How to speed up my computer

Indexing Services is a small little program that uses large amounts of RAM and can often make a computer endlessly loud and noisy. This system process indexes and updates lists of all the files that are on your computer. It does this so that when you do a search for something on your computer, it will search faster by scanning the index lists. If you don't search your computer often, or even if you do search often, this system service is completely unnecessary.
To disable do the following:
1. Go to Start
2. Click Settings
3. Click Control Panel
4. Double-click Add/Remove Programs
5. Click the Add/Remove Window Components
6. Uncheck the Indexing services
7. Click Next

Windows XP can look sexy but displaying all the visual items can waste system resources.
To optimise:
1.Go to Start
2. Click Settings
3. Click Control Panel
4. Click System
5. Click Advanced tab
6. In the Performance tab click Settings
7. Leave only the following ticked:
- Show shadows under menus
- Show shadows under mouse pointer
- Show translucent selection rectangle
- Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
- Use visual styles on windows and buttons

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.
To disable:
1. download and install the Extensible Performance Counter List
2.Then select each counter in turn in the 'Extensible performance counters' window and clear the 'performance counters enabled' checkbox at the bottom.button below.

You may have noticed that everytime you open my computer to browse folders that there is a slight delay. This is because Windows XP automatically searches for network files and printers everytime you open Windows Explorer. To fix this and to increase browsing significantly:
1. Open My Computer
2. Click on Tools menu
3. Click on Folder Options
4. Click on the View tab.
5. Uncheck the Automatically search for network folders and printers check box
6. Click Apply
7. Click Ok
8. Reboot your computer

Cacheman Improves the performance of your computer by optimizing the disk cache, memory and a number of other settings.
Once Installed:
1.Go to Show Wizard and select All
2.Run all the wizards by selecting Next or Finished until you are back to the main menu. Use the defaults unless you know exactly what you are doing.
3.Exit and Save Cacheman
4.Restart Windows

Prefetch is designed to speed up program launching by preloading programs into memory - not a good idea is memory is in short supply, as it can make programs hang. To disable prefetch:
1. Click 'Start' then 'Run'
2. Type in 'Regedit' then click 'Ok'
3. Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\'
4. Right-click on "EnablePrefetcher" and set the value to '0'
5. Reboot.

Although not strictly a performance tweak I love this fix as it makes my machine 'feel' faster. I hate the annoying 'are you sure?' messages that XP displays, especially if I have to use a laptop
touchpad to close them. To remove these messages:
1. Right-click on the 'Recycle Bin' on the desktop and then click 'Properties'
2. Clear the 'Display Delete Confirmation Dialog' check box and click 'Ok'
If you do accidently delete a file don't worry as all is not lost.
Just go to your Recycle Bin and 'Restore' the file.

Some machines suffer from jerky graphics or high CPU usage even when a machine is idle. A possible solution for this, which, can also can help network performance is to:
1. RightClick 'My Computer'
2. Select 'Manage'
3. Click on 'Device Manager'
4. DoubleClick your network adaptor under 'Network Adapters'
5. In the new window, select the 'Advanced' tab
6. Select 'Connection Type' and select the correct type for your card and then Reboot

XP enables DMA for Hard-Drives and CD-Roms by default on most ATA or ATAPI (IDE) devices. However, sometimes computers switch to PIO mode which is slower for data transfer - a typical reason is because of a virus. To ensure that your machine is using DMA:
1. Open 'Device Manager'
2. Double-click 'IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers'
3. Right-click 'Primary Channel' and select 'Properties' and then 'Advanced Settings'
4. In the 'Current Transfer Mode' drop-down box, select 'DMA if Available' if the current setting is 'PIO Only'

I found this useful app via FixMyXP. ClearMem Is an Excellent Tool for speeding up your XP Computer (especially if your system has been on for awhile and you have a lot of applications open). What it does, is it Forces pages out of physical memory and reduces the size of running processes if working sets to a minimum. When you run this tool, the system pauses because of excessive high-priority activity associated with trimming the working sets. To run this tool, your paging file must be at least as large as physical memory. To Check your Paging File:
1. Go to your control panel, then click on 'System', then go to the 'Advanced' Tab, and Under 'Performance' click 'Settings' then the 'Advanced' Tab
2. On the Bottom you should see 'Virtual Memory' and a value. This is the value that must be at least as large as how much memory is in your system.
3. If the Virtual Memory Value is smaller than your system memory, click Change and change the Min Virtual Memory to a number that is greater than your total system memory, then click 'Set' and Reboot.
4. Once you have rebooted install ClearMem

