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Whyifide's Guide to XP Performance!
Get the most out of your XP Operating System

[Head Notice]
I did not write any of this, nor do I take credit for any of it. This is just a compiled source for cleaning up XP. I will say this first and foremost - if you REALLY want to clean up XP and don't want to wait, wipe your drive.

[My Introductory]
Good evening fellow Overclock.net members! I compose to you my ultimate guide to tweaking XP. It is not a finished product, but I will continue to add more as time goes on. Thank you for viewing.

A - Basic Clean Up
1. ~ 15 Minute Tune-Up.
2. ~ Step-By-Step: Tune Up Your Windows XP Machine.
B - Tweaks and Tune Ups
1. ~ Compress Files and Folders in Windows XP.
2. ~ Easily Disable/Remove Windows Messenger.
3. ~ How to Perform Disk Error Checking in Windows XP.
4. ~ Skip the Recycle Bin Confirmation Message.
5. ~ Speed up Menu Display.
6. ~ Clean Your Prefetch to Improve Performance
7. ~ Clear Out Pagefile On Shutdown.
8. ~ Correcting System Hang at Startup
9. ~ Fine tune Internet connection speed: Tip on changing QoS parameter.
10. ~ Further fine tune Internet access speed: Tip on improving DNS
11. ~ Want to have more options in the Add/Remove program list?
12. ~ Having problem with slow boot time or is it taking long to resume?
13. ~ If you have a lot of RAM, do you really need swap file?
14. ~ How to boost XP speed by by changing real time clock priority?
15. ~ Reduce IO and increase turnaround which means faster computer!
16. ~ How to improve on shutdown time ? Close apps automatically &
quickly at shutdown!
17. ~ Speedup boot up sequence by defragmenting all key boot files.
18. ~ If you have a faster hard disk, keep your pagefile.sys.
19. ~ WINDOWS XP HIDDEN APPLICATIONS. (Not really performance, but..
20. ~ 100 Keyboard Shortcuts.
21. ~ Disable Indexing Services.
22. ~ Optimize Display Settings.
23. ~ Speedup Folder Browsing.
24. ~ Improve Memory Usage.
25. ~ Optimize your internet connection.
C - VERY USEFUL Downloads

{A1} 15 Minute Tune-Up

Source: Tweak3D.Net

Don't throw out that old PC yet!

A fine-tuned Windows XP PC can run quite fast even it's seriously lacking in the memory and CPU department. Before you chuck out your PC to buy a new one, try stripping some of the rust that's built-up over the years; the results may surprise you.

It's probably your operating system that's slow, not the PC. It's software, not hardware - you know, invisible 1s and 0s held in an electric field representing your data. Your computer is still fast, but there's a ton of stuff slowing it down. There's more 1s where there should be 0s and your PC is killing itself fighting an impossible battle to burn off this fat.

We've seen Pentium II machines with 128 MB RAM run XP faster than Pentium IVs with 4x the clock speed and 4x the RAM - so what gives? This article will help you figure out why your PC is running slow and outline exact steps to fix it quickly, before throwing in the towel with a format, restore, or new PC purchase.
Now, before you jump into your spring cleaning, it is essential that you first determine what is causing your computer to lag behind! Ignoring a bad hard drive could lead to hours of damage and lost data! Also, lack of enough memory will definitely bottleneck your computer's performance. However, spyware and malware could be throwing a party harder than last week's LAN party inside your OS - just like in many of the other PCs online. There are other causes for PCs to run slow, but these are the most common.

The basic symptoms of a bad hard drive:
-Extremely slow performance.
-Blue screen of death.
-System errors on startup (obviously).
-Strange sounds from your PC, such as clicking sounds.

If you suspect your drive is failing, boot down quickly. Download Hitachi's DFT, burn a CD to test your drive, boot off it, and run a scan to determine if it's defective. If you use a bad hard drive for too long you might suffer complete data loss.

It is possible that your computer does NOT have enough memory, but I assume you overclockers don't have that problem.

We've seen Windows XP run with 64 MB RAM and it is not pretty. With 128 MB, an XP machine can survive basic tasks as long as there is not a lot loaded into memory. We consider 256 MB to be the absolute tolerable minimum. The jump to 512 MB will help speed up the PC considerably, especially if there is antivirus or anti-spyware software running in the background. Currently 1024 MB (or 1 gigabyte) seems to be the sweet spot, where adding more RAM doesn't seem to be cost effective for most users. However, gamers can usually benefit from the jump to 2 GB. RAM is cheap. Check your local retail ads for sales. Seriously consider upgrading if your PC has less than 512 MB. Instructions on installing RAM can be found here. Instructions are available for notebooks here.
Now,YOU might be avoiding spyware like a fat man avoids diets, but if kids, friends, or PC nooblets are using your PC to browse the Internet it's likely that your PC is infected.

The basic symptoms of spyware, malware, adware are:
-Slow performance.
-Pop-up ads.
-Strange Error Messages.
-Extra toolbars in your browser.
-Frequent web browser crashes (older browsers)
-Slow and/or completely non-functional Internet.

