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 23 ways to make your windows xp faster

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PostSubject: 23 ways to make your windows xp faster   Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:12 pm

Since defragging the disk won't do much to improve Windows XP
performance, here are 23 suggestions that will. Each can enhance the
performance and reliability of your customers' PCs. Best of all, most
of them will cost you nothing.
1.) To decrease a system's boot time and increase system performance,
use the money you save by not buying defragmentation software -- the
built-in Windows defragmenter works just fine -- and instead equip the
computer with an Ultra-133 or Serial ATA hard drive with 8-MB cache
buffer.

2.) If a PC has less than 512 MB of RAM, add more memory. This is a
relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade that can dramatically improve
system performance.

3.) Ensure that Windows XP is utilizing the NTFS file system. If you're
not sure, here's how to check: First, double-click the My Computer
icon, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Next,
examine the File System type; if it says FAT32, then back-up any
important data. Next, click Start, click Run, type CMD, and then click
OK. At the prompt, type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and press the Enter key.
This process may take a while; it's important that the computer be
uninterrupted and virus-free. The file system used by the bootable
drive will be either FAT32 or NTFS. I highly recommend NTFS for its
superior security, reliability, and efficiency with larger disk drives.

4.) Disable file indexing. The indexing service extracts information
from documents and other files on the hard drive and creates a
"searchable keyword index." As you can imagine, this process can be
quite taxing on any system.

The idea is that the user can search for a word, phrase, or property
inside a document, should they have hundreds or thousands of documents
and not know the file name of the document they want. Windows XP's
built-in search functionality can still perform these kinds of searches
without the Indexing service. It just takes longer. The OS has to open
each file at the time of the request to help find what the user is
looking for.

Most people never need this feature of search. Those who do are
typically in a large corporate environment where thousands of documents
are located on at least one server. But if you're a typical system
builder, most of your clients are small and medium businesses. And if
your clients have no need for this search feature, I recommend
disabling it.

Here's how: First, double-click the My Computer icon. Next, right-click
on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Uncheck "Allow Indexing
Service to index this disk for fast file searching." Next, apply
changes to "C: subfolders and files," and click OK. If a warning or
error message appears (such as "Access is denied"), click the Ignore
All button.

5.) Update the PC's video and motherboard chipset drivers. Also, update
and configure the BIOS. For more information on how to configure your
BIOS properly, see this article on my site.

6.) Empty the Windows Prefetch folder every three months or so. Windows
XP can "prefetch" portions of data and applications that are used
frequently. This makes processes appear to load faster when called upon
by the user. That's fine. But over time, the prefetch folder may become
overloaded with references to files and applications no longer in use.
When that happens, Windows XP is wasting time, and slowing system
performance, by pre-loading them. Nothing critical is in this folder,
and the entire contents are safe to delete.

7.) Once a month, run a disk cleanup. Here's how: Double-click the My
Computer icon. Then right-click on the C: drive and select Properties.
Click the Disk Cleanup button -- it's just to the right of the Capacity
pie graph -- and delete all temporary files.

8.) In your Device Manager, double-click on the IDE ATA/ATAPI
Controllers device, and ensure that DMA is enabled for each drive you
have connected to the Primary and Secondary controller. Do this by
double-clicking on Primary IDE Channel. Then click the 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 Secondary
IDE Channel.

9.) Upgrade the cabling. As hard-drive technology improves, the cabling
requirements to achieve these performance boosts have become more
stringent. Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all of your IDE
devices with the connectors properly assigned to the matching
Master/Slave/Motherboard sockets. A single device must be at the end of
the cable; connecting a single drive to the middle connector on a
ribbon cable will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA hard drives,
these signaling problems will prevent the drive from performing at its
maximum potential. Also, because these cables inherently support "cable
select," the location of each drive on the cable is important. For
these reasons, the cable is designed so drive positioning is explicitly
clear.

