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Windows XP Performance Tips, Tricks and Tweaks


Below, you will find Windows XP Performance Tips, Tricks and Tweaks to help you understand your Windows XP operating system and to help you make it work more smoothly and safely. If you are unable to understand any of the instructions outlined below, please use our free service listed below for help:
Perform a ScanDisk in XP Speed up the Start Menu
Feel the need for speed? Disable Notification Balloon Tips
Programs Running at System Startup Configuring the Firewall for your Network Connection
Clearing Pagefile on Shutdown Disable Windows Messenger
Enable/Disable Error Reporting Automatically Ending Non-Responsive Tasks
Uninstall Windows Messenger XP Services
Disabling the Indexing Service Increasing the Folder Cache
Display Configurations Increase DSL Speed
Watch your cookies Making XP as Stabile as Possible
Speed up Windows XP Accessing Scan Disk
Home Edition Back Up Enable DMA Mode for DVD writer
XP Performance Tweak Enable or Disable Boot Defrag
Turn off system restore Create a System Restore point
Common Control Panel Applets Remove Unwanted Entries in Startup (MSCONFIG)
Clear all restore points except recent one System Restore Setting
Adjust Browser Cache

Schedule Windows XP Maintenance Tasks

Free Up Disk Space

Improve Windows XP Menu Response and Shutdown Speeds
Disable unneeded devices in Device Manager Monitor System Performance
Disk Cleanup Utility Hangs Cleaning out Windows Registry
Disable certain services Disable the Indexing Service
Driver Rollback Feature

What happened to ScanDisk?

Clear Corrupt Event Log Files TweakUI PowerToy for Windows XP

Move the Page File to a different partition

Speed up the Start Menu
Windows Search Disk Indexing Service  

Windows XP Tip Categories

 

Use the Information below at your own risk.  See "Terms of Use"

Perform a ScanDisk in XP

XP and Win2K don't include the DOS SCANDISK Utility. However, you can perform the same task using XP's and Win2K's Error Checking feature. To access this feature, perform the following steps: 
  1. Open Windows Explorer. 
  2. Right-click the drive you want to check, and select Properties from the context menu. 
  3. Select the Tools tab. 
  4. Under Error Checking, click Check Now. 
  5. If you want the scan to automatically attempt to make repairs or check the disk for bad sectors, select those options and click Start.
  6. Close Windows Explorer. 

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Speed up the Start Menu

Windows XP default speed of the Start Menu is very slow. You can fix that by editing a Registry Key.

Here's how:
  1. Go to Start> Run, then type in: regedit Press [Enter] on your keyboard.
  2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ MenuShowDelay
  3. By default, the value is 400. Change this to a smaller value (like 0) to speed it up.

    Note:  If your still experiencing a slow speed of the Start Menu, even after using the above tip, then you might try the following: 
  4. Navigate to Display Properties> Appearance> Advanced
  5. Turn off the option titled Show menu shadow . You will get much better overall performance.

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Feel the need for speed? 

You can adjust the graphics and splash screen effects in XP. This uses up some memory and slows XP down. Follow the steps below to pick up some noticeable speed by taking out some of the fancy stuff that XP does behind the scenes:
  1. Click your Start button on bottom left of your tool bar.
  2. Choose control panel>> System>> Advanced. 
  3. Under 'Performance' click Settings and select "Adjust for best performance". 
  4. Now, scroll down to the last two options in that menu and uncheck them:
  • Use drop shadows
  • Use visual styles
  1. Apply the change. 

Don't worry, XP will still look and feel like XP.

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Disable Notification Balloon Tips

You have undoubtedly seen the yellow balloons that appear at certain times in the notification area. For instance, when you connect or disconnect the network cable, you'll see a message notifying you of the network's state. Most of the time, these balloons are quite useful, because they replace dialog boxes displayed in previous versions. 

But sometimes these balloons can be very annoying. For example, if you don't have much free space on your hard drive, the balloons will keep reminding you of low disk space. You might like the first notification, but probably not the fifth, sixth, and so on. Fortunately, you can disable them by opening your favorite registry editor and going to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced. Create a new DWORD value with the name "EnableBalloonTips" and set it to 0. This setting should disable all notification balloons for the user. If you want to disable only low-disk-space balloons, set the  "NoLowDiskSpaceChecks" DWORD value to 1. If this value is not in the same location as the previous one, create it manually. 

If you don't want to mess with the registry, you can use the Tweak UI utility to do this for you. Run Tweak UI and go to the Taskbar option. Tweak UI is part of the PowerToys, which are available free from Microsoft. Download safely right here from 5 Star Support.

PowerToys Setup
939 KB Download
8 Min @ 28.8 kbps

Note: As always, back up your registry prior to making any changes. 

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Programs Running at System Startup

When people write programs, most of them design their product to automatically launch at the systems startup. Is it really necessary for these programs to be running? Only key programs such as anti-virus and firewall programs need to be running at system startup. The other programs should be re-configured to start only when needed.

Having a lot of programs running at once is very taxing to your system resources and if enough of them are running can cause errors in your operating system, usually memory type errors. Another noticeable problem is a slowing in your boot process. Do you have a computer that is taking a couple of minutes to boot up?

To stop these programs from running at startup, locate the program and re-configure it to NOT run at startup. This is usually found in the programs Properties. Or alternately, you can use Microsoft's System Configuration Utility to accomplish this. Here's how:
  1. Go to Start>> Run. Type in: msconfig [Enter] or Click OK.
  2. Click the Startup tab.
  3. Uncheck any program listed here to stop it from running.
  4. Exit the Configuration Utility and reboot your system.
Microsoft System Configuration Utility

Note: Make sure that you do not disable your anti-virus or firewall software.

Depending on how many you had to uncheck, you could notice much better performance from your operating system.

