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Reducing wimboot source wim file using LZX Compression, and VHD using gzip or LZ4 Compression, to save room, and also load faster on RAM

wimboot ramboot lzx gzip lz4 vhd

Best Answer alacran , 26 March 2019 - 10:05 PM

We could say that this thread is a continuation of: Making the smallest Win10 install (Wimboot mode) on 512 MB VHD

 

It was necessary to run some additional test using the info from cdob post No. 95: http://reboot.pro/to...e-4#entry210231

 

 

lz4.exe -12  --content-size --favor-decSpeed e:\win.vhd e:\win.vhd.lz4

 

LZ4 compression is better and faster than using GZ, or any other option, it gave me the faster loading to Ram times, also noticed that when loading from an slow device (as my MicroSD) it has the best efect.

 

All test ran on same I3 3225, 3.3 GHZ, 8 GB Ram at 1333 MHZ, Rambooting from SSD Adata SU650 into Adata XPG enclosure 3.0 USB.

 

This are my findings:

 

Speed:

VHD								Time to load on RAM

1 - 10x64-WB.vhd Ramboot using g4d  grub4dos-0.4.6a-2018-12-23		12 seconds

2 - 10x64-WB.vhd.gz Ramboot using g4d  grub4dos-0.4.6a-2018-12-23	7 seconds

3 - 10x64-WB-EXP.vhd Ramboot using g4d  0.4.5c Modd by kyrionix		4 seconds

4 - 10x64-WB.vhd.lz4 Ramboot using g4d  grub4dos-0.4.6a-2019-03-25	3.67 seconds

Saved espace:

VHD				Used	Saved espace

10x64-WB.vhd			1536 MB	0 % saved espace

10x64-WB.vhd Expandable		480 MB	68.75 % saved espace

10x64-WB.vhd.gz			233 MB	84.83 % saved espace

10x64-WB.vhd.lz4		135 MB	91.21 % saved espace

It is very possible I am getting close of maximum loading speed possible for this PC and this is influencing results.

 

On a single test I ran from my MicroSD, the 10x64-WB.vhd.lz4 loaded to Ram on 14.68 seconds wich is really a very good time for that device, and it was plugged to USB 2.0

 

Conclusions:

 

If Rambooting from a fast device as an SSD use expandable VHDs, they have very good speed and a resonable saved espace, do no require any additional compression, they are capable to Ramboot and also can be booted from Windows bootmanager, so it is not a big issue if they can't boot as Filedisk using grub4dos.

 

If Rambooting from a not so fast device as an SSD, we have the alternative to use LZ4 compressed VHDs, wich are the faster option and also save more espace than any other option, but they are only usefull for Rambooting, we can not boot them as Filedik using grub4dos or from Windows Bootmanager, this limitations also apply to GZ compression.

 

Thanks to all members of the forum who collaborated with this thread with info and suggestions, for the realization of all this tests:

 

antonino61, Wonko the sane, karyonix, tinybit, cdob and yaya for fast fixing grub4dos-0.4.6a-2019-03-25

 

 

Just to make a summary of all we have learned/tested/proved/improve on this thread:

From previous Post: http://reboot.pro/to...e-4#entry210209

 

LZX compressed wim files for Wimboot VHDs do not fail anymore during boot or Ramboot. See: http://reboot.pro/to...am/#entry210021

 

With this hight compression I have found If we don't add those items on [PrepopulateList], especially the first two we will have troubles during Ramboot

 

Saving 20 % espace using LZX compressed wim files. See: http://reboot.pro/to...am/#entry210021

 

Only things we have to do in a different way to reduce about 20 % the size of our source win file is: ..........

 

Tested GZ compresed VHDs and found they load faster on Ram (almost about 1/2 time).See: http://reboot.pro/to...am/#entry210031

 

I compressed 10x64-WB.vhd with 7-zip GZ Ultra as 10x64-WB.vhd.gz , it took 15 min, but file is now 233 MB

 

Saving about 85 % espace if using GZ compresed VHDs, See. http://reboot.pro/to...am/#entry210031

 

....but file is now 233 MB so it reduced a lot the size 84.83 %,......

 

Improved speed using GZ compression on VHDs See: http://reboot.pro/to...am/#entry210031

 

So there is a big improvement in time to load in Ram (43.75 % less time)

 

Testing expandable VHDs Ramboot capability, and found it was failing.See: http://reboot.pro/to...e-2#entry210068

 

It fail to load on Ram, still verifiying to try to find if I made a mistake before say it do not work,

 

Detect the last grub4dos 0.46a version capable to Ramboot expandable VHDs. See: http://reboot.pro/to...e-2#entry210089

 

grub4dos-0.4.6a-2017-12-20 is last version capable of Ramboot dynamic VHDs, the next version grub4dos-0.4.6a-2017-12-23 Fails.

