How to trim down Windows XP for Ebox

Based on DMP's Vortex processor / SoC this board is a full computer capable of running a standard Windows and Linux installation on the backpack of your robot.
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How to trim down Windows XP for Ebox

Post by ozfiddler » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:41 am

Post by ozfiddler
Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:41 am

I'd be very interested to hear any suggestions on how to make XP run faster on the eBox by trimming out unwanted services. I have done the following as posted earlier:

"Disabling Visual Styles and setting the Page File size to a FIXED SIZE - This ensures the pagefile size is locked to a specific area of the SD card."

Has anyone tried removing services when making the original image in nLite. If so, which ones can be safely eliminated?

There is also a program called XPLite http://www.litepc.com/xplite.html that looks interesting... anyone tried it?

I also see mention of Windows EWF but have no idea what it is, or how complicated it would be to implement it.
I'd be very interested to hear any suggestions on how to make XP run faster on the eBox by trimming out unwanted services. I have done the following as posted earlier:

"Disabling Visual Styles and setting the Page File size to a FIXED SIZE - This ensures the pagefile size is locked to a specific area of the SD card."

Has anyone tried removing services when making the original image in nLite. If so, which ones can be safely eliminated?

There is also a program called XPLite http://www.litepc.com/xplite.html that looks interesting... anyone tried it?

I also see mention of Windows EWF but have no idea what it is, or how complicated it would be to implement it.
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Re: How to trim down Windows XP for Ebox

Post by eried » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:45 am

Post by eried
Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:45 am

ozfiddler wrote:I'd be very interested to hear any suggestions on how to make XP run faster on the eBox by trimming out unwanted services. I have done the following as posted earlier:

"Disabling Visual Styles and setting the Page File size to a FIXED SIZE - This ensures the pagefile size is locked to a specific area of the SD card."

Has anyone tried removing services when making the original image in nLite. If so, which ones can be safely eliminated?

There is also a program called XPLite http://www.litepc.com/xplite.html that looks interesting... anyone tried it?

I also see mention of Windows EWF but have no idea what it is, or how complicated it would be to implement it.


I used nLite to add the drivers and necesary things to the ISO (there is a tutorial around here), also I removed some services I know they are useless for my purposes for example, themes, wireless networking, time sync, etc you probably can take apart easily most of those. My Windows is 90 mb in ram aprox, you can go lower removing networking and plenty of other things http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWyfHfnflnQ (this video is from year ago when I was optimizing xp for an eeepc), but you can't go lower to about 54 mb of ram used at startup.

1) Do not install updates in the ebox, plenty of performance and sd space will be wasted, try to install the most updated xp image you have or integrate updates

2) You must learn to use EWF, it is like heaven vs hell :) XP in the ebox turns snappy and fast to use with EWF, just google it, there is an automated tool that setups ewf filter (it is a ramdisk, so changes are written to the ram until you commit them from command prompt with ewfmgr command)

3) I disabled the pagefile because pf access is too slow. 512 ram is ok for me to run 2-3 automated apps continuosly in this machine :D
ozfiddler wrote:I'd be very interested to hear any suggestions on how to make XP run faster on the eBox by trimming out unwanted services. I have done the following as posted earlier:

"Disabling Visual Styles and setting the Page File size to a FIXED SIZE - This ensures the pagefile size is locked to a specific area of the SD card."

Has anyone tried removing services when making the original image in nLite. If so, which ones can be safely eliminated?

There is also a program called XPLite http://www.litepc.com/xplite.html that looks interesting... anyone tried it?

I also see mention of Windows EWF but have no idea what it is, or how complicated it would be to implement it.


I used nLite to add the drivers and necesary things to the ISO (there is a tutorial around here), also I removed some services I know they are useless for my purposes for example, themes, wireless networking, time sync, etc you probably can take apart easily most of those. My Windows is 90 mb in ram aprox, you can go lower removing networking and plenty of other things http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWyfHfnflnQ (this video is from year ago when I was optimizing xp for an eeepc), but you can't go lower to about 54 mb of ram used at startup.

1) Do not install updates in the ebox, plenty of performance and sd space will be wasted, try to install the most updated xp image you have or integrate updates

2) You must learn to use EWF, it is like heaven vs hell :) XP in the ebox turns snappy and fast to use with EWF, just google it, there is an automated tool that setups ewf filter (it is a ramdisk, so changes are written to the ram until you commit them from command prompt with ewfmgr command)

3) I disabled the pagefile because pf access is too slow. 512 ram is ok for me to run 2-3 automated apps continuosly in this machine :D
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Post by PaulL » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:13 pm

Post by PaulL
Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:13 pm

I agree on disabling virtual memory. If you need more than 512mb RAM for embedded work, you need to ask yourself why, even when running Windows. :) On the E-box, or any Vortex or similar type of system, any software that needs that much RAM will be slow. And, SD cards aren't nearly as fast as onboard RAM, or even hard drives - better to stick to RAM.

