Windows XP Help

Windows XP Performance

1. How do I improve performance of my computer?

There are many tweaks and tricks you can use to improve the performance of your computer besides upgrading the hardware:
a) Run Disk Cleanup utility to remove old files.
b) Run Defrag on your hard disk to reduce file fragmentation.
c) Disable unwanted programs and services that automatically start when you boot your computer.
d) Remove spyware and any viruses that may slow down your computer.
e) Uninstall unwanted or unused software
f) Do a fresh installation of Windows. You will have no junk left over from multiple installs/uninstalls and registry will be smaller.
g) Do Registry cleanup of outdated or unused information using various Registry cleanup tools.
h) Upgrade hardware: faster hard disk, faster CPU or faster graphics card.

2. How do I regularly run Disk Cleanup or Defrag programs?

You can run these on a weekly on monthly basis depending on how heacy used your computer is. Open Start, Settings, Control Panel and double click on Scheduled Tasks (see Performance and Maintenance, if in Category view). Double click Add Scheduled Task and select the application from the list or use the Browse button to select the program. For Disk Cleanup, see C:\Windows\System\cleanmgr.exe, for the defrag program, use C:\Windows\System32\defrag.exe and add the drive letter in the Run box. You probably need to set a username and password for them to run.

3. Which programs can I disable from running on Startup?

There are two places where programs auto run when you login: the Startup folder in your Programs menu, and the Run section in the registry. You can remove items from the Startup folder by right clicking the start button and select either Explore or Explorer all Users to look at your own Startup folder or the Startup folder for All Users of the computer, you may have to browse down a few levels to find it and then you can delete the program shortcuts you do not require.
For programs in the registry, you can use either Regedit or preferably MSConfig and look in the Startup section, unticking options here will prevent the program from starting later on. For permenant removal, I suggest Regedit (see HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run).

4. Which services can I stop running on Startup?

There are many services that auto run on bootup. Many services are required and you should only disable those that you definately do not require, disabling the wrong ones may stop your computer from working or booting up! See some services below:
a) Indexing Service - used to index documents on your Hard disk. Disabling this can free up CPU and HD time!
b) iPod Service - Disable this, if you do not use Apple's iPod Mpeg player.
c) Smart Card - Disable this, if you do not use Smart card removable devices.
d) TCP/IP Netbios Helper - Disable this if not using Netbios or other WINS type services
e) Wireless Zero Configuration - Disable this if not using any Wireless type network cards

5. How do I uninstall unwanted software?

Most software installed is in Add/Remove Programs. It will even try to tell how how often you use that software, although its a bit hit and miss. Removing old demos and games can free up a lot of valuable hard disk space that can be used for new programs or documents. Some times an uninstall leaves some files behind, so look in C:\Program files and look for partially empty folders and delete them if you can after an uninstall. Some uninstallers leave behind stuff in the registry, a good place to look is in HKLM\Software area with Regedit.