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Tips to optimize your Windows XP System

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Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1207
Location: India

PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 11:04 pm
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Optimize your Windows XP

Here are some useful tweaks for your Windows XP based system to increase its performance:

CleanUp your Traces
Remove all the files from C:\Documents and Settings\<your_logon_name>\Local Settings\Temp
Right Click on Internet Explorer, go to Properties then Press Clear History
Erase all the files from C:\WINDOWS\Temp
Find and clean *.tmp files from your system

Recommended Software: CCLeaner
Download it from:

Tweak the StartUp items
Run MSCONFIG (Start menu/Run and type msconfig then choose Startup) and remove all the startup items other than Antivirus/Firewall/Hardware Drivers/SPy/Spam Filters etc

Tweak your Virtual Memory Size
Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "System", "Advanced" tab, in the "Performance" section select "Settings", "Advanced" tab, in the "Virtual Memory" section select "Change", change the value in the "Initial Size" box to the same value in the "Maximum Size" box, which should always be 1.5x the amount of RAM(unless you are in 3D business) in your system, then select "Set" and "OK".

Disable Windows Default Sound Effects
To disable all Windows XP task sounds go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Sounds and Audio Devices", select the "Sounds" tab, under "Sound Scheme" select "No Sounds".

Reduce Recycle Bin Space
In Windows XP the Recycle Bin is set at default to reserve 10% of your hard drive, this can be a big waste of drive space.To change the Recycling Bin Size, right-click on the "Recycle Bin", left-click on "Properties", select the "Global" tab, then "Use one setting for all drives". Move the slider to "3%".

Defrag your Hard Drives
Double-click "My Computer", right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, Example: Local Disk (Cicon_smile.gif, and then left-click "Properties". On the "Tools" tab, select "Defragment Now", then "Defragment".

Recommended Software: Ultimate Defrag
Download it from: Use [URL] BBCode for External Links

Defragment the System Files
Recommended Software: System Defragmenter
Download it from: Use [URL] BBCode for External Links

Disable Microsoft Error Reporting
Right click My computer, select Properties, go to Advanced tab, then left-click on Error-Reporting, select Disable, but allow notifying if critical error occurs

Turn Off System Restore
Turn off system Restore facility for your drives unless you dont know what you are doing

Disable recently opened document list
Right click on task bar to open Start Menu properties. Clear the checkbox in Advanced customization

Disable fast user switching
Control Panel -> User settings -> Change the way user Log On

Disable Desktop Cleanup Wizard
Control Panel -> Display Properties -> Desktop -> Customize

Disable Offline Homepage
Control Panel -> Display Properties -> Desktop -> Customize -> Web -> Properties

Disable Screen savers
It’s better to set to Turn Off the monitor in 10-20 minutes. Do not use any screensavers if you are using LCD monitors. Use Dark Black wallpapers for CRT monitors and prefer grey/white colors for LCD Monitors.

If you are not satisfied with the above Tips, you may try the following:


Remove QuickLaunch Toolbar and language Bars
Remove unwanted Windows services like MSN, Messenger, OE, IE etc…
Disable unwanted services like Indexing, Telnet, Help & support, HID access, uPnP device host, SSDP discovery service, system restore etc..
Remove Offline Files & Folder Support
Use Simple File Sharing
Try Folder level De-fragmentation
Disable auto run facility for Removable drives
Disallow remote assistance
Remove all shortcuts from your Desktop
Move all your backup files and page files from C: to D:
And finally Reinstall your Windows!!!

If you need any help with any of the above Tips, reply here.

Copyright: MAINFRAMESINDIA Software Design Corp.
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Joined: 24 Jul 2003
Posts: 568
Location: Bangalore

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:15 pm
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I don't have xp, how can we tweak windows 98?

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New User

Joined: 11 Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Mumbai

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 10:15 am
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Ok this is for 98:

Disable unnecessary programs

When you install some programs they will insert themselves into an area of your registry that will cause them to load when your computer starts up. Obviously this will use memory and slow down your system.

1. Start Regedit.
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Run
3. Once there, locate any entry's on the right. You can identify the program by the path to the executable. Find programs that you can live without starting up from the list.
4. Right click on them and select Delete
5. You may also want to navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Runonce and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Run.
6. Delete unnecessary programs.
7. Also go to START - PROGRAMS - STARTUP and see if there is anything there you wish to remove.
8. Reboot your computer.

Modify application timeout

The operating system has a set amount of time that a program must be frozen for before it is

timed out. Often this number is set too high, but in some circumstances it is set too low. If

the program is doing a lot of calculations in the background the computer may think that it is

timed out. To prevent this, increase the value of the timeout in the registry.

1. Start Regedit. If you are unfamiliar with regedit please refer to our FAQ on how to get

2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
3. Select HungAppTimeout from the list on the right.
4. Right on it and select Modify.
5. Change the value to the new timeout value.
6. Reboot your computer.

