Alexander’s Blog

October 12, 2013

How to Turn Off Hibernation on Windows Desktop Computers

by @ 8:43 am. Filed under Articles, Tips & Tricks, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista

The hibernation feature is normally used on Windows laptop computers but can also be used on Windows desktop computers, such as Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 clients or Windows Server 2008/2012, etc. The system creates a file in the root of drive C called hiberfil.sys. The size of the file is approximately equal to the amount of RAM in the system. When the computer uses the hibernation feature, it saves all the information that is in the computer memory into the hiberfil.sys file and then shuts down. When you power on the computer it uses the information in the hiberfil.sys file to start fairly quickly and all your applications are running exactly the way they were when you put your computer into hibernation. There are some advantages (mostly on laptops) and disadvantages of this feature but I won’t go into those details in this article.

If you are not using this feature, you should disable hibernation because it wastes a lot of disk space. For example, if you have 16GB of RAM in your computer, it will create approximately a 16GB hiberfil.sys file in the root of the drive where the operating system is installed (by default on drive C). I said approximately, because your mileage may vary. The size of the hiberfil.sys file is not always going to match with the amount of RAM on the newer operating systems, such as Windows 8. However, on Windows XP the size of hiberfil.sys file is very close to the amount of RAM.

For most users the hiberfil.sys file on the desktop computers is a junk file wasting disk space but you can’t delete the file unless you turn off hibernation. On Windows XP, you can simply turn it off on the Hibernate tab under the Power Options in Control Panel. However, even if you turn off hybrid sleep in the GUI on a Windows 8 computer, it doesn’t get rid of the hiberfil.sys file. You have to turn it off using the powercfg.exe command as described at the end of this article. The powercfg.exe command works on all Windows XP and later operating systems.

NOTE: Hiberfil.sys file is a system, hidden file. You need to display hidden files to view this file. On Windows 8/8.1 you can check the box for Hidden items on the View tab in Windows File Explorer.

Disabling Hibernation

  1. Start Command Prompt as Administrator and type the following command.
    powercfg.exe /hibernate off

Enabling Hibernation

  1. Start Command Prompt as Administrator and type the following command.
    powercfg.exe /hibernate on

When you turn of the hibernation, the hiberfil.sys file is immediately deleted from the hard drive. Turning it on will create the file.

Copyright ©2013 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.

May 1, 2013

Microsoft’s Billion Dollar Products

by @ 1:24 pm. Filed under Dev, Microsoft Office, News, Office 365, SharePoint, SQL Server, Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP

Microsoft has several products that are generating good revenue for their business. Mary Jo Foley recently published this article that has more details. Most of the heavy hitters are big names but SharePoint definitely stands out.

There are over dozens products in this select group that generate over a $1 billion a year in sales for Microsoft, including the following products listed in alphabetical order.

    1.  Azure
    2.  Developer Tools
    3.  Dynamics (ERP & CRM)
    4.  Office
    5.  Online display and search advertising.
    6.  SharePoint (crossed the $2 billion mark in 2012)
    7.  SQL Server
    8.  System Center
    9.  Unified Communications
    10. Windows
    11. Xbox

    SharePoint is supposedly the only product that have crossed the $2 billion mark. If I am not mistaken, SharePoint was also the first product to cross the $1 billion in sales. You can bet all the tea in China that Office365 will be added to this list shortly.

    For more information on this topic, check out Mary Jo Foley’s article. She also has some other interesting stuff in her article.

    March 3, 2013

    Unable to Turn on Network Discovery on Windows 7 or Windows 8?

    by @ 11:47 am. Filed under Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

    Here’s a scenario that several people have run into, both on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Hopefully the following solution will help.


    On your Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer you go to Control -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change advanced sharing settings. You expand the private section by clicking on the down arrow. You check the box “Turn on network discovery” and then save the changes. You assume the changes are saved but if you go back to verify, the settings are reverted back and the network discovery is turned off.


    1. Ensure the following services are running and are configured to start automatically in the services Console (services.msc):

    2. If you are still having problems, repeat the above steps for SSDP Discovery and UPnP Device Host services to ensure they are running and configured to start automatically.

