How to make windows xp run faster


Daemon Poster
In this guide I will show you how to make windows xp run faster with out spending a penny, The following tips can help improve your computer's performance and help make your computer run faster. All the tips are related to Windows XP operating system

Contents - How to make windows xp run faster

-BIOS Update + Settings
-Disable GUI Options
-Clean Your Registry
-HouseKeep Your Hard-Disk
-Disable System Restore
-Configure The Paging File
-Disable Un-needed Services From Starting
-Disable Unwanted Programs From Startup
-Turn off application updates
-Check Task Manager For Top I/O Processes
-Check Task Scheduler
-Install OS On Dedicated Hard-Drive
-Speedup Folder Browsing
-Remove Your Desktop Picture
-Disable File Last Update Access Time
-Make Your Start Menu Faster
-Make Windows XP Shutdown Faster
-Make Sure Hard-Drives Are Using DMA Mode
-Memory Performance Tweaks

BIOS Upgrade + Settings

The BIOS is a bit of software that sits on your computers motherboard and controls how each component talks to each other. It is a good idea to upgrade this if possible to the latest version as you could see many benefits. A BIOS upgrade will help the motherboard to be more efficient in the way that its components talk to each other.To upgrade your BIOS find out what motherboard you have (You can do this by looking in the manual that came with your computer, or you can look at the screen that first shows when you turn on your computer, it should like the make and model on there) Then when you know what motherboard you have go to the manufactures web site and search for the latest update.

Be aware that BIOS updates could possibly harm your system if not installed correctly, we can not be held responsible should you cause harm to your computer. Once you have upgraded your BIOS go in to your BIOS and make sure that all cache settings are enabled especially on the CPU. Disable any devices you don't use, for example if you dont use USB or Parallel port disable it. Devices will use up valuable memory when your system has booted in to windows xp. You might also think of disabling, floppy drive, infer red, LPT / COM ports, and so on

You can also speed up the boot process by enabling “Rapid Bios Boot” or “Fast/Quick boot”. Also turn off auto detection of IDE devices and detect them manually. Set System and Video BIOS Cacheable to OFF as well as Video RAM cacheable to off, as these are legacy operating system DOS settings.

Disable GUI Options

1. Right-click on the desktop and click properties.
2. Click on the “Appearance” tab at the top.
3. Click the “Effects” button
4. Uncheck “Use the following transition effect for menus and tooltips
5. Uncheck “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts” – (unelss using an LCD monitor, in which case, check this)
6. Uncheck show shadows under menus
7. The others don't really matter.
8. Click the “OK” button
9. Back at the “Display Properties” window, from the “Windows and buttons” select menu, select “Windows Classic Style.”
10. Click the “Apply” button.
11. Click the “OK” button.

Clean Your Registry

The REGCLEAN utility from Microsoft cleans your system registry of unnecessary entries that are created when you install or remove programs on your computer. Sometimes an “orphaned” registry entry can confuse Windows during startup and cause a delay. And in general, slimming down your registry will make Windows run faster. You can download REGCLEAN here. Note: This program is no longer officially supported by Microsoft, but many users report that it works fine on Windows XP systems. You can also try RegSeeker which is a highly rated registry cleaner.

HouseKeep Your Hard-Disk

Over time your hard-disk will clutter up and you will need to clear this down and also run some checks to make sure everything is running okay. The more data that is stored on a hard-disk the slower it will take to access data as it has to search through more files. So here are a few things to check, check them in the order belowClean Your System From Virus's and Spyware

Make sure you have an updated virus scanner with the latest virus definitions database. Do a full search of your system and make sure all visrus's are cleared. Also get hold of a program that will search and remove spyware, I recommend Adware by Lavasoft, take a look here.

Delete Internet Related Files - For every website you visit your computer will download files and store them on your computer (Cookies, Temp Internet Files, Form Cache, and so on) To clear these down right click on the IE icon on your desktop and select properties, Under browsing history click delete, then in the next window click delete all.Delete Temp Files

Clear Temp Files - Most programs you use will leave *.tmp / *.temp files on your computer, Over time these files will pile up and can consume alot of disk space. To clear these files down click start > run and type in CMD then press enter, A black window will pop up. In this window type

Del /a /f /q /s C:\*.tmp and then
Del /a /f /q /s C:\*.temp
Then press the enter key. If you have 2 partitions repeat this process for the other partitions, Replace C: with the letter of your other drive, for example

Del /a /f /q /s D:\*.tmp
if you have a D: drive. Be careful when doing this, if you enter the wrong command it could delete some system files and cause windows xp not to boot.