 

Thanks to karionix who detected where was exactly the two lines disabled on grub4dos 0.46a after 2017-12-20, See: http://reboot.pro/to...e-2#entry210101

 

The codes to read hard disk footer in line 185 and read dynamic disk header in line 209 were just "disabled".

 

Improved again time to load on Ram , using Expandable VHDs. See: http://reboot.pro/to...e-2#entry210074

	VHD							Time to load on ram

1 - 10x64-WB.vhd Ramboot using g4d  v0.46a Dic 2018            		12 seconds

2 - 10x64-WB.vhd.gz Ramboot using g4d  v0.46a Dic 2018            	7 seconds

3 - 10x64-WB-EXP.vhd Ramboot using g4d  0.4.5c Modd by kyrionix		4 seconds

Saved espace using expandable VHDs compared to 1.5 GB fixed size VHDs. See http://reboot.pro/to...e-3#entry210115

VHD			Used	Saved espace

10x64-WB.vhd		480 MB	68.75 % saved espace

10x86-WB.vhd		360 MB	76.56 % saved espace

8x64-WB.vhd		416 MB	72.91 % saved espace

W864ESP1-WB.vhd		364 MB	76.30 % saved espace

Got the attention of tinybit and yaya (grub4dos development team) and thanks to it, get in about 2 days a new fixed release. See: http://reboot.pro/to...e-3#entry210171

 

yaya fixed it.

 

And this new posts related to LZ4 Compression:

 

karyonix info about LZ4, See: http://reboot.pro/to...e-4#entry210229

cdob info and commands for LZ4, See: http://reboot.pro/to...e-4#entry210231
 

Analyzing why the difference of speeds: http://reboot.pro/to...e-5#entry210265

 

Comparing the 2 options suggested by cdob for LZ4 Compression: http://reboot.pro/to...e-5#entry210278

 

When having x86 and x64 versions you can make a wimboot source wim file with multiple indexes to save espace, see: http://reboot.pro/to...am/#entry210406

 

And for all lazy people wimb just made a program to make almost all this, things not available on his program are compressions of VHDs and multi-index wimboot source wim files:

 

VHD_WIMBOOT - Apply and Capture of WIM Files for OS in VHD by wimb: http://reboot.pro/to...-for-os-in-vhd/

 

And finally now, there is also available this lz4_compressor GUI: http://reboot.pro/to...lz4-compressor/

 

I only hope this thread has helped some of us to learn something.

 

alacran

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#126 antonino61

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 11:26 AM

I will, as soon as I get home

#127 antonino61

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 01:36 PM

Dear Wonko,

I have just downloaded and installed examdiff. when I tell it to compare the 2 files, it tells me that the 2 files are different, just in case I did not know. Yet, it does not tell me, to the best of my knowledge and understanding, what the differences consist of and/or in.

nino



#128 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 02:55 PM

Dear Wonko,

I have just downloaded and installed examdiff. when I tell it to compare the 2 files, it tells me that the 2 files are different, just in case I did not know. Yet, it does not tell me, to the best of my knowledge and understanding, what the differences consist of and/or in.

nino

I cannot understand.

You run Examdiff.

A small windows appears where you can choose two files to compare.

Then you press OK and a large window with the two chosen files appears side by side.

If it doesn't, check the settings, you want to see "both files" (CTRL+B ) and have a vertical split.

See attached.

 

:duff:

Wonko

 

P.S. Wait a minute, it is not that you are attempting to compare the two .vhd files? :w00t: :ph34r:

Of course I meant the two text files that are the output of the DIR command on each .vhd, i.e.:

 

C:\Mytempdir\1stsetvhd.txt
and
C:\Mytempdir\2ndsetvhd.txt

Attached Files



#129 antonino61

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 03:48 PM

yep, u guessed right, I did actually compare the 2 vhd's as files. now I will do as u have just pointed out and let u know.



