23 How to Accelerate Windows XP
1. To decrease a system's boot time and increase system performance, use the money you save by not buying defragmentation software - the built-in Windows defragmenter works just fine - and instead equip the computer with an Ultra-133 or Serial ATA hard drive with 8-MB cache buffers.
2. If a PC has less than 512 MB of RAM, add more memory. It is relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade that can dramatically improve system performance.
3. Ensure that Windows XP uses the NTFS file system. If you are unsure, here's how to check: First, double-click the My Computer icon, right click on C: Drive, then select Properties. Next, examine the File System type; if it says FAT32, then back up any important data. Next, click Start, click Run, type CMD, then click OK. At the prompt, type CONVERT C: / FS: NTFS and press the Enter key. This process may take a while; very important that the computer be uninterrupted and free from viruses. The file system used by the bootable drive will be either FAT32 or NTFS. I highly recommend NTFS for its superior security, reliability, and efficiency with larger disk drives.
4. Disable file indexing. The indexing service extracts information from documents and other files on your hard drive and creates a "searchable keyword index." As you can imagine, this process can become very burdensome system.
The idea is that users can search for a word, phrase, or property inside a document, should they have hundreds or thousands of documents and did not know the file name of the document they want. Windows XP's built-in search functionality can still perform these kinds of searches without the Indexing Service. But a little longer. Operating System to open each file at the time of request to help find what the user is looking for.
Most people do not need this search feature. Those who do are typically in a large corporate environment where thousands of documents located on at least one server. But if you're a typical system builder, most clients are small and medium businesses. And if the client does not need a search feature, I recommend disabling it.
Here's how: First, double-click the My Computer icon. Next, right click on C: Drive, then select Properties. Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk to find files quickly." Next, apply changes to "C: subfolders and files," and click OK. If a warning or error message appears (such as "Access is denied"), click the Ignore All button.
5. Update PC video and motherboard chipset drivers. Also, update and configure the BIOS. For more information on how to configure your BIOS properly, see this article on my site.
6. Empty the Windows Prefetch folder every three months or more. Windows XP can "prefetch" portions of data and applications that are frequently used. This makes the process seem 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 used. When that happens, Windows XP is wasting time and slowing system performance, with pre-load them. Nothing important in this folder, and all its contents are safe to delete.
7. Once a month, run a disk cleanup. Here's how: Double-click the My Computer icon. Then right click on drive C: and select Properties. Click the Disk Cleanup button - it's just to the right of the Capacity pie graph - and delete all temporary files.
8. In Device Manager, double click on IDE ATA / ATAPI Controllers device, and make sure 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.
9. Upgrade the cabling. As hard-drive technology improves, the cabling requirements to achieve these performance boosts have become more stringent. Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all of your IDE devices with the connectors properly assigned to the matching Master / Slave / Motherboard sockets. A device must be at the end of the cable, connect one drive to the connector in the middle of the ribbon cable will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA hard drives, these signaling problems will prevent the drive from performing at its maximum potential. Also, because these cables inherently support "cable select," the location of each drive on the cable is important. For this reason, the cable is designed so drive positioning is explicitly clear.
10. Remove all spyware from your computer. Use free programs such as AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Once the program is installed, be sure to check and download any updates before starting your search. Anything either program finds can be safely removed. Any free software that requires spyware to run will no longer function once the spyware portion has been removed; if your customer really wants the program even though it contains spyware, simply reinstall it. For more information on removing Spyware visit this Web Pro News page.
11. Remove all unnecessary programs and / or items from Windows Startup routine using the MSCONFIG utility. Here's how: First, click Start, click Run, type msconfig, and click OK. Click the StartUp tab, then uncheck any items you do not want to start when Windows starts. Not sure what an item? Visit the WinTasks Process Library. It contains known system processes, applications, as well as spyware references and explanations. Or quickly identify them by searching for the filenames using Google or another Web search engine.
12. Remove any unnecessary programs or do not use the Add / Remove Programs section of Control Panel.
13. Turn off any and all unnecessary animations, and disable active desktop. In fact, for optimal performance, turn off all animations. Windows XP offers many different settings in this area. Here's how to do it: First click on the System icon in Control Panel. Next, click on the Advanced tab. Select the Settings button located under Performance. Feel free to play around with the options offered here, like anything that you can change will alter the reliability of the computer - only its responsiveness.
14. If your customer is an advanced user who is comfortable editing their registry, try some of the performance registry tweaks offered at Tweak XP.
15.) Visit Microsoft's Windows update site regularly, and download all updates labeled Critical. Download any optional updates at your discretion.
16. Update your anti-virus software customers weekly, even daily, basis. Make sure they only have one anti-virus software package installed. Mixing anti-virus software is a sure way to spell disaster for performance and reliability.
17. Make sure the customer has fewer than 500 type fonts installed on their computers. The more fonts they have, the slower the system will be. While Windows XP handles fonts much more efficiently than previous versions of Windows, too many fonts - that is, anything over 500 - will noticeably tax the system.
18. Do not partition the hard drive. Windows XP with the NTFS file system runs more efficiently on one large partition. The data is no safer on a separate partition, and reformat is never necessary to reinstall the operating system. The same excuses people offer for using partitions apply to using a folder instead. For example, instead of putting all the data on D: drive, put it in a folder called "D drive." You will achieve the same organizational benefits that a separate partition offers, but without any degradation in system performance. Also, your free space will not be limited by the size of the partition, it will be limited by the size of the entire hard drive. This means you do not need to resize any partitions, ever. Tasks can be time consuming and also can lead to data loss.
19. Check your system's RAM to ensure it is operating properly. I recommend using a free program called MemTest86. Download will create a bootable CD or diskette (your choice), which will run 10 extensive tests on the PC's memory automatically after you boot to the disk you created. Allow all tests to run until at least three passes of 10 tests are completed. If the program encounters an error, turn off and unplug the computer, remove the memory stick (assuming you have more than one), and run the test again. Remember, bad memory can not be repaired, but only replaced.
20. If the PC has a CD or DVD recorder, check the drive manufacturer's Web site for updated firmware. In some cases, you will be able to upgrade the recorder to a faster speed. Best of all, it's free.
21. Disable unnecessary services. Windows XP loads a lot of customer service that you most likely do not need. To determine which services you can disable for your client, visit the Black Viper site for Windows XP configurations.
22. If you get bored with a Windows Explorer window crashing and then taking the rest of your OS down with it, then follow this tip: open My Computer, click Tools, then Folder Options. Now click on the View tab. Scroll down to "Launch folder windows in separate process," and enable this option. You must reboot your machine for this option will apply.
23. At least once a year, open the computer case and blow all the dust and dirt. While you're there, check that all fans are turning properly. Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for bulging or leaks.
23 How to Accelerate Windows XP