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Clearing the Page File on Shutdown

To save on Random Access Memory (RAM), Windows uses your Page File as a sort of cache. This can slow down your PC's overall performance. To remedy this situation, Windows XP has an option that allows users to clear the Page File when you shut down Windows. While this tweak tends to lengthen the shutdown time, it does have its performance benefits.

To set the computer to clear the page file without directly editing the registry is:

  1. Click on the Start button
  2. Go to the Control Panel
  3. Administrative Tools
  4. Local Security Policy
  5. Local Policies
  6. Click on Security Options
  7. Right hand menu - right click on "Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile"
  8. Select "Enable"
  9. Reboot

To clear the page file using the Windows Registry:

Be sure to make a backup copy of your registry prior to making any changes to it.

  1. Go to Start>> Run. Type in: regedit [Enter] or click OK.

  2. Navigate to the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

  3. Click once on the entry titled: "Memory Management". Its contents will now appear in the right pane.

  4. In the right pane. Locate an entry titled: "ClearPageFileAtShutdown". Right click this entry and select "Modify".

  5. Chance the Value to "1". This will enable this feature.

  6. Exit the Windows Registry and reboot your system when prompted.

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Enable/Disable Error Reporting in Windows XP

In an effort to make Windows XP a better and more stable operating system, Microsoft has included Error Reporting in the latest release. Whenever an application has to close because of an error, it asks that a report be sent to Microsoft for study and evaluation. Sending the report is optional, but users can benefit from the error log that is generated if they wish to study it or print a hard copy. If you find error reporting objectionable and want it disabled, here's how:

By default, WindowsXP will request to report application errors to Microsoft. To turn this off:

  1. Right click on the My Computer icon on the desktop 
  2. Select Properties / Advanced 
  3. Click on the Error Reporting tab 
  4. Check Disable error reporting 

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Uninstall Windows Messenger

Windows Messenger is a Windows XP default systems program that is automatically installed. If you have no need for this program and would like to free up a bit of space on your hard drive, you can uninstall it.  Here's how:

On XP Systems without SP1:
  • Click Start >> Run Then type the following:

RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove

  • Press [ENTER]
  • Restart Windows

On XP Systems WITH SP 1:

  1. Control Panel
  2. Add / Remove Programs
  3. Click on "Add/Remove Windows Components" on the left
  4. UNcheck "Windows Messenger"
  5. Click "Next"
  6. Click "Finish"
  7. Reboot

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Disabling the Indexing Service

Speed Up Windows XP by Disabling the Indexing Service:

The Indexing service can create an index of all the files and the content of many of those files in order to make finding things much faster. While Windows XP's heart is in the right place, this sounds better than it is in practice. The Indexing service is more effective in its ability to slow down your computer than its ability to speed file searches. Here's how to disable the Indexing service:
  1. Click Start and click the Run command.
  2. In the Open text box, type services.msc and click OK. 
  3. In the right pane of the Services console, find the Indexing Service. A quick way to get there is to click on the first entry in the right pane and then press the "I" key on the keyboard.
  4. Double click on the Indexing Service entry.
  5. In the Indexing Service Properties dialog box, click the down arrow in the Start type drop down list box and select Manual.
  6. If the service is started, you can stop it now by clicking the Stop button.

You don't need to restart the computer. The next time the computer starts, the Indexing service will not run automatically.

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Display Configurations

If you want to access display configurations not normally listed (e.g. 256 colors)
  1. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Settings tab
  2. Click the Advanced button
  3. Click the Adapter tab
  4. Click the List all modes button
  5. Select the resolution, color depth, and refresh rate that you want and click OK

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Watch Your Cookies

In XP, the Documents And Settings folder holds all user information, including configuration settings, favorites, and cookies. The Documents And Settings\Username\Cookies folder is where XP stashes cookies. You can control how your computer processes these cookies. 
  1. Click Start >> Control Panel >> Network And Internet Connections >> Internet Options. 
  2. Click the Privacy tab, then use the slider bar to modify your cookie settings. 

For instance, you can block cookies from sites that use personal identification without your consent. To increase your security, try out the other privacy settings in this dialog. The lowest level is Accepts all Cookies while the highest level Blocks All Cookies. You'll have options in-between such as; low, medium and medium-high which will have descriptions on what they filter.  Keep in mind that rejecting cookies may limit your actions on some Web sites.

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Speed up Windows XP

Speed Up Windows XP by Keeping the Operating System in Memory

One thing you can do to speed up Windows XP is to make sure that key operating system functions stay in memory. Memory (also called "RAM" for Random Access Memory) is much faster than the hard disk. Perform the following steps to boost your XP computer's performance:

  1. Click the Start button. Click the Run command and type regedit in the Open text box. Click OK. As always, be very careful when editing the Registry.
  2. In the Registry Editor, go to the following registry key:
    HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
  3. Right click the DisablePagingExecutive entry in the right pane of the Registry editor and click Modify.
  4. In the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, type the number "1" (without the quotes) in the Value data field. Click OK.
  5. Close the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

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Home Edition Back Up

Backup on the Home edition of XP is not installed by default.

The backup application on the retail version is located on the XP CD in the Valueadd folder, Some OEM's include backup, but some OEM's elect not to supply the additional folder.

Place the XP CD in the CD drive and select Additional Functions, then browse the CD.

CD-ROM Drive:\VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP.

The readme file includes additional information on installing backup.

Once installed, it can be accessed from Start, All Programs, Accessories, System, Backup.

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XP Performance Tweak

Here is a very simple yet very affective way to improve your systems performance.
  1. Start >> Right Click on My Computer and select Properties. 
  2. Click the "Advanced" tab 
  3. Select "Settings" in the Performance section.
  4. Disable any or all of the following: 
  • Fade or slide menus into view 
  • Fade or slide ToolTips into view 
  • Fade out menu items after clicking 
  • Show Shadows under menus 
  • Slide open combo boxes 
  • Slide taskbar buttons 
  • Use a background image for each folder type 
  • Use common tasks in folders 

You should notice a big improvement (depending on how many features you've disabled) in your computers performance while still keeping the same look and feel of your Windows application.