Completely removing spyware can be quite a job. If you wish to remove spyware/malware, skip down to {#HERE}.

Now that we have the previously stated problems covered, if all of these other things are not the problem, your PC is probably just cluttered with crap and needs a 15 minute tune-up. This article covers a quick (5-15 minute) tune-up for Windows XP. The basic approach: Visual effects, Add/Remove Programs, Startup folder, temp files, registry cleaning, CCleaner, services, then defragment.

Shown below is the before and after CPU usage from a typical tune-up of this type. The PC tested here started with 42 processes using over 152 MB of memory. After the tune-up, this was dropped to 23 processes using only 63 MB of memory.

Before -

After -

STEP 1: The dusting begins.

The visual effects, that is animations, shadows, and extra Windows XP polished interface, eat up CPU and memory (especially on older PCs). Hit the Windows and Pause/Break keys or right-click My Computer and choose Properties. Navigate to the Advanced tab, then click the first Settings box. Very slow (<500 MHz) PCs should definitely have this set for Best Performance. Most PC users won't notice or care if the following are the only options left enabled:

* Animate Windows when minimizing and maximizing
* Smooth edges of screen fonts
* Smooth-scroll list boxes
* Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop

If you plan to use Common tasks (such as the built-in Windows Explorer CD Burning Utility, you may want to leave Use common tasks in folders enabled. Read through this list and determine what else you may want. Test the settings using the Apply button before deciding you're OK with changes.

Turn off your background image and you'll notice the desktop comes up slightly faster. It also (depending on the detail of the image) will give you more free memory. This can be accessed by right clicking the Desktop, choosing Properties, Desktop, and looking under Background.

no background
Sure, it looks plain. But how often do you see it anyway?

To further tweak the visual settings for maximum performance download Tweak UI.
Step 2: Remove Extra Programs

In general, the more programs you have installed, the more memory they are using. This isn't the case with all programs, but it's still good practice to remove programs you don't use. You'll save hard drive space and even system memory if the programs load at Windows startup.

Add/Remove Programs

Enter the Control Panel (Start, Control Panel or Settings/Control Panel) and go to the Add/Remove Programs applet. The list of programs you'll see rarely contains anything essential to the PC's operation. Most of the programs were installed by a user and can be removed if they are not required - just don't remove Microsoft Office and so-on if you plan to use it.

Go through this list and remove all the programs you're positive you don't use or need. Anything you're unsure of should be researched on Google before you uninstall it. The most common entries we uninstall are: AOL, AOL AntiSpyware, Yahoo Toolbar, Wintools, Viewpoint Media Player, Speedway, Weatherbug and various "Deals", which are almost always spyware. Additionally we'll remove programs installed for one-time use or that we thought we'd use but never did. If you don't use AOL feel free to remove any reference you see. Don't remove any drivers unless the hardware has been removed from the PC. If your antivirus or anti-spyware program are expired and out of date, you may as well uninstall them since they are taking tons of resources and newer, free alternatives are available online. Removing some items here will require a reboot.
Step 3 - Clean-up Registry and Temporary Files

This may not be as much of a performance tune-up as it is a generally good practice to cover, especially since it'll free up some hard drive space.

The best tool we've found to clean up temporary files and the registry is CCleaner (aka CrapCleaner). Overall this is one of the best tweaking programs out and can definitely help you easily fix issues with your system. Download and install this program, making sure not to turn on extra features you won't use like the Yahoo Toolbar it tries to install. Run the program and uncheck any specific items you don't want to remove. If you require it, go through the Advanced Options and check any entries that you require to fix issues with your PC (such as Window Size/Location if one is resized awkwardly). Then click Run Cleaner at the bottom right. After several seconds it should complete, giving a detailed report on resources recovered.

Registry cleanup

In this case, 1.3 GB was recovered!

CCleaner also has some other cool features. Click the Issues button on the left and it'll find problems in the Registry. It might be a good idea to quickly browse the list to determine what kind of problems were found. Backup the registry before running this tool (Start, Run, Regedit [HIT OK], File (at the top), Export [type name and Save]). Most of these can be fixed safely using the Fix Selected Issues button. Additionally the Tools tab can be used to uninstall more programs, delete broken uninstall links, and turn off additional Startup programs much like HiJackThis as mentioned in Step 3.
Step 4 - Removing Programs that Run at Startup

Removing extra programs that run when Windows starts will greatly increase its performance. These programs usually load in the system tray at the bottom right, but sometimes you won't see the programs at all. Note that these programs typically do not need to run at startup to function! From the Start menu, choose All Programs, then right click Startup and choose Explore. Delete any repeat entries or shortcuts you are sure you can do without (we'd remove the stuff relating to Microsoft Office, Real Player, Quicktime, etc.). Very rarely do you need any startup shortcuts in this folder. Repeat the process using Explore All Users if you have multiple user accounts.