    You should now be able to turn on network discovery for your Private network. For security reasons, do not turn on network discovery for Public networks. After you save the changes, go back and verify that it stays turned on. There is no need to reboot your computer after you start the above services but in some cases you may have to turn your firewall on first, make the above changes and then start the firewall if necessary.

    November 11, 2012

    How to Find the Largest Files on Your Windows Computer

    by @ 12:16 pm. Filed under Articles, Scripting, SharePoint, SQL Server, Tips & Tricks, Tools/Utils, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8

    When working with Windows computers, especially Windows servers, I often run into situations where the hard drive is running out of disk space. In fact, I have often seen drives literally have no available space on a SharePoint or SQL server. There are too many reasons why a drive can run out of space, or continue to run out of space even if you keep freeing more disk space. In this article I won’t be going into the details of the reasons why drives run out of space but I can tell you that trace logs, SharePoint_Config_log.ldf file on SharePoint 2010, and cache files in %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache folder on the server and PST files, temporary files, and thumbnails, eating up the disk on the workstation are a few common reasons. I have also blogged about other reasons in the past. The purpose of this article is to show you how to find out the size of some of the largest files on your computer so you can take action and delete them if they are not needed.

    Not all large files are needed. If they are not needed then there is no sense in keeping them on your computer. Obviously, you can delete a lot of small junk files but The question is how to find out which are the largest files. A simple way to find out the size of the largest files is to write a PowerShell script. You can then pipe the results of the script to a file and look at them one by one. Here’s a sample script that will display in GB the 5 largest files on your server or workstation. You can change the number 5 at the end of the script to display more or fewer large files.

    @echo off
    Powershell -noexit “Get-PSdrive  | where { $_.Used -gt 0 } | foreach { Get-ChildItem $_.Root -recurse -force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue | Select Name,DirectoryName, @{Label=’Size’;Expression={($_.Length/1GB).ToString(‘F04′)}} | Sort Size -descending | select -first 5}”

    1. Paste the above script in Notepad.
    2. Save the file as a batch file (File, Save As, change “Save as type” to All files, click Save). Give it a name like Top5largestFiles.bat. Make sure you use the .bat extension, otherwise it will not execute as batch file.
    3. Start the Command Prompt as an Administrator.
    4. Go to the folder where you saved the batch file.
    5. Type the name of the batch file (e.g. Top5largestFiles). It’s optional to type the .bat at the end of a batch file because the system automatically knows that it’s an executable file.
    6. Wait a while because the batch file needs to go through every file on your computer. The results will be displayed in GB.
    7. You can also pipe the results into a text file if for some reason you want to save the results as a reference for future use. For example, type
      5ToplargestFiles > largefiles.txt
      This will send the results into a text file called largestfiles.txt.
    8. Once you know which files are the largest files you can go through them and see if some of them can be deleted. Obviously, you have to have certain level of knowledge to understand which files are safe to delete.

    As an example, on a SQL Server 2008 R2 if you run out of disk space, you can delete the file that ends with _blobs.bin (e.g. a368b368b28d9265_blobs.bin) in the %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache folder. According to Microsoft, this file is used by Windows Update mechanism and it is safe to delete this file. However, do not delete or mess with any other files in the WinSxS foder. Even if you delete all the files in the ManifestCache folder, they may appear later after a Windows Update or a reboot but will likely be not as large. Just keep an eye on these files and deleted them when necessary. Here a post from Joseph Conway on TechNet that describes in detail what the WinSxS folder is all about. Unfortunately, there is no known solution to this problem of Windows servers and workstations running out of disk space. Until Microsoft comes up with a solution, here’s a workaround.

    Here’s how you can delete files in the Windows\WinSxS\ManifestCache folder.