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Turn off/on system restore

System Restore, a Windows XP feature, is similar to the "Last Known Good Configuration" in Windows NT and Windows 2000. You can use System Restore to restore the computer to a previous state, using the backups that it makes of selected system files and program files. However, "Last Known Good Configuration" restores the computer back to the last state that Windows determines might work, whereas System Restore gives you a choice of previous states to restore the computer back to. That is, System Restore maintains multiple restore points instead of one last restore point.

While this is a desirable feature, in some cases it should be temporarily turned off. For example, If the computer is infected with a virus, it is possible that the virus could be backed up by System Restore. So, if you spend the time to remove the infection from your system, system restore could actually restore the virus to your system the next time it is used.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

You must be logged in as an Administrator to do this. If you are not logged in as an Administrator, the System Restore tab will not be displayed. If you do not know how to log in as Administrator, contact your system administrator (if you are on a network), the computer manufacturer, or installer.
Turning off System Restore will clear out all previous restore points.

To turn off Windows XP System Restore:

NOTE: These instructions assume that you are using the default Windows XP Start Menu and have not changed to the Classic Start menu. To re-enable the default menu, right-click Start, click Properties, click Start menu (not Classic) and then click OK.
  1. Click Start.
  2. Right-click the My Computer icon, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the System Restore tab.
  4. Check "Turn off System Restore" or "Turn off System Restore on all drives"
  5. Click Apply.
  6. As noted in the message, this will delete all existing restore points. Click Yes to do this.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Proceed with what you need to do; for example, virus removal. When you have finished, restart the computer and follow the instructions in the next section to turn on System Restore.

To turn on Windows XP System Restore:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the System Restore tab.
  4. Uncheck "Turn off System Restore" or "Turn off System Restore on all drives."
  5. Click Apply, and then click OK.

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Common Control Panel Applets

Below, you will find the following information:
  • Common Control Panel Applets
  • How to run these applets
  • Create a Desktop Shortcut

Here are some common Control Panel Applets that are located in the \windows\system32 directory.
If you are using any of these on a regular basis, you might find it useful to create a desktop icon for simple one click access.

Applet Description
access.cpl  Accessibility Options 
appwiz.cpl  Add/Remove Programs 
desk.cpl  Display Properties 
findfast.cpl FindFast  
firewall.cpl  Firewall Settings 
hdwwiz.cpl  Add New Hardware Wizard 
inetcpl.cpl   Internet Options
intl.cpl  Regional settings 
joy.cpl  Joystick Properties 
main.cpl  Mouse Properties 
main.cpl keyboard  Keyboard Properties 
mmsys.cpl sounds  Sound Properties 
ncpa.cpl  Network Connections 
ncpl.cpl  Network Properties 
nusrmgr.cpl  User settings 
password.cpl  Password Properties 
powercfg.cpl  Power Management 
sticpl.cpl  Scanners and Cameras 
sysdm.cpl  System Properties 
telephon.cpl Phone and Modem options  
timedate.cpl  Date and Time Properties 
tweakui.cpl TweakUI  
wscui.cpl  Security Center 
wuaucpl.cpl  Automatic Updates Configuration

In order to run these Applets:

Go to Start>> Run.  Type in the applet of choice: (eg: To open Password Properties)

password.cpl

Hit Enter on your keyboard or click OK.

To create a desktop shortcut:

  1. Right click a blank area of your desktop
  2. Select New>> Shortcut
  3. Type the Applet of choice in the text box (eg: desk.cpl) Click Next.
  4. Type the name of your new icon (eg: Display Properties) Click Finish.

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Clear all restore points except recent one

In an effort to help Windows XP users free up more hard drive space, you can remove all restore points except for the most recent through Window's Disk Cleanup Utility. Here's how:

Click Start>> Run. Type in: CLEANMGR   [Enter]
  1. Select the hard disk partition and press OK
  2. At the top of the dialog, click the tab More Options 
  3. Under System Restore section, click the button "Clean up..." 

Now, all the System Restore points (except the recent one) are cleared and more hard disk space will be free.

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Adjust Browser Cache

The maximum size of your Internet Explorer browser cache is ### megabytes. Generally, cache sizes above 80 megabytes can actually waste disk space and create poor computer performance.

Here is how to adjust your IE cache size:
  1. Start Internet Explorer 
  2. Select Tools >> Internet Options >> General tab 
  3. Under Temporary Internet Files click the Settings button. 
  4. In the box for the amount of disk space to use, enter a value between 5 and 80 megabytes. 
  5. Click OK to accept the changes. 

Note: The faster the connection, the lower the number. I have DSL so I use 5MB and this works fine for me.

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Free Up Disk Space

Use Disk Cleanup to improve the performance of your computer by removing unnecessary files. The utility identifies files that you can safely delete, and then enables you to choose whether you want to delete some or all of the identified files.

Use Disk Cleanup to:

-Remove temporary Internet files.

-Remove downloaded program files (such as Microsoft ActiveX controls and Java applets).

-Empty the Recycle Bin.

-Remove Windows temporary files.

-Remove optional Windows components that you don't use.

-Remove installed programs that you no longer use.

Tip: Typically, temporary Internet files take the most amount of space because the browser caches each page you visit for faster access later.

To use Disk Cleanup

1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Cleanup. If several drives are available, you might be prompted to specify which drive you want to clean.


Select Drive

Disk Clean Up

2. In the Disk Cleanup for dialog box, scroll through the content of the Files to delete list.

Choose the files that you want to delete.

3. Clear the check boxes for files that you don't want to delete, and then click OK.

4. When prompted to confirm that you want to delete the specified files, click Yes.

After a few minutes, the process completes and the Disk Cleanup dialog box closes, leaving your computer cleaner and performing noticeably better.


