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10 Ways To Improve Performance in Windows XP

Windows XP Guides Add comments

improve xp performance

Personally, I don’t see the point in upgrading your hardware if your computer does everything you need it to. However, sometimes it’s nice to improve what you already have. In this guide we will learn how to make the most out of the hardware you have and make windows XP run faster.

1. Defragment Your Hard Disk

Imagine you are in a shopping mall, and the person you are with wants to visit fifteen different shops. However, this person ends up walking you up and down the mall six times. Does that make sense? Of course not - as human beings, we like to do things in order to save time.

When your hard drive becomes fragmented, it is literally wasting time by looking in all kinds of places on the disk for all of the pieces of one file. Defragmenting your drive is a great solution to speed up your computer as it puts all the files together in order.

• Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter
• Click the drives you want to defrag and click Analyze
• Click Defragment

2. Defragment you Hard Disk on Boot

To make windows XP start more quickly, you can defragment your boot files. This will decrease the time it takes for your computer to boot.

Boot defragment should be enabled by default; however, it might not be enabled on your computer. To ensure that boot defragment is enabled:
• Hold the Windows Key and press R.
• Type in Regedit
• Go to

• Ensure the Enable string value is set as Y
• Exit the Registry
• Reboot

3. Detect and Repair Disk Errors

Over time, your hard disk develops bad sectors. Bad sectors slow down hard disk performance and sometimes make data writing difficult or even impossible. To detect and repair disk errors, Windows has a built-in tool called the Error Checking utility. It’ll search the hard disk for bad sectors and system errors and repair them for faster performance.
• Follow Start > My Computer
• In My Computer right-click the hard disk you want to scan and click Properties
• Click the Tools tab
• Click Check Now
• Select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box
• Click Start

4. Use a Flash Memory to Boost Performance

Windows Vista comes with ReadyBoost; Windows XP does not have a tool like this - that’s why we’ll need eBoostr. eBoostr uses a USB thumb drive to create an extra cache of the most commonly used data.

Solid state memory (what your USB drive uses) has excellent transfer speeds; therefore, it can be used to store and access data that is needed quickly. Unlike RAM, the data is stored on your thumb drive and can be used next time you use your computer — a great time saver.

Plug in a flash drive
• Windows XP will use eBoostr to utilize the flash memory to improve performance.
• Your drive will be configured and you are good to go. Don’t expect miracles - but stick with it and your computer will begin to perform more efficiently.

5. Optimize Your Pagefile.sys

The pagefile is used as another cache as well as RAM. The pagefile stores data on commonly used applications. If you have less than 512mb of ram, then your page file will be automatically configured. If you have more than 512mb of ram, please continue.
• Right click on My Computer and select Properties
• Select the Advanced tab
• Under Performance choose the Settings button
• Select the Advanced tab again and under Virtual Memory select Change
• Highlight the drive containing your page file and make the initial Size of the file the same as the Maximum Size of the file.
Windows XP sizes the page file to about 1.5X the amount of actual physical memory by default. While this is good for systems with smaller amounts of memory (under 512MB) it is unlikely that a typical XP desktop system will ever need 1.5 X 512MB or more of virtual memory - so change the ratio to 1:1 page file size to physical memory size.

6. Disable Indexing Services

Indexing Services is a little application that uses a lot of CPU. By indexing and updating lists of all the files on the computer, it helps you to do a search for something faster as it scans the index list. But if you know where your files are, you can disable this system service. It won’t do any harm to you machine, whether you search often or not very often.
• Go to Start
• Click Settings
• Click Control Panel
• Double-click Add/Remove Programs
• Click the Add/Remove Window Components
• Uncheck the Indexing services
• Click Next

7. Speedup Folder Browsing

You may have noticed that every time you open My Computer to browse folders that there is a little delay. Windows XP automatically searches for network files and printers every time you open Windows Explorer. To turn this off, do the following:

• Go to My Computer, click Tools > Folder Options…
• Click the View tab.
• Now find Automatically search for network folders and printers and uncheck the box.
• Press OK
• Problem solved!

