Software image configuration report

This document has information about the software image in the computer-lab rooms, in the Winter 2016 term.

 

Background information

The Winter 2016 software image suffers from a lengthy delay – as long as a dozen minutes – between power-on and usability. During this time, the disk-in-use LED is solidly illuminated. This is the most important problem.

(also, info traded in January pointed the blame finger at Visual Studio)

 

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I will explain the challenge we face and why the decision was made to configure the software the way it currently is.

1. When an application is installed on windows, it adds a large amount of files in the defaultuser application data folder. This is the nature of windows.

2. When a student login to the PC, Windows creates a new profile for that user. Windows will copy the entire content of the defaultuser profile to the new user profile. If the defaultuser profile is 900mb and I login as Jason.Cousins then windows begin to copy the defaultuser profile to the jason.cousins profile directory. This process is quite timely and can take anywhere from 1 to 5 minute, depending on the size of the defaultuser profile.

3. Our goal is and as always been to reduce the size of the defaultuser profile thus enhancing the overall student experience. We’ve has several frustrated emails across the college about this issue.

4. We made the decision to trim the defaultuser profile to speed up the user login time to the machine. In your case for visual studio 2015 it stores al the user custom configuration into the default user profile. This is the same for products such as autocad, revit etc.

5. When we removed those visual studio files the login improved but every time your students launch visual studio it re-creates the missing custom configuration files.

6. Our choices was to pass the slow boot to all students in the campus or simply have your student wait an additional 1-2 minutes to reconfigure the application when launched.

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User Profiles

Several computers in rooms T3074 and T3076 were inspected during the second week of the term, on January 19 and 22.

It appears that there are nine (9) User Profiles that appear after login. See the list below. (The image is split in the middle, because I had to scroll, then crop.)

user-profiles-list-top

user-profiles-list-bottom

The Default Profile is 203MB. That was verified in File Explorer.

There are several profiles that begin with “NT SERVICE”. Do they play a role in the problem?

The logged-in user profile – SENEDS\peter.mcintyre – appears to be quite small, about 78MB.

What is the xxx\common user profile? It is huge – 2.61GB. Does it play a role in the problem?

 

File Explorer and TreeSize reports on the Users folder

In the Users folder, there are several folders of interest:

  • Logged-in user
  • Default user
  • “common” user

 

Logged-in user

Here’s the TreeSize report on the size of the %appdata% folder for the logged-in user (SENEDS\peter.mcintyre). Click the image to open it full-size in a new tab/window.

treesize-users-peter-appdata

A few observations:

For the logged-in user, %appdata% is 254MB in size (about 2400 files, 1700 folders). Of that, 219MB is in the Local profile (so the remaining 35MB are in the LocalLow and Roaming profiles).

Visual Studio is not the problem. It is only 6.2MB in size. This is consistent and comparable in size to two other computers I compared it with (my College laptop, and my home desktop).

 

Default user

Here’s the TreeSize report on the size of the folder for the Default user. Click the image to open it full-size in a new tab/window.

treesize-users-default-root

An observation:

It appears that %appdata% is 186MB in size. Again, it appears that Visual Studio is not the problem.

 

Common user

As asked above, does this user / User Profile play a role in the problem?

If this body of content needs to be processed at startup and login, then it would definitely contribute to the delay. However, if that’s the situation, then why is it necessary?

Here’s the File Explorer report on the size of the folder for the common user.

users-common

 

Here’s the TreeSize report on the size of the folder for the common user. Click the image to open it full-size in a new tab/window.

treesize-users-common-root

 

A few observations:

  • This folder is huge, 2.6 / 2.7 GB.
  • What is “.android”? Is it really necessary?

 

Now, let’s look at the common\AppData folder. Click the image to open it full-size in a new tab/window.

treesize-users-common-appdata

 

A few observations:

  • The LocalLow folder has 888MB. Huge.
  • What is the purpose of 400MB+ of Oracle Java stuff, and Sun Java stuff?
  • The Local folder is also huge, at 744MB.
  • Does Autodesk really need 328MB? for what?
  • The size of the Microsoft folder is consistent with the others above, so again, Visual Studio is not the problem.

Also, Chrome seems a bit high. Normally, it is configured to keep the current version, and the previous version. I also think they offer an installer that would put it into C:\Program Files, instead of in per-user %appdata%. Worth checking out.

 

Services report

I ran a Services report, and then exported it to a text file, then into an Excel workbook. Click to open it in Microsoft Excel.

Services

 

A few observations. First, there are a large number of services running. Do they need to run? Here’s a list of some that perhaps should not be running, in my view:

  • Dragon
  • Microsoft FTP Server
  • SQL Server and related services
  • VMWare services

Also, for the running services, can some be configured for manual triggered, or automatic delayed?

 

Autoruns report

I ran an Autoruns report. It was the largest report that I have seen in my experience.

The report was run with my account, which is a local administrator. I asked for it to report on the OS-level startup processes as well.

The result was exported in Autoruns’ “arn” format, which can then be imported into Autoruns. I did not go through it in depth, because there’s just too many startup items. However, spending an hour or so would be worthwhile, as I suspect that there are many tasks that could be startup-disabled.

Click to fetch the arn file, which is located on the College’s OneDrive infrastructure.

autoruns1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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