Open Outlook Express faster

For some users when they remove windows messenger or just disable it from starting up

automatically they experience a great slow down when launching Outlook express. Users who

experience such a slow down will find a error in the system error log saying The server

{FB7199AB-79BF-11D2-8D94-0000F875C541} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

The solution to this problem is quite simple. Just Open up regedit and search for the string

{FB7199AB-79BF-11D2-8D94-0000F875C541} and modify the keys InProcServer32 and LocalServer32

default key to a empty string.

Disable unnecessary services to free system resources

Services are programs that run when the computer starts up and continue to run as they aid the operating system in functionality. There are many services that load and are not needed which take up memory space and CPU time. Disabling these services will free up system resources which will speed up your overall computer experience. I recommend that you sort through the list and read the descriptions to decide if you need that service depending on what you want to do with your computer. Remember, you can always turn the service back on if you find that you need it in the future. Below is the procedure to turn off a service.

1. Click the start button.

2. Select run from the bottom of the right column.

3. Then type services.msc in the box and click ok.

4. Once the services window has loaded we are ready to turn off unneeded services.

5. For instructional purposes we are going to turn off the Portable Media Serial Number service.

6. Find this service in the list and select it with the mouse.

7. Right click and select Properties.

8. Once the properties windows has loaded locate the Start up type drop down box and select disable.

9. Then just click ok and the next time the computer starts the service will not be loaded.

System Settings for a Game Machine

If you are a hard core gamer then the below tweak is for you. Below are a list of windows

services that we reccomend you change to the manual setting. If you do not know how to do that,

refer to our tweak on disabling windows services by clicking here.

Routing and Remote Access
Application Layer Gateway Service** (only if firewll is not used)
Application Management
Background Intelligent Transfer Service
COM+ System Application
Distributed Link Tracking Client
Distributed Transaction Coordinator
Help and Support
IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service** (only if do you not use the cd-rw xp record suport)
IPSEC Services
Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service
MS Software Shadow Copy Provider
Net Logon
NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
Network DDE
Network DDE DSDM
Network Location Awareness (NLA)
NT LM Security Support Provider
Performance Logs and Alerts
Portable Media Serial Number
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator
Remote Registry
Removable Storage
Smart Card
Smart Card Helper
SSDP Discovery Service
System Restore Service
Uninterruptible Power Supply
Universal Plug and Play Device Host
Volume Shadow Copy
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)
Windows Installer
Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions
Wireless Zero Configuration
WMI Performance Adapter
Fast User Switching Compatibility ** (only if fast user shiching is not used or the machine have

one user only)
Protected Storage
Windows Time
Task Scheduler
Secondary Logon
Print Spooler ** (only if the pc do not have or use a printer)
Indexing Service
Error Reporting Service
Computer Browser
Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

Sacrifice Graphics for Speed

XP is very graphic-intensive which results in a large consumption of RAM. Sometimes to squeeze in

the nitty-gritty megs of memory can be, by sacrificing the pretty little bits and colors that are

on your screen.

- For starters, reducing the color density and and bit display of your screen will ultimately

increase speed to your computer.

1.)On your desktop, right click and go to PROPERTIES.
2.)In properties go to Settings, and set your color quality to the lowest bit-rating (most likely 15 bit). This will reduce color density, and icon quality, but will heavily boast system performance.

- If you really want to increase your system performance, new Windows themes are NOT the way to go, if you are ill-equipped with RAM.

1.) Go into Control Panel and into Performance and Maintenence (If you are using the "classic" view skip to step 2).
2.) Get into System and click on the Advanced tab.
3.) Now click on Performance
4.) Under your visual effects, select CHOOSE BEST PERFORMANCE.
5.) This will undoubtedly increase your system performance by returning XP into Classic Style and

getting rid of the fancy-shmancy fading menus, shadows and whatnot.

Now your graphically challenged computer, has turned into a mean, lean, computing machine.

No more low disk space messages

go into registry with REGEDIT.EXE, go to
and (if not already there) add DWORD (without quotes) "NoLowDiskSpaceChecks" and change the value to 1. Restart.

Disable auto-reboot

When Running windows and it crashes you will get a blue screen and it will automatically restart,

ofter it will restart too fast for you to see the error message. You could check the error log in

this case but that is too easy. We are going to disable auto restart on system failure.

1. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> System (Windows+Pause works, too)
2. Go to Advanced
3. Under the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings...
4. Under System Failure un-check "Automatically restart"

HDD slowdown when booting

If, like I had , you have a 3min+ or slower boot time where Windows XP seems to sit for 2+ or so

minutes with the XP logo doing nothing before everything comes to life, then do the following.

