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Make XP run better (probably even faster)

Every time I reformat my pc I'd like to make it faster than the standard installation. I have used my pc so much that I know when it becomes slow. So here are a few tips and tweaks to make XP or your pc run better, or even make it run faster.


  • If you don't need to impress anybody with the themes built-in to your pc, then don't use XP or Vista for XP themes. Using the classic theme uses less CPU thus having more available for other processes. To do this, go to start -> right click on My Computer and select Properties -> select the Advanced tab -> select Settings of the Performance option ->  in Visual Effects tab, choose Adjust for best performance -> click Ok.
  • Having at least 1 Gig RAM is good, but if you can go to 2 Gigs, then better. Alternatively, you can increase the pagefile in you hard drive to act as RAM. Doing this, you'll have your pc thinking it has bigger RAM while in fact, it is using a portion of your hard drive as RAM. Unlike having a true RAM, added to your machine, pagefile access is slow, thus, you might not see the performance difference before and after the tweak. However, this tweak will get rid of that annoying balloon saying that your Virtual memory is too low. Let's adjust your pagefile. Same as above go to start -> right click on My Computer and select Properties -> select the Advanced tab -> select Settings of the Performance option ->  this time, select the Advanced tab -> at the bottom, you have there Virtual Memory, select Change -> you'll see now the current allocation of your pagefile -> select Custom size, the HDD size you will now allocate as RAM will depend on your current true RAM available, say you have 512 MB of RAM in your machine, it's advisable to make your pagefile allocation to about 2x the total RAM memory installed, so you'll have 1024 MB for a 512 MB chip. Remember this, the Initial and Maximum sizes should be set to same values, so you can change this now to 1024 MB -> select Set and click Ok for all succeeding windows. You might be asked to restart your machine, just do the restart.
  • Having applications running during Windows start-up can considerably slow down boot time. So good idea to keep applications that you can see beside your clock to a minimal. In my case, what I usually have running during start-up is my Antivirus, LAN and WiFi connections, and RK Launcher. Everything else were disabled using the applications' option that says something about load when windows start or load during start-up, or start with windows. For example, Yahoo! Messenger,this darn thing is set to start with windows automatically, I've seen this software consume as much as 250 MB of my RAM. You can stop yahoo messenger from loading during startup, by selecting the Messenger menu and select Preferences. Go to General and make sure that Automatically start Yahoo! Messenger is unchecked. Most of the applications out there allows you to do this, just go through the options. If you want a faster solution even for those applications that does not allow you to control their startup, then you can use Autoruns. This software helps me a lot in hunting viruses and trojans that infect pc's. I'll be reviewing autoruns in this blog soon. So stay on this site for more info.
  • For advances users, you can even tweak the Services in your pc that you don't really need to be running. Say Security Center of Windows XP. To do this, select start -> Run -> type services.msc -> you'll have a lot of things displayed there, look for something that says Security Center and left click on it and then right click and select Properties -> in the startup type, select Manual. You can choose to Disable the services but remember, this process will never start, say you have other processes that are dependent on the process that you disabled, then you'll have error while starting those dependent services. For full information on which services you can stop and their descriptions, you can search in Google for the keyword XP services.
  • There are also registry tweaks that you can do in XP. For now, I'll start to compile those tweaks and have it posted here in a different blog entry.

So, that's about it for now. I'll continue to update this blog if I find new things about the topic. If you find the information here inadequate or lacks clarity, your suggestions are most welcome.

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