Why are you mining with Windows 10? That's what I hear all day from the Linux fanboys on the crypto forums.

I'm sure you'll nod your head in agreement if I were to say one of the main reasons to use Windows 10 for crypto mining is that's it's easy to install, setup, and maintain.

I'm going to show you how to get every last ounce of power out of your Windows 10 mining rig.

You'll learn exactly how to optimize power config, what BIOS settings you should turn on.

I'll also be revealing over 18 registry tweaks to remove the junk that will slow down your bitcoin mining rig.



Why mine with Windows 10 ?



As I mentioned Windows 10 is easy to set up and ​readily available for like $25 (£22). Microsoft seems to be almost giving it away.

The main reason I opted to go with Windows 10 is that I was using my main rig as my mining rig so really did not want to have to switch to a mining OS as the PC is used for other tasks as well.

The other reason Windows 10 is a "win" for me is the fact that Windows 7 for mining is insecure. Especially with all the cryptojacking that has been reported recently. And the fact that a registry hack is required to get more than one graphics cards mining at the same time.

I will eventually explorer other mining OS's that are Linux based.

I kinda like the idea of running the mining OS from a USB stick and not have to invest in a hard disk/SSD. However, at the moment Windows 10 is my goto mining OS and will stay like that until I've filled up my rig with 6 cards and need to build a new one.


Let's crack on

I've left the best tip for last which is the registry tweaks.



1. The Clean Install



I'm guilty of not running my mining rig on a clean install - but that's because I use it for other tasks too. What do I mean by a clean install?

Basically taking back your PC to it's out the box settings. If you built the PC yourself which I'm guessing the majority of mining people have. Then you'll have the bare bones of just Windows 10.

No other software installed apart from graphics other relevant hardware drivers.

The beauty of running just the OS is that there are no other software or services taking up valuable system resources.

However, if you were unlucky enough the have a pre-built machine there's a high chance you've got a lot of bloatware / crapware on it.

I would suggest backing up all your personal data if that's the case and doing a clean install of Windows 10 Professional using a clean install and not the recovery CD/USB/Partition that may have been supplied with your pre-built PC.



2. Disable Updates



Windows 10 is a beast for auto updates. The number of times I've been working on a document or in a spreadsheet and I get a message "Windows is rebooting".

Of course, Microsoft will claim that the reason they force updates down your throat is to keep your system secure.

It's bad enough to be in the middle of an important document or game but worse when you are trying to keep your system on 24 hours a day for mining purposes. The fact is the more uptime you have mining the more profit you'll be making in the long run.

Here's how you disable Windows 10 updates for good.

Step 1: Via Control Panel > Administrative Tools, you can access Windows Services Manager.

disable windows update service video short

Step 2: In the Services window, scroll down to Windows Update and turn off the Service.




3. Optmize for performance


Out the box, Windows 10 comes with some nice visual effects turned on. This helps with the look and feel when you are navigating around your desktop. Items such as animated window elements, shadows under windows & smooth edge on fonts.

There are 17 visual effects that Windows utilizes the graphics card for. They make the windows experience look great but also hamper our mining activities. As such we need to turn off all of these visual effects so we can squeeze every last ounce of power out of our graphics cards.

How to adjust Windows 10 for best performance:


Step 1: Click the start menu
Step 2: Type "This PC" without quotes
Step 3: Right-click the This PC icon
Step 4: Choose properties
Step 5: Click advanced system settings from the left-hand menu
Step 6: Click performance settings in the advanced tab.
Step 7: Choose "Adjust for best performance" click OK


4. Set Virtual memory


Back in the day (pre-1GB RAM) virtual memory was awesome. RAM was very pricey - a stick of something like 32MB RAM (I'm showing my age here) would set up back over $100.

As such Microsoft were smart in implementing virtual memory. This worked wonders depending on what you were using your PC for.

Virtual memory just uses your hard disk drive or SSD as an extension and storage of random access memory (RAM). For example, let's say I had 8GB RAM.

Windows will automatically allocate some virtual memory on my hard drive, this is just a file and place that windows can use for information that might not be used that often which is held in the RAM.

Nowadays there's really no reason to be using virtual memory. If you've got a system with like 16GB chances are you're never going to use 100% of that 16GB unless you are a video editor or rendering graphics.

The most windows based systems site at under 10GB of RAM utilization - in fact as I type this I've got multiple programs open, 12+ chrome tabs and two GPUs mining. Windows is reporting I'm only using 8.5GB of RAM out of my total of 16GB.

BUT

When it comes to mining I am told that virtual memory allocation is a good thing. Unfortunately, I could not find any information on why it's a good thing but the mining community recommend it. If you are reading this and know why please leave a comment below - I would love to know.

(edit - I am told it is due to the large GDDR RAM capacity in modern GPUs)

Anyway here's how we allocate virtual memory for our mining operations:

Set paging file to 16GB

Manual virtual memory allocation

Step 1: Click the start menu
Step 2: Type "This PC" without quotes
Step 3: Right-click the This PC icon
Step 4: Choose properties
Step 5: Click advanced system settings from the left-hand menu
Step 6: Click the advanced tab and choose the change button from virtual memory
Step 7: Untick automatically manage paging file size
Step 8: Choose custom size
Step 9: Set both the initial size and max to 16384 - this equates to 16GB (1024MB x 16)
Step 10: Complete by click OK.


5. Turn off standby


This is a fairly obvious setting. It won't optimize your system any further but worth including in the list.

Making sure your system is up and running is key to mining and making a profit. The last thing you want to do is have your system set to standby after a period of time.

As such we need to set the system to always be on.

This can be done in the power settings of Windows 10.