Download Bootvis from Use [URL] BBCode for External Links and run it the next time you boot. Do a 'Trace'
If it shows a very long 'HDD init' time of minutes rather than seconds then this is how to fix


This example assumes you have 1 Hard drive on your primary IDE channel and a DVD-ROM(or CD)
and CD-R on your two secondary IDE channels.

Go to start > right click on my computer > click properties. Click Hardware > Device Manager.

Go to IDE/ATAPI Controllers. Select primary channel. Right click properties. Click the Advance

settings tab. Then on the device (0 or 1)that does not have 'device type' greyed out select

'disable' instead of 'autodetect'. This should stop windows trying to find a drive that isn't


If you have your IDE channels set up differently simply repat the above for the secondary IDE

channel settings.

When I did this my boot time went from 3mins 20 to 35 seconds.

Clean your prefetch to improve performance.

This is an unique technique for WinXP. We know that it is necessary to wash registry and TEMP

files for Win9X/ME/2000 periodly. Prefetch is a new and very useful technique in Windows XP.

However, after using XP some time, the prefetch folder can get full of rarely used or obsolete

links which can slow down your computer noticeably. My suggestion is: open C(system

drive):/windows/prefetch, delete all files (or at least those more than 3 weeks old), reboot. I

recommended that you do this every month.

Editor Note: Deleting prefetch files too often (Every reboot) can decrease system performance!

Turn off Indexing to speed up XP

Windows XP keeps a record of all files on the hard disk so when you do a search on the hard drive

it is faster. There is a downside to this and because the computer has to index all files, it

will slow down normal file commands like open, close, etc. If you do not do a whole lot of

searches on your hard drive then I suggest turnning this feature off:

1. Control Panel

2. Administrative Tools

3. Services

4. Disable Indexing Services

Increase speed by tweaking prefetcher settings

This is an unique technique for XP, which could improve the performance significantly by tweaking

the prefetcher (which is a cache folder).

1. run "regedit";
2. goto [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory

3. Set the value to either 0-Disable, 1-App launch prefetch, 2-Boot Prefetch, 3-Both ("3" is

4. reboot.

It should decrease the boot time and the time it takes to load programs.

Slow network access not always due to Scheduled tasks check

If you have very slow access to your network computers through "My network Places" and have already deleted the Registry entry calling for a check of Scheduled Tasks on the other network computers (documented elsewhere on this site) AND you have multiple network adaptors (i.e. a cable or DSL connection through one NIC and an internal network using a second NIC) check the following.

Right click on "My Network Places", go to properties. Right click on the NIC that your cable/DSL connects to, and chose properties. Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and click on properties.

Click on "advanced", go to "WINS" tab, and chose Disable NetBios over TCP/IP.

When you are back at your Network Connections page, right click on the Broadband selection, chose "properties" click on the networking tab. Again, chose TCP/IP, properties, advanced, WINS, and select "disable NetBios over TCP/IP"

Worked for me!

BTW, I don't use ICS (can never get it configured right) and instead use Sygate for my Connection Sharing, so I can't verify that with ICS netbios is enabled in the broadband connection and the modem NIC.The Wizard might catch it, but take a look just in case.

Disable XP Boot Logo

It is possible to disable XP splash screen, which will slightly speed up the overall boot

process. Be aware that removing the splash screen will also cause you not to see any boot-up

messages that might come up (chkdsk, convert ... ), but if your system runs without any problems

then it should not matter.

1. Edit boot.ini
2. Add " /noguiboot" right after "/fastdetect".

(or check the /noguiboot switch in msconfig on the boot.ini tab)

Upon restarting, the splash screen will be gone. It can be re-enabled by removing the new switch.

Disable Debug Scripting in Internet Explorer

Don't you hate it when you are browsing a page it asks you "Would you like to debug this page?"

Well here's a nifty and easy way to turn it off.

Right Click on Internet Explorer and Click Properties
----- or -----
Open Internet Explorer. Click Tools | Internet Options

Click The "Advanced" Tab

The 4th Item in "Browsing" should say "Disable Script Debugging"

Check it and you are all set! Enjoy a Debug-Free Browsing experience.

Stop Jerkey Graphics

I have for a long time had problems with "jerky" graphics in some 3d games and 3dmark, and have

had relativly high cpu loads in idle condition.
The cpu load would pulse from 1-2% up to 10-12%-load with about three-five seconds

intervals...(in idle)
The jerking has not been due to low perfomance hardware or old drivers and I have had the

problems on two seperate systems.
If you are connected to a LAN and have similar problems, this might be the solution:

1.RightClick "MyComputer"
2.Select "Manage"
3.Click on "Device Manager"
4.DoubleClick on your NIC under "Network Adapters"
5.In the new window, select the "Advanced" tab
6.Select "Connection Type" and manuelly set the value of your NIC. (Not "Auto Sense" which is

7.You should reboot...
On my systems the "jerking" in 3D games was completly gone, and so was the high idle cpu load.

This tip also applies to Win2K.
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