
(My old PC always had fewer than 40 processes on a clean desktop; this one is currently around 50. I’d like to get it closer to the old one. Without losing any of the genuinely innovative and useful background tasks.)
Again, hadn’t noticed any problems with it but I hardly do any Office tasks. Occassional invoice in Word, occassional financial graph in Excel. So no need to have a resident process helping them start up faster, AFAICT.
So I pressed Windows+R to get the Run window, typed msconfig and pressed Return. Unticked the entry for Microsoft Office XP (it’s the last version which had a sensible GUI, imho) and clicked Apply. Then I clicked OK. Heh, that was nostalgic…thought I had grown out of that Windows 95 habit.
Uninstalled Microsoft Silverlight
Did this from the Programs and Features window. Again, no trace of bad behaviour from it. Just cleaning out things I never use.
49 Process Success
A clean desktop now runs just 50 processes, if you don’t include Task Manager.
Disable Scheduled Disk Defragmenter (13th December 2011)
My new laptop was really thrashing the HDD when it started up this morning. Quite by chance, this afternoon I realised it’s due to this scheduled task.
Here’s how to stop it running at a set time, so you can choose when to run it:
- Right-click on Computer, then click Properties.
- Switch to the Tools tab.
- Click Defragment now button.
- This opens the Disk Defragmenter window.
- It says Scheduled defragmentation is turned on.
- Click the Configure schedule button.
- This opens the Disk Defragmenter: Modify Schedule window.
- Untick Run on a schedule (recommended).
- Click OK.
- Click Close.
- Click Cancel.
When I’ve finished my tasks and am going to eat lunch would be a good time to run this. It was set to run weekly which seems excessive. I’d tend to do it monthly. Maybe more often if I’ve been reading a writing a lot of data.
Uninstalled Adobe AIR
It was the first item in the Programs and Features list. I never used it and the uninstaller said the only affected application would be Adobe Community Help. No worries about that.
When it had finished, I uninstalled Adobe Community Help as well.
Both uninstallers were polite and did the job quickly. That’s nice.
Adobe, ATi, Dell, Kodak & Logitech (27th December 2011)
It has a couple of invisible startup processes but I can see them when using Windows+R, msconfig. Here’s how I tried to remove the updaters:
- Started Fireworks
- Help > Extensions Manager
- File > Preferences
- Updates, untick Check for Extension Updates
I’ve started to use the display drivers to reduce all gamma, brightness and contrast levels. The hardware buttons (which match the Windows 7 Control Panel settings) make the screen way too bright, even at their darkest setting. So I have restored the process which can make the custom profile load at startup:
- Catalyst Control Center
- Unwanted icon for the ATi
This left behind a dead entry called dellsupportcenter (
sprtcmd.exe). The uninstaller had not removed this item. For now, I unticked it in the Startup list.
Then I decided this bugged me more than that. So I used Windows+R, typed regedit and pressed Return. This opened the Registry Editor window. I navigated to where the Location column told me in the Startup list from the other window.
dellsupportcenter key. Right-clicked it, clicked Delete and confirmed it with Yes.
There are two entries for the following Startup Item:
- KODAK AiO Printer Driver (
- Printer drivers which monitor its status over WiFi. This makes it available from applications, with all the print settings.
The entries are in different parts of the registry which serve the same purpose. They also differ in whether the
exe part at the end is uppercase or lower case. The actual file uses,
so I unticked the other one for now.
SetPoint mouse software for my MX510 has added a registration shortcut in the Start menu. This lets me map the Mouse4 and Mouse5 buttons to Page Up and Page Down. I opened All Programs and clicked the Startup and deleted the registration shortcut:
- Logitech . Product Registration (
- Only pestered me once, a week or two ago. Don’t want to use it, so removed it.
Now I restarted the machine.
CCleaner Saved 800MB Disk Space (22nd April 2012)
Just by running through the normal leftover files and stored information. I did curate the lists slightly, ensuring my Firefox history, cookies and sessions would remain but let it clear the 200MB cache.
Not sure what to make of the below. Found it by clicking the Tools item on the left of CCleaner, then clicking the Sheduled Tasks tab.
|Yes||Task||Adobe Flash Player Updater|
I chose to Delete them, since there wasn’t even a Sharp folder.
I chose to select the first two items and click Disable. Just to see if it makes any difference.
Under the Windows tab, I also selected these and clicked Disable:
- Switchboard (
C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Switchboard\SwitchBoard.exe)
Uninstalled Dell Quickset64
This is one of those bogus wrapper interfaces, which provides access to a fairly arbitrary subset of the things in Control Panel.
I noticed it in the Windows list, like the startup processes above, although this one was already disabled. So clearly I didn’t need it; probably disabled it earlier to prove that to myself before removing it permanently.
Another Clean-Up (26th June 2012)
Installed the newest ATi Catalyst graphics drivers, unticking the extras which I didn’t think I would need. The installer reverted me to 800×570 on the laptop screen and the primary external screen was no longer used.
