Windows XP Tweaks

Windows XP: Tweaks to Perk Up Performance

There are many little hacks and tweaks you can apply to XP to perk up system performance, reclaim precious resources, and to generally turbo charge your computing experience.

Since XP’s introduction, adventurous computer users have been poking around the system, modifying and experimenting with various settings and options, giving XP that little extra boost that can add to your PC’s overall performance.

Disabling the Eye Candy:

XP’s various GUI themes are nice to gaze upon for a while, but they aren’t a necessary system requirement; disabling them and using the old school Windows classic theme can not only provide a less distracting GUI environment, but can also provide minor performance gains.

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How to:

Bring up the right click menu on the desktop and select “Properties”. From there drop down the “Theme” list box and select “Windows Classic”.
Turbo Boost your Slave Hard Drives

DMA—direct memory access—is a means for hardware within your PC to directly access your computer’s memory without intervention from the CPU. Without your CPU having to coddle your hardware, acting as an intermediary every time a component requests memory read/write access, performance can significantly improve systemically.

XP doesn’t automatically enable DMA IDE for slave hard drives. Slave drives are denoted by setting a physical jumper on the hard drive itself. Setting your slave drive for DMA can put a nice spring in its step.

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How to:

Fire up the “Properties” dialog by right clicking on “My Computer”; then navigate to the “hardware” tab; from there, select “Device Manager; next, go to the “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers” tree item and expand it; right click your slave drive and navigate to the “Advanced Settings” tab; from there, select “DMA if available” in the “Transfer Mode” category.

Tweaking out the RAM

If you’ve a lot of memory installed—512 megabytes or more—then you can boost system performance by altering the way XP pages memory content to disk. You can tell XP to keep more data in fast RAM, rather than swapping out data to your slower hard disk.

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How to:

Do a “Windows Key+R” to bring up the run dialog box; type in regedit; this will fire up the registry editor. Navigate to this key:

“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\”

Find “DisablePagingExecutive”, and change its value from 0 to 1; this little tweak will disable memory paging.

Prune out Unused Programs and Fonts

You can free up much needed disk space and improve XP’s boot time by uninstalling unused applications and removing fonts you don’t use. Also, give your temp folders a good pruning (C:\TEMP, C:\WINDOWS\PREFETCH, C:\WINDOWS\TEMP).

Tweaking out your XP box can improve the overall performance of your PC, lessening loading and operation times. There’s a great deal of little tweaks you can apply to XP all over the web; consult Google for more performance tips.


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