    1. Run the above batch file to find out the top 5 largest files.
    2. If the files in the ManifestCache folder are among the largest files then use the following commands.
    3. Run Command Prompt as an Administrator.
    4. Run the command “net stop trustedinstaller” without the quotes to stop the Windows Modules Installer service. If your OS is running this service then make sure you wait for it to stop, if it’s not running and you get the message “The Windows Modules Installer service is not started” then go to the next step.
    5. Type EXIT to get out of the PowerShell command and run the command “takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*” without the quotes at the Command Prompt to take the ownership of the folder. This step is necessary because you must take ownership of the folder before giving the Administrators proper permission.
    6. If you get an error it’s likely because you ignored the first part of the previous step and ran the command inside PowerShell (if your prompt starts with PS then you are in the PowerShell command). If you run the command in PowerShell you will get the message “ERROR: The system cannot find the path specified.”
    7. Run the command “Icacls %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\* /grant Administrators:f” without the quotes to grant Administrators Full Access permissions to the folder.
    8. The last step is to delete the files in the ManifestCache folder. Run the command “del /q %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*” without the quotes.
    9. Restart the Windows Modules Installer service by typing “net start trustedinstaller” without the quotes.

    Scheduling Cleanup of ManifestCache folder

    The ManifestCache folder will continue to grow in the future but you can create a batch file to cleanup the content occasionally. I would recommend that you clean up the folder only if you need disk space because the cache files will improve performance. This solution is for people who are in desperate need of additional disk space. Here’ a batch file that I use on my SharePoint 2010 server and my SQL Server 2008 R2 server. I saved the content of this batch file in Notepad and named the file CleanManifestFolder.bat. I run this file at the elevated Command Prompt.

    @echo off
    net stop trustedinstaller
    takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*
    Icacls %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\* /grant Administrators:f
    del /q %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*
    net start trustedinstaller

    You can also schedule to run this file with Task Scheduler if necessary.

    Disk Cleanup Tool

    At this point you may want to go through additional files and delete them if they are safer to delete. On some operating systems, such as Windows 7, you also have the option Disk Cleanup on the drive properties. However, this tool is designed to delete only certain types of files that are safe to delete, such as downloaded program files, temporary Internet files, setup log files, temporary files, thumbnails, etc. It won’t find other files that can be very large and often useless. I still encourage you to go through these and delete them. Especially, the temporary files and thumbnails. I noticed that on my PC, the thumbnails were 79MB but the temporary files were a whopping 13.7GB. Your mileage may vary but the results may surprise you.

    Copyright ©2012 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.

    February 4, 2012

    How to Delete Inactive Profiles on Windows 7

    by @ 9:38 am. Filed under Tools/Utils, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

    A few years ago I wrote this article Deleting Old User Profiles in Windows 2000/XP/2003 about a User Profile Deletion utility called DelProf.exe. This tool is part of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit. Because it was written for older operating systems it won’t work on Windows Vista or later operating systems.

    Lucky for us, Microsoft MVP Helge Klein has written a successor utility called DelProf2 that works with newer operating systems, such as Windows 7. DelProf2 works with Windows XP/2003/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 2008/Windows 2008R2.

    DelProf2 will even handle profiles that use long paths (i.e. MAX_PATH values of longer than 260). This tool is great if you want to get rid of old profiles that are taking disk space. It will delete all profiles except the current profile. It will leave the necessary system profiles (e.g. Default profile) alone. Default profile is used by the operating system to create a profile for a new user by making a copy of the Default profile. You also have the option to delete locally cached copies of roaming profiles or delete older profiles that have not been used for a certain period of time, such as older than 90 days.

    Here is the syntax used by DelProf2.

    Usage: delprof2 [/u] [/q] [/i] [/p] [/r] [/c:[\\]<computername>] [/d:<days>]
           /u   Unattended (no confirmation)
           /q   Quiet (no output and no confirmation)
           /i   Ignore errors, continue deleting
           /p   Prompt for confirmation before deleting each profile
           /r   Delete local caches of roaming profiles only, not local profiles
           /c   Delete on remote computer instead of local machine
           /d   Delete only profiles not used in x days
           /l   List only, do not delete (what-if mode)

    Helge has some nice examples on his site. You can use DelProf2 to delete inactive profiles remotely (including Windows 7 computers) using their IP addresses.

    DelProf2 is a free utility that can be downloaded from Helge’s Web site here. While you are at it, you might want to check out some additional tools that he has written.

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