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  1. MsConfig
  2. More Startup Tweakage
  3. Speeding Up Internet Explorer
  4. Proformance Increase through My Computer
  5. GPEDIT.MSC And Autoplay
  6. Increasing Options In Add/Remove Menu
  7. Get rid of IM and no slow OE startup
  8. Edit Hidden System Settings using Group Policy Editor
    1. Memory Performance Tweaks
    2. Disable Paging Executive
    3. System Cache Boost
  9. Input/Output Performance
  10. Speeding Up Share Viewing
  11. Prioritizing Individual Processes
  12. Prioritizing IRQs
  13. Speed up Detailed view in Explorer
  14. Accelerate Your WinXP by Speeding Diskcache
  15. Clean your prefetch to improve performance
  16. Improve NTFS Performance
  17. SystemPages Memory Tweak
  18. System Configuration Utility
  19. Speed up menu display
  20. Disable unnecessary services to free system resources

#1 - MsConfig

Most of you will be familiar with MsConfig, which is basically a built-in system configuration utility for Windows. Open it up by simply going to Start -> Run..., then type 'msconfig' in the box and press enter. Now, the tab we are interested in here is the 'Startup' tab... simply click on it and you should see a screen similar to the one below.

This box displays all of the programs that will be started when Windows boots up. None of these programs are vital for Windows, so don't feel worried about removing some of them in experimentation. You can see from the screenshot that I have disabled both NDetect (ICQ's start-up program) and WinAmpa (WinAmp, obviously). Now, if you've unchecked some boxes, Windows should start up faster and will take less resources by not running these programs in the background.

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#2- More Startup Tweakage

Now we're going to take the tweak above and go one step futher. Go to Start -> Run again, then type 'services.msc'. You should get:
This is a more detailed list of processes that are starting up with Windows. All those items with 'Automatic' listed next to their names are booting with Windows. Click on the items to find out just what they do. If you decide you don't need a certain service, you can simply right-click on it and change it's properties from 'Automatic' to 'Manual'.

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#3 - Speeding Up Internet Explorer

This is a handy little trick you can use with Internet Explorer 6 (which ships with XP) to make it boot up extremely fast - instantly, on my system :). This should be familiar to those of you who have created shortcuts for Half-Life mods and the like. For those of you who aren't familiar, simply right-click on a shortcut to Internet Explorer (such as the one in the Quicklaunch bar) and add the parameter '-nohome' to the end of the command line, like so:
Target: Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" -nohome

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#4 - Proformance Increase through My Computer

Easy enough tweak to usually find out about it on your own, but still, some of use still don't find it right away. So here it is:
1: Start > Right Click on My Computer and select properties.
2: Click on the "Advanced" tab
3: See the "Perfomance" section? Click "Settings"
4: Disable the following:

Fade or slide menus into view
Fade or slide ToolTips into view
Fade out menu items after clicking
Show Shadows under menus
Slide open combo boxes
Slide taskbar buttons
Use a background image for each folder type
Use common tasks in folders

There, now Windows will still look nice and perform faster.

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#5 - GPEDIT.MSC And Autoplay

A great tweaking file that comes with XP is gpedit.msc. Go to Start -> Run... and then type in 'gpedit.msc' and press enter. This is effectively the Policies Editor, and it comes in handy often. For example, if you hate CD autoplay like I do and want to permanently disable it, you can use this tool to do so. Just run gpedit.msc, then go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System. In here you can see the value 'Turn Off Autoplay'. Right-click on it and then click 'Properties'.
Now you can simply play around with the settings for this and other values in these folders, customizing appearance and performance issues.

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#6 - Increasing Options In Add/Remove Menu

Not a fan of MSN Messenger? don't want Windows Media Player on your system? Fair enough, but if you go to Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel, by default none of Windows XP's 'built in' programs are visible. it's fairly easy to change, though... just open the file X:\Windows\inf\sysoc.inf (where X: is the drive letter where Windows XP is installed) in Notepad. You should see a section of the file something like this:

IndexSrv_System = setupqry.dll,IndexSrv,setupqry.inf,,7
TerminalServer=TsOc.dll, HydraOc, TsOc.inf,hide,2

This is a list of all components installed at the moment. I've taken the example of MSN Messenger - the program entry called 'msmsgs', third-last line. You can see the word 'hide' highlighted - this is the string which tells Windows not to display the component in the Add/Remove Programs list. Fix this up by simply deleting the word 'hide' like so:


To this:


Now, after restarting, you should be able to see MSN Messenger in the Add/Remove Programs list. If you want to be able to quickly view and remove all components, simply open the sysoc.inf file and do a global find and replace for the word ",hide" and replace it with a single comma ",".

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#7 - Get rid of IM and no slow OE startup

If you have OE 6 got to tools > windows messenger > options > preferences and in the general area uncheck "run this program when windows starts" and "allow this program to run in the background." After doing this IM does not load on startup and OE loads as usual.

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#8 - Edit Hidden System Settings using Group Policy Editor

Windows XP has a great program called Group Policy Editor that allows system administrators to modify the settings to a great number of windows features. TO start the program up follow the directions below.

