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    From:    Kan Yabumoto           tech@xxcopy.com
    To:      XXCOPY user
    Subject: A minimum Win98SE Install
    Date:    2003-04-08
      In many occasions, it is convenient to have a Windows Win9X/ME
      system with a minimum set of functionality.  A typical Win98SE
      directory may grow to over 600 MB after years of use.  But, it
      can be trimmed to less than 40 MB for a mininum yet functional
      environment.  For example, when you migrate your Win9X system
      to XP, it may be useful at times to keep the minimum Win9X
      install as a dual-boot system which uses a modest disk space.
      There are some differences among various releases of the
      so-called "Win9X" (collectively referring to Windows 95, 95-OSR2,
      98, 98SE, ME).  Although Windows ME was the most recent release
      in the Win95 family, due to its restrictive nature (i.e., does
      not allow a smooth transition from the initial DOS stage to
      the Windows (GUI) environment. Therefore, we favor Win98SE as
      a relatively stable and easy-to-manage environment.  Since the
      variations within the Win9X family are relatively small, most of
      what you find in this article should apply to all Win9X versions.
         Before going into the details, let me clarify that what I
         refer to the "minimum" Windows environment is what I feel
         essential for common Windows system management, mostly file
         management operations.  That includes the ability to access
         the local area network, but not necessarily to the Internet.
         It supports fully functional "Windows" (GUI) operations with
         Explorer with mouse control.
         In short, the minimum configuration is my arbitrary choice.
          Supports                                  Removed
         ---------------------------------------   -------------------
          LAN access  External USB-Disk             Internet Explorer
          RegEdit     Scheduled Tasks               Outlook Express
          ScanDisk    Windows Explorer              Paint Brush
          DOS Box     Control Panel                 CD (music) Player 
          DeFragger   2xExplorer     (shareware)    Solitaire
          WinIpcfg    TotalCommander (shareware)    Sound Recorder
    What to expect:
      The compactness of the Windows directory in the minimum Win9X
      system speaks a volume for its virtue.  The following chart
      was compiled from a system that I have been using and the
      directory size.  Most of us don't even remember what was the
      original size of the Windows directory when it was installed.
      So, I went back and reinstalled the Win98SE system as a clean
      install (a minimum configuration with network support).
      In the following chart, three size values are listed which
      are labeled, Initial (after a clean install), Before (the
      result of years of usage), and After (the end result of
      trimming non essential files), respectively.
       Directories                      Initial   Before    After
       C:\windows\     (1st level only)   10 MB    22 MB     8 MB
       C:\windows\system\                 98 MB   180 MB    23 MB
       C:\windows\inf\                    12 MB    22 MB   < 1 MB
       C:\windows\java\                   11 MB    23 MB    -----
       C:\windows\sysbckup\                8 MB    18 MB    -----
       C:\windows\help\                    7 MB     9 MB    -----
       C:\windows\fonts\                   5 MB    11 MB     3 MB
       C:\windows\system32\                4 MB     4 MB     1 MB
       C:\windows\command\                 3 MB     5 MB     2 MB
       C:\windows\Start Menu\            < 1 MB   < 1 MB   < 1 MB
       C:\windows\All Users\             < 1 MB   < 1 MB   < 1 MB
       C:\windows\desktop\               < 1 MB   < 1 MB   < 1 MB
       C:\windows\(others)\               13 MB   206 MB    -----
       Total space (size)                172 MB   500 MB    37 MB
       Total number of files              2,433    4,000      496
      When we look at the history of the Windows OS evolution from
      DOS, other than the rudimentary network support plus the GUI
      support, everything else really lies outside of the traditional
      sense of operating system.  The extra features are those which
      were once classified as applications (such as sound, image
      processing, and even video handling).  We should not lose the
      sight by Microsoft's marketing policy of bundling everything
      on earth as the so-called Windows.  Once these non essential
      parts are stripped away, Win 95 through ME should still be
      very similar.
    How do we trim the excess?
      Unlike the good old DOS where just one set of files supported
      practically all IBM-compatible PCs, the Windows operating system
      is dependent on the specific combination of hardware components.
      With Windows, hardware-specific device drivers are often needed.
      This makes it unpractical to define a small set of files that can
      support most of the PCs.  The agonizingly long installation time
      for the Windows OS is spent mostly on hardware related operations.
      Therefore, the standard Windows OS contains a substantial amount
      of files that are not always needed in a particular environment.
      In order to achieve the ultimate minimum Win9X system for a
      computer,  we need to identify and eliminate what's not needed.
