Speeding up XP a *little bit*

I’m probably going to miss out a couple of points here… But here goes :

  1. Don’t install software you’re not going to use! Uninstall whatever you can. (Control Panel > Add or remove programs)
  2. Start Menu > run > type ‘msconfig’. Under General, select “Selective Startup”. Then, under “boot.ini“, boot options, you can enable the option “/NOGUIBOOT” (NOTE: I don’t actually recommend this setting. Even though it may shave some milliseconds off your boot time, when something goes wrong, having this setting is bad for debugging). You could also try the “/SOS” option instead. Under the Startup tab, you will see a list of the programs/things which start up when you turn on your computer. Uncheck what you don’t need. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE what a program is, DON’T untick it! Do a search on google or ask someone first. Once you are done press Apply and restart your computer. Any difference?
  3. Disabling Unneeded Services
    Start Menu > run > type “services.msc”. These are the list of services on your computer. You can see the name of the services, their status (running/not running) and their start up type (auto/manual/disabled). It is quite likely that you can disable a few of these. To disable a service, double click it, stop it, and change the startup type –

    • Automatic Updates – Those updates from the windows update website. If you use auto updates, leave this on. But if you don’t use it then you can set this to manual.
    • Background Intelligent Transfer Agent – If you’re using auto windows update or msn explorer then you might need this. Otherwise, set this to manual.
    • Error Reporting Service – You know when a program crashes, it asks you whether you want to send the error to microsoft. How many times have you actually pressed the ‘send’ button? Unless you do, you can disable this service.
    • Fast User Switching – Unless you have more than one user on your computer, or like to use the ‘switch user’ function, you can set this to manual/disabled.
    • Help and Support – If you use the ‘help and support’ centre at all, then yes, leave this on. But if you’re like the rest of use who have never touched it, you can disable it.
    • Messenger – This is not to be confused with MSN messenger or windows messenger. It is a messenger service which basically allows the use of “net send” to send messages between computers. Unfortunately it can (I mean, HAS) be abused. Unless your network makes use of this, disable it.
    • Printer Spooler – If you don’t have a printer or don’t print, set it to manual
    • Remote Registry – Why would you want a possible person to be able to edit data on your computer remotely? Even if unlikely, I wouldn’t want it a possibility. You can probably disable this
    • Smart Card/Smart Card Helper – If you’re on a laptop/computer which has smart card support, and you DON’T use smart cards, then disable them
    • SSDP Discovery Service – Detects evil uPnP devices on your network (This is NOT Plug and Play). I do not recommend the use of uPnP on your network. I suggest you disable this
    • System Restore Service – If you don’t use System Restore, disable this
    • Themes – If you don’t use themes (which slow down a computer anyway), disable this
    • Wireless Zero Config – Unless you have a wireless card in your computer and have to use this (there are other wireless config utils) then disable this

    There is a full list of usual services and their recommended settings, courtesy TheElderGeek.

  4. Start Menu > run > type “regedit” NOTE : Be CAREFUL when editing the registry. Doing something wrong may damage your system!! You have been warned!
    Navigate to the key (the folder things on the left column) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control. On the right column you should see the string WaitToKillServiceTimeout. Double click it to change its value to “2000”.
    Next in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop find the string AutoEndTasks. If you always save your work before shutting down, you can set this to “1”.
    Next, HungAppTimeout and WaitToKillAppTimeout can be changed to “2000”.
    If you find that your menus in the start menu take too long to display you can change the value of MenuShowDelay, in milliseconds, to your desired value.
  5. Run spyware scans! I recommend Lavasoft Ad-aware and Spybot Search&Destroy. If you are not sure whether you’ve cleaned out stuff, get HijackThis and post its log to an expert.
  6. Don’t use Internet Explorer! IE is a great source of spyware&viruses, as well as its support for ActiveX. Instead use something like Firefox/Opera/Maxthon, which are more secure, faster, and have more features.
  7. Defragment your computer regularly to speed up disk access

These are just some of the things you can do to speed up your computer, and probably a lot more which I don’t know about. But it’s a start.

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