Windows 10 Chia tips and tricks

I’m farming on Windows 10, the first time I used Windows in a decade and a half. It’s much improved, but still pretty horrible.

I just now learned that there’s a script that removes bloatware that drives me nuts. I figured out that I need to enable IP v6 for shares to work correctly, that I need to run Windows 10 pro to be able to remote terminal in (as well as turn on like 2-3 settings for it to work), that if you use a security key to create the account during a setup remote terminal will not accept passwords. I really wish I had the time to script everything – building Windows machines is an excersise in going “no no ohnonono” to everything it nags you about, but also “yes, please let me do this thing, I really insist” a dozen times.

Do you have any good Windows plotting tips?

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Let’s see… I mostly run Windows 10 Pro defaults on all my plotters. You for sure want Windows 10 pro so you can remote desktop in!

:mega: My primary protip is you can run Windows 10 pro unregistered essentially forever from what I can tell? Grey market keys for Windows 10 pro are around $30-$40 on kinguin and similar sites, if you want to be registered.

I’ve done a lot of searching and, all being unregistered does is kinda-sorta disable “desktop customization” but you can get around that via the registry and other methods if you really want to. It may disable Windows Update after a long, long time… many months… I’m not sure?

  • During setup, decline all invitations to set up an online login account and use local account.

  • After install, bring up task manager, switch to the startup tab, and disable anything there. Task Manager is awesome, so learn it, live it, love it… visit every tab, every nook and cranny, right click the graphs to turn on additional details, etc.

  • TURN OFF BITLOCKER ENCRYPTION – this can be the default on new installs and you don’t want or need it. Technically this should not be a perf problem, but why have variables when you don’t need them?

  • TURN OFF SLEEP! You don’t want plotters going to sleep due to “inactivity”

  • TURN OFF WINDOWS UPDATE! Well, click “postpone” for as long as it will let you, about a month or so.

  • Turn on DAILY optimization in Defragment and Optimize Drives. If you are plotting, you’ll want to run that SSD TRIM operation frequently.

  • Turn off disk sleep if you’re using spinny disks, it’s buried in the old school Power Options, Advanced Settings, Turn Off hard Disk After

  • Run the Disk Cleanup wizard after all your updates to free up a few gigabytes of space from old Windows updates.

  • Visit Add/Remove programs and uninstall anything you don’t want… I recall Spotify, OneDrive, and Skype mainly, that’s about it.

  • Don’t forget the EXCELLENT resource monitor! It is linked to from Task Manager but it’s so freaking great for seeing exactly where all your disk, cpu, network is going. Start, resmon.

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  • Learn all the Windows key shortcuts, there are a ton of them and they’re all great. Try +prtscrn, try +., etc.

For more personal stuff, I also like to

  • set powershell default font and scrollback buffers to very high numbers.

  • set pointer to large and inverse

  • set cursor size to large

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In my opinion you don’t need to disable Windows Antivirus (Windows Defender) since it’s only checking Windows itself, not any other hard drives where you are likely plotting and farming. But here’s a good walkthrough, if you want to:

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Those are the big ones, and I highly recommend removing Spotify, OneDrive, and Skype for sure … but going through the entire list of a clean Windows 10 Pro install, here’s what you can’t uninstall:

  • Alarms & Clock
  • App Installer
  • Camera
  • Cortana
  • Get Help
  • HEIF Image Extensions
  • Maps
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Microsoft Edge Update
  • Microsoft Photos
  • Microsoft Store
  • People
  • Webp Image Extensions
  • Xbox Game Bar
  • Your Phone

For these, the uninstall option is not available. Everything else in Settings → Home → Apps & Features can be uninstalled.

Oooh… I just noticed there are a whole bunch of things in “optional features” that can be uninstalled, like IE 11!

  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Math Recognizer
  • Microsoft Paint (this one is IMO useful)
  • Microsoft Quick Assist
  • Notepad (this one is IMO useful)
  • OpenSSH Client
  • Print Management Console
  • Steps Recorder
  • Windows Fax and Scan
  • Windows Hello Face
  • Windows Media Player
  • Windows PowerShell (DON’T remove this!!)
  • WordPad
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I like using this as a first pass for removing bloatware: https://www.pcdecrapifier.com/

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Added a note about removing bitlocker encryption – I didn’t even notice it, but this was the default on the new NUC installs!

In general bitlocker is a good thing, and perf diff is negligible on modern drives and modern CPUs, but we don’t need variables on our plotting machines.

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You can also use Resource Monitor to find the Chia process tied to which plots. That way you can kill a specific plotter as needed.

I’ve had to kill one because I misjudged my destination drive free space. Or, I need to reboot/update chia, and want to kill the plots that are less than 50% of the way through to just speed up the others so I can restart/reinstall.

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AHA! I found another area that needs scrubbing.

I was scheduling automatic copy of plots to dump drives, so I invoked our old buddy Task Scheduler… and what do I find there…

Bleh. The MS Edge tasks can remain (Microsoft’s fork of Chrome is actually, IMO, quite good and credible competition to Google) but the rest has gotta go.

  • Start, Task Manager
  • Expand the Task Scheduler Library folder
  • Select each task
  • Select Delete on the right hand side (not pictured)

And uninstalling OneDrive doesn’t get rid of all the onedrive tasks either! Lame.

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On the latest generation NUCs (10th gen) for some reason Win 10 pro defaulted to bitlocker on. I didn’t notice this until after the install! It didn’t happen on the earlier gen NUCs so there must have been a TPM module or something different about them. :man_shrugging:

In general you do want bitlocker (full disk encryption) on by default, it’s a good safety feature, the perf difference is negligible on a fast modern device, and phones have been default encrypted for a good long while now… even cheapie low-end Android phones have a way of doing full disk encryption these days, which is quite cool:

But for Chia plotting, you don’t want it. I had to go to settings and decrypt both the boot and the data (!) drives on my 10th gen nucs, because I didn’t notice it was on by default! The good news is it doesn’t take that long to decrypt because I had almost nothing on the disks. Like 10-20 mins max.

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I highly recommend installing two extra things on your Windows 10 plot rigs:

1) Visual Studio Code editor

For editing YAML files like config.yaml and viewing and searching your log files, it’s very handy:

2) Powershell 7

The latest and greatest version of powershell. Windows 10 ships with V5 but V7 has some new cool stuff, and it works side-by-side, so nothing breaks:

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Cool did not know about Powershell v7. Also windows terminal from the windows store is pretty cool it allows easy multi windows of say wsl2, powershell and regular cmd. GitHub - microsoft/terminal: The new Windows Terminal and the original Windows console host, all in the same place! (or just search in windows store for Windows Terminal)

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I added a note about running TRIM more often in “Defragment and Optimize Drives”

This is set to weekly by default which is probably not good enough for a heavy plotting box!

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Run (and schedule) TRIM from Powershell

Optimize-Volume -DriveLetter <your drive letter here> -ReTrim –Verbose

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Process Explorer and Process Monitor. Resource Monitor on steroids

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