Optimize and Tweak Windows XP

So now what happens after installing Windows XP? Or WinXP is loading too slow for your liking. Fortunately, there are many tweaks and settings to speed up Windows XP. Here are some of the tweaks and settings I've done to my system.

* All tweaks and settings done on Windows XP PRO service pack 2

Turn off Windows System Restore

I treat this as a system resource hog and takes up unnecessary disk space. Before you do anything, checkout this link and read what system restore is about.

  1. Right-click on the 'My Computer' icon on the desktop and select 'Properties'.
  2. Choose 'System Restore' tab.
  3. Tick the box right next to 'Turn off System Restore on all drives'
  4. Press OK to apply the setting.
Below is a screenshot of the system restore window:-

Turn off Automatic Update

If you know where to download and manually update Windows XP, it would be a good idea to rid of it.

  1. Right-click on the 'My Computer' icon on the desktop and select 'Properties'.
  2. Choose 'Automatic Updates' tab.
  3. Select 'Turn off Automatic Updates'
  4. Press OK to apply the setting.

Turn off Remote Desktop Sharing and Assistance(only for WinXP Pro )

  1. Right-click on the 'My Computer' icon on the desktop and select 'Properties'.
  2. Choose 'Remote' tab.
  3. Untick 'Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer' option.
  4. Untick 'Allow users to connect remotely to this computer'.
  5. Press OK to apply the setting.

Turning down display settings and theme.

I place more importance on loading times than eye candy, so this has to go too.
  1. Right-click on the 'My Computer' icon on the desktop and select 'Properties'.
  2. Choose 'Advance' tab.
  3. Under 'Performance' section, select 'settings'.
  4. At the 'Visual Effects' tab, select 'Adjust for best performance'.
  5. Press OK to apply the setting.
Next, turning off the Windows theme is optional.
  1. Choose Start at the taskbar
  2. Select 'Run' and type in 'services.msc' without the apostrophy.
  3. Find 'Themes' and right-click on it and select 'Stop'.
  4. Right-click on 'Themes' again, and select 'Properties'
  5. At the 'General' tab, 'Start Up' section, choose 'Disabled' from the drop down menu.

Removing Windows Components

I removed all unwanted windows components from the system.
  1. Goto 'Control Paned', then 'Add Remove/Programs'
  2. Click 'Add/Remove Windows Components' on the left.
  3. Untick stuff like Fax Services, Indexing Services, Internet Information Services (IIS), Management and Monitoring Tools, Message Queuing, MSN Explorer, Other Network File and Print Services, Outlook Express, and Windows Messenger.
  4. Press 'Next' and it will update the components.

Install and Run Crap Cleaner

Crap Cleaner is a pretty nifty cleaning tool and best of all it's free. It cleans up your windows registry and temp files, therefore freeing up space and improve Windows load times.

Defrag your hard disk

Windows XP comes with a defrag software, but it's painfully slow. If you do not want to spend on just a software like this, I'd recommend Auslogics Disk Defrag which does it's job faster and it's totally free.

Disable Unwanted Windows XP services
  1. Choose Start at the taskbar
  2. Select 'Run' and type in 'services.msc' without the apostrophy.
  3. Then choose which ever service you want to stop. You might want to read up on what each services do before you disable them.
Here's some of the services I disabled or put on manual.

Service NameStatus
.NET Runtime Optimization ServiceManual
Application Layer Gateway ServiceDisabled
Application ManagementManual
Automatic UpdatesDisabled
Background Intelligent Transfer ServiceDisabled
Computer BrowserManual
Error Reporting ServiceManual
Help and SupportDisabled
Indexing ServiceDisabled
Internet Connection Firewall/Internet Connection SharingDisabled
NetMeeting Remote Desktop SharingDisabled
Remote Desktop Help Session ManagerDisabled
Remote RegistryDisabled
Security CenterDisabled
Routing and Remote AccessDisabled
Smart CardDisabled
SSDP Discovery ServiceDisabled
System Restore ServiceDisabled
TCP/IP NetBIOS HelperDisabled
Uninterruptible Power SupplyDisabled
Universal Plug and Play Device HostDisabled
Windows TimeDisabled
Wireless Zero ConfigurationDisabled

Note: I have noticed alot of people were looking to turn off the '.NET Runtime Optimization Service'. I'd suggest putting it to 'manual'. Just scroll up abit and you'll know how to turn it off.

Remove startup programs with msconfig

This can be done via msconfig by simply typing 'msconfig' at the run command box ( just like you would with the services.msc command ).

Most third party software will add entries to this startup list. Before you go unticking those entries using msconfig, you might want to check if the programs have an option to disable on startup. Usually, the entries description will give a hint of the particular software.

Finally, if your computer is connected to the internet it's best to install a firewall, antivirus and anti-spywares. Those nasty viruses and spywares will slow down your system and most importantly don't be a victim of data theft and botnet.


Jeremy said...

fyi with crap cleaner in the tools option you can remove startup services as well if you arent comfortable using actually makes it dummy proof.

crunchy said...

Hi jeremy, thanks for the heads up. Crap Cleaner is nice and compact, one of the best utility for me, best of all it's free. For those who don't know yet, in Crap Cleaner goto Tools>Startup .

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