Now from CCleaner as mentioned above, navigate to the Tools option to the left, then click Startup. This tool cannot break your PC, but at worst limit its functionality. As long as you are only turning off startup programs here, your PC can recover from damn near anything you turn off. It may be a good idea to backup the registry (mentioned above) if you use this tool. The tool tells you where in the registry to find the keys that it's going to remove and the program path it executes.


You may find lots of crap lurking here.

We've startup programs in other tweak guides, but basically any 3rd party program can be removed from this list unless it involves an all-in-one printer or the PC is a notebook (in which case you'll want to keep support for the touchpad and power management). We recommend removing "Save", "Weather", "Deals", etc. as these are generally Ad-ware. Turn off anything relating to Real Player (keyword being "Real"), Quicktime (such as qttask), and findfast. There are online lists available detailing all the startup files such as this one. If you're scared to turn something off, check to confirm if it's required. Each program here is DIRECTLY RELATED to the system's performance, particularly its free memory and CPU.

This program allows you to manually edit even more startup items including Toolbars, Browser Help Objects, and some Services. This program all but replaces HiJackThis and msconfig. Make sure to remove references to uninstalled programs or expired antivirus/anti-spyware applications.

More Startups - Services

In Windows, common essential tasks run as "Services" under svchost.exe. These Services include such items as Windows Firewall, Windows Intaller, and various network support features. Most services supplied with Windows XP aren't required. However, some can be disabled to free up some resources. Some argue that disabling Services does not help system performance, but if 3rd party Services are enabled they sure can't help.

The best way to turn off individual Services is to choose Start, Run, Services.msc [then hit OK]. Alternatively go to Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services. From here, double-click any Service you're positive you want to disable, perhaps Automatic Updates or Adobe LM Service. From the dropdown menu labled Startup Type choose Disabled. Stop the Service currently running using the Stop button. Normal services should be set as Automatic or Manual (with Start greyed out). So what Service should you disable? That's nearly impossible for us to answer. Generally you should be able to determine which Services you need. If you're unsure of a Service, check this article.

If you're having problems fixing File and Print Sharing issues, make sure you check our article for the correct services to use.
Step 5 - Clean your Desktop and Start Menu

This would be a great time to clean-up some other key areas to the PC's response time and zippiness. I'd start by deleting extra icons and downloaded files on the Desktop (visible quickly by hitting the Windows and D keys simultaneously). Delete lots of stuff here! These icons may not seem significant but they're taking some memory. Also, navigating a cluttered desktop is damn near impossible. For now at least create subfolders such as Downloads, Text Documents, and so-on and store the majority of files in these. A clean desktop will probably increase your productivity even if it doesn't help the PC's performance much.

This would also be a good time to clean up your Start menu. Open it up, find shortcuts that you don't use, right click the entries and choose Delete. You can also remove shortcuts to programs that you only run when you open a data file. For example, the shortcut to Quicktime is probably unnecessary, as you'll open this program automatically when clicking Quicktime movies.
Wrap it Up

These steps take about 5-15 minutes to complete once you've learned the process. As a habit we tend to run basic tune-ups on just about every PC we touch and the results are always worthwhile. For additional tuning, start to defragment your hard drive (My Computer, right-click your C: hard drive, choose Properties, Tools, Defragment Now) before you go to bed one night as it may take a few hours to complete. Keep an eye on system resources (CTRL-ALT-DELETE) as you install new programs to determine if more tuning is necessary. Don't forget to update major system drivers (especially video, sound, and chipset) and run Windows Update regularly for new patches and fixes.


{A2} Step-By-Step: Tune Up Your Windows XP Machine.

Original Source: pcworld.com

Windows reminds me all too often of those finicky foreign sports cars of decades past. If you don't spend time tweaking, maintaining, and tuning it, it tends to run a little rough. A lot goes on under the hood to keep your XP-based PC running smoothly; but as you add, update, and delete software and data files, things can get sluggish. XP's built-in tweaking tools can boost your PC's performance.

Windows XP has fewer built-in tools than earlier versions of Windows, though the tools available are more full-featured. Other more-sophisticated and automatic tune-up tools can be found in various suites and stand-alone utilities, as discussed in "The Trouble-Free PC." But if you're frugal, their cost (up to $90) may give you pause. XP's built-in tools, along with a few free add-ons, should be sufficient for most users and most situations.

1. Back up your PC. It's essential to perform regular backups of your PC, particularly if you'll be using utilities and tools that make software changes. Unfortunately, Windows XP Home Edition doesn't come with a backup utility. See Utilities To Back Up Your Data for downloads that will do the job.

The built-in backup utility in Windows XP Pro is more robust than earlier versions, but it won't back up to a CD-R. It does work with CD-RWs, hard drives, and removable storage.

Log in to XP Pro with Administrator privileges, select Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Backup. Step through the various dialog boxes and follow all directions. In the 'What to Back Up' dialog box, choose the All information on this computer option if you haven't done a backup before. This will create a floppy that you can use to boot your PC and to restore the backup after a crash.