Also, preventing SD writes in general is good for the longevity of the card, and with access to SD being slower than typical HDD or whatever, you want to stay off the SD card as much as possible anyway.
I agree on disabling virtual memory. If you need more than 512mb RAM for embedded work, you need to ask yourself why, even when running Windows. :) On the E-box, or any Vortex or similar type of system, any software that needs that much RAM will be slow. And, SD cards aren't nearly as fast as onboard RAM, or even hard drives - better to stick to RAM.

Also, preventing SD writes in general is good for the longevity of the card, and with access to SD being slower than typical HDD or whatever, you want to stay off the SD card as much as possible anyway.
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Post by ozfiddler » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:10 pm

Post by ozfiddler
Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:10 pm

Thanks eried,

re EWF I couldn't find an automated tool but I found this tutorial on the web that seems clear and succinct. Does this cover everything?

http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/real-geek/using-ewf-extender-write-filter-on-windows-xp-39196

Cheers.

LATER EDIT: I might have found a better one here that includes the necessary files and an installer. Will give this one a try.

http://www.saunalahti.fi/pesonpa/projects/windows_embedded/windows_embedded.php

EVEN LATER EDIT: That second link is brilliant. Has all the files you need, makes it very easy and works a treat. XP now loads completely in 60 seconds and really zips along. There is even a cmd file included that will write changes that you decide to keep and then restart EWF.
Thanks eried,

re EWF I couldn't find an automated tool but I found this tutorial on the web that seems clear and succinct. Does this cover everything?

http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/real-geek/using-ewf-extender-write-filter-on-windows-xp-39196

Cheers.

LATER EDIT: I might have found a better one here that includes the necessary files and an installer. Will give this one a try.

http://www.saunalahti.fi/pesonpa/projects/windows_embedded/windows_embedded.php

EVEN LATER EDIT: That second link is brilliant. Has all the files you need, makes it very easy and works a treat. XP now loads completely in 60 seconds and really zips along. There is even a cmd file included that will write changes that you decide to keep and then restart EWF.
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Post by eried » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:52 am

Post by eried
Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:52 am

Nice, I don't used that tool but this one http://dan.computa.co.uk/?p=5

Seems even more automated :P haha
Nice, I don't used that tool but this one http://dan.computa.co.uk/?p=5

Seems even more automated :P haha
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Post by ozfiddler » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:14 am

Post by ozfiddler
Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:14 am

I've just been playing around with nLite to try and make a trimmed down version of XP. Actually I wanted to slipstream SP3 as well but I just couldn't get a usable installation at all with SP3 included. I seemed to always get some error, nothing consistent though - sometimes I got the BSOD early on in the installation process, and sometimes a message later saying some critical file was missing.

Anyway, I did manage to get a workable version of XP-SP2 with some reduced components as follows:

1, In applications I removed screensavers, pinball, paint, briefcase and all games.

2. In operating system options I removed color schemes, desktop cleanup wizard, disk cleanup, dr watson, search assistant, security centre, tour, user account pictures.

3. removed ALL keyboards and languages.

That reduced things by about 130MB, installation went OK and I seem to have everything working that needs to be working. I'm sure I could take out more stuff but I've done it about 10 times now and I'm running out of CDs!!
I've just been playing around with nLite to try and make a trimmed down version of XP. Actually I wanted to slipstream SP3 as well but I just couldn't get a usable installation at all with SP3 included. I seemed to always get some error, nothing consistent though - sometimes I got the BSOD early on in the installation process, and sometimes a message later saying some critical file was missing.

Anyway, I did manage to get a workable version of XP-SP2 with some reduced components as follows:

1, In applications I removed screensavers, pinball, paint, briefcase and all games.

2. In operating system options I removed color schemes, desktop cleanup wizard, disk cleanup, dr watson, search assistant, security centre, tour, user account pictures.

3. removed ALL keyboards and languages.

That reduced things by about 130MB, installation went OK and I seem to have everything working that needs to be working. I'm sure I could take out more stuff but I've done it about 10 times now and I'm running out of CDs!!
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