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Keeping a Win7 NT7 trading laptop in optimal condition
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Keeping a Win7 NT7 trading laptop in optimal condition

  #1 (permalink)
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Keeping a Win7 NT7 trading laptop in optimal condition

I've got a Windows 7 laptop for running NinjaTrader 7 and IB TWS. It's about 18 months old now and is beginning to show signs that the operating system needs some careful maintenance.

I'd appreciate it if everybody in the same situation could add their best tips and advice.

So far I can identify a ton of different areas where I should set up a regular maintenance regime, but I only have a few solutions in place at this point in time.
  1. OS updates - automatic in Win7
  2. Windows system back-up - OS install disk, rescue disk, and backup disk images
  3. Data back-up - there's an interesting thread with a ton of suggestions: disaster-strikes-backup-your-data
  4. Defragment hard drive
  5. Windows Registry - does this need anything? I've seen programs that do stuff to it, like Symantec but is it good or is it just scareware?
  6. Anti-virus software - Firefox now has one built-in and I don't use Outlook or use less-than-100% verifiable exe files
  7. Hard drive integrity - chkdsk?
  8. Hardware tests, e.g. memory tests - can you ever pre-empt OS failures by testing hardware like this?
  9. Laptop anti-theft location detector software. I use Absolute Lo-Jack, but it keeps failing to run, annoyingly.

Is there any more built in to Windows 8? Haven't upgraded and don't think on this laptop.

I must have forgotten some stuff - any suggestions?

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  #2 (permalink)
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Adamus View Post
I've got a Windows 7 laptop for running NinjaTrader 7 and IB TWS. It's about 18 months old now and is beginning to show signs that the operating system needs some careful maintenance.

I'd appreciate it if everybody in the same situation could add their best tips and advice.

So far I can identify a ton of different areas where I should set up a regular maintenance regime, but I only have a few solutions in place at this point in time.
  1. OS updates - automatic in Win7
  2. Windows system back-up - OS install disk, rescue disk, and backup disk images
  3. Data back-up - there's an interesting thread with a ton of suggestions: disaster-strikes-backup-your-data
  4. Defragment hard drive
  5. Windows Registry - does this need anything? I've seen programs that do stuff to it, like Symantec but is it good or is it just scareware?
  6. Anti-virus software - Firefox now has one built-in and I don't use Outlook or use less-than-100% verifiable exe files
  7. Hard drive integrity - chkdsk?
  8. Hardware tests, e.g. memory tests - can you ever pre-empt OS failures by testing hardware like this?
  9. Laptop anti-theft location detector software. I use Absolute Lo-Jack, but it keeps failing to run, annoyingly.

Is there any more built in to Windows 8? Haven't upgraded and don't think on this laptop.

I must have forgotten some stuff - any suggestions?

You have covered many good steps already. I would suggest using some software which automates most of maintenance, cleaning and optimization work for the laptop, such as "Tune Up Utilities - TuneUp Utilities 2013 | Speed Up and Optimize Your PC ".

No need to go for exactly this above mentioned software, I have shared the link just to give an idea about it. I am sure there would be some free alternatives for this work.

Malwarebytes Malwarebytes : Free anti-malware download and cccleaner CCleaner - PC Optimization and Cleaning - Free Download are also good for keeping the machine clean .

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  #3 (permalink)
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Definitely don't upgrade to Win 8. A trading computer is not the place to be on the bleeding edge. You want to run your software on a stable, proven OS. It wouldn't surprise me if there's various issues with running both NT and TWS on Windows 8 at this time.

This one is probably obvious, but do a full Ninjatrader backup (File/Utilities/Backup) before doing anything drastic.

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  #4 (permalink)
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Ok, I'll add Malware scanner to the list.

Plus I'll make sure the registry cleaner I end up with has a registry defragger.

I'm not sureautomating it would work for me. I just realised I had the Windows defragger set to run every Wednesday night at 1:00AM but I can't ever remember actually leaving my laptop on deliberately on Wednesday evenings.

I'm going to use the thread summary entry to keep the list of tasks and the software needed.
[EDIT] Ok there is no Quick summary. Must a journals-only type thing.

I'll just add the extra stuff I found here.

In Win7 Control Panel / Performance Information and Tools, there is a menu option "Open disk cleanup". Clicking this opens a drive selection dialog and choosing the C: drive allows you to remove temp files, log files, empty the recycle bin and so on.

Running chkdsk is sub-optimal. It won't run immediately on the C: drive presumably because it's the boot drive and allows you to schedule a chkdsk run for the next reboot. Running it on the D: drive though is just not possible without agreeing to a forced dismount. Pretty annoying that the Windows OS coders didn't set it up to allow the D: drive chkdsk to be scheduled for boot time as well.

Maybe I can do it manually - can I boot into the command line somehow when I start up and run chkdsk at the prompt? That would be the way I'd choose.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

Last edited by Adamus; January 30th, 2013 at 07:43 AM.
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  #5 (permalink)
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Posts: 1,085 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 470 given, 778 received

Got another problem that I haven't covered by anything above so far.

The laptop keeps getting really hot. I had to buy a laptop cooler to go under it over summer.

I thought there might be any number of random useless bits of bloatware causing extra CPU cycles on my machine now that it's 3 years old, but I haven't found anything in my searches and scans.

One thing just occurred to me - it might be dust inside the machine. Has anyone ever taken their laptop apart to clean it out, and was it worth it?

The other solution would be to re-install everything from the ground up but I'd have to find the time somehow which won't be easy. Maybe I will do though, since my whole backup strategy with BackupPC is essentially untested. I'll make some DVD backups just in case, and see if I can do a full restore.

Just for the record, I'm doing this for my maintenance:
  1. once a month, reboot to the system DVD and run chkdsk at the command line on both drives and the Win7 memory hardware test
  2. leave the laptop running overnight Wednesdays for when I've scheduled automatic defrags
  3. leave the laptop running Friday nights for BackupPC to do its backup
  4. once a month, run CCleaner on the registry, caches, temp folder etc to clear out all the chaff

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
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