2. Check hard drives for errors.
It's wise to do a thorough check on the status of your hard drives occasionally. Go to Start, My Computer, right-click the icon for your C: drive, and choose Properties. Then choose the Tools tab and click the Check Now button. Repeat this step for your other hard drives.

Applications and files must be closed in order for error checking to fix the problems it finds, so XP will often report that the disk check will run the next time you restart your system if you've checked 'Automatically fix file system errors' on the next screen.

Note: Finding and recovering bad sectors can take hours if you have a large drive.

3. Defragment hard drives. The more you use your PC, the more some files become broken into disparate parts scattered around your hard drive. Defragmenting rearranges each file's pieces into a single continuous block for faster access.

You'll need to be logged in as the Administrator to run XP's Disk Defragmenter. First select Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter. Highlight the drive that you want to check, and press the Analyze button. XP will tell you whether the drive needs to be defragmented. If XP does recommend defragging, click the Defragment button.

4. Sack any spyware. A free program like Spybot Search & Destroy or Ad-aware can get rid of any freeloading spyware that makes its way onto your system.

5. Clean out unneeded files. Go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup, and select the drive you want to clean. XP will analyze your files and show a list of which ones can be removed. Check the boxes next to the categories you want to discard.

The More Options tab offers you several more cleanup choices. The System Restore cleanup option, in particular, can clear lots of disk space by erasing old restore points.

6. Back up again. Once you've finished tweaking your system and you're sure that everything is running well, it's a good idea to back up everything once again. That way, you'll always have a clean, fully optimized starting point that you can return to in case a disaster befalls your system.

{B1} Compress Files and Folders in Windows XP

Running out of room on your hard disk? Need some extra space to install a new program? Don't worry, Windows XP comes to the rescue. Both Windows XP Professional and Home Edition now include a zip compression utility that you can use to compress files and folders on your hard disk.

* Right-click the file or folder.
* Point to Send To.
* Then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.

This will make a compressed folder, identified by a zipper icon, which displays the same name as the file you compressed. You can also make a compressed folder from scratch, by following these steps:

* Right-click the Desktop.
* Point to New.
* Click Compressed (zipped) Folder.

{B2} Easily Disable/Remove Windows Messenger.


Go into: C:/Program Files/Messenger. Rename the Messenger folder to "MessengerOFF". This does not slow down Outlook Express or hinder system performance.

To remove: Go to Start/Run, and type:

rundll32 setupapi,InstallHinfSection BLC.Remove 128 %SystemRoot%\\INF\\msmsgs.inf

{B3} How to Perform Disk Error Checking in Windows XP

his article describes how to check the integrity of the hard disk drive in Windows XP. After you install Windows XP, the Scandisk command is not available.

* Double-click My Computer, and then right-click the hard disk drive that you want to check.
* Click Properties, and then click Tools.
* Under Error-checking, click Check Now.
* Click Start.

{B4} Skip the Recycle Bin Confirmation Message


When you delete items by moving them to the Recycle Bin, Windows displays a message confirming the deletion: "Are you sure you want to send FILENAME to the Recycle Bin?" If you're tired of clicking an answer to that question, you can configure Windows XP to skip the confirmation message whether or not you're using the Recycle Bin.

* Right-click the Recycle Bin, and then click Properties.
* In the Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, clear the Display delete confirmation dialog check box, and then click OK.
* If you don't want to use the Recycle Bin at all, in the Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, select the Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted check box.


{B5} Speed up Menu Display

You can use this tip to speed up the way menus display in Windows XP.

* Click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and the click System.
* Click the Advanced tab, and under Performance, click the Settings button.
* Clear the Fade or slide menus into view check box, and then click OK.
* Now when you bring up a collapsed menu, it will expand without delay.

{B6}Clean Your Prefetch to Improve Performance

This is a unique technique for WinXP. We know that it is necessary to scrub registry and TEMP files for Win9X/ME/2000 periodically. Prefetch is a new and very useful technique in Windows XP. However, after using XP some time, the prefetch directory can get full of junk and obsolete links in the Prefetch catalog, which can slow down your computer noticeably.

* Open C(system drive):/windows/prefetch, delete those junk and obsolete files, reboot. It is recommended that you do this every month


{B7} Clear Out Pagefile On Shutdown

When working on your PC, having Word documents or webpages open means that the pages get loaded into the RAM, to save RAM Windows tends to put various files into your Page File (Like a cache system). Microsoft has left an option to clear out the Pagefile on shutdown off as default, here is the way to switch it on. Take note, this increases shutdown time.

1. Start Regedit.
2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Con trol\\Session Manager\\Memory Management
3. Select ClearPageFileAtShutdown from the list on the right.
4. Right on it and select Modify.
5. Change the value to 1 to enable.
6. Reboot your computer.

