Administrators who regularly build windows servers all have their own unique ideas about the post-install configuration settings that should be applied to a newly installed windows server. Listed below are of some of the more common settings, optimizations and performance tips I’ve seen over the years. The list focuses on windows server 2008 as its relatively new but can to some extent apply to older windows 2003 servers. Ive tried to keep the descriptions brief without the click by click instructions as most admins know this stuff off by heart. More than anything, this list can help to remind you of some of the things that can be done after a fresh installation of windows server 2008.
Normally set to blank with "On resume, display logon screen" checked.
If the server is a virtual machine you might want to disable the screen saver entirely to save some CPU resources. For further detail refer to the VMware KB articles Disabling the Windows logon screen saver
Disable sounds on the server. Select the "no sounds" scheme in the control panel. Alternatively, disable the sound card completely in the bios.
Configure which icons are shown on the desktop. Depending on which version of Windows 2008 your using this setting can be hard to find. Just type "desktop icon" in the start menu search box and you should see "show or hide common icons on the desktop".
Some common configurations:
Click "Apply to folders" when finished
The desktop.ini file on the desktop can be deleted
Open the properties of the C Drive and uncheck "Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties"
When prompted apply changes to the root of the drive only and not to subfolders
Run tsconfig from a command prompt (or find it in start-admin tools-remote desktop services menu) to configure the default options for all remote desktop connections to the server. You can mandate RDP client settings for colour depth, drive, printer and com port redirections etc..
Microsoft recommends leaving the power plan on balanced but this is something you will have to decide based on your server’s role and application requirements.
An extract from Microsoft's Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows 2008
"The default power plan for Windows Server 2008 is Balanced. This plan is optimized for maximum power efficiency; it matches computational capacity to computational demand by dynamically reducing or increasing CPU performance as workload changes. This approach keeps performance high while saving power whenever possible. For most scenarios, Balanced delivers excellent power efficiency with minimal effect on performance. Microsoft highly recommends using the default Balanced power plan, if possible."
To disable hibernation and delete the large hiberfil.sys file from the C drive open a command prompt as admin and type: powercfg -hibernate off
Microsoft recommends placing the pagefile and operating system files on separate physical disk drives. Place the pagefile on a drive that is not fault-tolerant. Note that, if the disk dies, a system crash is highly possible. If you place the pagefile on a fault-tolerant drive, remember that some fault-tolerant systems experience slow data writes because they write data to multiple locations.
Last but not least most admin like to defrag the C Drive after they’ve finished optimizing everything. Before running a defrag you might like to set the paging file to "no paging file" and reboot your server. After the defrag is complete you can re-enable the paging file and restart. This will allow for a full defrag of the C drive and the creation of a nice fresh pagefile on reboot.
This list is by no means a complete list of all the configuration and performance optimizations possible for Windows 2008. If you have any suggestions that you think should be included feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Windows server 2008, installation, configuration, optimization, performance, checklist