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Old 02-12-2006, 04:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default More Windows XP Tweaks

Performance Tips:

1)Turn off or reduce system restore to save hard drive space
2)Altering page files
3)Clean out prefetch folder
4)Set priority for individual programs
5)Cleaning up unwanted startup programs
6)Defrag your hard drive
7)Disable unnecessary services
8)Disable the Disk performance counter(s)
9)Turn Off Windows Indexing service
10)Increasing desktop Graphics Performance
11)Check and set the DMA mode on your drives
12)Smooth out your mouse movement

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Performance 1 to 2

1. Turn off or reduce system restore to save hard drive space

Windows XP includes a system restore utility which is capable of rolling your computer back to a pre-defined point in time, removing all changes made to the system since that point. This can be an extremely useful feature for rescuing your PC from viruses or faulty software problems, but it also eats up a large amount of hard drive space.

By default, system restore reserves a whopping 12% of each logical drive for itself. You can considerably reduce the amount of space system restore uses by cutting back on the number of restore points the utility sets for itself, or you can turn the feature off altogether.

To adjust system restore settings: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'properties.' Choose the 'system restore' tab.

To disable system restore, simply check the 'turn off system restore on all drives' box. Otherwise, highlight a drive and click 'settings.' Turn it all way to Min if you want
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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2. Altering page files

The page files are one or more areas of your hard disks that Windows XP reserves as virtual memory. To put it simply, these reserved areas are used to contain any data that may spill over from your main memory.

Virtual memory is accessed by Windows just like physical memory, but is many times slower, due to the much slower speed of hard drive data transfer as compared to RAM. Windows XP actually uses the Page files continuously, regardless of the amount of free memory on your system, so optimizing these files can have a positive effect on the performance of your computer.

To optimize the page file(s), there are a few options you can consider.

Page File Placement:

Since Page files require intermittent disk access to write and retrieve information, putting them on the same drive as the operating system can compromise the performance of both. Of course, since most systems contain only a single hard drive, this is not usually something that can be changed. If your system contains more than one hard disk, consider placing a page file on the the non-OS disk and removing the one on the OS-disk containing the Windows files.

To do this: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'properties' then the 'advanced' tab. In the 'performance' section, click 'settings' then select the 'advanced' tab. In the 'virtual memory' section, click 'change.' From here you can choose individual drives and customize the size of the paging files you wish to create. See below for more info.

Page File Size:

By default, page files are created with a starting size and a maximum size. These values allow Windows to resize the paging file as system demand grows. It is more efficient to set an identical starting and maximum value so that no resources are wasted resizing the file.

To do this, choose 'custom size' for each page file and set the initial and maximum sizes to the same number.

As for what size to set them at, the best bet is to leave them at, or slightly below the default 'maximum' setting the system assigned, with a ceiling of 1GB. This is the amount of space that is reserved for the file, regardless of its current size. If you are creating multiple page files, split the amount between them
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Performance Tips 3 to 5

3. Clean out the prefetch folder

Windows XP uses a system called 'prefetch' to organize and preload some of the data necessary for commonly used applications and files. A folder called prefetch is used to store the information the operating system needs to carry out this operation. After several months of use, the prefetch folder may become quite overloaded with older references to software and files that may no longer be in use.

It's a good idea to manually empty the older files out of the prefetch folder every few months or so. To do this: Navigate to 'c:\windows\prefetch' and delete all .PF files that are older than a week or two.

4. Set priority for individual programs

If you regularly multi-task while you are working at your computer, but some of the applications you use require more horsepower than others to work effectively (for example using Adobe Photoshop along with Word or other less demanding programs), you may want to consider setting a custom priority for the high-demand applications.

Priority is how the operating system determines how to share the processor time among applications. Most applications default to the 'normal' priority, so by setting your high demand application higher, you can increase its performance when multitasking.

To do this: Load the program you wish to change the priority for and press CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up the Task Manager. Select the applications tab and highlight your program. Right click the program and select 'go to process.' Now right click on the highlighted process and choose 'set priority.'

The higher you set the priority above normal, the more CPU time the program will steal from other applications when you are multitasking.

