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  #1  
Old 03-08-2008, 12:58 AM
thecgmguy thecgmguy is offline
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Best Practices For System Maintenance

Hi All,

Any recommendations for keeping Sage in top running condition?

- Regular HD defrags?
- Regular windows updates?
- Are there codecs I should be monitoring for updates?
- Are there unnecessary services/processes that adversely affect performance?

Thanks in advance,

CGM
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2008, 01:25 AM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecgmguy View Post
- Regular HD defrags?
Defragging your boot drive is a good idea. There are two schools of thought on defragging recording drives. If it's formatted in 64K clusters (as it should be), then in theory defragging shouldn't matter much. Since I have Diskeeper running on my boot drive anyway, I go ahead and let it run in the wee hours on the recording drives as well (but not during prime recording/playback hours).

Quote:
Originally Posted by thecgmguy View Post
- Regular windows updates?
Two schools of thought on this as well. There's the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach of disabling automatic updates. On the other hand, nothing stands still for long and things do get broke even if you do nothing (such as the DST fiasco). My policy is to enable automatic installation of critical updates, but make my own decisions about device drivers and such. So far I haven't had any problems doing it this way, and have avoided some problems by proactively updating DST fixes and such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thecgmguy View Post
- Are there codecs I should be monitoring for updates?
Depends on what codecs you're using, I suppose. I don't have a lot of random codecs on my system, just PureVideo, so it's pretty easy for me to keep current.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thecgmguy View Post
- Are there unnecessary services/processes that adversely affect performance?
There are web sites out there promoting all kinds of Windows tweaks that supposedly streamline your system and improve performance. But this is one area where I feel the "if it ain't broke" philosophy does apply. The people who debug Windows and Sage do so on more or less standard Windows configurations. The farther you depart from that standard, the more likely you are to venture into areas that have never been thoroughly tested. So unless you have specific performance issues you're trying to solve, or are particularly skilled at testing and validating Windows tweaks, I'd suggest staying away from that sort of thing. (Not to mention the fact that if you ever have to reinstall Windows from scratch, sticking close to the standard makes it a whole lot easier to remember how to get back to where you were.)

Just my opinions. Others no doubt will have different viewpoints.
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Last edited by GKusnick; 03-08-2008 at 02:13 AM. Reason: typo
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2008, 01:34 AM
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Addict Addict is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GKusnick View Post
Just my opinions. Others no doubt will have different viewpoints.
Not me. I'm glad you posted, saved me from typing the same stuff.
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  #4  
Old 03-08-2008, 02:05 AM
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davephan davephan is offline
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You should use disk imaging software to periodically take an image of your boot drive every 1 - 2 months. If SageTV and/or your system quits working due to a problem with your boot drive, you can recover quickly without building up your system from scratch. I also take an image before installing a SageTV version update or installing any other new software. I use Ghost 9.0, but there are other packages that may be better.

I keep my images on a USB hard drive. The USB hard drive is much more reliable than keeping the image files on CDs or DVDs. Sometimes images that are stored on CDs or DVDs cannot be recovered. The images stored on a USB hard drive always recover OK. The images could be stored on one of the non boot drives too, but storing the image files on a separate, nomally detached USB hard drive is safer.

Dave
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2008, 05:18 AM
rlacasse rlacasse is offline
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Related question:

What about rebooting the server? I intend to schedule a weekly server reboot ... if for nothing else ... 'cause it's windows. Wondering if other folks reboot their servers an a regular basis.

Thanks,
Ray...
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  #6  
Old 03-08-2008, 06:57 AM
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davephan davephan is offline
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I reboot my computer every few days to several weeks. Usually it is because of applying Microsoft Windows XP Pro patches. SageTV is very stable and rarely needs reboots. I used to reboot more often due to SageTV many versions ago. I started with SageTV version 1.4.

I have the McAfee Anti-virus suite, which is free from Comcast cable Internet. I also periodically scan for spyware with Spybot and Ad-Adware. Be careful where you download the anti-spyware software, since there are phoney versions that are actually spyware themselves. A safe link for downloads is on Leo Laporte's web site, www.leo.am (not .com). Click on "Tips", "Anti-Spyware". The Microsoft Anti-Spyware software is not a good choice, since it came in dead last in a software review, missing 18% of the malware thrown at it. I also defrag my disks with PerfectDisk.