Remove Unnecessary Software - You may have a bunch of software packages on your hard drive that are no longer needed, or they were gratuitously installed when you downloaded some other package. Toolbars, file-sharing programs, free email enhancers, online shopping “companions” and download managers are notorious for this practice. These uninvited guests can put a big drag on your startup time, cause web pages to load slowly, and generally slow down your computer. Go to Control Panel, then Add/Remove Software to see what packages are installed. Remove the ones you know you don't need, and do a web search to learn about the ones you're not sure about.

Empty The Recycle Bin - Double click on the recycle bin icon on your desktop, Delete all the files you dont require, be aware if you delete files from here you can not get them back.

Run A Check Disk - Now its time to check if there are errors on your hard-disk. Double click on the my computer icon on your desktop, right click on the disk that says C: and then select properties. Click tools tab > Check now then tick the 2 boxes and hit start, You will get a message pop up, asking to perform the check disk on next reboot, click yes. Now reboot your system and let the check disk run. The checkdisk will tell you if it finds any errors on the disk and it will also attempt to repair them. Perform this action for any other hard-drives you might have.

Run A Defrag - A defrag will re-arrange where the files are located on your system, it will move the files to make sure you get the best performance when accessing files. For example it will move all the system files to one part of the disk, so when the system needs to access system files they are all in the same location and the hard-drive does not need to jump around the disk as much to access what it needs.To run defrag double click on the my computer icon on your desktop, right click on the disk that says C: and then select properties.Click tools tab > Degragment now. Then select each partition you have in turn and click the defragement button. You will get a report of what has been done when it has finished.

Disable System Restore

System restore will take up resoruces such as memory and hard-disk IO. Personally I have never used system restore. If you are going to disable the system restore make sure you backup important files to anther disk such as USB stick / CD-ROM / Tape drive and so on. To disable system restore in windows xp do the following

1. Right-click ‘my computer' and click properties.
2. Click the “System Restore” tab at the top.
3. Check the box “Turn off system restore on all drives”

Configure The Paging File

When your system runs out of physical memory windows xp will use something called a paging file. A paging file is basically a file that sits on your hard-drive and will be used as memory should your system run out of memory. Ideally you dont want to run out of physical memory because your system will slow down if it uses the paging file. So we need to make sure we configure the paging file correctly incase it is needed.To configure a windows xp paging file right click on the my computer icon on your desktop, click advanced tab, then under the performance section click on the settings button. in the next window click on the advanced tab then change button. You dont want windows to automatically handle the size of the paging file so select custom size and then enter 2048 for the initial size and also maximum size.

Disable Un-needed Services From Starting

When your system starts it loads certain services which eats up valuable memory which your system might need. The more services we stop from starting the more memory we can make available to the system. To disable a service do the following, Right click on the my computer icon on your desktop and click on manage, Double click on services and applications, then services.

To disable a service double click on it and where it says startup type simply select disable, The service will then get disabled on the next system reboot. Be careful if you disable a service that the system requires you could cause your system not to boot, we can not be held responsible if you damage your system (If you are unsure if you can disable a service post about it in our forum). I recommend that you disable the following services

-Alerter, used to send popup administrative alerts, These alerts can also be viewed from the eventlog if this service is disabled.

-Clipbook, If you disable this service you will not be able to copy and paste text / pictures and so on. Its up to you if you want to disable this.

-Computer Browser, This is used to keep a list of other computers on the network.

-Error Reporting Service, Turn this off if you dont want errors to be reported.

-Event Log, All errors are written to an event log, if you disable this service nothing will be written to the log.

-IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service, If you disable this service you will not be able to burn CD-ROMs.

-Indexing Service, This service should speed up access to frequently used files. In my experience it is not worth using it as it uses a lot of memory and slows down your whole system as a result.

-Messenger, If you disable this you will not receive any windows popup messages.

-Net Logon, This service is required if your computer is in a domain, If the computer is not in a domain disable this service.

-NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing, Disable this if you dont want to share your desktop with remote users (Support for example)

-Performance Logs and Alerts, This service logs the performance of your computer.

-Print Spooler, If you dont print from your computer disable this service.

-Remote Registry, If this service is disabled the computers registry can not be changed remotely.

-Server, If this service is stopped you can not share the files / printers on your system with others.

-System Event Notification, Logs events such as windows log on and off.

-System Restore Service, If this is disabled you will not be able to restore your system should it encounter a critical failure.

-Task Scheduler, It is possible to schedule your system to perform tasks automatically, If this service is disabled the automatic tasks will not run.

-Telephony, If this is disabled you will not be able to use voice network connections such as modems and VOIP Voice Over IP.

-Windows Audio, If this is disabled your system will be unable to play back sound.

Disable Unwanted Programs From Startup

Disable Unwanted Programs From Startup. Click start then type in msconfig and hit enter. Now click on the startup tab and untick anything that you do not need windows to run once it has started. If you are unsure what to disable please post here before disabling it.

You can also delay processes from starting when windows xp boots, this will help your computer to become responsive quicker when it has booted to the desktop. Take a look at Startup Delayer

Turn off application updates

Turn off application updates – With certain programs such as adobe reader and java they can be configured to automatically check if newer versions are available, if newer versions are available they will also automatically download the update and store it on your computer, then it will keep prompting you to install it. This update will take up valuable disk space and also will use a bit of disk i/o when its downloading it

Check Task Manager For Top I/O Processes

Open task manager by pressing “CTRL + Shift + ESC” Click on “Show processes from all users” click on the processes tab, then sort the “I/O Reads” by max to min. Now take a look at the top processes of I/O Reads and is there funny processes there?? It is possible that there is a process that takes up a lot of I/O that you could stop. If you are unsure about a process post about it in our forum. Repeat the above process for the “I/O Write” column

Check Task Scheduler

Go in to the control panel and click on scheduled tasks. Disable tasks in there that you do not need. There might be a task in here to do a full virus scan on your PC or something similar. If your not to sure what you can disable post about it in our forum.

Install OS On Dedicated Hard-Drive

If possible install windows xp on a dedicated hard-drive and install your applications / data on a second seperate hard-drive. This will then mean that the disk i/o will be spread across two drives.

Speedup Folder Browsing

You may have noticed that everytime you open my computer to browse folders that there is a slight delay. This is because Windows XP automatically searches for network files and printers everytime you open Windows Explorer. To fix this and to increase browsing significantly:

1. Open My Computer
2. Click on Tools menu
3. Click on Folder Options
4. Click on the View tab.
5. Uncheck the Automatically search for network folders and printers check box
6. Click Apply
7. Click Ok
8. Reboot your computer

Remove Your Desktop Picture

Your desktop background picture consumes a fair amount of memory and can slow the loading time of your system and when you switch between screens. Removing it will improve performance.

1. Right click on Desktop and select Properties
2. Select the Desktop tab
3. In the Background window select None
4. Click Ok

Disable File Last Update Access Time

If you have a lot of folders and subdirectories on your computer, when you access a directory XP wastes a lot of time updating the time stamp showing the last access time for that directory and for ALL sub directories. To stop XP doing this you need to edit the registry. If you are uncomfortable doing this then please do not attempt.

1. Go to Start and then Run and type “regedit”
2. Browse to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Cur rentControlSet\Control\FileSys tem”
3. Right-click in a blank area of the window on the right and select ‘DWORD Value'
4. Create a new DWORD Value called ‘NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate'
5. Then Right click on the new value and select ‘Modify'
6. Change the Value Data to '1′
7. Click ‘OK'

Make Your Start Menu Faster

This will make you feel your startmenu will run much faster. What this tweak does is remove the slight delay between clicking on a menu and XP displaying the menu.

1. Go to Start then Run
2. Type ‘Regedit' then click ‘Ok'
3. Find “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\”
4. Select “MenuShowDelay”
5. Right click and select “Modify'
5. Reduce the number to around “100″

This is the delay time before a menu is opened. You can set it to “0″ but it can make windows really hard to use as menus will open if you just look at them – well move your mouse over them anyway. I tend to go for anywhere between 50-150

Make Windows XP Shutdown Faster

This tweak reduces the time XP waits before automatically closing any running programs when you shutdown your machine.