#130 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 05:27 PM

Maybe I then have to specify that BEFORE running the DIR /S you need to change root to the freshly mounted .vhd, i.e. provided that the first .vhd is mounted as Y:, you need to either run:

CD /D Y:

DIR /S>C:\Mytempdir\1stsetvhd.txt

 

or

 

DIR  Y: /S>C:\Mytempdir\1stsetvhd.txt

 

And that the C:\Mytempdir needs to be created beforehand or that instead of the example Mytempdir you can use a directory that is already existing on your C:, and that the WHOLE path, i.e. .C:\Mytempdir\1stsetvhd.txt in the example must NOT contain spaces. or, if it contains spaces it needs to be enclosed in double quotes, i.e.:

DIR /S>"C:\My stupid tempdir with spaces in it\1stsetvhd.txt"

 

 

:duff:

Wonko



#131 antonino61

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 05:54 PM

can it not be the root dir?

meaning

dir /s > C:\1stsetvhd.txt

and

dir /s > H:\1stsetvhd.txt



#132 antonino61

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 06:29 PM

if it's ok, I have created the 2 files and compared them with the software u suggested. I do see some differences, but I do not know to what extent they are significant (cookie files, event logs, maxthon favourite cache, nothing that could unmistakably lead to wpsoffice or anything else in particular). if they are significant, what will I do with them in order to stop the discrepancy? One thing I am thinking of right now is  probably trying to direct whatever change elsewhere in order to avoid affecting the vhd sizewise. What do u think?



#133 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 07:22 PM

I don't know if you are serious or just pulling my leg. :dubbio:

 

Anyway, since it is coincidentally "free spoon feeding day":

 

Esample of significant differences:

Left <nothing> Right a_file.ext 100000000 bytes. <- this means that a new file was created, size 100000000 bytes

Or:

Left: a_file.ext 1000 bytes. Right a_file.ext 1000000000 bytes <- this means that a file has grown in size by 1000000 bytes

 

And (very last few  lines):

 

Totale file elencati:
479 File 443.927.707 byte
306 Directory 7.590.936.576 byte disponibili

 

vs:

 

Totale file elencati:
480 File 3.443.927.707 byte
306 Directory 4.590.936.576 byte disponibili

 

The idea is that the 1st .vhd has less content (it has either less files or smaller files) than the 2nd .vhd (that has either more files or bigger files), which can be summed up (in the few last lines of a DIR output) in 1st .vhd having more free bytes than second .vhd (if you are using static .vhd's, if you are using a dynamic .vhd and it has grown in size you need to consider also the difference in size of the .vhd)

 

Now this difference in size should be (roughly) the sum of the differences (again either bigger files or more files).

 

If this is the case, you should find WHICH specific files have either grown or are present only on second .vhd and WHICH specific files more contribute to the reducing of available space.

 

Example:

Left: pippo.log 1256 bytes Right: pippo.log 1264 bytes <- this file has grown but by ONLY 8 bytes, so it is not relevant.

counterexample:

Left: pluto.txt 23688 bytes Right: pluto.txt 2365888478 bytes <- this file has grown by 2365864790 bytes so it is relevant

 

Mind you, it is perfectly possible that either hidden/system files or (less probable) filesystem metadata have grown, and you won't see them in the line by line differences, but there should be anyway a relevant difference in the total (last few lines).

 

If this is the case i.e. you have a relevant different amount of free bytes but you cannot find (enough) differences in the single lines that (summed together) justify the total difference, we will see how to check the size of hidden/system files and filesystem metadata.

 

:duff:

Wonko 



#134 antonino61

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 09:23 PM

No, Wonko, again u do not seem to get me. Supposing all your examples fit my case, what will I do, stop the app concerned from running to prevent the variations from kicking in? This is the only thing I meant.

#135 antonino61

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 10:20 AM

In lack of better answers, 

I feel urged to theorize that any newly-called app is subject to augmenting used space to the detriment of free space in the vhd. so far I have only verified that:

1) just in order to exist, windows tends to write something (in the order of dozens of mb) on the c:\ drive (this was already certified by Alacrán)

2) wpsoffice engenders a sensible increase in used space (in the order of hundreds of mb) on the c:\ drive (this has been evident in my INFORMALLY notified tests)

3) until further pieces of evidence, which will necessarily be stochastic on my part (unless anybody requests otherwise), there is no telling which other app might cause sensible hd writing.

4) before my deletion, some directory named rempl in the root, as well as some other in the maxthon browser directory in programdata, were full of *remediation*.etl files, presumably due to the system's insisting attempt to update automatically, despite my software request (setting) not to do so.

Any piece of evidence against the above is more than welcome, for 2 reasons, one practical and the other philosophical:

1) if what I see is due to a directory or file that should or could not be there, I will chuck it elsewhere or delete it.

2) it don't count 'less it's falsifiable.



#136 blackbalfur

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 11:27 AM

The anwer was given to you before.