Source:
Microsoft

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Improve Windows XP Menu Response and Shutdown Speeds

Note: The values for the tweaks listed below are a recommended value only and represent what has worked best on a variety of systems. If you are not comfortable trying this tweak for your system, please do not attempt it.
  1. Go to Start>> Run. Type in: regedit [Enter] or click OK.
  2. Drill down to the following registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Click once on the entry titled: Desktop
  4. The contents of the "Desktop" entry will now be displayed in the right pane.
  5. Double click the entry titled: HungAppTimeout
  6. Change the "Value data" to a value of: 4000
  7. This change will control the delay that Windows uses to start the shutdown process. (1000 = one second)
  8. Double click the entry titled: MenuShowDelay
  9. Change the "Value data" to a value of: 20
  10. This change will control the delay that Windows uses to display a menu or sub-menu.
  11. Double click the entry titled "AutoEndTasks"
  12. Change the "Value data" to a value of: 1
  13. Changing this value to "1" will turn ON this feature and will now automatically close all running applications when shutting down Windows.

Note: With this feature on, you will not be given a prompt to save Windows.

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Configuring the Firewall for your Network Connection

Windows XP has firewall capabilities built into the operating system. To configure the settings for your network connection, follow the instructions below:
  1. Go to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select Network Connection
  4. Right click your network connection to the Internet
  5. Select Properties
  6. Select the Advanced tab
  7. Under the Windows Firewall section, click the Settings button to configure your firewall settings to meet your personal needs.

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Disable Windows Messenger

If you would like to disable Windows messenger, here's how:
  1. Select "Start"
  2. Choose "Control Panel"
  3. Choose "Administrative Tools"

Note: In Windows XP Home edition, Administrative Tools is in Performance and Maintenance

  1. Choose "Services"
  2. Right-click on "Messenger"
  3. Select "Stop"

To permanently disable Messenger:

  1. Right click "Messenger"
  2. Select "Properties"
  3. Change "Startup Type" to "Disabled" and click "OK"

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Automatically Ending Non-Responsive Tasks

You can download the registry file (below) or follow the instruction to do it manually.

  • Go to Start >> Run, type in: REGEDIT 

  • Drill to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER >>Control Panel >>Desktop >>AutoEndTasks 

  • Set the value to be 1 In the same section, change the WaitToKillAppTimeout to the number of milliseconds you want. 

Download the Registry File
Registry File

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XP Services

The default Windows XP installation contains a number of unnecessary services that are started by default. Extra running services consume CPU cycles and memory. To free up system resources and tune your operating system for optimum performance, you can stop and disable the services. The list (below) details those that may be unnecessary: 

NOTE: I recommend disabling one at a time.  If you notice problems in your programs, then undo what you have done.

