Increase WinXP performance

Follow It and See the Results

1. Clear System Restore Points for Performance

By default, Windows XP creates a restore point after installing Windows XP, once every 10 hours that Windows XP is running, or every 24 hours. It also creates a restore point when you install a new program, or install an update to Windows XP. And you can manually create restore points at any time.

To clear existing restore points


Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click System Restore.


Click to add a check mark beside Turn off System Restore on all Drives, and click Apply.


When you are warned that all existing Restore Points will be deleted, click Yes to continue.

All system restore points are deleted. Now you should manually create a restore point.


Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click System Restore.


Click Create a Restore Point, and then click Next.


Name your restore point. (I use the date as well as a descriptive term such as "After Restore Point Deletion.")

2. Optimize your computer's performance

Windows XP has a rich user interface with menus that slide into view, shadows that create three-dimensional effects, and rounded corners that soften the appearance of windows, these visual effects may noticeably slow down it's performance.

a).Click Start, right-click My Computer, and click Properties.

b).The System Properties dialog box appears. Click the Advanced tab. In the Performance area, click Settings

c).The Performance Options dialog box appears. On the Visual Effects tab, select the Adjust for best performance option and click ok.

3. Disable Indexing Service
The Indexing Service in Windows XP indexes your files presumably to shorten the time needed to search your hard drive if you are looking for a specific file or part of a phrase inside a file. However, the constant indexing of files actually slows down system performance and does not benefit search performance except for extreme complex searches.

Instructions - To disable the Indexing Service go into "My Computer", right-click on all your hard drive partitions one at a time, left-click "Properties". Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching". Select "Apply changes to subfolders and files". If any files cannot be updated select "Ignore All".

4. Disable the hibernation feature

Windows XP's hibernation option allows a computer to copy its current memory contents to the hard drive before shutdown, allowing the system to resume operations exactly where it left off when it was powered down. To do this, it reserves space on the hard drive equal to the amount of physical memory present. If you do not plan to use the hibernation feature, you should ensure that it is disabled, or you are wasting disk space.

To disable hibernation:

Go to 'start/control panel/performance and maintenance/power options.'

Go to the 'hibernate' tab and uncheck the 'enable hibernation' check box.

5. Remove Auto start Programs

The next step in restoring your computer's performance is to identify any unnecessary programs that start automatically. Often, programs configure themselves to run in the background so that they appear to start quickly when needed. Some of these programs show an icon on your taskbar to let you know that they're running, while others are completely hidden. These autostart programs probably won't noticeably slow down your computer as it starts up, but they will steal away trace amounts of memory and processing time as your computer runs.

Windows XP comes with the System Configurationtool (Msconfig.exe), an excellent way to manage the startup process. To start it:


Click Start, click Run, type Msconfig, and then press Enter.


On the Startup tab, you'll see a list of all the programs and processes that are set to run when Windows XP loads.


Speed up your overall start time by clearing the check box next to any item you think you don't need.


Click Apply, and then restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

6. Disable the services that are not required

Disabled - The following is a list of Services that you can disable on most systems:

DisableDistributed Link Tracking Client
DisableHelp and Support - (If you use Windows Help and Support leave this enabled)
DisableIndexing Service
DisableIPSEC Services
DisableMessenger - (Shoot the Messenger and installing SP2 will disable this)
DisablePortable Media Serial Number - (Leave enabled for use with security dongles)
DisableRemote Registry Service
DisableSecondary Logon
DisableSSDP Discovery Service
DisableUpload Manager
DisableWireless Zero Configuration - (If you are on a wireless network leave this enabled)

7. Force XP to unload DLL files after closing a program

Dynamic Link Libraries, or DLLs, are files containing data or functions that Windows programs can call when needed by linking to them. Every piece of windows software will include instructions to the operating system as to which DLLs it will need to access, and XP will cache these particular files in memory for faster access.

The trouble is, Windows XP keeps these DLLs cached after the relevant program has closed, wasting memory space. While DLLs are generally tiny, enough of them can make a dent, so it's worthwhile to implement this registry tweak, which will force Windows XP to unload DLLs used by a specific program when that program halts.

To do this, first run REGEDIT.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.

Create a new key named 'AlwaysUnloadDLL' and set the default value to equal '1.'

8. Keep Windows operating data in main memory

Windows XP contains several tweakable memory settings in the registry, one of which is the DisablePagingExecutive registry key. This controls whether the operating system will transfer its essential driver and kernel files to the 'virtual memory' (the page file on the hard disk). It defaults to allowing this.

Obviously, transferring portions of the system to hard drive memory can considerably slow things down, and it appears that Windows XP does this periodically, whether or not the system is actually low on physical memory (RAM).

If you have 256MB of system memory or more, try this registry tweak to force Windows to keep its operating data in main memory:

Open Regedit.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management.

Select the DisablePagingExecutive value to '1'

9. Uninstall Useless Windows Components

Windows XP installs some components by default that are not needed.

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Add or Remove Programs", select "Add/Remove Windows Components", uncheck:

_ Indexing Service
_ MSN Explorer (If you use MSN as your ISP leave "MSN Explorer" checked)

Then select "Next" and "Finished".

10. Disable Windows XP Sounds

Having sound effects set for common Windows XP tasks slows your system down. This affects startup and shutdown speeds the most.

Instructions - To disable all Windows XP task sounds go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Sounds and Audio Devices", select the "Sounds" tab, under "Sound Scheme" select "No Sounds".

11. Reduce Recycling Bin Drive Space Usage

In Windows XP the Maximum size of the Recycle Bin is set by default to 10% of your hard drive, when full, this can be a big waste of drive space. Reducing the Maximum size prevents excess space from being wasted. It is quite common to have hundreds of MBs of deleted files in the Recycling Bin and it is never emptied.

Instructions - To change the Recycling Bin Size, right-click on the "Recycle Bin", left-click on "Properties", select the "Global" tab, then "Use one setting for all drives". Move the slider to "3%".

12. Disable the 8.3 naming convention

Windows XP uses two different names for each and every file on your system. One is the name that you see in explorer and in the command prompt, and the other is an MSDOS compatible 8.3 (8 character title followed by a '.' Then three more characters to indicate the type of file) name. If you are intending to run DOS only software, or connect to pre-Windows 95 computers, you will need this second set of names. If not, you are simply wasting resources.

To disable the 8.3 naming convention:

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
Change the value of the NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation key to '1'

Note that some popular programs, including Norton Antivirus, use the 8.3 naming convention.

13. Increase the Mouse Pointer Speed

By default Windows sets the Mouse Pointer Speed to an average speed, which can slow down the time it takes to move the cursor around the screen. Increasing this will allow you use your computer quicker and more efficient with less mouse movement.

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Mouse", "Pointer Options" tab, under "Motion" adjust the slider 1 to 5 steps closer to "Fast". Only 1 to 3 steps is recommended. Then check "Enhance pointer precision" and select "OK".

14. Time to display list of operating systems

Setting used to adjust the time the boot menu is shown if you have multiple operating systems installed.

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "System", "Advanced" tab, in the "Startup and Recovery" section select "Settings", in the "System Startup" section uncheck "Time to display list of operating systems". (If you do have multiple operating systems installed leave this enabled)

This will increase the booting speed of the system.

15. IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers Setting for performance

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.

16. Windows Prefetch

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

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