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So I did decide to go ahead and upgrade my XPS to Windows 7 after all. I made this decision mainly because I had switched to 64-bit Vista not that long ago, and the UPEK fingerprint reader software for 64-bit has a major memory leak. I had caught it multiple times taking up more than 2 Gigabytes of RAM, slowing my system down majorly. Windows 7 added a uniform API for Biometrics, integrating fingerprint readers into the main login system and eliminating the need for having third party software installed to manage it. I use my fingerprint reader for logging in all the time, so it was a necessity to have a properly working software controlling it. 

I also own an ASUS Eee PC 900A, which I currently have running Xubuntu 9.10. It has a small 4GB drive, and every time I install a new OS on there I find myself having to uninstall a lot of unneeded packages to free up space. I have it currently at 1.08 GB free, but that can swing wildly down to less than 400 MB free depending on what I'm working with on there at the time. To try and make space easier, I got to thinking about using a compressing filesystem on there, only to find out the only Linux filesystems that really support integrated compression are Reisen4, which isn't integrated into the main kernel and is currently stalled, and Btrfs, which is expected to eventually replace the extX file systems currently in use, but is well behind development schedule. I'll probably switch to Btrfs in the future, but it doesn't warrant another reinstall right now when Ubuntu 9.10 release was just a week or so ago.

While I was doing the research, I remembered about the NTFS built-in compression as well, which had been out of mind since I hadn't ever seen it used since the private NT Server my high school's Multimedia lab was run on. I have only a 160 GB drive on my XPS, which I keep in two separate main partitions (in addition to the MediaDirect and Dell Tools partitions) of 100GB for the main OS, and 47 for various experimental OS's from time to time, with my music collection stored there when I'm not experimenting with anything else. When I reinstalled with Vista x64, 30 of that original 100 was taken up by the OS alone, and after installing all my tools I had less than 50 GB left. If I try and install any games I lose a lot more space, having less than 30 GB free when I decided to install 7 and getting down as far as less than 10 GB free at times in the past.

So I decided to turn on compression when I installed 7, to see how much it changed things. The actual 7 install itself took up only 15 GB instead of 30, which was nice. I compressed my Users folder, and the 32-bit Program Files folder (the 64-bit one doesn't get a lot installed in it, so I haven't bothered). After installing most all of my tools (I still need to install Photoshop and VirtualBox), and downloading STALKER in Steam, I currently have 67 GB still free! My Program Files folder is compressed down to 79% the size of normal. All in all, very nice results, and will make things much better to work with in the long run under this setup.

Date posted: 05 November, 2009
Tags: computer software
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