1. Open the start menu and click Run
2. Type gpedit.msc
3. The Group Policy MMC appears
4. Click through the different nodes of the tree to see all the hidden features of Windows XP that you can edit without touching the registry.

Examples: Changing IE displays, Clearing the pagefile at shutdown, boot-time defrag settings, and many many more

Another tip is to add this to your Administrative Tools by adding the shortcut to gpedit.msc

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#9 - Memory Performance Tweaks

The next few memory tweaks can be performed with Windows XP - all of them are located in the

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory Management
section of the registry.

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9a - Disable Paging Executive

In normal usage, XP pages sections from RAM memory to the hard drive. We can stop this happening and keep the data in RAM, resulting in improved performance. Note that only users with a large amount of RAM (256MB+) should use this setting. The setting we want to change to disable the 'Paging Executive', as it is called, is called DisablePagingExecutive. Changing the value of this key from 0 to 1 will de-activate memory paging.

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9b - System Cache Boost
Changing the value of the key LargeSystemCache from 0 to 1 will tell Windows XP to allocate all but 4MB of system memory to the file system cache, basically meaning that the XP Kernel can run in memory, greatly improving it's speed. The 4MB of memory left is used for disk caching, but if for any reason more is needed, XP allocates more. Generally, this tweak improves performance by a fair bit but can, in some intensive applications, degrade performance. As with the above tweak, you should have at least 256MB of RAM before attempting to enable LargeSystemCache.

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9c - Input/Output Performance
This tweak is only really valuable to anyone running a server - it improves performace while a computer is performing large file transfer operations. By default, the value does not appear in the registry, so you will have to create a REG_DWORD value called IOPageLockLimit. The data for this value is in bytes, and defaults to 512KB on machines that have the value. Most people using this tweak have found maximum performance in the 8 to 16 megabyte range, so you will have to play around with the value to find the best performance. Remeber that the value is measured in bytes, so if you want, say, 12MB allocated, it's 12 * 1024 * 1024, or 12582912. As with all these memory tweaks, you should only use this if you have 256MB or more of RAM.

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#10 - Speeding Up Share Viewing

This is a great tweak. Before I found it, I was always smashing my head against the table waiting to view shares on other computers. Basically, when you connect to another computer with Windows XP, it checks for any Scheduled tasks on that computer - a fairly useless task, but one that can add up to 30 seconds of waiting on the other end - not good! Fortunately, it's fairly easy to disable this process. First, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace in the Registry. Below that, there should be a key called {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}. Just delete this, and after a restart, Windows will no longer check for scheduled tasks - mucho performance improvement!

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#11 - Prioritizing Individual Processes

This is so simple it's not funny, but it leads into the next tweak... anyway, if you press Control+Alt+Delete, then click on the 'Processes' tab, you should get a dialog like the one above. You can see a list of all the processes running at the time. Now, if you are running a program that you want to dedicate more processing time to - eg, 3D Studio Max, as in my example, you can just right-click on the process, move your cursor down to 'Set Priority >', then select how high you want that program prioritized. While I'm checking my email, I might want a Normal priority for Max, but if I leave my Computer, I can increass it to 'RealTime' to get the most rendering done. Easy!

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#12 - Prioritizing IRQs

The last tweak for this guide - and a good one. The main components of your computer have an IRQ number assigned to them. With this tweak we can increase the priority given to any IRQ number, thereby improving the performance of that component. The most common component this tweak is used for is the System CMOS/real time clock, which improves performance across the board. First of all, decide which component you want to give a performance boost to. Next, you have to discover which IRQ that piece of hardware is using. To do this, simply go to Control Panel, then open the System panel (You can also press the shortcut of Windows+Break). Click the 'Hardware' tab, then on the 'Device Manager' button.

Now, right click on the component you want to discover the IRQ for and click 'Properties', then click on the 'Resources' tab.

You can plainly see which IRQ this device is using (if there is no IRQ number, select another device). Remember the number and close down all of the dialog boxes you have opened, then start up RegEdit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlPriorityControl in the registry. Now, we have to create a new DWORD value - called IRQ#Priority (where '#’ is the IRQ number), then set the data to 1. For example, the IRQ of my System CMOS is 8, so I would create the key IRQ8Priority.

Now, after restarting, you should notice improved performance in the component you tweaked. I would strongly recommend the CMOS, as it improves performance around the board. Also note that you can have multiple IRQ prioritized, but it is fairly inefficient and can cause instability. To remove this tweak, simply delete the value you created.

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#13 - Speed up Detailed view in Explorer

If you like to view your files in Windows Explorer using the "Details" view here is a tweak to speed up the listing of file attributes:

Viewing files in Windows Explorer using the "Details" mode shows various attributes associated with each file shown. Some of these must be retrieved from the individual files when you click on the directory for viewing. For a directory with numerous and relatively large files (such as a folder in which one stores media, eg: *.mp3's, *.avi's etc.) Windows Explorer lags as it reads through each one. Here's how to disable viewing of unwanted attributes and speed up file browsing:

1. Open Windows Explorer
2. Navigate to the folder which you wish to optimize.
3. In "Details" mode right click the bar at the top which displays the names of the attribute columns.
4. Uncheck any that are unwanted/unneeded.