5. Cleaning up unwanted startup programs

Many freeware and commercial software programs have a habit of setting themselves up to run automatically upon Windows startup. This can contribute to the gradual decline in startup speed that most Windows XP systems (and windows PCs in general) experience. Also, having programs that you only use selectively, or not at all, load automatically is a waste of system resources that could be better used for other things.

To top it off, many internet nasties such as spyware programs, viruses and Trojan horses will install themselves into one of the automatic start locations on your system in order to make sure that they are run on startup. So the point is, take a look at what is currently running every time you load your PC, and disable what you don't need or can't identify.

To do this: The first place you should go is 'start\programs\startup' which is a directory Windows XP uses to launch application shortcuts on boot-up.

If you remove the shortcuts from this directory, the applications will not load on startup. This directory can also be a repository for various badness such as spyware and virus software, so if there are files here which are not shortcuts and you don't recognize them, you may wish to consider removing them anyways, as Windows will not place critical files in this directory.

The next location for removing unnecessary startup files is the handy MSCONFIG utility that has been resurrected from the graveyard of Windows 9x especially for XP.

Go to 'start\run' and type 'msconfig' to access the utility.

The 'startup' tab in MSCONFIG provides access to several other applications that are started at boot up and are running in the background. By examining their Filenames and directories, you should be able to get a feeling for what is necessary and what is not. Be aware than several viruses and worms have a habit of disguising themselves with authoritative sounding Windows system file names, such as the Win32.spybot.worm present in the above screenshot as MSCONFIG32.EXE. Leave these for now if you are not sure.

The other method for removing these programs is through the programs themselves, as many applications, for example MSN messenger, contain the option to remove the software from startup.
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Performance Tips 6 to 7

6. Defrag your hard drive

Defragmentation of a hard drive is the act of re-ordering the data on the drive so that each file can be read continuously from the disk. By default, Windows XP will attempt to store any files it needs to write to the hard drive in consecutive clusters (a cluster is the smallest unit of storage space available on a hard drive) on the drive, so that the file can then be read continuously.

A hard drive which has been frequently used over a long period of time will have developed many fragmented files, files which are scattered over different clusters on the surface of the disk. This can occur because of many factors, for example uninstall programs that leave files behind, system crashes while in the act of writing to the hard drive, regular deletion of files, etc.

A file becomes fragmented when the portion of consecutive clusters on the disk that Windows begins to write into is not large enough to hold the whole file. The remainder of the file then needs to be written to a different physical area of the disk. This does not have any effect on the operating system's ability to access the files themselves, but it does slow down disk access times (and by extension, any application that depends on disk access) due to the extra time needed to reposition the read heads of the hard drive to access the rest of the fragmented file.

Windows XP includes a disk defragmentation utility which you can use to re-arrange the files on the drive and eliminate fragmentation. This can have a significant affect on the speed of your computer. To access this utility, go to 'start\programs\accessories\system tools\disk defragmenter.'

To begin with, you need to analyze your hard disk(s) to see if defragmentation is needed. Select a drive and hit the 'analyze' button. This could take a little while depending on the amount of data on the drive. Whille the system is analyzing, it is best to leave your computer alone or the process may need to restart.

Once the analysis is finished, you will have a graphical representation of your disk's level of fragmentation. See the pic below for an example of a highly fragmented drive.Windows will also inform you if it recommends defragmenting the drive. You must have 15% of the drive free in order to fully defragment it. Anything less will result in only a partial re-ordering of the files. You may need to delete a few things to obtain this free space.

To defragment the drive, select it and hit the 'defragment' button. Note that depending on the size of the drive and the level of fragmentation, this can take a long time. It's a good thing to leave overnight, since you should not run anything else while doing the defrag either.

7. Disable unnecessary services

Windows XP runs many, many services in the background. A lot of these are not actually necessary to the day-to-day operation of your PC, depending of course, on what you use it for. Creating a guide for which services are useful in which situation would unfortunately take up the entire remainder of this article just for itself, so we're not going to go in depth. The simple fact is different people will need different services enabled.

To judge for yourself which are necessary, right click on 'My computer' and select 'manage.' From the computer management window, expand 'services and applications' then click 'services' to open up the window listing all available services. The ones labeled 'started' are currently running, and the startup type 'automatic' denotes a service which is started by windows each time the operating system loads.