  • Alerter: Notifies selected users and computers of administrative alerts.
  • Application Layer Gateway Services: Provides support for 3rd party protocol plugins for Internet Connection Sharing and the Internet Connection Firewall.
  • Application Management: Provides software installation services such as Assign, Publish, and Remove.
  • Automatic Updates: Enables the download and installation of critical Windows updates.
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service: Uses idle network bandwidth to transfer data.
  • ClipBook: Enables ClipBook Viewer to store information and share it with remote computers. If the service is stopped, ClipBook Viewer will not be able to share information with remote computers.
  • COM+ Event System: Supports SENS (System Event Notification Service), which provides automatic distribution of events to subscribing COM (Component Object Model) components.
  • COM+ System Application: Manages the configuration and tracking of COM+ (Component Object Model) based components.
  • Computer Browser: Maintain an updated list of computers on the network and supplies this list to computers designated as browsers.
  • Cryptographic Services: Provides three management services: Catalog Database Service, which confirms the signatures of Windows files; Protected Root Service, which adds & removes Trusted Root Certification Authority certificates from this computer; and Key Service, which helps enroll this computer for certificates.
  • DHCP Client: Manages network configuration by registering and updating IP addresses and DNS names.
  • Diskeeper: Controls the Diskeeper service.
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client: Maintains links between NTFS files within a computer or across computers in a network domain.
  • Distributed Transaction Coordinator: Coordinates transactions that span multiple resource managers, such as databases, message queues, and file systems.
  • DNS Client: Resolves and caches Domain Name System (DNS) names for this computer.
  • Error Reporting Service. Allows error reporting for services and applications running in non-standard environments.
  • Event Log: Enables event log messages issued by Windows-based programs and components to be viewed in Event Viewer.
  • Fast User Switching Compatibility: Provides management for applications that require assistance in a multiple user environment.
  • Help and Support: Enables Help and Support Center to run on this computer.
  • Human Interface Device Access: Enables generic input access to Human Interface Devices (HID), which activates and maintains the use of predefined hot buttons on keyboards, remote controls, and other multimedia devices.
  • IIS Admin: This service should only be enabled if you run the personal version of IIS on Windows XP 
  • IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service: Manages CD recording using Image Mastering Applications Programming Interface (IMAPI).
  • Indexing Service: Indexes contents & properties of files on local and remote computers; provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language.
  • Infrared Monitor: This service should only be disabled if you do not have an IR port on your computer, or if you do not use IR communications. 
  • Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS): Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution and/or intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network.
  • IPSEC Services: Manages IP security policy and starts the ISAKMP/Oakley (IKE) and the IP security driver.
  • Logical Disk Manager: Detects and monitors new hard disk drives and sends disk volume information to Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service for configuration.
  • Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service: Configures hard disk drives and volumes.
  • McAfee Firewall: This service is only for those that use McAfee Firewall software.
  • McShield: McAfee on Access Scanner.
  • Messenger: Transmits netsend and Alerter service messages between clients and servers. This service is not related to Windows Messenger.
  • MS Software Shadow Copy Provider: Manages software-based volume shadow copies taken by the Volume Shadow Copy service.
  • NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing: Enables an authorized user to access this computer remotely by using NetMeeting over a corporate intranet.
  • Network Connections: Manages objects in the Network and Dial-Up Connections folder, in which you can view both local area network and remote connections.
  • Network DDE: Provides network transport and security for Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) for programs running on the same computer or on different computers.
  • Network DDE DSDM: Manages Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) network shares.
  • Network Location Awareness (NLA): Collects and stores network configuration and location information, and notifies applications when this information changes.
  • NVIDIA Driver Helper Service: If you use a NVIDIA graphics card with Detonator drivers you will have this service.
  • Performance Logs and Alerts: Collects performance data from local or remote computers based on preconfigured schedule parameters, then writes the data to a log or triggers an alert.
  • Plug and Play: Enables a computer to recognize and adapt to hardware changes with little or no user input.
  • Portable Media Serial Number: Retrieves the serial number of any portable music player connected to your computer.
  • Print Spooler: Loads files to memory for later printing.
  • Protected Storage: Provides protected storage for sensitive data, such as private keys, to prevent access by unauthorized services, processes, or users.
  • QoS RSVP: Provides network signaling and local traffic control setup functionality for QoS-aware programs and control applets.
  • Remote Access Auto Connection Manager: Creates a connection to a remote network whenever a program references a remote DNS or NetBIOS name or address.
  • Remote Access Connection Manager: Creates a network connection.
  • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager: Manages and controls Remote Assistance.
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC): Provides the endpoint mapper and other miscellaneous RPC services.
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locater: Manages the RPC name service database.
  • Remote Registry: Enables remote users to modify registry settings on this computer 
  • Removable Storage: Manages removable media, drives, and libraries.
  • Routing and Remote Access: Offers routing services to businesses in local area and wide area network environments.
  • Secondary Logon: Enables starting processes under alternate credentials.
  • Security Accounts Manager: Stores security information for local user accounts.
  • Server: Supports file, print, and named pipe-sharing over the network for this computer.
  • Shell Hardware Detection: This provides support for docking a laptop or other related external hardware devices.
  • Smart Card: Manages access to smart cards read by this computer.
  • Smart Card Helper: Enables support for legacy non-plug and play smart-card readers used by this computer.
  • SSDP Discovery Service: Enables discovery of UPnP devices on your home network.
  • System Event Notification: Tracks system events such as Windows logon, network, and power events.
  • System Restore Service: Performs system restore functions.
  • Task Scheduler: Enables a user to configure and schedule automated tasks on this computer.
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper: Enables support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) service and NetBIOS name resolution.
  • Telephony: Provides Telephony API (TAPI) support for programs that control telephony devices and IP based voice connections on the local computer and, through the LAN, on servers that are also running the service.
  • Telnet: Enables a remote user to log on to this computer and run programs, and supports various TCP/IP Telnet clients, including UNIX-based and Windows-based computers.
  • Terminal Services: Allows multiple users to be connected interactively to a machine as well as the display of desktops and applications to remote computers. The underpinning of Remote Desktop (including RD for Administrators), Fast User Switching, Remote Assistance, and Terminal Server.
  • Themes: Provides user experience theme management.
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply: Manages an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to the computer.
  • Universal Plug and Play Device Host: Provides support to host Universal Plug and Play devices. 
  • Upload Manager: Manages synchronous and asynchronous file transfers between clients and servers on the network.
  • Volume Shadow Copy: Manages and implements Volume Shadow Copies used for backup and other purposes.
  • WebClient: Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, and modify Internet-based files.
  • Windows Audio: Manages audio devices for Windows-based programs. If this service is stopped, audio devices and effects will not function properly.
  • Windows Image Acquisition (WIA): Provides image acquisition services for scanners and cameras.
  • Windows Installer: Installs, repairs and removes software according to instructions contained in .MSI files.
  • Windows Management Instrumentation: Provides a common interface and object model to access management information about operating system, devices, applications and services.
  • Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions: Provides systems management information to and from drivers.
  • Windows Time: Maintains date and time synchronization on all clients and servers in the network.
  • Wireless Zero Configuration: Provides automatic configuration for the 802.11 adapters.
  • WMI Performance Adapter: Provides performance library information from WMI HiPerf providers.
  • Workstation: Creates and maintains client network connections to the remote servers.
  • World Wide Web Publishing: This service should only be disabled if you're not running the personal version of IIS on your computer.

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Increasing the Folder Cache

The default setting for WindowsXP is to cache the Explorer settings for 400 folders.
To increase it:
  1. Go to Start >> Run
  2. Type in: Regedit
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam
  4. Change the vaule of BagMRU  to whatever size you want (hex):

1000 - 3e8
2000 - 7d0
3000 - bb8
4000 - fa0
5000 - 1388

Or...you can download the registry file (below) that will set the folder cache to 5000.

