Whether you want to buy a tiny SSD or run an older system that has a hard time handling Windows 7, slimming it down can be beneficial. Apart from making your computer run faster, it can greatly improve your Windows installation time. Also, you get less clutter, since you can remove all the features that you don’t find useful.
So, how to slim down Windows 7? You need to use a Windows disk image modifier app to customize your Windows 7 installation file. Alternatively, you can trim down the apps you don’t need after installation. However, the former method offers more customizations, thus ensuring the slimmest Windows installation possible.
Benefits of Slimming Down Windows 7
Before we jump on how you can slim down your Windows 7, here’s when and why you should do it in the first place.
1. Improved Performance
By removing unnecessary components and reducing the overall size of the operating system, you can potentially improve the performance of your system. This can result in faster boot times, reduced resource usage, and smoother overall operation.
2. Enhanced Stability
Slimming down Windows 7 can help minimize the chances of conflicts or compatibility issues with hardware and software. Removing unnecessary features and components can create a more stable and reliable environment for your system to operate in.
3. Reduced Disk Space Usage
Windows 7, by default, installs a wide range of components and features that may not be necessary for every user. By slimming down the operating system, you can free up disk space, allowing you to utilize it for other purposes or store more data.
4. Customization and Tailoring
Slimming down Windows 7 allows you to customize the installation according to your specific needs. You can choose which features and components to remove or keep, optimizing the operating system to suit your requirements. This level of customization can result in a more streamlined and efficient system.
5. Security Enhancement
By removing unnecessary components, you potentially reduce the attack surface and minimize potential vulnerabilities. Fewer features mean fewer entry points for malicious actors, which can enhance the overall security of your system.
Slimming Down Windows 7: Without A New Installation
Now that you know what benefits slimming down your Windows 7 can bring you, here’s how to do it. For users who already are using Windows 7 and don’t want to go through the hassle of backing up all their data to install a new copy of Windows, you need to trim down your existing Windows.
- Clean Up Your Drives
When your hard drive, especially the root directory starts filling up, one of the first things you should do is to clean up your drives. To do it, right-click on the drive letter and select properties. Then from the next window, click on Disk Cleanup. Now tick all the boxes and then click on Ok.
This will clean up all the temporary files your computer has gathered over the years. Additionally, for deep cleaning, you can use any free disk cleaning utility by downloading from the internet.
- Remove Unnecessary Applications
For this method, we recommend using any third-party app uninstaller from the internet. Why? Because, by using the default uninstaller in Windows 7, you won’t be able to uninstall most of the preinstalled programs.
Remove anything and everything that you don’t use to slim down your Windows 7 to the maximum. Normally, you can expect to recover 1-3 GB of disk space if you manage to uninstall most of the bloatware.
- Reduce Restore Point Allocation
By default, Windows 7 reserves 5 percent of the drive for restore points. For a 120 GB SSD, that amounts to 5.6 GB. This is a lot. And if you calculate all the drives in your system, you can easily free up 10 to 15 GB or even more.
To reduce the restore point allocation you need to access this setting.
- Search for “Restore Point” in the Start menu, and click on the “Configure” button in the System Properties window under the System Protection tab.
- In the System Protection for Local Disk window, move the slider to adjust its value.
- Set it to the lowest value allowed by your system.
- Disable Hibernation
If you are using Windows 7 on a laptop, depending on the size of your RAM, the hibernation feature can eat up several gigabytes of space on your disk. So, if you don’t use it, disable hibernation to regain that space.
You can disable it by typing “powercfg -h off” in the command prompt (search for “cmd” in the Search box and press Enter). This will remove the hiberfil.sys file which, again, can be several gigabytes in size.
Slimming Down Windows 7: With New Installation
With the above-mentioned methods, you can save up a significant amount of disk space. However, if you are running an older system, that might not be enough for you. So, here’s how you can slim it down to the maximum. For this, you need to use tools like BuClean or RT Seven.
1. Using BuClean
To create a smaller version of Windows 7 that can fit on a small drive using BuClean, first, you need to download it. It is also suitable for Windows Vista and Windows 8 and has a user-friendly interface. Here’s how you use it:
- Make sure you have a legal copy of Windows 7 and Microsoft’s Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) installed. You can also download it through the prompt that appears when you run the BuClean Suite.exe for the first time.
- After launching BuClean Suite, select the first option, 7Customizer, and follow the prompts. Make sure you have your Windows 7 installation disc inserted and choose the output location. Once completed, you can start customizing your installation.
- Activate the menus on the left by check-marking the Components and Customizations boxes. On the Remove Components tab, follow the instructions provided by the wizard to add or remove elements of Windows 7 according to your preferences. This will help create a slimmed-down version suitable for installation on small-sized SSDs.
- Finally, you can choose to build an ISO file for a disc installation or use the ISO It and Flash It options for installation via USB. The slimmed-down Windows 7 will be available in a directory called Windows7Source on the drive you selected earlier.
2. Using RT Seven
RT Seven is a popular BuClean alternative that can do more or less the same thing. Here’s how to use it after downloading it from the internet:
- Open RT Seven and choose the ‘Express Install’ option and click ‘Next’ on the following screens to proceed. Make sure you have your Windows installation disc ready.
- Create a temporary folder on your desktop, such as “Win7 Lite,” to extract and edit your Windows 7 disc files. You can delete this folder later.
- If you have a Windows 7 physical disc, create an ISO using ISO Recorder. Install it, right-click your DVD drive, select ‘Create image from CD/DVD,’ choose a path, and click ‘Next.’
- In RT Seven Lite, select the temporary folder as the extract path. When it asks you to configure the image, choose the correct Windows version. If you want to include SP1, check the ‘Slipstream Service Pack‘ box to include it.
- Click the ‘Task’ button in the left sidebar to begin customization. Choose which parts of Windows to customize using the corresponding checkboxes on the page.
- Under ‘Integration,’ select the specific updates you need for the installation. Go to the appropriate tab, click ‘Add,’ and navigate to C:\Windows\Software Distribution\Download to select the updates.
- Use the ‘Remove Features‘ section to remove applications and features from Windows to make it more lightweight. The left box allows you to permanently remove apps, while the right box lets you disable certain features. You’ll find descriptions on the side if you’re unsure about any program or feature.
- Make final changes in the ‘Tweaks‘ tab. There are ten categories to choose from, the ‘Services‘ category is the most important one to reduce size. You can use the ‘Un-attended‘ tab to enter your product key for automatic activation.
- In the ‘Log‘ section, click ‘Commit‘ to apply all the changes in the temporary folder. It may take some time, depending on your modifications. You can click ‘Export settings‘ to save your tweaks for future edits.
- Go to the ‘ISO-Boo-table‘ section to create a custom installation disc or USB. Choose the mode (‘Direct burn (DVD),’ ‘Create image (ISO file),’ or ‘USB bootable’), give the volume a name, and click ‘Finish.’
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – FAQs
How do you speed up Windows 7 to make it faster & smoother?
Apart from cleaning up your disk every once in a while, you can disable unnecessary startup programs, disable search indexing and defrag your hard drive to make it run faster and smoother.
How do I optimize Windows 7 for gaming maximum performance?
To get the best gaming performance from your Windows 7 computer, open Power Options from the Control Panel and select High Performance.
By most estimates, you can run Windows 7 comfortably on a disk that’s as small as 8 GB. You just need to make the right adjustments. Take your time to read and understand what features and apps you don’t use or can go by without using. Then remove them all. Alternatively, if you don’t want to install Windows again, disable system hibernation and restore point. And remember to use Disk Cleanup from time to time.