This tweak works by creating a batch file to clear the temp and history folders everytime you shutdown so that your PC doesn't waste time checking these folders the next time it boots. It's
quite simple to implement:
1. Open Notepad and create a new file with the following entries:
RD /S /q "C:\Documents and Settings\"UserName without quotes"\Local Settings\History"
RD /S /q "C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Local Settings\History"
RD /S /q "D:\Temp\" <--"Deletes temp folder, type in the location of your temp folder" 2. Save the new as anything you like but it has to be a '.bat' file e.g. fastboot.bat or deltemp.bat 3. Click 'Start' then 'Run' 4. Type in 'gpedit.msc' and hit 'ok' 5. Click on 'Computer Configuration' then 'Windows Settings' 6. Double-click on 'Scripts' and then on 'Shutdown' 7. Click 'Add' and find the batch file that you created and then press 'Ok' SPEED UP BOOT TIMES --II
When your PC starts it usually looks for any bootable media in any floppy or cd-rom drives you have installed before it gets around to loading the Operating System from the HDD. This can waste valuable time. To fix this we need to make some changes to the Bios.
1. To enter the bios you usually press 'F2' or 'delete' when your PC starts
2. Navigate to the 'Boot' menu
3. Select 'Boot Sequence'
4. Then either move your Hard drive to the top position or set it as the 'First Device'
5. Press the 'Escape' key to leave the bios. Don't forget to save your settings before exiting
Note: Once this change has been made, you won't be able to boot from a floppy disc or a CD-rom. If for some strange reason you need to do this in the future, just go back into your bios, repeat the steps above and put your floppy or CD-rom back as the 'First Device'

When your computer boots up it usually has to check with the network to see what IP addresses are free and then it grabs one of these. By configuring a manually assigned IP address your boot time will improve. To do this do the following:
1. Click on 'Start' and then ''Connect To/Show All Connections'
2. Right-click your network adapter card and click 'Properties'.
3. On the 'General' tab, select 'TCP/IP' in the list of services and click 'Properties'
4.I n the TCP/IP properties, click 'Use the following address' and enter an IP address for your PC. If you are using a router this is usually 192.168.0.xx or 192.168.1.xx. If you are not sure what address you could check with your ISP or go to 'Start/run' and type 'cmd' and then 'ipconfig/all'. This will show your current IP settings which you will need to copy.
5. Enter the correct details for 'Subnet mask', 'Default gateway' and 'DNS Server'. Again if you are not sure what figures to enter use 'ipconfig/all' as in stage 4.

This tweak reduces the time XP waits before automatically closing any running programs when you give it the command to shutdown.
Go to Start then select Run
Type 'Regedit' and click ok
Find 'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\'
Select 'WaitToKillAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'
Now select 'HungAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'
Now find 'HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop'
Select 'WaitToKillAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'
Now find 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Contr ol\'
Select 'WaitToKillServiceTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'

This little tweak tends to work for most programs. If your program doesn't load properly just undo the change. For any program:
Right-click on the icon/shortcut you use to launch the program
Select properties
In the 'target' box, add ' /prefetch:1' at the end of the line.
Click "Ok"
Voila - your programs will now load faster.

This is one of my favourite tweaks as it makes a huge difference to how fast your machine will 'feel'. What this tweak does is remove the slight delay between clicking on a menu and XP displaying the menu.
Go to Start then Run
Type 'Regedit' then click 'Ok'
Find "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\"
Select "MenuShowDelay"
Right click and select "Modify'
Reduce the number to around "100"
This is the delay time before a menu is opened. You can set it to "0" but it can make windows really hard to use as menus will open
if you just look at them - well move your mouse over them anyway. I tend to go for anywhere between 50-150 depending on my mood

If you have more than 256MB of RAM this tweak will considerably improve your performance. It basically makes sure that your PC uses every last drop of memory (faster than swap file) before it starts using the swap file.
Go to Start then Run
Type "msconfig.exe" then ok
Click on the System.ini tab
Expand the 386enh tab by clicking on the plus sign
Click on new then in the blank box
Click OK
Restart PC

Adding Some More Steps Which I found very useful

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.

First download and install the utility, then run the Exctrlst.exe utility, found in 'c:\program files\resource kit\'

Select each line in the 'Extensible performance counters' window and clear the 'performance counters enabled' button below. You must do this separately for each counter. When done, just exit the utility.
Now if you load the performance monitor, you will see that it has no information available to it.

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.