{B8}Correcting System Hang at Startup

If your system hangs about 2 or 3 minutes at startup, where you can't access the Start button or the Taskbar, it may be due to one specific service (Background Intelligent Transfer) running in the background. Microsoft put out a patch for this but it didn't work for me. Here's what you do:

* Click on Start/Run, type 'msconfig', then click 'OK'.
* Go to the 'Services' tab, find the 'Background Intelligent Transfer' service.
* Disable it, apply the changes & reboot.


{B9}Fine tune Internet connection speed: Tip on changing QoS parameter.

This tweak deals with QoS parameter manipulation. There have been some confusion as to what can be achieved in real terms by changing the QoS parameter. Microsoft has finally released an article correcting describing the behavior of QoS parameter. I am providing a link to Microsoft web site knowledgebase article http://support.microsoft.com/directo...;EN-US;q316666. In brief though, this tweak would only work on QoS aware programs and rest of the programs would simply ignore them. Networking Quality of Service (QoS) refers to a variety of techniques that prioritize one type of traffic or program when these operate across a network connection rather than relying solely on "best effort" connectivity. Please click on how to change QoS parameter article using Group Policy Editor (GPEDIT.MSC).By default, programs can reserve up to an aggregate bandwidth of 20 percent of the underlying link speed on each interface on an end computer. If the program that reserved the bandwidth is not sending enough data to utilize it completely, the unused portion of the reserved bandwidth is available for other data flows on the same host. This default parameter can be changed.

{B10} Further fine tune Internet access speed: Tip on improving DNS resolution.

Internet browsing is such an exciting and easy experience now a days that we have almost forgotten the amount of work that goes behind the scene to make this all happen. We only feel bad if we can't find something easily or have to wait for a long time (I have heard many people saying WWW stands for world wide wait not too long ago!!!) Well with changes in technology and falling prices we have far better hardware and software to do this job but fruits of fine tuning have always been great and would continue to remain so. One of the things that should happen before Internet connection would go through is DNS resolution.DNS stands for Domain Name Service. Even though XP does a fine job of handling DNS resolution, you may still gain by increase the DNS Cache size. To do this you would have to add following entries in registry. Save what is written below in say "dnstuning.reg" file and import it in REGISTRY but opening registry editor and going to IMPORT option from top menu.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Ser vices\\Dnscache\\Parameters]

{B11} Want to have more options in the Add/Remove program list?

All programs that are available on your Windows XP system are not available for removal. For example wordpad. I mean you don't want to remove wordpad from Add/Remove program list, but that serves just as an example. So why are some programs in the list and some not. Its not a game of Random numbers. There many a few unique methods through which we can control what appears on list and what does not. If you have installed Windows in C: drive , Go to C:\\WINDOWS\\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open the sysoc.inf file. File contents looks like this: See the components that have word HIDE as second last item on the row. This hide tells system to not to display those items/apps in the Add/Remove program list. If you want to have this item in list, simply replace it with blank. I think you understand what am I saying
Signature = "$Windows NT$"
IndexSrv_System = setupqry.dll,IndexSrv,setupqry.inf,,7
TerminalServer=TsOc.dll, HydraOc, TsOc.inf,hide,2
fp_extensions=fp40ext.dll,FrontPage4Extensions,fp4 0ext.inf,,7

{B12} Having problem with slow boot time or is it taking long to resume?

There are a variety of reasons why your windows XP system would boot slowly. Most of the times it this has to do with the startup applications. If you would like to speed up the bootup sequence, consider removing some of the startup applications that you do not need. Easiest way to remove startup apps is through System Configuration Utility (Go to START-RUN and enter MSCONFIG) and going to Startup tab and deselecting application(s) that you do not want to startup at boot time. If this works, great ! If not you can also look into SERVICES tab and possibly deselect WORKSTATION option and see if that helps.Want to know more about boot time and what Microsoft is doing about it ? Visit Microsoft web site on fast boot /fast resume at http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/platf...ot/default.asp Go to Download section and you would see a software called Bootvis.exe. It is Microsoft Boot Performance trace visualization tool and has option to optimize your boot sequence. Read my step by step guide to using bootvis.EXE.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you deselect WORKSTATION option from SERVICE tab and reboot, a warning message window may come the very next time which you can choose not be displayed by checking "do not show this message again" option.


{B13} If you have a lot of RAM, do you really need swap file?

Well if you have 512MB or 768 MB or a whopping 1GB of RAM, you do not need a swap file (SWAP FILE is the concept of old dayw when RAM was too costly). Try this out. Go to My Computer and right click on properties and get into System Properties window. Go to Advanced tab and click on the Settings button for Performance group, click again on advanced tab and then click on change and choose NO SWAP FILE. I think you would see an improvement. If you don't like the change, follow the same steps and change SWAP FILE size to whatever you want (typically 1.5 * physical RAM). Also you can further gain by applying following changes in registry. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Con trol\\Session Manager\\Memory Management and look for DisablePagingExecutive. On my computer default value is 0. Set it to 1. This will stop paging act as well.

{B14} How to boost XP speed by by changing real time clock priority?