Increase the folder cache

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Increase  DSL Speed 

This tweak is for broad band cable connections on stand alone machines with WinXP professional version - might work on Home version also. It will probably work with networked machines as well but I haven't tried it in that configuration. This is for windows XP only, it does not work on win2000.
I use 3 Com cards so I don't know how it works on others at this point. It does not involve editing the registry. This tweak assumes that you have let WinXP create a connection on install for your cable modem/NIC combination and that your connection has tcp/ip - QoS - file and print sharing - and client for Microsoft networks , only, installed. It also assumes that WinXP will detect your NIC and has in-box drivers for it. If it doesn't do not try this.
In the "My Network Places" properties (right click on the desktop icon and choose properties), highlight the connection then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings". Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks. Click OK
  1. From the windows XP cd in the support directory from the support cab, extract the file netcap.exe and place it in a directory on your hard drive or even in the root of your C:\ drive.
  2. next, open up a command prompt window and change directories to where you put netcap.exe. then type "netcap/?". It will list some commands that are available for netcap and a netmon driver will be installed. At the bottom you will see your adapters. You should see two of them if using a 3Com card. One will be for LAN and the other will be for WAN something or other.
  3. Next type "netcap/Remove". This will remove the netmon driver.
  4. Open up control panel / system / dev man and look at your network adapters. You should now see two of them and one will have a yellow ! on it. Right click on the one without the yellow ! and choose uninstall. YES! you are uninstalling your network adapter, continue with the uninstall. Do not restart yet.
  5. Check your connection properties to make sure that no connection exists. If you get a wizard just cancel out of it.
  6. Now re-start the machine.
  7. After re-start go to your connection properties again and you should have a new connection called "Local area connection 2". Highlight the connection then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings". Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks. Click OK.
  8. Choose connection properties and uncheck the "QOS" box
  9. Re-start the machine
  10. After restart enjoy the increased responsiveness of IE, faster page loading, and a connection speed boost.
Why it works, it seems that windows XP, in its zeal to make sure every base is covered installs two separate versions of the NIC card. One you do not normally see in any properties. Remember the "netcap/?" command above showing two different adapters? The LAN one is the one you see. The invisible one loads everything down and its like your running two separate cards together, sharing a connection among two cards, this method breaks this "bond" and allows the NIC to run un-hindered.

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Making XP as Stabile as Possible

Below, you will find tips to keeping your Windows XP Operating System running as reliable as possible.
  1. Only use hardware that is on the Hardware Compatibility List. This ensures that the products and drivers went through rigorous testing and are supported by Microsoft. If you're trying to use a Win9x or Windows 2000 driver to make your legacy hardware work, you'll probably start having stability issues. 
  2. Place your system are on a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), not just a surge protector. Power fluctuations over time can lead to unexplained system problems and data loss. 
  3. If you can, always try to install Windows XP on a clean system, instead of upgrading a current installation. 
  4. Be selective with your software. Third party software isn't always written to Microsoft's standards, and can cause instabilities. Games and freeware/shareware utilities are the usual culprits, but poorly written system utilities can cause problems as well. Constantly installing and uninstalling various programs may leave behind residual registry entries and system files that can slow a system over time, and cause instabilities.
  5. Don't run third party themes or freeware screensavers - Many of these are written by amateurs, and you just never know what you're getting. Screensavers look nice, but are usually unnecessary with modern displays. Try choosing the "blank screen" option as a screensaver, or have the monitor power down when not in use. 
  6. Don't run third party system utilities - Many of the "system utility" packages on the market don't work as well as advertised, and can cause more problems than they solve. Think carefully before installing these. In our opinion, they're just not worth it. 
  7. Avoid over-tweaking of your Operating System. Once it is installed, set it up the way you like, then leave it alone. In a survey of corporate help desk calls, 80% of problems were traced back to something that the user did themselves. This usually involves constant tweaking and experimenting that leads to instability issues. 
  8. Perform routine system maintenance. This means performing a full virus scan, defrag, and cleaning out the temp files routinely. You should also check event logs for potential problems, and keep up on the latest system updates from Microsoft. 

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Accessing Scan Disk

Scan Disk isn't available in Windows XP. In XP there's Check Disk, which can be run from the command line (chkdsk), or by right clicking a drive in Windows Explorer and choosing Properties > Tools > Error-checking.

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Enable DMA Mode for DVD Writer

In Windows Device Manager, (Start>> Control Panel>> System>> Hardware tab>> Device Manager) open the IDE ATA/ATAP Controllers leaf, then open the IDE channel that your burner is on, then right click the proper IDE Channel and select "Properties">> Advanced Settings tab. 

For the device that corresponds to your burner, make sure "DMA if available" is selected for Transfer mode rather than "PIO mode." To find out whether your burner is Device 0 or Device 1, look at it under Device Manager>>DVD/CD-ROM drives and check properties. The Location:  field in the drive's general properties corresponds to the Device number for this setting.

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Enable or Disable Boot Defrag

A great new feature in Microsoft Windows XP is the ability to do a boot defragment. This places all boot files next to each other on the disk to allow for faster booting. By default this option is enabled but on some builds it is not enabled. Below, you will find information on how to Enable/Disable this feature:
  1. Go to Start>> Run>> Type in: regedit  [Enter]
  2. Drill down to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction 
  3. Single click on BootOptimizeFunction to empty its contents into the right pane
  4. Right click "Enable" from the list in the right pane
  5. Select Modify from the resulting menu
  6. Change the value to Y to enable and N to disable
  7. Reboot your computer for the change to take effect

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Create a System Restore point

Click Start>> All Programs>> Accessories>> System Tools>> System Restore.

-OR-

You can also launch System Restore window by typing the command below, in the RUN box: 

%SystemRoot%\System32\restore\rstrui.exe

  1. Click Create a restore point, and then click Next. 
  2. In the Restore point description box, type a name to identify this restore point. System Restore will automatically add the date and time that this Restore Point was created. 
  3. To finish creating this restore point, click Create. 

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Remove Unwanted Entries in Startup (MSCONFIG)

Start >> Run. Type in : regedit  [Enter]

Navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\MSConfig\services
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\MSConfig\startupfolder
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\shared Tools\MSConfig\startupreg

Warning: Improper use of the Windows registry can cause severe problems within your operating system. Be sure to back up the registry prior to making any changes.

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System Restore Setting
By default, Windows XP allocates 12% of your disk space to system restore (SR). This equates to about 90 days worth of restoration points. Due to the amount of changes the average computer user makes in a 90 day period, makes a 90 day restoration unrealistic. I recommend changing your SR setting to allocate about 4% of your disk space. This will give you around 2 or 3 weeks worth of restore points while saving 8% of your disk space.

