|Published Date: Wednesday, 05/05/04
Last Updated: Friday, 10/22/04
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On May 4th, 2004, at the WinHEC 2004 engineering conference, Microsoft unveiled Windows Code-Named "Longhorn", Build 4074. This build has a number of improvements over the previous version, Build 4051, which was released in October 2003 at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC 2003). People who attended the PDC will be pleased to know that the product keys recieved at that conference will successfully activate this build. The downside to Longhorn is the massive memory consumption issues. WinFS, the new database storage technology, uses upwards of 200MB of RAM, and can easily slow down a system. With this guide, we will show you how to optimize Longhorn to achieve a large performance increase.
Longhorn System Requirements
While Microsoft have not officially published requirements for Longhorn this is what we would reccomend as the minimum for a smooth running Longhorn:
- 1 GHz Intel Pentium III Processor or higher; AMD Athlon family of Processors
- 512MB of RAM
- 6GB of free hard disk space
Note: Don't e-mail us if you have it running on a lower spec system, we don't care. This is just a guideline and what our tests have proven to be the minimum usable spec without occasional freeze ups and overall slow performance.
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Longhorn Installation Reccomendations
First and foremost, an excellent resource for Longhorn installation tips as well as a list of known issues is the following Microsoft KB Article:
One tip from that Article that is crucial is letting Longhorn sit for ONE HOUR after install has completed and logged in as Administrator. It needs this time to index the help files as well as index a whole slew of other things that weren't taken care of at compile time. It is very important that this is done and according to our tests it reduces the memory leaks, especially in explorer.
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Uninstall Un-needed Windows Components
Longhorn by default ships with a lot of new technologies turned on by default. The problem with this is that some people don't have the appropriate hardware to take advantage of these technologies, and as a result, they are consuming resources that could be used elsewhere. Also, some components, such as WinFS, use a lot of memory for no apparent reason. In this section we will show you how to remove such un-necessary items.
First, we will need to modify SYSOC.INF. This file tells the Add/Remove Programs applet what components can be removed by end users. By removing the "HIDE" text from this file, all options become available for us to modify as we see fit.
To do this, click Start, Run. Type "notepad C:\WINDOWS\INF\SYSOC.INF". Press OK.
In the Notepad window, click Edit, Replace. In the "Find what" box, type HIDE. Leave the "Replace with" box empty. Next, click Replace All.
Save the file and close Notepad.
Click Start, Control Panel. Click "Add/Remove Programs".
In the Add/Remove Programs dialog, on the left side, click "Add/Remove Windows Components".
In the Windows Component Selection window, uncheck the following items:
- Biometric Base Components
- Biometric Logon Support
- MSN Explorer
- Location Discovery
- RsFx Service
- Windows File System Services
- Windows Messenger (Both Entries)
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Disable Un-needed Services
Longhorn has some new system services, some of which can cause slowdowns and lockups. To speed up Longhorn, we will want to disable a number of services. To do this, follow these instructions:
Click Start, Run. Type "services.msc" and press OK.
To disable a service, double click on it. Under the "Startup Type" field, select "Disabled".
Disable the following services:
- Automatic Updates
- Base Firewall Engine
- Castle Discovery
- Digital ID Management Service
- Error Reporting Service
- Font Cache Service
- Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
- IPSEC Services
- Logon Hours
- Offline Files Service
- Parental Control Auditing
- Remote Registry Service
- Smart Card
- Smartcard Removal Policy
- SSDP Discovery Service
- System Maintenance Service
- System Restore Service
- Universal Plug and Play Device Host
- Virtual Disk Service
- Windows Event Forwarding
It is recommended that you restart your computer after this step.
Also, for all of the lazy people out there who don't want to manually disable the services, we have made a batch file that disables and then stops the services for you. Download the batch file HERE.
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Windows Explorer: Performance Options
Click Start, right click on "Computer", and click Properties.
Click on the Advanced tab. Under Performance, click Settings.
Uncheck these options:
- Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
- Fade or slide menus into view
- Fade or slide tooltips into view
- Fade out menu items after clicking
- Show preview and filters in folder (disabling this is CRUCIAL!)
- Show shadows under menus
- Slide open combo boxes
- Slide taskbar buttons
- Use a background image for each folder type
Close the Performance Options & System Properties dialogs.
Click Start, Run. Type "control folders". Press OK.
Click the View tab. Modify the settings as shown below.
