Make XP faster than ever before

Do you leave the machine always running because you machine takes an eternity to boot? Are you fed up waiting every time you start your IDE or office application? Is your system so slow that you have frequent coffee/tea breaks?

Try these tips and you would really boost XP performance in general and also bring down XP boot time considerably!!

Tip 1: Disable unwanted services

There are quite a few services you can disable from starting automatically. This would be to speed up your boot time and free resources. They are only suggestions so I suggest you read the description of each one when you run Services and that you turn them off one at a time.

Some possibilities are:

  • Alerter
  • Application Management
  • Clipbook
  • Fast UserSwitching
  • Human Interface Devices
  • Indexing Service
  • Messenger
  • Net Logon
  • NetMeeting
  • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
  • Remote Registry
  • Routing & Remote Access
  • SSDP Discovery Service
  • Universal Plug and Play Device Host
  • Web Client
  • Database Servers/Web Servers/Application Servers that are set to startup automatically, you can change it to Manual and start it when required.

Tip 2: Cleaning the Prefetch Directory

WindowsXP has a new feature called Prefetch. This keeps a shortcut to recently used programs. However it can fill up with old and obsolete programs. To clean these periodically go to:

  • Start / Run / Prefetch
  • Press Ctrl-A to highlight all the files
  • Delete them

Tip 3: Not Displaying Logon, Logoff, Startup and Shutdown Status Messages

To turn these off:

  • Start Regedit
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system
  • If it is not already there, create a DWORD value named DisableStatusMessages
  • Give it a value of 1

Tip 4: Clearing the Page File on Shutdown

  • Click on the Start button
  • Go to the Control Panel
  • Administrative Tools
  • Local Security Policy
  • Local Policies
  • Click on Security Options
  • Right hand menu – right click on “Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile”
  • Select “Enable”
  • Reboot

For regedit users (more adventurous)…..

If you want to clear the page file on each shutdown:

  • Start Regedit
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\ClearPageFileAtShutdown
  • Set the value to 1

Tip 5: No GUI Boot

If you don’t need to see the XP boot logo,

  • Click on the BOOT.INI tab
  • Check the box for /NOGUIBOOT

Tip 6: Decreasing Boot Time

Microsoft has made available a program to analyze and decrease the time it takes to boot to WindowsXP. The program is called BootVis.

  • Uncompress the file.
  • For a starting point, run Trace / Next Boot + Driver Delays
  • This will reboot your computer and provide a benchmark
  • After the reboot, BootVis will take a minute or two to show graphs of your system startup.
  • Note how much time it takes for your system to load (click on the red vertical line)
  • Then run Trace / Optimize System
  • Re-Run the Next Boot + Drive Delays
  • Note how much the time has decreased
  • Mine went from approximately 55 to 33 seconds.

Tip 7: Increasing Graphics Performance

By default, WindowsXP turns on a lot of shadows, fades, and slides etc to menu items. Most simply slow down their display. To turn these off selectively:

  • Right click on the My Computer icon
  • Select Properties
  • Click on the Advanced tab
  • Under Performance, click on the Settings button
  • To turn them all of, select Adjust for best performance
  • My preference is to leave them all off except for Show shadows under mouse pointer and Show window contents while dragging

Tip 8: Increasing System Performance

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

  • Start Regedit
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\DisablePagingExecutive
  • Set the value to be 1
  • Reboot the computer

Tip 9: Increasing File System Caching

To increase the amount of memory Windows will locked for I/O operations:

  • Start Regedit
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
  • Edit the key IoPageLockLimit
  • Set the Value based on the amount of Ram you have
    • 4096 – 32megs of memory or less
    • 8192 – 32+ megs of memory
    • 16384 – 64+ megs of memory
    • 32768 – 128+ megs of memory
    • 65536 – 256+ megs of memory


Tip 10: Resolving Inability to Add or Remove Programs

If a particular user cannot add or remove programs, there might be a simple registry edit needed.

  • Go to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Uninstall
  • Change the DWORD NoAddRemovePrograms to 0 disable it

~ by phaneesh on May 7, 2009.

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