Here's how:

Edit Windows 10 power plan settings

Step 1: From the start menu type "edit power plan"
Step 2: Click the edit power plan icon
Step 3: Set both "turn off display" and "put the computer to sleep" to never


6. PCIe power managment


The PCI express power management is another really helpful setting in Windows 10 that controls the power state of PCIe devices.

When there's no activity from a particular PCI device windows will automatically turn the power state to off. This is great for keeping your PC running efficiently and not burning through electricity for no good reason.

However, mining is completely different. It involves using setting the power state to active all the time. Our graphics cards are PCIe devices so we have to make sure that Windows does not accidentally turn off PCIe power to them during downtime between data upload/downloads to your mining software.

Here's how to turn off the PCIe power management feature:

Link state power management off

Step 1: From the start menu search "edit power plan"
Step 2: From the power plan settings window click "change advanced power settings"
Step 3: Scroll to PCI Express settings > expand > link state power management
Step 4: Link state power management to off.


7. Windows startup folder


In the event of a power failure or a system crash more than likely your mining rig will reboot itself.

If you've not followed step 2 (disable updates) then your mining rig will definitely be rebooting once or twice a month at least.

As such we want to make sure that the mining software starts up automatically when Windows boots. This means that we don't have to worry about power losses or other reason for the system to reboot. We'll know that once we've implemented this optimization tweak all mining software will automatically start on boot.

Now, this step does depend on what mining software you are running. I personally use nicehash at the moment, I'll go into why in another article but these steps will slightly differ depending on your mining software.

What won't differ is the location that we have to edit in Windows to make sure our software autostarts:

Create a new shortcut in the startup folder

Step 1: Navigate to C:\Users\***USERNAME***\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup (replace ***USERNAME*** with your user Windows user account name)
Step 2: Right-click in the blank space of the start up folder.
Step 3: Choose New > Shortcut
Step 4: Navigate to your mining software and choose the exe file

(In my case Nicehash, which is located in "C:\Users\Scott\AppData\Local\Programs\NiceHash Miner 2\NiceHash Miner 2.exe")


8. BIOS power on


The BIOS power-on tweak is similar to our last tweak in that it will improve our mining rig up time. Again if there's a power outage or a system crash more than likely your BIOS is not set to automatically turn the PC back on.

By default, you'll find that your system will stay off in the event of a power failure or system crash and won't attempt to turn itself back on.

Luckily most modern BIOS have an option that will allow you to set the PC to turn itself on when there' power detected coming from the power supply unit.

The only word of caution I would mention here is that you have to be sure your graphics cards, CPU and RAM are running at optimal performance and temperature.

You don't want to be in the situation where the system keeps crashing due to an overheated CPU and keeps powering itself back on after a crash. This will cause - what I've just coined as a "death loop". If the system keeps crashing and turning back on you've eventually burned out whatever PC component is causing the system to crash.

This will lead death loop leads to a dead mining rig.

With that being said, be careful with this setting - if in any doubt don't turn on.

Here's how to set the BIOS to power the PC on after a crash or power cut:

Power on PC BIOS setting after failure

Step 1: Reboot your PC
Step 2: Tap the delete key as the system boots up
(Other common keys to enter the BIOS are F1, F2, F10, DEL, ESC)
Step 3: From the BIOS find the power management menu.
Step 4: Turn on AC Power Recovery, or similar, setting to "On." You are looking for a power-based setting that affirms that the PC will power on when power becomes available.


9. Windows Registry Tweaks


I've saved the best for last. There are 18 different registry entries that can be set which mainly disable unused system services that just eat up performance in Windows.

These were first posted by jsanzsp back in November 2016 on the Ethereum Community Forum.

The tweaks still apply today and to tell you the truth unless you're using some of the services (maybe Onedirve) I'd apply these tweaks to any PC not just a crypto/bitcoin mining rig.

Here's a list of what the tweaks do:

Replace Utilman with CMD
Disable Cortana, Bing Search, and Searchbar
Disable automatic Windows Updates
Disable Hibernation
Disable tracking services
Disable WAP Push Message Routing Service
Disable Windows Search
Disable Superfetch
Disable Windows Defender
Disable OneDrive
Disable Quick Access as default view in Explorer
show computer shortcut on the desktop
Show file extensions
Disable lock screen
Enable classic control panel view
Hide indication for compressed NTFS files
Disable Windows Update sharing
Remove Pin to start
Classic vertical icon spacing
Remove versioning tab from properties
Disable jump lists
Remove telemetry and data collection
Change Logon screen background with accent color
Disable Windows Error Reporting
Removing Windows default apps
Blocking Telemetry Servers

The tweaks come in the form of a BAT file. I got a warning when I downloaded this file in chrome.  That's because the file will edit the registry.  As such I've modified the file so it's just a plain txt file.  Open this file in notepad then just save as "regtweaks.BAT" using quotes.  


You'll then have the BAT file which should be run as administrator.  If you are worried about what the file does, have a look at the plain txt notepad - it's 100% legit.

(Right click download button and choose save as)


The beauty of this BAT file is the fact that it leads you through the services, and reg tweaks. So, for example, you do use one drive, you have the option to skip the step where it turns off that registry entry.

BAT file menu



Thanks again to jsanzsp!


Last thoughts


This is by no means a definitive list of tweaks. I hope over the coming months to have even more.

There are also other considerations when it comes to setting up your PC for mining this includes such things as being able to detect when network connectivity is lost, complete power outages & hardware failures.

That again is something I've yet to explore and to tell you the truth I'd only start investigating this if I had more than 3 mining rigs.


Thanks for reading!

Appreciate the time you took in reading this.  If you found this article helpful check out my new audio book "Mining Rig Masterclass" where I go deep into detail.  Papa bless!

SCOTT MILLAR  //  IT Rockstar