I know windows is known for getting bogged down, when lots of programs are installed and removed. I know you can do routine maintenence like registry cleaning, defragging (auto scheduled nowadays), removing temporary files, etc.
But I'm wondering are there any good practices, or preemptive actions to keep things tidy, and minimize performance issues for someone who wants to test out a large number of games and other software?
I'd say good practice would be not to do registry cleaning, at least not with automated "tune up" utilities.
If you're worried about software potentially breaking your install then the virtual machine suggestion is a good one. They won't be any use for games since 3D performance is generally poor but games are usually fairly self contained so they don't leave much behind when they're removed.
With moder Windows version, the real problem is not the registry, but the amount of small, random reads issued to the hard disk drive. If you install a software that preload it and/or attach itself to other softwares (eg: a search toolbar), these small read will greatly increase, slowing down the system.
If you use a SSD, the system will slow down much less than a similar system equipped with a classic HDD.
shodanshok wrote:With moder Windows version, the real problem is not the registry, but the amount of small, random reads issued to the hard disk drive.
Yup. And the above mentioned crapware is a major contributor to this, especially during system startup and login. Modern OSes do try to minimize the amount of disk thrashing during startup, but they don't control what 3rd party applications do.