I read about this trick the other day over Internet. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\System\\CurrentControlSet\\Con trol\\PriorityControl]. If you see an entry by the name IRQ8Priority set it to a value "IRQ8Priority"=dword:00000001 if you don't then click on the right pane and add a new dword entry with given name.. IRQ8 is typically reserved for real time clock in most of the computers. Make sure thats the case (by going to device manager -> system devices -> system COMS/realtime clock -> properties -> resources tab , if it is set to another number try adding an entry with that number N as IRQNPriority) . Generally realtime clock priority boosting helps most but you are free to try others as well.

{B15} Reduce IO and increase turnaround which means faster computer !

I read about this trick the other day over Internet. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Con trol\\Session Manager\\Memory Management\\IoPageLockLimit. Depending upon how much RAM you have, you can increase your diskcache size by entering a higher value in IoPageLockLimit. Typically your computer won't come optimized for diskcache and you can set to a value which works best for you by trial and error.Rule of thumb is to have a ratio of 1 or 2 for every 64K chuck. But try out various different values as each case would be a little different.


{B16} How to improve on shutdown time ? Close apps automatically & quickly at shutdown!

Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\CONTROL PANEL\\DESKTOP and look for AutoEndTasks. On my computer default value is 0. Change it to 1. Thats all. Further more you can reduce the time it takes for Windows to issue kill directive to all active/hung applications. In doing this only constraint that you should make sure exists is that HungAppTimeout is greater than WaitToKillAppTimeout. Change the values of WaitToKillAppTimeout to say 3500 (since default value for HungAppTimeout 5000 and for WaitToKillAppTimeout is 20000)

{B17} Speedup boot up sequence by defragmenting all key boot files!

Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Dfrg\\Boo tOptimizeFunction. In right hand panel look for Enable. Right click on it and set it 'Y' for enable. This is the way I have it set on my computer. This will help speedup boot time.

{B18} If you have a faster hard disk, keep your pagefile.sys

If you do not already know, pagefile.sys is your swap file. It makes common sense to put it on a hard disk that is fastest. So say if you have upgraded you machine and a newer and faster harddisk, change the pagefile location to that drive. Open registry and navigating to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Con trol\\SessionManager\\ MemoryManagement and then looking for Paging files Change its drive location (on mine its says C:\\pagefile.sys) to the one that is faster (say D:\\pagefile.sys if D: denotes the faster drive).



1. Character Map = charmap.exe (very useful for finding unusual characters)

2. Disk Cleanup = cleanmgr.exe

3. Clipboard Viewer = clipbrd.exe (views contents of Windows clipboard)

4. Dr Watson = drwtsn32.exe (Troubleshooting tool)

5. DirectX diagnosis = dxdiag.exe (Diagnose & test DirectX, video & sound cards)

6. Private character editor = eudcedit.exe (allows creation or modification of characters)

7. IExpress Wizard = iexpress.exe (Create self-extracting / self-installing package)

8. Mcft Synchronization Manager = mobsync.exe (appears to allow synchronization of files on the network for when working offline. Apparently undocumented).

9. Windows Media Player 5.1 = mplay32.exe (Retro version of Media Player, very basic).

10. ODBC Data Source Administrator = odbcad32.exe (something to do with databases)

11. Object Packager = packager.exe (to do with packaging objects for insertion in files, appears to have comprehensive help files).

12. System Monitor = perfmon.exe (very useful, highly configurable tool, tells you everything you ever wanted to know about any aspect of PC performance, for uber-geeks only )

13. Program Manager = progman.exe (Legacy Windows 3.x desktop shell).

14. Remote Access phone book = rasphone.exe (documentation is virtually non-existant).

15. Registry Editor = regedt32.exe [also regedit.exe] (for hacking the Windows Registry).

16. Network shared folder wizard = shrpubw.exe (creates shared folders on network).

17. File siganture verification tool = sigverif.exe

18. Volume Contro = sndvol32.exe (I've included this for those people that lose it from the System Notification area).

19. System Configuration Editor = sysedit.exe (modify System.ini & Win.ini just like in Win98! ).

20. Syskey = syskey.exe (Secures XP Account database - use with care, it's virtually undocumented but it appears to encrypt all passwords, I'm not sure of the full implications).

21. Mcft Telnet Client = telnet.exe

22. Driver Verifier Manager = verifier.exe (seems to be a utility for monitoring the actions of drivers, might be useful for people having driver problems. Undocumented).

23. Windows for Workgroups Chat = winchat.exe (appears to be an old NT utility to allow chat sessions over a LAN, help files available).