By highlighting each service, you can see a description of its properties, and make an informed decision on whether you need it or not. To stop a service from running, right click on it and select 'properties,' then stop it and make the startup type 'disabled.' If the description indicates that services which depend on the service you are currently examining will fail if it is disabled, you can go to the 'dependencies' tab to see which services will be affected.
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Performance Tips 8 to 12

8. Disable the Disk performance counter(s)

Windows XP contains a built in performance monitor that is constantly examining various areas of your system. This information can be called up using the performance monitor application found in control panel\administrative tools. Of course, most of us have little interest in this sort of performance statistics monitoring, that being more the territory of systems administrators than individual users.

The thing is, XP is still monitoring away, and some of its observation tools can use a considerable amount of resources. The disk monitoring is an example of this, and it's a good idea to turn the disk monitors off if you are not planning to use the performance monitor application.

To do this: Go to the command prompt ('start\run' then type 'cmd') and type 'diskperf -N'

9. Turn Off Windows Indexing service

The 'Indexing' feature is used to increase the speed of file searches within XP by creating and updating an index of all files on your system. Unfortunately, it also reduces the performance of your system, since it is constantly working in the background.

To turn it off: Go to Control Panel\Add/Remove Programs\Windows Components. Then uncheck 'Indexing Service.'


10. Increasing desktop Graphics Performance

If you are running Windows XP on an older computer, you may find turning of some of the graphical frills that XP uses to render the desktop will improve the 'snappiness' of your computing experience. To see a list of these effects so that you can experiment with the effectiveness of turning them off:

Right click on 'my computer' and hit 'properties.' Choose the 'advanced' tab. In the performance section, click the 'settings' button A list of the various graphical effects that can be turned off or on is shown. To turn them all off, you can choose the 'adjust for best performance' button. Play around with these settings and see what you think.A list of the various graphical effects that can be turned off or on is shown. To turn them all off, you can choose the 'adjust for best performance' button. Play around with these settings and see what you think.

11. Check and set the DMA mode on your drives


Windows XP occasionally sets IDE hard drives and CD drives to the PIO transfer mode by default, which is slower than the standard DMA (Direct Memory Access) mode used by modern drives. It's worthwhile to check your drive settings to make sure that they are not being slowed down in this manner. To check your drives:

Right click 'my computer' and select properties, then the 'hardware tab' then the 'device manager' button.

Expand 'IDE ATA\ATAPI controllers' highlight 'primary IDE channel' and hit the 'properties' button.

Go to the 'advanced settings' tab, and ensure that the transfer mode is set to 'DMA if available.'

Repeat the above steps for the secondary IDE channel.

12. Smooth out your mouse movement

Assuming you are using a PS/2 mouse, this tip can help give you smoother and more precise mouse control. Good for gaming and for your nerves in general. Studies have shown that smooth mousing reduces fatigue and stress and generally promotes a healthy cheerful glow (your experience may vary).

On to the tip: Right click on 'my computer' and select properties. Choose the 'hardware' tab, then the 'device manager' button. From the device manager window, find your PS/2 mouse and select 'properties.' In the 'advanced settings' tab, set the 'sample rate' to 200.

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Old 02-12-2006, 09:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default increasing priority

another method of increasing priority
create a batch file for the app you want to increase power for

this can also help frame rates in games, you can expect 2 things, either frames go up from 3 -20fps or you get mouse/keyboard lag..if latter then dont use it for that game.

Open notepad

@echo off
cd /d "D:\Farcry\Bin32\"
start /high FarCry.exe -DEVMODE

select save as (all files)
save as **.bat

replace batch file with current shortcut, whenever clicked the game will always run in high priority mode.

for max performance, dont run other programs in background under highpriority.
progs such as defragmenters and av scanners work faster with this. using highpriority for startup items speeds up booting but i dont know how to do it without a program like this http://www.prioritymaster.com/

for other programs/games, just change the path to the executable.
example:

@echo off
cd /d "enter folder path here"
start /high enter final exe here
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Old 02-13-2006, 03:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think this should get pinned
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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To do this, choose 'custom size' for each page file and set the initial and maximum sizes to the same number.

show me please
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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how i do that
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by NvidiaDude
how i do that
tell me were the pagefile settings are, i've done a lot of post's this morning. maybe i missed it.
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