8. Disable Performance Counters

Windows XP has a performance monitor utility which monitors several areas of your PC’s performance. These utilities take up system resources so disabling is a good idea.
• Download and install the Extensible Performance Counter List
• Then select each counter in turn in the ‘Extensible performance counters’ window and clear the ‘performance counters enabled’ checkbox at the bottom button below.

9. Optimize Display Settings

If you are happy to remove some of the flashy looks of Windows XP, do the following.

Right click on the desktop and click Properties…
• Click on the Appearance tab.
• Click Effects
• Uncheck the following:
• Show shadows under menus.
• Show windows contents while dragging.

You may see other options you feel you can disable.

10. Remove Unused Fonts

Fonts, especially TrueType fonts, use quite a bit of system resources. For optimal performance, trim your fonts down to just those that you need to use on a daily basis and fonts that applications may require.
• Open Control Panel
• Open Fonts folder
• Move fonts you don’t need to a temporary directory (e.g. C:\OLDFONTS) just in case you need or want to bring a few of them back. The more fonts you uninstall, the more system resources you will gain.

Your computer will be running faster already!

Further Reading:

Take a Tour of Windows Guides on www.mintywhite.com   Tour    Why Should You Subscribe to this Site   Why Subscribe?    Download a copy of Windows Vista - the Pocket Guide   Free Vista Books    Get the mintywhite Windows Guides toolbar for your browser   Toolbar   Donate a Dollar to Pay for Next Year’s Web Hosting

17 Responses to “10 Ways To Improve Performance in Windows XP”

  1. Ajay says:

    very good

  2. Saiful says:

    very good

  3. Saiful says:

    Good ways to improve xp performance. Thanks to windows guides.

  4. Rich says:

    Thanks Ajay and Saiful :)

  5. Gregory says:

    Excellent tips and good enough to make me subscribe to see what else you have to share!

  6. Zelda says:

    Nice guide :) I have a question regarding the pagefile settings. I run WindowsXP and it refuses to accept my pagefile settings. :( I’ve changed the settings for the size and location a hundred times now, but whatever I do, I end up having a 1.5GB pagefile.sys on my system drive. I once managed to have it place an additional 2MB (for my test) pagefile on another local drive, but the one on my system drive still did not change, and after rebooting, it has refused to have a pagefile even on that local disk.
    Anyone ever heard of this kind of problem? I really wanna put my pagefile on a USB flash drive…

  7. Pennington says:

    Good tips sir

  8. Curt Chang says:

    All good advice

  9. Sondra says:

    These are very easy to follow! Even I managed to pull them off :)

  10. QLD says:

    Thanks for the tips. Very good advice.

  11. Paul says:

    Very good tips, though for pagefile I’d recommend setting the initial and max pagefile sizes to the maximum 4096MB and put it on a 2nd HDD if you have one.
    Good to see too that Registry cleaning wasn’t mentioned on the list, it’s something that should only be done when absolutely necessary. There’s not much proof that it improves performance, and too many dodgy Reg cleaners that can sometimes delete important registry entries.

  12. StackOverflow says:

    Wow I had no idea about the fonts, does it work in Vista also?

  13. Rich says:

    Yes, if you trim down the fonts in Vista, you’ll notice a little difference, but computers are becoming so fast that if you have decent hardware, you wont notice much from this change.

  14. Steven says:

    I tried to back up my fonts to a a new directory so I could slim down on the fonts but when I highlight them and go to copy and paste them, only 14 are copied over. Is there something wrong that I’m doing, or is there a different way that I have to back them up?

  15. Rich says:

    Try copying the whole directory and let me know how that works.

  16. Steven says:

    How do I do that? I tried right clicking and copying on the fonts folder but the only options I get are to open it, explore it, scan it with norton, or create a shortcut to the folder.

  17. mr. anderson says:

    good help to me thanks

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