There were also a handful of error message boxes behind it saying stuff had failed.
So I restarted the laptop and got one more error message box; most likely from the previous Catalyst Control Centre leaving something behind.
Aside from that all was good. Can run Volvo – The Game at 1920×1200×32 on the primary screen, with lowest detail settings. But it gets jittery at times when there are a lot of cars on screen. Did feel a bit smoother than last time I tried. Runs smooth enough on the laptop screen and nice how it lets you configure all this stuff. Especially for a free game!
Repairing the Final Error Message Box
After a few searches I find AML Device Install
OpenCL.dll FIX, a video on YouTube with cool voiceover. It says to repair the installer, although doesn’t say how. Luckily I know these things:
- Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features.
- Right-click AMD Catalyst Install Manager.
- Click Repair.
- This opens the AMD Catalyst Install Manager - InstallShield Wizard.
- Click the radio button called Repair Catalyst Install Manager.
- Click Next.
- The installer says:
Repair installation errors in the program. This option fixes missing or corrupt files, shortcuts, and registry entries.
- Click Repair.
- It quickly does some things and then says InstallShield Wizard Completed.
- Click Finish.
Oh, this didn’t let me turn on the Accelerated Parallel Processing SDK which the video says is needed for the visible error to be fixed. Will see how it goes.
Re-Install Without Uninstall
Locating the installer and running it again proves it’s smarter than first impressions indicated. It scanned my current setup and found the Accelerated Parallel Processing SDK was missing. It had selected the relevant item in the Select Components to Install, AMD APP SDK Runtime for me.
So all I had to do was click Next. It briefly knocked me back to a glimpse of an MS-DOS prompt, before dumping me back at the desktop with my windows all wrongly sized and wrong positioned. The taskbar was now on the wrong screen, too.
At least my resolutions and screen positions had been kept. It told me Installation Complete so the error should be fixed now.
Newest graphics drivers added this:
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x64 Redistributable - 10.0.30319
So I uninstalled these:
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable (x64) 8.0.56336
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable - x86 9.0.30729.4148
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable - x86 9.0.30729.6161
Uninstalled GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas (30th June 2012)
Last played these in January 2012, half a year ago. Stopped using them, so time to go, saving about 4GB in total. Removing my seperate GTA modding folders saved a further 3GB.
Bringing the Curveshire race track concept to GTA seems a bit silly. There are quite a few better racing simulators for PC which could probably be modified.
Throwing Out The Leftovers (1st July 2012)
To begin with, my laptop had about 144GB used out of 465GB capacity.
Using the Disk Cleanup feature I kept only the most recent System Restore point and removed all the temporary files in its list. As before, this saved about 10GB.
Finally, I ran CCleaner for some tidying up.
- Cleaner tool removed just over 1GB!
- Registry Cleaner fixed a few things the uninstall processes had missed, such as startup items which no longer existed.
- Tools > System Restore revealed that some uninstalling and a Windows Update since the Disk Cleanup had created a few more points. Deleted all but the most recent.
Tools > Startup provides shorter lists than the exhaustive
services.msc utility. The Windows tab listed a few things I didn’t need, so I disabled them:
Deleted a couple of things I disabled months ago and haven’t needed since:
- Desktop Disc Tool
Now I switched to the Internet Explorer tab and deleted 2 unwanted extensions:
- AVG Do Not Track
- AVG Do Not Track (duplicate entry)
Finally, went to the Scheduled Tasks tab and deleted the only item there:
So that’s about 18GB saved without much effort, so only 126GB is used now. This laptop has a fast HDD to scan for unnecessary files beforehand. And to mark all these areas as deleted so quickly afterwards.
Minimising Possibilities (4th November 2012)
Neither of these were causing visible issues but I have no reason to keep them.
Uninstalled Roxio Burn
Windows 7 has DVD writing abilities built into Windows Media Player and Windows Media Centre. So I don’t need this software.
This is part of the software added when I installed Fiona’s printer from Kodak.
XPS Viewer & Services
On the left sidebar in Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features I clicked the link called Turn Windows features on or off.
This opens a window where, at the bottom, it lists these two features. I just turned off the XPS features because I never use
Disabled Google Update
Google Chrome is on my laptop but I only use it for testing websites or reproducing bugs. That’s only needed a couple of times per month, so I can update manually.
Dell Inspiron Laptop Entries
- Received It!
- File Transfers with USB Stick
- Full Administrator Account!
- Installing Firefox
- Installing Games
- Reducing Processes
- WiFi Gaming
- Backups, Old & New
- Desk Arrangements
- Migrating Music
- Mobile Phone Archive
- Web Developer Setup
- Putting Old PC Out To Pasture
- Stopping the Magical Edges
- Disk Cleanup
- FTPuse Integrates Seamlessly
- Laptop Performance