- Automatically search for network folders and printers
- Choose smart icon size when opening new windows
- Display simple folder view in Explorer's Folders list
- Use Domain Folder Sharing Wizard
- Use Simple File Sharing
- Launch folder windows in a separate process
- Show text filenames instead of ink titles
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Windows Explorer: Fixes
New Folders - IMPROVED!
The Windows shell, also known as Explorer, is somewhat buggy in this build. For instance, the "New Folder" command in just about every area of the operating system doesn't work. It is a very weird bug, but we do have a fix.
Create a reg file using Notepad with the following in it:
Remove the Search & Help and Support Icons from the Desktop
For some unknown reason, after using Longhorn for a certain amount of time, two new icons will appear on your desktop. They are Search, and Help and Support. Normally, you cannot delete these. But we have found a way to remove them, by modifying the registry.
WARNING: Modifying the registry incorrectly can cause problems and system instabilities. Please be careful.
Click Start, Run, and type "regedit". Press OK.
Delete the following keys from the registry:
Remove the Unneeded Icons from My Computer - NEW!
Providing you have WinFS disabled then there is a slew of icons in the Computer window that you don't even need. Delete the following registry keys to remove them:
Folders In A Separate Process - NEW!
Earlier in this tweak guide we told you to check the option to launch folder windows in a seperate process. But this simply isn't enough because anything launched off the desktop, or launched from the run box runs in the main process which is what we definately don't want happening. The following patch will fix this problem. Download the zip file, run the batch, say yes to merging the registry file and you're good to go!
Note: Folders on the desktop will still run in the main process but everything else has been fixed (Computer window etc...).
File Searching In Longhorn - NEW!
File searching in Longhorn build 4074 is buggy at best. Especially with the new search interface in this build. No more option for classic search like there was in 4053. In order to effectively search in 4074 a seperate search application is needed. We reccomend Effective File Search which can be found at http://www.sowsoft.com/. This is a great tool that can search for files extremely fast.
This can also be replaced as the program that opens when clicking search in the start menu. Just use gameguy's Start Panel Editor which can be found on the Neowin forums to do it. Since the program looks for Service pack 1 copy the following and merge it into the registry (This might even fix compatibility issues with apps that look for XP SP1):
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
"CSDVersion"="Service Pack 1"
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Installing Windows Media Player 10 FINAL on Longhorn 4074 - NEW!
- Download the Windows Media Player 10 Technical Beta installer and save it to your hard disk.
- Extract the contents of the installer using a program such as WinZip or WinRAR. Extract them to anywhere you wish.
- Open the new folder containing the extracted files.
- Select all the INF files EXCEPT "WMP10.INF". Right click and choose install. If asked to restart, click No.
- Right click on WMP10.INF and click Install.
- Click Start > Run, and type "Regedit".
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Setup\InstalledVersions.
You will see three DWORD keys called "wmp.dll", "wmplayer.exe", and "wmploc.dll".
Change the value of all three keys to:
00 00 0A 00 3e 0e 00 00
- Run Windows Media Player. You should now see a screen welcoming you to Windows Media Player 10.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where can I download Windows “Longhorn”?
A: You can obtain Longhorn from the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) if you are an MSDN Universal subscriber.
Q: What is the full build number of Longhorn?
A: Windows® Code Name “Longhorn”
Evaluation Copy. Build 4074.idx02.040425-1535
Q: How do I change the “Registered User” information?
A: Click Start, Run. Type “regedit”.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion, and edit the "RegisteredOwner" and "RegisteredOrganization" keys to your liking.
Q: What Internet Browser do you suggest I use in Longhorn?
A: This is really up to your own preference. You could use Internet Explorer, Avant Browser, MyIE2, Opera, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, or other browsers.
Q: Why does Longhorn slow down after being logged on after a certain amount of time?
A: This issue is most likely caused from memory being swapped around. The simplest way to solve this is to log off or reboot.
Q: What Anti Virus applications work with Longhorn?
A: Norton AntiVirus 2004 and below do not work, 2005 Beta does however. We recommend you use Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 6.0, which has real-time protection, and is light weight (does not use a lot of system resources). AVG 6.0 Free Edition is available from http://www.grisoft.com
Q: What versions of Microsoft Office work under Longhorn?
A: Microsoft Office XP and 2003 work under Longhorn and have been tested. Office 2000 is compatible as well but has several issues.
Q: What editions of Longhorn will be available when it is completed?
A: Currently, there are planned versions of Home Edition, Professional, Tablet PC, and Media Center Edition.
Q: Where can I find a timeline of the Longhorn builds & leak dates?