1. Go to Start then select Run
2. Type ‘Regedit' and click ok, then

Find ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\'
Select ‘WaitToKillAppTimeout'
Right click and select ‘Modify'
Change the value to '1000′
Click ‘OK'

Now select ‘HungAppTimeout'
Right click and select ‘Modify'
Change the value to '1000′
Click ‘OK'

Now find ‘HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop'
Select ‘WaitToKillAppTimeout'
Right click and select ‘Modify'
Change the value to '1000′
Click ‘OK'

Now find ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Cur rentControlSet\Control\'
Select ‘WaitToKillServiceTimeout'
Right click and select ‘Modify'
Change the value to '1000′
Click ‘OK'

Next make sure your system is not clearing the page file at shutdown. If your system is clearing the page file at shutdown your system will take a long time to shutdown.

1. Go to Start then select Run
2. Type ‘Regedit' and click ok
3. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
4. If there is a key called "ClearPageFileAtShutdown" make sure the key is set to 0 and not 1

Make Sure Hard-Drives Are Using DMA Mode

XP enables DMA for Hard-Drives and CD-Roms by default on most ATA or ATAPI (IDE) devices. However, sometimes computers switch to PIO mode which is slower for data transfer – a typical reason is because of a virus. To ensure that your machine is using DMA:

1. Open ‘Device Manager'
2. Double-click ‘IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers'
3. Right-click ‘Primary Channel' and select ‘Properties' and then ‘Advanced Settings'
4. In the ‘Current Transfer Mode' drop-down box, select ‘DMA if Available' if the current setting is ‘PIO Only'

Memory Performance Tweaks

If you have 512 megs or more of memory, you can increase system performance by having the core system kept in memory.

1. Go to Start then select Run
2. Type ‘Regedit' and click ok
3. Browse to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory"
4. On the key ManagementDisablePagingExecutive set the value to 1

Increasing File System Caching To increase the amount of memory Windows will locked for I/O operations:

1. Go to Start then select Run
2. Type ‘Regedit' and click ok
3. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory Management
4. Increase the value for the key IoPageLockLimit

These are all the tips I can think of to make your windows xp system run faster, If you can think of anything more please post them in this post and I will add them to the article. Thanks
Very nice tips here and will surely bookmark this tutorial! Thanks for making it!
JCB, I'm very impressed! It seems that every time I see a "How to make your OS faster" guide it is incomplete. The guide you posted is accurate and complete! I've done a lot of tweaking over the years to squeeze performance out of WinXP but it is very rare to see it all laid out in a single guide. I'm bookmarking this thread!
thanks for the good feedback. It took me ages to write this article. I have been optimising XP for years and I thought id put all the information in one place so I can access it when I need to, Especially the registry entrys
hi thanks alot
1.install windows 7 sp1 and format all your drives ntfs with highest allocation size then unistall windows 7 sp1 and install windows xp sp 3 windows 7 let you format all your drives with higher allocation size from xp

2.disable indexing in windows xp my coumputer
2.rightclick on "c" the drive that you install windows on it
3.uncheck box that say "allow indexing serv..."

3.defragment all your drives with defragller(this is free program) it defrag better from windows xp defragment program

3.use cclreaner (this is free program) it will will clean tempory internet files and alot of tepory files of programs and windows

4. use wise registery cleaner(this is free program) ypu can clean and defragment registry with it
WiseCleaner - Wise Registry Cleaner Free
thanks alot 4 the information. pls i would want you to assist me with info as to how to fix my computer. it started showing me fan not connected or connected wrongly when i replaced the bad power pack with a new one. its a desktop pc. thanks
Great work JCB, i think you have almost covered all the aspects related to improving the speed of pc with xp installed .
Thanks for sharing.. great help.!!
Nice guide! One thing though, does cleaning up the registry really speed up Windows? I've read that registry cleaners can do more harm than good, and don't really help speed up the registry at all. That being said, I do try using Revo Uninstaller when uninstalling programs so it takes care of any left behind files and registry entries.
For the registry I have read a lot of articles that it does help but I have never tried it. FYI : I plan to write a simular guide for windows 7 in the next few weeks
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