24. System configuration = msconfig.exe (can use to control starup programs)

25. gpedit.msc used to manage group policies, and permissions

{B20} 100 Keyboard shortcuts

Microsoft windows keyboard shortcuts. You might know most of these shortcuts, but probably not all of them. If you have more keyboard shortcuts, please let me know

* CTRL+C (Copy)
* CTRL+X (Cut)
* CTRL+V (Paste)
* CTRL+Z (Undo)
* DELETE (Delete)
* SHIFT+DELETE (Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin)
* CTRL while dragging an item (Copy the selected item)
* CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the selected item)
* F2 key (Rename the selected item)
* CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word)
* CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word)
* CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph)
* CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph)
* CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Highlight a block of text)
* SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document)
* CTRL+A (Select all)
* F3 key (Search for a file or a folder)
* ALT+ENTER (View the properties for the selected item)
* ALT+F4 (Close the active item, or quit the active program)
* ALT+ENTER (Display the properties of the selected object)
* ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)
* CTRL+F4 (Close the active document in programs that enable you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)
* ALT+TAB (Switch between the open items)
* ALT+ESC (Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened)
* F6 key (Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop)
* F4 key (Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
* SHIFT+F10 (Display the shortcut menu for the selected item)
* ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the System menu for the active window)
* CTRL+ESC (Display the Start menu)
* ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name (Display the corresponding menu)
* Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu (Perform the corresponding command)
* F10 key (Activate the menu bar in the active program)
* RIGHT ARROW (Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu)
* LEFT ARROW (Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu)
* F5 key (Update the active window)
* BACKSPACE (View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
* ESC (Cancel the current task)
* SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive (Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing)

Dialog Box Keyboard Shortcuts

* CTRL+TAB (Move forward through the tabs)
* CTRL+SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the tabs)
* TAB (Move forward through the options)
* SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the options)
* ALT+Underlined letter (Perform the corresponding command or select the corresponding option)
* ENTER (Perform the command for the active option or button)
* SPACEBAR (Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box)
* Arrow keys (Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons)
* F1 key (Display Help)
* F4 key (Display the items in the active list)
* BACKSPACE (Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box)

Microsoft Natural Keyboard Shortcuts

* Windows Logo (Display or hide the Start menu)
* Windows Logo+BREAK (Display the System Properties dialog box)
* Windows Logo+D (Display the desktop)
* Windows Logo+M (Minimize all of the windows)
* Windows Logo+SHIFT+M (Restore the minimized windows)
* Windows Logo+E (Open My Computer)
* Windows Logo+F (Search for a file or a folder)
* CTRL+Windows Logo+F (Search for computers)
* Windows Logo+F1 (Display Windows Help)
* Windows Logo+ L (Lock the keyboard)
* Windows Logo+R (Open the Run dialog box)
* Windows Logo+U (Open Utility Manager)

Accessibility Keyboard Shortcuts

* Right SHIFT for eight seconds (Switch FilterKeys either on or off)
* Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN (Switch High Contrast either on or off)
* Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK (Switch the MouseKeys either on or off)
* SHIFT five times (Switch the StickyKeys either on or off)
* NUM LOCK for five seconds (Switch the ToggleKeys either on or off)
* Windows Logo +U (Open Utility Manager)

Windows Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts

* END (Display the bottom of the active window)
* HOME (Display the top of the active window)
* NUM LOCK+Asterisk sign (*) (Display all of the subfolders that are under the selected folder)
* NUM LOCK+Plus sign (+) (Display the contents of the selected folder)
* NUM LOCK+Minus sign (-) (Collapse the selected folder)
* LEFT ARROW (Collapse the current selection if it is expanded, or select the parent folder)
* RIGHT ARROW (Display the current selection if it is collapsed, or select the first subfolder)

Shortcut Keys for Character Map

* After you double-click a character on the grid of characters, you can move through the grid by using the keyboard shortcuts:
* RIGHT ARROW (Move to the right or to the beginning of the next line)
* LEFT ARROW (Move to the left or to the end of the previous line)
* UP ARROW (Move up one row)
* DOWN ARROW (Move down one row)
* PAGE UP (Move up one screen at a time)
* PAGE DOWN (Move down one screen at a time)
* HOME (Move to the beginning of the line)
* END (Move to the end of the line)
* CTRL+HOME (Move to the first character)
* CTRL+END (Move to the last character)
* SPACEBAR (Switch between Enlarged and Nor mal mode when a character is selected)

Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Main Window Keyboard Shortcuts

* CTRL+O (Open a saved console)
* CTRL+N (Open a new console)
* CTRL+S (Save the open console)
* CTRL+M (Add or remove a console item)
* CTRL+W (Open a new window)
* F5 key (Update the content of all console windows)
* ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the MMC window menu)
* ALT+F4 (Close the console)
* ALT+A (Display the Action menu)
* ALT+V (Display the View menu)
* ALT+F (Display the File menu)
* ALT+O (Display the Favorites menu)

MMC Console Window Keyboard Shortcuts

* CTRL+P (Print the current page or active pane)
* ALT+Minus sign (-) (Display the window menu for the active console window)
* SHIFT+F10 (Display the Action shortcut menu for the selected item)
* F1 key (Open the Help topic, if any, for the selected item)
* F5 key (Update the content of all console windows)
* CTRL+F10 (Maximize the active console window)
* CTRL+F5 (Restore the active console window)
* ALT+ENTER (Display the Properties dialog box, if any, for the selected item)
* F2 key (Rename the selected item)
* CTRL+F4 (Close the active console window. When a console has only one console window, this shortcut closes the console)