A: You can find these around the internet, simply by searching Google. But, for our readers’ convenience, we have compiled an easy to follow timeline with most of the information you need at the end of this guide.
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Changes since build 4051 & 4053:
- New visual style titled "Jade", features a light blue color.
- There are many more sidebar tiles included in this release. For the list, see the section below titled "Sidebar Tiles List".
- The Windows Shell ("Windows Explorer") has been optimized and as a result, browsing your system is faster.
- Device Manager has been removed, Hardware and Devices has taken its place, and has a shortcut on the Start Menu.
- The Taskbar Properties dialog has been somewhat redone, with more options available to control the sidebar.
- There is a new shutdown button in the start menu. Windows will select the shutdown method that is best for your system (Stand by, Hibernate, etc). You can access the other options via a dropdown list which is found next to the shutdown button.
- The networking core in this build seems to be fixed.
- Drivers now seem to be required to have a signature for Longhorn; this build allows you to get around it though.
- The clock tile has been locked to the bottom of the sidebar; the tile now includes more faces, and an alarm feature.
- Notification History tile allows you to view previous notification items (EG: "14 days left for activation", etc).
- Checkboxes and radio buttons in Mozilla Firefox, Kazaa Lite, etc are now fixed.
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Known issues in this build
- Creating new folders using Windows Explorer does not work. See the section above entitled "Windows Explorer: Fixes" for a fix.
- Windows Explorer still consumes large amounts of memory with the sidebar on, although the memory leakage is not nearly as severe as it was in previous builds (4015, 4029, 4051, 4053).
- Synchronize tile does not work when WinFS is disabled.
- The basket tile doesn't really seem to serve a purpose in this build.
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Sidebar Tiles List
- Basket: This tile is used to store files that you want to send or copy. It is very similar to "My Briefcase" feature.
- Contacts: This tile displays your Windows Messenger contact list on the sidebar. WinFS and Windows Messenger 6 are required for proper function.
- News Feed: Displays news items from the Longhorn Developer Center on MSDN. You can change the feed this tile uses for use with other sites.
- Notification History: This tile displays all previous notifications.
- People Nearby: I am really not sure what this tile does but we are assuming it does what the name suggests; it displays contacts that are nearby and available.
- Clock: This tile by default has an analog face with the time and date below it. You can change the face to your liking by opening the Properties dialog for this tile. Also includes an alarm clock, and international time.
- Quick Launch: This tile displays the items in your Quick Launch folder (which is located in %userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch).
- Classic Tray: This tile displays the items that were once next to the clock on the taskbar. To access all the icons, click on the tile, and a flyout will appear.
- Slide Show: This tile displays a slide show of all the pictures contained in your “My Pictures” folder. This is great to enable if you have family photos that you enjoy to see.
- Sync: This tile is used for file synchronization. To work properly, this tile requires WinFS to be enabled.
- Power (Transient): This tile displays the status of a battery in a laptop computer. This tile will turn itself on when a laptop is running on battery power.
- Web Host Tile (Transient): This tile is a traffic webcam tile similar to what was seen in earlier builds. You need to set the Transient value to 0 in the registry in order for this tile to work.
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- Build 3683 – Leaked November 19, 2002. First public leak of Windows “Longhorn”. This build is from Lab 06; contained extras from the Avalon lab that are not seen in other builds (new display properties dialog box, etc). Some features were broken, such as Internet Explorer downloads.
- Build 4008 – Leaked February 28, 2003. Second leak. Contained a cleaner version of the “Plex” visual style; Internet Explorer downloads fixed, more sidebar tiles.
- Build 4015 – Leaked April 2003. Third Leak. We prefer to call this the build from hell. Not much different from 4008, except the new style taskbar was enabled by default and could only be disabled by turning off the sidebar. This build consumed HUGE amounts of memory in very little time.
- Build 4029 – Leaked September 23, 2003. Fourth leak. Displayed the beginnings of the new style Explorer windows, contained a new sidebar clock.
- Build 4051 – Leaked October 25, 2003. Released at the Professional Developer Conference, this build was supposed to be quite stable, as it was the first developer preview of Longhorn, but it ended up being horrible as far as being able to develop and test sidebar tiles went. It just leaked too much memory which hindered the ability to do anything useful with it. Introduction of the “Slate” theme, “Plex” was removed.
- Build 4053 – Leaked March 1, 2004. Explorer memory leak seems to have been fixed for the most part. More responsive than 4051.
- Build 4074 – Released at the WinHEC Engineering Conference on May 4, 2004. New features include the Jade theme, more sidebar tiles, etc.
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