Explorer will apply your preferences immediately, and longs lists of unnecessary attributes will not be displayed.
Likewise, one may choose to display any information which is regarded as needed, getting more out of Explorer.

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#14 - Accelerate Your WinXP by Speeding Diskcache

Diskcache plays a very important role in WinXP. However, the default I/O pagefile setting of XP is conservative, which limits the performance. Some better values for different RAM are given below.

1. run "regedit";
2. goto [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\IoPageLockLimit];
3. modify the value in Hex depending on the size of your RAM:
RAM: modified value(Hex)
64M: 1000;
128M: 4000;
256M: 10000;
512M or more: 40000.
4. reboot.

Though some good tools (such as "Cacheman") can do this, it is an interesting experience for you to work it out by yourself and let your XP fly.

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#15 - Clean your prefetch to improve performance

This is an unique technique for WinXP. We know that it is necessary to wash registry and TEMP files for Win9X/ME/2000 periodly. 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 notablely. My suggestion is: open C(system drive):/windows/prefetch, delete those junk and obsolete files,reboot. It is recommended that you do this every month.

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#16 - Improve NTFS Performance

The NTFS file system is the recommended file system because of its advantages in terms of reliability and security and because it is required for large drive sizes. However, these advantages come with some overhead. You can modify some functionality to improve NTFS performance as follows:

1. Disable creation of short names. By default, NTFS generates the style of file name that consists of eight characters, followed by a period and a three-character extension for compatibility with MS-DOS and Microsoft® Windows® 3.x clients. If you are not supporting these types of clients, you can turn off this setting by changing the default value of the NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation registry entry (in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Filesystem) to 1.

2. Disable last access update. By default NTFS updates the date and time stamp of the last access on directories whenever it traverses the directory. For a large NTFS volume, this update process can slow performance. To disable automatic updating, change the value of the NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate registry entry (in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentContolSet\Control\Filesystem) to 1. If the entry is not already present in the registry, add it before setting the value. (Add it as a REG_DWORD)

3. Reserve appropriate space for the master file table. Add the NtfsMftZoneReservation entry to the registry as a REG_DWORD in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem. When you add this entry to the registry, the system reserves space on the volume for the master file table. Reserving space in this manner allows the master file table to grow optimally. If your NTFS volumes generally contain relatively few files that are typically large, set value of this registry entry to 1 (the default). Typically you can use a value of 2 or 3 for moderate numbers of files, and 4 (the maximum) if your volumes tend to contain a relatively large number of files. However, be sure to test any settings greater than 2 because these higher values cause the system to reserve a much larger portion of the disk for the master file table.

Reboot after making changes.

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#17 - SystemPages Memory Tweak

Not 100% sure if this tweak will yield a great performance boost to the majority of users out there, but for me it seems to have shown very good results. By default, if you look in the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]key, you'll see the 'SystemPages' DWORD Value set to something around 500 MB (more accurately, 524288 (KB), or something close to that value). Simply reduce the value to something around 128 MB (131072 KB) or 256 MB (262144 KB). Personally, I'm using the 128 MB setting, since my total RAM is 256 MB. It might help to experiment a little, since each machine will most likely yield better or worse results. Good Luck!

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#18 - System Configuration Utility
Views: 39968 | Print Tweak | 10/15/2001

To Get to the System Configuration Utility
Click Start
Click Help and Support
Click Tools
On the left Select System Configuration Utlity

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#19 - Speed up menu display

When using the start menu the you will notice a delay between different tiers of the menu hierarchy. For the fastest computer experience possible I recommend changing this value to zero. This will allow the different tiers to appear instantly.

Start Regedit. If you are unfamiliar with regedit please refer to our FAQ on how to get started.
Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Select MenuShowDelay from the list on the right.
Right on it and select Modify.
Change the value to 0.
Reboot your computer.

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#20 - Disable unnecessary services to free system resources

Services are programs that run when the computer starts up and continue to run as they aid the operating system in functionality. There are many services that load and are not needed which take up memory space and CPU time. Disabling these services will free up system resources which will speed up your overall computer experience. I recommend that you sort through the list and read the descriptions to decide if you need that service depending on what you want to do with your computer. Remember, you can always turn the service back on if you find that you need it in the future. Below is the procedure to turn off a service.

Click the start button.
Select run from the bottom of the right column.
Then type services.msc in the box and click ok.
Once the services window has loaded we are ready to turn off unneeded services.
For instructional purposes we are going to turn off the Portable Media Serial Number service.
Find this service in the list and select it with the mouse.
Right click and select Properties.
Once the properties windows has loaded locate the Start up type drop down box and select disable.
Then just click ok and the next time the computer starts the service will not be loaded.

Go here to understand Windows XP/2000 background processes.
Windows XP Professional Services 411
Highly Recommemnded has charted out services so you can easily tweak your system quickley with recommendations/explinations. Use only what you need for a streamlined operating system.>

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