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Schedule Windows XP Maintenance Tasks

There are many tasks that you can have Windows XP handle for you automatically. A few commonly chosen tasks are:
  • Running the Disk Defragmenter
  • Backing up your system
  • Emptying the Recycle Bin
To schedule a task:
  1. Click Start>> All Programs>> Accessories>> System Tools>> Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Double-click the Add Scheduled Tasks icon to start the Scheduled Task Wizard.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to select the task to perform.
It may be necessary for you to use the "Browse" button located at the "Scheduled Task Wizard" window to schedule certain tasks not found in the Applications list. Included in the wizard are prompts that will ask for the frequency you would like to run your task and any password that you would like to create for the task.

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Disable unneeded devices in Device Manager

There are many ways to improve the boot speed in Windows XP, one quick way is to disable any unused devices in the Windows XP device manager. For example, if you do not use a floppy drive on your system or you have an extra unused network card, then disabling these items may make sense. 

Note: If you don't know what it is or you are unsure of something, just leave it alone.

To perform this task:
  1. Right click on My Computer and select Properties. 
  2. From the Hardware tab, select Device Manager. 
  3. Expand the various categories to locate unused devices. 
  4. Right click the devices and select Disable.

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Disk Cleanup Utility Hangs

Over time, you may notice that the Disk Cleanup Utility takes longer and longer to sort files or won't complete the cleanup process. This is usually caused by a full TEMP directory, corrupt temp files or a heavily fragmented hard disk. Try cleaning out the temp files using the method below, then perform a disk defragmentation:

Start>> All Programs>> Accessories>> System Tools>> Disk Defragmenter.

To clean TEMP files:

Go to Start>> Run, type in: %temp% [Enter] 

In the resulting menu, select Edit>> Select All  [Delete] Then select Yes.

The Disk Cleanup Utility should run much better for you now!

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Disable certain services

Many of the services provided in Windows XP are not needed and in many cases can either slow down your system or add certain security risks. Below, is a list of services that you can disable to create a safer and faster system. You can access the listed services through the Computer management Console:

Go to Start>> Right click My Computer>> Select 'Manage' from the resulting menu. Then, open Services and Applications and click Services. Now the right pane will have all of the services listed in alphabetical order. To disable a service, right click the entry and select "Stop" from the resulting menu. If it is already disabled, then "Stop" will be greyed out.

Note: Disable only if your computer is not networked and you are the sole user.

Services:

Alerter
Clipbook
Computer Browser
Fast User Switching
Human Interface Access Devices
Indexing Service (slows the hard drive)
Messenger
Net Logon (not necessary unless networked on a domain)
Netmeeting Remote Desktop Sharing (disabled for added security)
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager (disabled for added security)
Remote Procedure Call Locator
Remote Registry (disabled for added security)
Routing & Remote Access (disabled for added security)
Server
SSDP Discovery Service (this leaves TCP Port 5000 open)
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
Telnet (disabled for added security)
Universal Plug and Play Device Host
Upload Manager
Windows Time
Wireless Zero Configuration (for wireless networks)
Workstation

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Driver Rollback Feature

Windows XP instability is often caused by corrupt or out-of-date drivers. I know I like to keep my system with updated drivers whenever possible. But, there are times when updating the driver you find yourself in a blue screen. Well, this situation used to cause all kinds of problems for users until the Driver Rollback Feature came. Now, if you are faced with a driver that fails to update, or became corrupt, you can roll back to the previous driver version very easily. Here's how:
  1. Be sure to log in as Administrator.
  2. Go to Start>> Control Panel>> Administrative Tools
  3. Double click "Computer Management"
  4. Double click "Device Manager"
  5. Click the plus (+) symbol next to the device title to expose the device you were trying to update
  6. Now, right click on the device and select "Properties"
  7. Click the "Driver" tab
  8. Select the "Roll Back driver" button

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete this task.

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Monitor System Performance
Windows XP has a handy little utility for monitoring your system performance. To access this utility:

Press CTRL + ALT + DEL on your keyboard and select the Performance tab.

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Cleaning out Windows Registry

There are many third party software on the market that will do the job. One that I have used for several years and have been very satisfied with is a program called EasyCleaner. Best of all, it's FREE! 

EasyCleaner is a small program which searches Windows' registry for entries that are pointing nowhere. Deleting these entries will speed your computer up. But as you already might know, deleting entries from registry can be dangerous for your computer, so it is wise to make a backup of your registry. EasyCleaner also lets you delete all kinds of unnecessary files like temps, backups etc. You can search for duplicate files and you can view some interesting info about your disk space usage! ToniArts may not be held accountable in any way if EasyCleaner affects your computer in a negative way. Here's a list of some features:

  • Finds invalid registry entries - deleting them speeds up your computer up to 20%!
  • Finds duplicate files - deleting them will free disk space!
  • Finds all unnecessary files like backups, temps etc.
  • Very user friendly!
  • Shows some interesting info about your disk space usage.
  • Very customizable.
  • Uses only little amount of recourses while running!
  • Huge help file which gives you every little detail about EasyCleaner!
  • And much more...

Current Version Author Requirements License Language
V2.06 Build 7 ToniArts 486
8mb RAM
Windows 95/98/ME/NT 3.51 (or newer)/2000/XP
Freeware Multilingual

Download EasyCleaner 2.06 Build 7

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Disable the Indexing Service

I have found that the Indexing Service slows down the system more by having this feature enabled. Windows provides this description of the Indexing Service feature: "Indexes contents and properties of files on local and remote computers; provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language."

Personally, I prefer a speedier computer than to have my files found a millionth of a second faster. Here's how to disable this feature:
  1. Go to Start>> Run. Type in: services.msc [Enter] or click OK
  2. The Services console will now appear. In the right pane, scroll down to find the Indexing Service.

    Note: A quick method of locating items here is to click once in the right pane and then press the letter "I" on your keyboard. That will take you to the start of the services that start with "I".
  3. Double click the Indexing Service entry.
  4. In the Indexing Service Properties window and under "Startup type:", click the arrow for the drop-down menu.
  5. Select "Disable" from the menu.
  6. Click Apply, then OK.