10.) Remove all spyware from the computer. Use free programs such as
AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Once these programs
are installed, be sure to check for and download any updates before
starting your search. Anything either program finds can be safely
removed. Any free software that requires spyware to run will no longer
function once the spyware portion has been removed; if your customer
really wants the program even though it contains spyware, simply
reinstall it. For more information on removing Spyware visit this Web
Pro News page.

11.) Remove any unnecessary programs and/or items from Windows Startup
routine using the MSCONFIG utility. Here's how: First, click Start,
click Run, type MSCONFIG, and click OK. Click the StartUp tab, then
uncheck any items you don't want to start when Windows starts. Unsure
what some items are? Visit the WinTasks Process Library. It contains
known system processes, applications, as well as spyware references and
explanations. Or quickly identify them by searching for the filenames
using Google or another Web search engine.

12.) Remove any unnecessary or unused programs from the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel.

13.) Turn off any and all unnecessary animations, and disable active
desktop. In fact, for optimal performance, turn off all animations.
Windows XP offers many different settings in this area. Here's how to
do it: First click on the System icon in the Control Panel. Next, click
on the Advanced tab. Select the Settings button located under
Performance. Feel free to play around with the options offered here, as
nothing you can change will alter the reliability of the computer --
only its responsiveness.

14.) If your customer is an advanced user who is comfortable editing
their registry, try some of the performance registry tweaks offered at
Tweak XP.

15.) Visit Microsoft's Windows update site regularly, and download all
updates labeled Critical. Download any optional updates at your
discretion.

16.) Update the customer's anti-virus software on a weekly, even daily,
basis. Make sure they have only one anti-virus software package
installed. Mixing anti-virus software is a sure way to spell disaster
for performance and reliability.

17.) Make sure the customer has fewer than 500 type fonts installed on
their computer. The more fonts they have, the slower the system will
become. While Windows XP handles fonts much more efficiently than did
the previous versions of Windows, too many fonts -- that is, anything
over 500 -- will noticeably tax the system.

18.) Do not partition the hard drive. Windows XP's NTFS file system
runs more efficiently on one large partition. The data is no safer on a
separate partition, and a reformat is never necessary to reinstall an
operating system. The same excuses people offer for using partitions
apply to using a folder instead. For example, instead of putting all
your data on the D: drive, put it in a folder called "D drive." You'll
achieve the same organizational benefits that a separate partition
offers, but without the degradation in system performance. Also, your
free space won't be limited by the size of the partition; instead, it
will be limited by the size of the entire hard drive. This means you
won't need to resize any partitions, ever. That task can be
time-consuming and also can result in lost data.

19.) Check the system's RAM to ensure it is operating properly. I
recommend using a free program called MemTest86. The download will make
a bootable CD or diskette (your choice), which will run 10 extensive
tests on the PC's memory automatically after you boot to the disk you
created. Allow all tests to run until at least three passes of the 10
tests are completed. If the program encounters any errors, turn off and
unplug the computer, remove a stick of memory (assuming you have more
than one), and run the test again. Remember, bad memory cannot be
repaired, but only replaced.

20.) If the PC has a CD or DVD recorder, check the drive manufacturer's
Web site for updated firmware. In some cases you'll be able to upgrade
the recorder to a faster speed. Best of all, it's free.

21.) Disable unnecessary services. Windows XP loads a lot of services
that your customer most likely does not need. To determine which
services you can disable for your client, visit the Black Viper site
for Windows XP configurations.

22.) If you're sick of a single Windows Explorer window crashing and
then taking the rest of your OS down with it, then follow this tip:
open My Computer, click on Tools, then Folder Options. Now click on the
View tab. Scroll down to "Launch folder windows in a separate process,"
and enable this option. You'll have to reboot your machine for this
option to take effect.

23.) At least once a year, open the computer's cases and blow out all
the dust and debris. While you're in there, check that all the fans are
turning properly. Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for bulging
or leaks. For more information on this leaking-capacitor phenomena, you
can read numerous articles on my site.


Following any of these suggestions should result in noticeable
improvements to the performance and reliability of your customers'
computers. If you still want to defrag a disk, remember that the main
benefit will be to make your data more retrievable in the event of a
crashed drive.
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