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Twenty Three Ways to Optimize Windows XP
Three Ways to Optimize Windows XP, How to
Windows XP, Windows
XP Tips and Tricks, Windows XP Optimization,
Windows XP, Speed Up Windows XP
Since defragging the disk won't do much to
Windows XP performance, here are 23
will. Each can enhance the performance and
of your customers' PCs. Best of all, most of
will cost you nothing.
1.) To decrease a system's boot time and
system performance, use the money you save
buying defragmentation software -- the
defragmenter works just fine -- and instead
the computer with an Ultra-133 or Serial ATA
drive with 8-MB cache buffer.
2.) If a PC has less than 512 MB
add more memory. This is a relatively
easy upgrade that can dramatically improve
3.) Ensure that Windows XP is
the NTFS file system. If you're not sure,
to check: First, double-click the My Computer
right-click on the C: Drive, then select
Next, examine the File System type; if it says
then back-up any important data. Next, click
click Run, type CMD, and then click OK. At the
type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and press the Enter
process may take a while; it's important that
be uninterrupted and virus-free. The file
by the bootable drive will be either FAT32 or
I highly recommend NTFS for its superior
and efficiency with larger disk drives.
4.) Disable file indexing. The
service extracts information from documents
files on the hard drive and creates a
keyword index." As you can imagine, this
can be quite taxing on any system.
The idea is that the user can
a word, phrase, or property inside a document,
they have hundreds or thousands of documents
know the file name of the document they want.
XP's built-in search functionality can still
these kinds of searches without the Indexing
It just takes longer. The OS has to open each
the time of the request to help find what the
Most people never need this
search. Those who do are typically in a large
environment where thousands of documents are
on at least one server. But if you're a
builder, most of your clients are small and
And if your clients have no need for this
I recommend disabling it.
Here's how: First, double-click
Computer icon. Next, right-click on the C:
select Properties. Uncheck "Allow Indexing
to index this disk for fast file searching."
apply changes to "C: subfolders and files,"
and click OK. If a warning or error message
(such as "Access is denied"), click the Ignore
5.) Update the PC's video and
chipset drivers. Also, update and configure
For more information on how to configure your
see this article on my site.
6.) Empty the Windows Prefetch
every three months or so. Windows XP can
portions of data and applications that are
This makes processes appear to load faster
upon by the user. That's fine. But over time,
folder may become overloaded with references
and applications no longer in use. When that
Windows XP is wasting time, and slowing system
by pre-loading them. Nothing critical is in
and the entire contents are safe to delete.
7.) Once a month, run a disk
Here's how: Double-click the My Computer icon.
right-click on the C: drive and select
the Disk Cleanup button -- it's just to the
the Capacity pie graph -- and delete all
8.) In your Device Manager,
on the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers device, and
that DMA is enabled for each drive you have
to the Primary and Secondary controller. Do
double-clicking on Primary IDE Channel. Then
Advanced Settings tab. Ensure the Transfer
Mode is set
to "DMA if available" for both Device 0 and
Device 1. Then repeat this process with the
9.) Upgrade the cabling. As
technology improves, the cabling requirements
these performance boosts have become more
Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all
IDE devices with the connectors properly
the matching Master/Slave/Motherboard sockets.
device must be at the end of the cable;
single drive to the middle connector on a
will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA
these signaling problems will prevent the
performing at its maximum potential. Also,
cables inherently support "cable select,"
the location of each drive on the cable is
For these reasons, the cable is designed so
is explicitly clear.
10.) Remove all spyware from the
Use free programs such as AdAware by Lavasoft
Search & Destroy. Once these programs are
be sure to check for and download any updates
starting your search. Anything either program
can be safely removed. Any free software that
spyware to run will no longer function once
portion has been removed; if your customer
the program even though it contains spyware,
reinstall it. For more information on removing
visit this Web Pro News page.
11.) Remove any unnecessary
and/or items from Windows Startup routine
MSCONFIG utility. Here's how: First, click
Run, type MSCONFIG, and click OK. Click the
tab, then uncheck any items you don't want to
when Windows starts. Unsure what some items
the WinTasks Process Library. It contains
processes, applications, as well as spyware
and explanations. Or quickly identify them by
for the filenames using Google or another Web
12.) Remove any unnecessary or
programs from the Add/Remove Programs section
13.) Turn off any and all
animations, and disable active desktop. In
optimal performance, turn off all animations.
XP offers many different settings in this
how to do it: First click on the System icon
Control Panel. Next, click on the Advanced
the Settings button located under Performance.
free to play around with the options offered
nothing you can change will alter the
the computer -- only its responsiveness.
14.) If your customer is an
who is comfortable editing their registry, try
of the performance registry tweaks offered at
15.) Visit Microsoft's Windows
site regularly, and download all updates
Download any optional updates at your
16.) Update the customer's
software on a weekly, even daily, basis. Make
have only one anti-virus software package
Mixing anti-virus software is a sure way to
for performance and reliability.
17.) Make sure the customer has
than 500 type fonts installed on their
more fonts they have, the slower the system
While Windows XP handles fonts much more
than did the previous versions of Windows, too
fonts -- that is, anything over 500 -- will
tax the system.
18.) Do not partition the hard
Windows XP's NTFS file system runs more
on one large partition. The data is no safer
on a separate
partition, and a reformat is never necessary
an operating system. The same excuses people
using partitions apply to using a folder
example, instead of putting all your data on
drive, put it in a folder called "D drive."
You'll achieve the same organizational
a separate partition offers, but without the
in system performance. Also, your free space
limited by the size of the partition; instead,
be limited by the size of the entire hard
means you won't need to resize any partitions,
That task can be time-consuming and also can
in lost data.
19.) Check the system's RAM to
it is operating properly. I recommend using a
called MemTest86. The download will make a
CD or diskette (your choice), which will run
tests on the PC's memory automatically after
to the disk you created. Allow all tests to
at least three passes of the 10 tests are
If the program encounters any errors, turn off
the computer, remove a stick of memory
have more than one), and run the test again.
bad memory cannot be repaired, but only
20.) If the PC has a CD or DVD
check the drive manufacturer's Web site for
firmware. In some cases you'll be able to
recorder to a faster speed. Best of all, it's
21.) Disable unnecessary
XP loads a lot of services that your customer
does not need. To determine which services you
for your client, visit the Black Viper site
22.) If you're sick of a single
Explorer window crashing and then taking the
your OS down with it, then follow this tip:
Computer, click on Tools, then Folder Options.
on the View tab. Scroll down to "Launch folder
windows in a separate process," and enable
option. You'll have to reboot your machine for
option to take effect.
23.) At least once a year, open
cases and blow out all the dust and debris.
in there, check that all the fans are turning
Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for
or leaks. For more information on this
phenomena, you can read numerous articles on
Following any of these suggestions should
noticeable improvements to the performance and
of your customers' computers. If you still
want to defrag
a disk, remember that the main benefit will be
your data more retrievable in the event of a
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