    The next time you restart your computer, the Indexing Service will not run automatically.

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Clear Corrupt Event Log Files

A handy Administrative tool for troubleshooting is the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). When viewing your event logs in the Event Viewer, you may come across one or more corrupt log files. Here is how you can clear these corrupt log files:
  1. Go to Start>> Administrative Tools>> Event Viewer
  2. With the Event Viewer open, locate the corrupt log file.
  3. Right click the corrupt log file and select Properties.
  4. Click the "Clear" button.

Note: It is not possible to rename or delete log files while the Event Log service is running.

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What happened to ScanDisk?

Windows XP has improved the ScanDisk feature from the Windows 98 days. It is now called CHKDSK Error Checking. This tool accomplishes the same thing as ScanDisk did though. It will check for file system errors and bad sectors on your hard disk. Here's how to use CHKDSK:
  1. Go to Start
  2. Right click My Computer
  3. Select Properties (see fig.1). With this Properties window open you can view how much space is occupied on your hard drive and view the free space. You can even to a disk cleanup on this drive as well.
  4. Click the Tools tab (see fig.2) With the Tools window open, click the Check Now button. Once you are done with the CHKDSK tool, now is a good time to perform a Defragmentation of your Hard Disk which is located directly below the CHKDSK tool (see fig.2).

Fig.1 [Click]

Fig. 2 [Click]

ScanDisk

ScanDisk

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Move the Page File to a different partition

The Page File (by default) is loaded on to the boot partition of your hard drive as are all of the Windows system files. Windows uses this page file as a sort of Random Access Memory. It is not necessary for the Page File to be on the boot partition, so if you would like to move it to a different partition, you will increase system performance along with free up some space on your boot partition. Here's how:
  1. Be sure that you are logged in as Administrator, then go to Start>> Control Panel>> Performance and Maintenance>> System.
  2. Select the Advanced tab.
  3. Under Performance, click the Settings button.
  4. Select the Advanced tab.
  5. Under Virtual Memory, click the Change button.
  6. In the Drive [Volume Label] list, select a drive other than the one the Windows Operating System is installed on (usually Windows is installed on the C: drive).
  7. Under the Virtual Memory category, make a note of the "Total paging file size for all drives" recommended value. Click the Change button.
  8. Tick the Custom size radio button, then enter the recommended value in the "Initial size (MB):" text box.
  9. Enter in the "Maximum size (MB) that you would like. Usually this setting is double the initial size.
  10. Click the Set button.
  11. Next, back in the Drive [Volume Label] box, select the drive that Windows is installed on (usually C:). Follow ether steps below that would apply:

<>If you DO NOT want a page file on this drive, tick the No paging file radio button and then click the Set button. The following message should now appear:

If the paging file on volume C: has an initial value of less than 126 megabytes, then the system may not be able to create a debugging information file if a STOP error occurs. Continue Anyway?

Select Yes.

<>If you DO want to keep the page file on this drive, select the Custom size button, then enter a size of equal or greater value of the amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) that you currently have installed on your system in to the "Initial size (MB)" text box. Enter the same value for your maximum size, then click the Set button.
The following message should now appear:

The changes you have made require you to restart your computer before they can take effect.

Click OK (OK your way out of all open windows).
When given a prompt to restart your system, click Yes.

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TweakUI PowerToy for Windows XP
The developers of the Windows XP Operating System have made available to the general public and for free, a powerful tool that makes performing certain changes to the user interface (UI) a simple process. Many people do not feel comfortable making changes to the user interface through the Windows Registry, so this is a perfectly safe alternative. While browsing the TweakUi utility, you can find many helpful descriptions of what certain changes are and how they effect the operating system.

As you navigate through the many categories, just know that any change you make can be undone by simply reversing the step in which you made the change. In most cases, a change is made in just a couple of mouse clicks.

There are many useful tweaks that aide in the customization of the operating system to create either better performance or improve functionality. But, since tweaking is more of a personal preference, I will leave it to you to explorer the hundreds of possibilities on your own. Click the following link for a free TweakUI download for Windows XP:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

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Windows Search Disk Indexing Service

The purpose of this service is to constantly index all of the files on your system so that when you use the search function, your search will provide fast and accurate results. The draw back to this is that it is a constant resource drain. If you rarely use the search function to search for files on your computer, I recommend turning the Disk Indexing service off. Here's how:
  1. Go to Start>> Accessories>> Windows Explorer
  2. Right click your root hard drive where Windows is installed (usually C:\), then select Properties.
  3. Uncheck the checkbox titled: "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching"
  4. Click Apply.
  5. At the next prompt, select the entry titled: "Apply changes to [root drive], subfolders and files"

You will now see an "Applying Attributes" window that will remove all of the indexing on the selected drive. It is possible that you could see some errors resulting from the indexing removal. Do not be alarmed, the errors are a result of either that a file is write protected and could not have indexing removed or possibly a file is currently in use and cannot be changed.

To continue, we need to turn the actual Indexing Service off. Here's how:

  1. Go to Start>> Run. Type in: services.msc [Enter] or click OK.
  2. With the Services window open, scroll the list of services until you find "Indexing Service".
  3. Double click the Indexing Service entry.
  4. In the resulting Properties menu, click the drop down menu titled: "Startup type:
  5. Select "Disabled".
  6. Click Apply and exit all windows.

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Speed up the Start Menu

The tweak below requires making a change in the Windows Registry. Be sure to make a backup copy of the registry prior to making any changes.
  1. Click Start>> Run. Type in: regedit [Enter] or click OK.
  2. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Single left click the "Desktop" entry to empty its contents in to the right pane.
  4. Scroll the right pane to locate an entry titled: MenuShowDelay
  5. Double click MenuShowDelay.
  6. Change the "value data" number. The default delay value for the start menu is 400. Select a lesser number to speed this process. I've got mine set to 0.
  7. Click OK and exit the Registry Editor.

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