11. 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.
reate a new key named 'AlwaysUnloadDLL' and set the default value to equal '1.'

12. Enhance your Internet connection
If you have a broadband connection, either DSL or cable, chances are there's a few things you could do to optimize its speed. Windows XP uses a variety of registry settings to control how fast data is passed to and from network interfaces, so tweaking these settings to more accurately reflect the capabilities of your connection is a good idea. As there are a number of rather esoteric locations in the registry that need to be changed in order to tweak your connection's speed, refer instead to the selection of registry files here to automatically set the correct values for your system.
  • Increase DNS cache size
As written above, Windows XP uses a DNS cache to store recently visited Internet addresses. This cache is referred to before a request is sent out over the Internet when the user requests a web page address. If the IP address corresponding to the web address is in the cache, that address gets used, saving time. If it is not, your computer needs to find out the correct IP address by asking a DNS server over the Internet.
Items are kept in the cache for a finite amount of time and are constantly bumped to make room for more recent addresses. By increasing the size of the DNS cache, you can increase the speed of your web browsing, especially if you regularly check the same web pages.
To increase the size of the DNS cache, open REGEDIT and navigate to; 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dnscache\Parameters'
Create the following DWORD values:
CacheHashTableBucketSize = 1
CacheHashTableSize = 180
MaxCacheEntryTtlLimit = ff00
MaxSOACacheEntryTtlLimit = 12d
Exit and restart.

13. Disable DHCP with DSL connections
If you use a DSL modem to connect to the Internet, and you dial the connection directly from your computer, you may notice a rather long delay between the time the Windows desktop appears when booting up and when you can actually dial your connection. This delay can sometimes be up to two or three minutes, and can be extremely frustrating since it tends to lag other applications as well. The source of this delay is Windows XP attempting to locate an IP address for the network adaptor you are using to connect to the DSL modem.
This only occurs if the adaptor in question is set to 'obtain an IP address automatically' meaning Windows will actively seek to find an IP address for that adaptor from an outside source before assigning it one of its own range of addresses.
You can halt this behavior by simply assigning the network adaptor an IP address manually. It doesn't matter which IP address, as long as it is in one of the private address ranges (like This will not effect your Internet connection, as the DSL modem and the adaptor form a separate 'virtual' connection which is assigned an IP address by your Internet service provider.
To assign your network card a manual (static) IP address:
Right click on 'my network places' in the start menu and hit 'properties.'
Highlight the network adaptor that is connected to your modem. If you have only one network adaptor, this will be 'local area connection.' Right click and select 'properties.'
Highlight Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click 'properties.'

Check 'use the following IP address' then in the 'IP address:' field, enter '192.168.5. (Pick a number between 1 and 254)' Enter '' in the 'subnet mask:' field. Click 'ok.'
The next time you reboot, the delay should be gone, and you will be able to access your connection right away.

14. Do not cache failed DNS entries
By default, Windows XP will cache the IP addresses connected to DNS names (such as website addresses) as they are entered into your browser. This speeds up subsequent visits to the same addresses because the system does not have to search for the IP address that the DNS name represents.
This is good for Internet performance as a whole, but it does have a downside. If you type in a valid URL that is not functioning at that point in time, Windows will cache the unsuccessful result, meaning that all attempts to access that address may fail until the failed entry is gone from the cache. This takes about 5 minutes.
You can prevent Windows XP from caching unsuccessful DNS lookups by creating three new registry values.
To do this open REGEDIT and navigate to: 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dnscache\Parameters'
Create the following DWORD values:
NegativeCacheTime= 0
NetFailureCacheTime= 0
NegativeSOACacheTime= 0
Reboot for the changes to take effect.

15. Remove the QoS Bandwidth Reserve Setting
This one has been subject to several rumours and considerable debate. Windows XP's networking setup includes a QOS (Quality Of Service) provision which allows certain software (anything which has been written to take advantage of QOS in Windows) to reserve up to 20% of the bandwidth of a given network connection.
This does not mean that 20% of bandwidth is withheld by the operating system
at all times, as is often stated. What it means is that certain programs can reserve this percentage of bandwidth for themselves when they are running.
If you don't like this idea and wish to disable QOS, ensuring that your Internet bandwidth is strictly 'first come, first served.' Here's a registry edit to do just that:
To do this open REGEDIT and navigate to;
Data Type: DWORD Value // Value Name: NonBestEffortLimit
Setting for Value Data: [Enter as a Percentage / Default Value = 20]
Exit Registry and Reboot

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