      And, that takes time.  The more you work, the more fat you can
      trim --- it all depends upon how much time  you want to invest.
      From a practical point of view, what most of us want is not
      necessaryly the absolute minimum configuration, but rather,
      a reasonable configuration which is nearly optimum.  After all,
      there are quite a few small files that just can't justify our
      attention.  For this article, I've written a set of XXCOPY
      command file scripts (.XCF files) which help you slash the Win9X
      directory size dramatically with a least amount of effort.
      Additional trimming of the directory size must be carried out
      by you.  To this end, I offer a few suggestions to follow.
    The strategy in achieving your minimum Win9X environment.
      Since this process is a trial-and-error method, it is best
      that we keep the orininal full featured Widows directory
      intact and work on its duplicate.  It is inevitable that
      when files are removed from a working Windows environment,
      the system may become unstable, or even un-bootable.  The
      technique described here keeps this in mind and prepares a
      simple recovery method in the iterative process.  However,
      if you are a complete novice in the command line operation,
      this technique may not be for you.  If you are scared by
      this statement, you may observe what others have to say
      with this article in the XXCOPY discussion group.
      We will create a special boot diskette from which you can
      boot into either the original (MAX) Windows or the trimmed
      down (MIN) Windows from a simple menu option.  This approach
      enables us to work without disturbing the existing system
      boot setups on the hard disk.
      Let us call the special diskette, M9BSF disk which stands for
      "Minimum Win9X Boot Switch Floppy" (if only for no better name).
      The M9BFS disk used here is a variation of the Quick Boot Disk
      that was described in XXTB #32).
      When you create the M9BSF disk and restart your computer,
      you will see the following four choices in the startup menu:
         CURRENT    // reboot without switching
         ORIGINAL   // make the original (MAX) windows current and boot
         WIN_MINI   // make the minimum (MIN) windows current and boot
         DOS_PROMPT // stay in the DOS command prompt
       The switching between the original and the minimum Win9X
       environments is carried out by renaming the windows directories.
                                  Original Mode   <--->  Minimum Mode
         Original Win directory   C:\WINDOWS\     <--->  C:\WINDOWS.MAX\
         Minimum Win directory    C:\WINDOWS.MIN\ <--->  C:\WINDOWS\
        Note: Since WinME does not allow you to enter the Windows (GUI)
        environment directly from the initial DOS (7.1) stage, every
        time the windows directories are switched, an extra reboot is
        needed.  Windows 95, 98 and 98SE are much easier to work.
    Procedure overview (See the next section for detail).
      1.  Download the minwin9x.zip file for set of script files.
          All necessary script files are pre-configured.
      2.  Prepare the M9BSF disk by formatting a system diskette
          and add a few files by running MKM9BSF.BAT.
      3.  Create the minimum Win9X directory by running MKMIN9X.BAT
          which selectively copies files from the Win9X directory.
      4.  Reboot the system using the M9BSF disk and switch to
          the new mimimum Win9x environment for the initial test.
      5.  Further remove non essential files from the minimum Win9X
          directory.  If needed, restore the orignal Win9X directory.
    Step-by-step Instruction.
      1.  Boot up your computer into the Win9X (GUI) environment.
      2.  Download the following file,
            Unzip the downloded file, minwin9x.zip into the temporary directory
            (e.g., C:\MinWin9x that was created earlier as the working directory).
            You will find the following files:
             README.TXT    // a documemt file 
             WINSTATS.BAT  // show stats of the Windows directory
             MKM9BSF.BAT   // batch file to make the M9BSF disk
             MKMIN9X.BAT   // batch file to make the Minimum Windows directory
             MKMIN9X0.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 0)
             MKMIN9X1.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 1)
             MKMIN9X2.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 2)
             MKMIN9X3.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 3)
             MKMIN9X4.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 4)
             MKMIN9X5.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 5)
             MKMIN9X6.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 6)
             MKMIN9X7.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 7)
             MKMIN9X8.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 8)
             MKMIN9X9.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 9)
             MKMIN9XA.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step A)
             MKMIN9XB.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step B)
             M9XFILES.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by size)
             M9XFILEA.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by name)
             M9REFDIR.ZIP  // reference (skeleton) directory
      3.  Open a DOS Box ( Start > Run... [ command.com ] )
          In the remaining steps, I will provide the command line
          that you type at the DOS prompt.
      4.  Make the temporary directory that you created earlier current.
            run command:   CD  C:\MinWin9x
      5.  Format a blank diskette.
            run command:   FORMAT  A: /S
      6.  Run the MKM9BSF.BAT program in the current directory.
            run command:   MKM9BSF.BAT
            The batch file will create the following files:
            These files are created on-the-fly based upon the name of
            the current Windows 9X directory (set by WINDIR setting).