 

Make wpsoffice portable or download a portable version (yes there are some) if that is the software you "must" have and run it outside the vhd.

 

It would be a good test to see if the bulging stop by using it this way.

 

Why would you give any app the possebillity to bulge in a setup like yours?

 

It is your task to make it as perfect as you can because it is your setup.


Edited by blackbalfur, 06 April 2019 - 11:32 AM.


#137 antonino61

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 12:47 PM

My Dear Blackbalfur,

I think u have taught me another lesson today: there is substantially no sense in keeping non-portable apps that create and leave garbage all around when we have system setups that want anything but that. So, by taking advantage of a program u have recommended (portableapps), I will make all non-portable apps portable and then uninstall the former and keep the latter only. it will be a further major change, I am sure. 

one thing I cannot solve is the persistence of these apps as default apps for the various file extentions, e.g., should I open I text file, it won't let wps open it by my simply clicking on the file, as wordpad kicks in first and only lonely. can u recommend a default app customizer or something?

nino



#138 blackbalfur

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 03:19 PM

You need windows to learn wich program to open on what file type:

 

open Control Panel--> Programs--> Default Programs--> Set Associations

 

In there select the file types you want to open with what program.

 

In this case search for .txt press the Change program... button on the right upper corner and press on more options on the bottom of that next screen.

 

Next scroll down and sellect Look for another app on this PC.

 

browse to your portable app (in this case WPS Writer.exe) and sellect that.

 

From now on your .txt files will be opened with the portable WPS Writer.exe file.

 

Or another more easier way is just right mouse click on your whatever.txt file click on open with.

 

select more options and scroll down to look for another app on this PC and browse to your portable WPS Writer.exe file.

 

mabe you have to do it again so that you can select it to always open it with this program.

 

Ps. it means you cannot change the path to your portable folder when you set this Associations.

 

So keep the portable folder somewhere on the root of your media (not inside the vhd file!) and do not ship it around when you set those Associations.


Edited by blackbalfur, 06 April 2019 - 03:41 PM.


#139 antonino61

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 03:24 PM

A big tx 4 the
Time being.

#140 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 09:01 AM

No, Wonko, again u do not seem to get me. Supposing all your examples fit my case, what will I do, stop the app concerned from running to prevent the variations from kicking in? This is the only thing I meant.

The general idea is to:

1) understand WHICH actual files (if any) are written to the disk (and decrease the free space)
following steps would be:

2) understand WHAT writes those files

and hopefully later:

3) understand WHY and WHEN the WHAT writes the WHICH and *somehow* prevent it from writing them.

 

It is not that I don't get you, it is you that completely fail to provide significant/sensible reports, after you have been suggested the exact way to find the exact issues.

 

And no, this:

 

 

In lack of better answers, 

I feel urged to theorize that any newly-called app is subject to augmenting used space to the detriment of free space in the vhd. so far I have only verified that:

1) just in order to exist, windows tends to write something (in the order of dozens of mb) on the c:\ drive (this was already certified by Alacrán)

2) wpsoffice engenders a sensible increase in used space (in the order of hundreds of mb) on the c:\ drive (this has been evident in my INFORMALLY notified tests)

3) until further pieces of evidence, which will necessarily be stochastic on my part (unless anybody requests otherwise), there is no telling which other app might cause sensible hd writing.

4) before my deletion, some directory named rempl in the root, as well as some other in the maxthon browser directory in programdata, were full of *remediation*.etl files, presumably due to the system's insisting attempt to update automatically, despite my software request (setting) not to do so.

is only the usual vague mumbo-jumbo, you are insisting on your theories (valid as they might be) without providing any meaningful data from your observations.

 

This way even IF someone might have some ideas on how to change the behaviour of the OS or of the given program he/she has no way to contribute.

 

WHEN (IF) you will post an actual list of the files that have been written and that contribute to the .vhd free space shrinkage, THEN we will have something to talk about.

 

:duff:

Wonko


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#141 antonino61

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 11:26 AM

I am now trying to make everything I can portable, or better still, to get the portable version of most of what I got. so I am sure that at least that will have "no impact" on the "bulge". when I finish this, I will compare this vhd to its previously made copy by your method --> will I send u the content of the differences between the 2 files?

nino



#142 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 11:45 AM

I am now trying to make everything I can portable, or better still, to get the portable version of most of what I got. so I am sure that at least that will have "no impact" on the "bulge". when I finish this, I will compare this vhd to its previously made copy by your method --> will I send u the content of the differences between the 2 files?

nino

 

Allow me to doubt about the effectiveness of the "portable" approach.