Make sure you have a router between the computer and your cable or DSL modem. The router protects your computer from most of the garbage on the Internet.

Dave
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2008, 12:47 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlacasse View Post
What about rebooting the server? I intend to schedule a weekly server reboot ... if for nothing else ... 'cause it's windows. Wondering if other folks reboot their servers an a regular basis.
Not me. I reboot only when required by software updates. The idea that Windows needs daily or weekly reboots is a myth. In my experience, if you buy good quality hardware with solid, stable drivers, install only the programs you need, and avoid third-party tweaks and hacks, Windows will run stably for months with rebooting.
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2008, 10:59 PM
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Menehune Menehune is offline
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I think I rebooted my server two months ago when we had a long (hour+) power outage and my UPS was nearing exhaustion.
I apply windows updates every three months or so-basically whenever I remember to check.
Acronis is set to do monthly full and weekly incremental updates of the system drive.
I agree with GKusnick, I only installed stable drivers from the manufacturer, no unneccessary software and my server has been stable as bedrock.
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2008, 11:12 AM
CollinR CollinR is offline
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I tweak mine, if the service isn't required or used I kill it. Just the indexing service, Help and Support and System Restore makes decent change. The indexing service will effect how fast you can search the filesystem, I can't recall the last time I did that on a media server. Help and Support controls the Help popups which have never once proven valuable to me, especially compared to Google. System restore I kill to save HDD space, I am tring to get Sage embedded to compact flash. Which also means a bunch of other tweaks. I also use nLite to remove a bunch from the XP install before installation, I only speak/read English and my XP only supports English.

I also use Acronis like mad but more for managing the images then backups, I just keep an image from every major attempt. It doesn't take too long to format and rewrite a 2GB partition.
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  #10  
Old 03-09-2008, 02:50 PM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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Defragging - I think I did this once about 6 months ago manually. Never do it otherwise as I am already on 64K sector size and never seems to be a problem

Updates - Never. Get Windows running with the DST patch and running SP2 and then never update. I don't need microsoft trying something and hosing my Sage server which would only update the wife.

Codecs - I use extenders solely now. 2 MVP's and 2 STX-100's. They just work. I will probably update firmwares on the STX-100's if Sage released them.

Services - Memory is cheap. Processors are fast. No need to turn stuff off and take the risk of hosing up my Windows Xp box

Rebooting - Nope. Only reboot when I update Sage / System crashes (rarely) / etc.

My goal is to just have my Sage server just work. If it ain't broke, I don't touch it. This is what I recommend.
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  #11  
Old 03-09-2008, 05:00 PM
m.savazzi m.savazzi is offline
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Defrag: if needed and if disks get very very full. Note that if the disk is 50-60% full only you have only a theoretical advantage (especially if you have last generation disks with AHCI enabled).
The advantage gets true if the disk is 90% full

Updates: always set to "Automatic". All updated must be installed. Microsoft delivers updates only once a month via WU and the major part of them either fix security issues either compatibility issues.
No driver is ever in the Critical updates is there is not a realy big reason, all drivers i've seen so far has always been in "optional".

Codecs: get the one you like and stay with it

Services: turn off useless ones just not to bother you... if you know what to do... otherwise, no prolem .) on a good pc you'll not notice the difference.

Reboot: when needed. I love hibernate!
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2008, 08:37 PM
blade blade is offline
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I think I've defragged once since I've been running Sage when I has having some problems with stuttering (turns out the problem was my cpu going bad).

Auto updates are turned off. I download updates a couple of times a year. My server is behind a router and is used for nothing but Sage so I'm not overly concerned with updates.

When I was using a pc client instead of the extender I would keep an eye out for new video card drivers and new version of the mpeg2 decoder I was using, but I didn't hop from one decoder to another just updated with a newer version.

I tried to tweak things once, but never noticed any real performance gains. Some of the commonly suggested ones actually hurt performance or caused other issues so I just put things back like they were.

My server only gets rebooted due to power failures and upgrades.

I would suggest backing up your Sage folder or at least the wiz.bin file.

Been running Sage for over 3 years now and so far the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" train of thought has worked very well for me.

Last edited by blade; 03-09-2008 at 08:39 PM.
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