            The diskette will be ready for the next reboot.
      7.  Run the MKMIN9X.BAT program in the current directory.
            run command:   MKMIN9X.BAT
          The batch file program will invoke a series of XXCOPY
          commands using the command files saved in this directory. 
          When the batch file is successfully executed, the new
          minimum Win9x directory will be created. 
      9.  Reboot the system using the M9BSF disk.
          Make sure that the BIOS is configured to start from
          the diskette (A:) if not set accordingly.
     10.  You will find the following boot menu:
            CURRENT    // reboot without switching
            ORIGINAL   // make the original (MAX) windows current and boot
            WIN_MINI   // make the minimum (MIN) windows current and boot
            DOS_PROMPT // stay in the DOS command prompt
     11.  Select the WIN_MINI option and enter the new minimum Win9X
          environment.  Should you find the new environment unstable,
          you may reboot the system using the M9BSF disk and select
          the ORIGINAL option to go back to the full Win9X environment.
     12.  Ultimately, it will be most convenient if you make changes
          in the XXCOPY command files (MKMIN9X?.XCF) and recreate
          the minimum Windows directory from scratch.  The XCF file
          set will serve as self-documenting scripts which can be
          used again, or become a basis for further refinements. 
          To obtain the statistics on the current Windows directory,
          run the WINSTATS.BAT script.
          Another useful document can be generated by the following
          XXCOPY command:
            xxcopy %windir%\ /LZL/S/H/NP/Q2
    Refinement strategies:
      If you find, warning messages complaining a missing driver file,
      write the file name down and make necessary adjustments inside
      the Windows if you can.
      Alternatively, you may reboot and select the DOS_PROMPT option.
      At the clean DOS environment before entering Windows GUI, you may
      copy missing files from the original windows directory
      If you start this procedure from a Win9X system which has been
      in use for months, it is likely that the initial size of your
      minimum Windows directory may be 100 MB or more.  The first
      thing you need to do is to establish a stable Windows environment
      without encountering any warning/error message at the time of
      booting.  There are many approaches that you can take after the
      initial attempt to an optimally lean Windows directory.
      1. One of my suggestions to achieve the smallest Windows directory
         is to install a fresh Win9X directory using Microsoft's
         Install CD (choosing the minimum option).  The initial
         Windows directory size will be about 175 MB for Win98SE.
         By running the MKMIN9X.BAT program on the freshly installed
         Win9X directory, you should be able to further trim it down
         to less than 40 MB.  A fresh install of Win9X may take
         45-60 minutes.  But, it may well be quicker than any other
      2. Or, you may save some time if you study the reference files
         that are included in this package (also shown in XXTB #82.
           M9XFILES.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by size)
           M9XILESA.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by name)
         You should create a list of files in your Windows directory
         and go after large files.  The M9XFILES.TXT file will give
         you a convenient reference since it is sorted by the file
         size.  By going after the handful of largest files in
         the list, your early efforts should be rewarding.  But, as
         you go down the list of files, the return on investment in
         time will gradually decrease.
      3. Yet another method for consideration is to create a
         reference windows (skeleton) directory by unzipping the
         M9REFDIR.ZIP on your hard disk.  To conserve space, all
         the files in the reference directory are zero-byte files.
         You may use XXCOPY's advance feature to manipulate your
         Windows directory with the skeleton directory as a reference.
         For example the following 3-step procedure removes files
         that are 100 KB or more that are not found in the reference
         directory (the second step marks the selected files by
         Archive bit (A-bit) which will be used in the 3rd step).
           xxcopy  c:\windows\  /az/s         // clear the A-bit 
           xxcopy  c:\windows\  c:\m9refdir\  /aa/s/h/bb/sz:100k-
           xxcopy  c:\windows\  /rs/a/s/h/r   // remove files with A-bit
         Or, you may tag the files not in the reference directory
         by A-bit and use other tools such as TotalCommander to
         move files in-and-out of the directory for experiments.
           xxcopy  c:\windows\  /az/s         // clear the A-bit 
           xxcopy  c:\windows\  c:\m9refdir\  /aa/s/h/bb
      Due to the time constraints, the list of the files in my
      minimum Windows 98SE system is not the absolute minimum.
      If you find any of the files included in my list that is
      not essential to most computers, please let us know by
      posting message at the XXCOPY discussion group:
      Please do not send me Email asking technical questions
      regarding this procedure.  I encourage you to post your
      question in the discussion group.
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