 

In the sense that having something "portable" (which is in itself a good thing, if it was for me I would make a Law for everything to be portable AND saving any settings in its own folder) is (should be) essentially a way to have the program write the least possible to the Registry, but if a program (for whatever reason[1]) *needs* to create a number of folders and files (temporary or not), its behaviour unlikely will change by making it "portable".

 

What you can do (by having the thingy portable AND placing it in a third image, that you can mount later with - say - IMDISK as a simple volume) is to have these crappy files moved *somewhere* else.

 

I was thinking more about a procedure to - if possible - find out why these files are generated and possibly prevent their creation or, should this be not possible, delete these senselessly generated files at shutdown to re-increase the free space in the volume or - yet another possibility - if the culprit is just this wpsoffice, find a suitable similar program to process text (or whatever you do in wpsoffice that it consumes free space).

 

:duff:

Wonko

 

 

 

 

[1] essentially - usually - either incompetence or arrogance by the programmer



#143 blackbalfur

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 12:13 PM

if a program (for whatever reason[1]) *needs* to create a number of folders and files (temporary or not), its behaviour unlikely will change by making it "portable".

 

 

 

A good portable will make those "needed" folders within the portable folder also, so that is not a problem.

 

Also the portable will have its own virtual registry inside the folder where it will/can write to.

 

A real "problem" is the file associating thing like antonino brought up.

 

But it can be handled with, it will take you just some extra steps.

 

Finding a "better" alternative for a program is allways a good thing to do.

 

I also think when space is an issue there should be minimal interference from apps and just leave them out of your os.


Edited by blackbalfur, 07 April 2019 - 12:29 PM.


#144 antonino61

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 02:29 PM

Wpsoffice, no longer an issue: portable version already. As regards ur doubts, my inverted commas in mt previous post somewhat summarized what u said about registry writing.
More info will be there once I have made the comparison test, for the time being, there are just a few suspects: metadata (which I found out where they are by mere chance), attempted system updates and almost never accomplished, event viewer logs. I will be more accurate as soon as I get home.

#145 antonino61

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 02:13 AM

Dear Wonko, 

These are the results of my comparison

Attached Files



#146 antonino61

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 08:36 AM

A more substantial difference has been found in the morning,

 

Attached Files



#147 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 09:42 AM

Some differences amount to a few tens of thousands of bytes, they are not relevant at all.

In the first image the culprit is surely the BootCKCL.etl.

The second image contains nothing relevant or that can be changed.

In the third image there are the Wdicontextlog.etl.* and a few other .etl files, but the main culprit remains BootCKCL.etl.

All the other (haven't made the addition) will count for - say - 5 MB.
The BootCKCL.etl by itself is 55 MB difference.


Anyway, if I read the total correctly (the images are not particularly clear) in the third image you have:
left:
14344 files 4.504.043.984 bytes
3821 dirs 205.707.504 bytes free

right:
14353 files 4.559.168.655 bytes
3824 dirs 1.609.728 bytes free

The increase in file use is roughly 4.559-4.504=55 MB which is more or less what we have seen above.
The difference in the amount of free space is 205-1=204 MB :w00t:

The rest of the difference must be either in hidden files or filesystem structures.

You can try blocking the writes to the BootCKCL.etl and see what happens:
https://www.sevenfor...otckcl-etl.html

To see the changes in filesystem structures/metadata, get DMDE:
https://dmde.com/
and open with it the one (and the other) mounted image (as logicaldrive), open the left hand tree $Metadata object, on the right you will see the main NTFS structure files and their sizes.

:duff:
Wonko
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#148 antonino61

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 03:28 PM

1st culprit dealt with, whole wdi directory relocated to z:\ (temp ramdisk) and symbolically linked back to windows\system32;

btw, what are the minimal and the optimal temp ramdisk sizes?

2nd culprit (metadata), want the the 2 logfiles compared or the 2 directory structures photographed (screenshot)?

nino



#149 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 04:16 PM

I am not sure to understand what "log" you are referring to.

 

In dmde select "$Metadata" in the left pane. then right click ->choose Recover Files ->click on the List... button -> File List ... and save the file as .txt, repeat for the second image, they should be like 20 lines each, that you can copy and paste.

 

But screenshots (as long as - unlike the ones you posted earlier - are readable) would be fine as well.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#150 antonino61

antonino61

    Frequent Member

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    Italy

Posted 08 April 2019 - 05:10 PM

here are the files u told me to extract:

 

 

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: wimboot, ramboot, lzx, gzip, lz4, vhd

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