Remote Desktop Connection Navigation

* CTRL+ALT+END (Open the m*cro$oft Windows NT Security dialog box)
* ALT+PAGE UP (Switch between programs from left to right)
* ALT+PAGE DOWN (Switch between programs from right to left)
* ALT+INSERT (Cycle through the programs in most recently used order)
* ALT+HOME (Display the Start menu)
* CTRL+ALT+BREAK (Switch the client computer between a window and a full screen)
* ALT+DELETE (Display the Windows menu)
* CTRL+ALT+Minus sign (-) (Place a snapshot of the active window in the client on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same functionality as pressing PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)
* CTRL+ALT+Plus sign (+) (Place a snapshot of the entire client window area on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same functionality as pressing ALT+PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)

Internet Explorer navigation

* CTRL+B (Open the Organize Favorites dialog box)
* CTRL+E (Open the Search bar)
* CTRL+F (Start the Find utility)
* CTRL+H (Open the History bar)
* CTRL+I (Open the Favorites bar)
* CTRL+L (Open the Open dialog box)
* CTRL+N (Start another instance of the browser with the same Web address)
* CTRL+O (Open the Open dialog box, the same as CTRL+L)
* CTRL+P (Open the Print dialog box)
* CTRL+R (Update the current Web page)
* CTRL+W (Close the current window)

{B21} Disable Indexing Services

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:

* 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

{B22} Optimize Display Settings.

Windows XP can look sexy but displaying all the visual items can waste system resources. To optimise:

* Go to Start
* Click Settings
* Click Control Panel
* Click System
* Click Advanced tab
* In the Performance tab click Settings
* 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

{B23} Speedup Folder Browsing.

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:

* Open My Computer
* Click on Tools menu
* Click on Folder Options
* Click on the View tab.
* Uncheck the Automatically search for network folders and printers check box
* Click Apply
* Click Ok
* Reboot your computer

To disable:

* 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

{B24} Improve Memory Usage.

Cacheman Improves the performance of your computer by optimizing the disk cache, memory and a number of other settings.

Once Installed:

* Go to Show Wizard and select All
* 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
* Exit and Save Cacheman
* Restart Windows

{B25} Optimize your internet connection.

There are lots of ways to do this but by far the easiest is to run TCP/IP Optimizer.

* Download and install
* Click the General Settings tab and select your Connection Speed (Kbps)
* Click Network Adapter and choose the interface you use to connect to the Internet
* Check Optimal Settings then Apply
* Reboot

{B26} Optimize your pagefile.

If you give your pagefile a fixed size it saves the operating system from needing to resize the page file.

* 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. If you have less than 512MB of memory, leave the page file at its default size. If you have 512MB or more, change the ratio to 1:1 page file size to physical memory size.

END (For Now)
NOTICE ~ I am NO WHERE close to done with this thread. In fact, I haven't even started C, and will probably add a D and an E section as well. I have a lot of work to do on here, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon until I get this thread pinned (which means never >

Premium Member
10,440 Posts
This might take 15 mins to read all of that.

I'm going to read all of it, but very nice. There may be somethings that I don't know of yet.

592 Posts
Discussion Starter #3

Originally Posted by TaiDinh View Post
This might take 15 mins to read all of that.

I'm going to read all of it, but very nice. There may be somethings that I don't know of yet.
Don't worry, there's going to be a lot more.

1,855 Posts
Very nice, most of the tricks I know but the few that I don't help that much more. Too bad this is out when Vista is here but for us who still us XP is great.

Premium Member
10,440 Posts
I just finished reading it lol

Rep for you. I've been wanting to learn keyboard shortcuts.

Premium Member
5,487 Posts
+rep. But are there any free alternatives to Cacheman? I googled it and only came up with a trial version.

Premium Member
23,134 Posts
There are several Programs that do much the same thing. TuneXP (google up DriverHeaven) System commander, they all basically are scripts that access tools already in XP that Bill in his infinite wisdom made very tedious to find and use...

Nice guide!

592 Posts
Discussion Starter #10

Originally Posted by CyberDruid
View Post

There are several Programs that do much the same thing. TuneXP (google up DriverHeaven) System commander, they all basically are scripts that access tools already in XP that Bill in his infinite wisdom made very tedious to find and use...

Nice guide!

I think you've repped me four times now. XD
I still want to send you my Antec 900.

2,297 Posts
This is just about everything I know about tweaking. I've pretty much done everything here on a freakin 7 year old IBM X20 with 128 of RAM and I'd rather use it than most of my friend's computers

Anyone have opinions on cleaning out prefetch files ? I have read quite a bit about them, and the general conclusion was to leave it, and not clean it... I thought the case was closed, but I see that there is still confusion in this...

674 Posts
Well, I finally got around to doing most of these, and it's helped a good amount. Thanks!!

Premium Member
11,332 Posts
Still haven't updated.
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