Microsoft KB Archive/255771

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Article ID: 255771

Article Last Modified on 11/1/2006


  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition

This article was previously published under Q255771


This article describes how to minimize the installed size of Windows 2000 Professional. Note that this article applies only to Windows 2000 Professional, not to any Windows 2000 Server products.

In this article, the term "footprint" refers to the final amount of disk space used after installation is complete. There are several factors that can cause variances in this number: the file system type, disk geometry, sector size, and so on.


Unattended Installation

The first step in reducing the final footprint is to perform an unattended installation of Windows 2000 Professional and specify which optional components are not to be installed and how much space will be allocated to the Windows File Protection cache.

The easiest way to perform an unattended installation is to modify the sample unattended installation file that is included on the Windows 2000 Professional CD-ROM. The file is named Unattend.txt; it is located in the I386 folder. After you modify the file, save it as Winnt.sif on a floppy disk. If the Winnt.sif file is available on a floppy disk in the floppy disk drive when the installation starts, Windows 2000 Setup uses the file.

The installation can be fully automated, or you can use one of several alternate installation modes. However, to specify that optional components such as games, templates, Character Map, and other components not be installed, it is best to use the Full Unattended mode. For additional information about unattended Setup information, parameters, and deployment methods for Windows 2000, see the Unattend.doc file located in in the file in the Support\Tools folder on the Windows 2000 CD-ROM.

Open the sample Unattend.txt file on the Windows 2000 CD-ROM and add the following section header at the end of the file, if it does not exist:


In the [Components] section, add the following items based on which components you do not want installed:


If some of these items should be installed, exclude the items from the Winnt.sif file.

Windows File Protection

The next step in reducing the installation footprint is to limit the size of the Windows File Protection (WFP) cache. The WFP cache consists of a folder containing operating system files that are used to maintain Windows 2000 if an operating system file is overwritten or damaged. If a file is damaged or replaced, it is automatically replaced from this folder without any intervention. You can reduce this folder to a minimal size by adding the following section to the Winnt.sif file on the floppy disk:


This setting makes the file cache as small as possible. If a protected operating system is damaged or replaced and WFP does not have a cached source, you are prompted for the Windows 2000 source files (the installation media) so that the files can be restored.

For additional information about WFP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

222193 Description of the Windows 2000 Windows File Protection Feature

File System

The next step in reducing the final footprint is deciding on a file system. The file system choice depends on several factors, such as the size of the installation volume. If the installation volume is around 500 megabytes (MB) or smaller, a FAT32 volume might be best. The tradeoff with either the FAT16 or FAT32 file system is that there is no available file system security.

The NTFS file system is the preferred file system on any volume about whose security you are concerned, or if the volume size is larger than 500 MB. The NTFS file system generally makes the most efficient use of space on volumes that are 1 gigabyte (GB) or larger.

For more information about file systems in Windows 2000, query the Microsoft TechNet Web site using the "file systems" keywords:

Driver Cache

The last step is to delete the file located in the %SystemRoot%\Driver Cache\I386 folder. This file is approximately 50 MB in size. If several other criteria are met, this file enables the automatic installation of drivers.

If the file is removed, devices can no longer be transparently installed by the operating system. If a driver is required and the file cannot be located, Windows 2000 prompts you for the installation CD-ROM that contains the driver files. If you are not logged on as a user with administrative privileges, the driver installation is not successful.

For additional information about the file, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

230644 Description of the Windows 2000 Cabinet File

241367 How to Prevent Automatic Installation of Hardware in Windows

Keywords: kbhowto kbsetup kbunattended KB255771