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99 Performance Tips For WinXP!

First there was PCstats 101 Tips and Tweaks for WindowsXP - a mammoth guide that weighed in at 36 pages.. Now, I am very pleased to present you with the follow up; 99 Performance Tips for WindowsXP!

This brand-new 32 page guide contains 99 Tips covering everything from registry tweaking, to BIOS tricks that can give you a performance edge. It's all there, and to give you a taste of what to expect, just scroll down a little... :-) 99 Tips and 101 Tweaks adds up to 200 Tips and Tweaks, so I'll keep the rest of this brief... PCstats has also tested the LG GSA-4082B DVD burner; a drive which reads and writes every recordable DVD format (even DVD-RAM), and offers full CD-R/RW compatibility. Very cool indeed. Also on the menu is a look at the new Skype IM tool, and DFI's LANParty Pro875B motherboard.

A Reader Asks about networking, and the Guru of Guides has a clear and simple answer. Off to the right hand column, PCstats Industry Insights is filling in the details on new Pentium architectures, while over in the Weekly Tech Tip, Colin has a few words of advice on Windows crashing, and how to take better control of the situation when it does.

Beginners Guides: 99 Performance Tips for WindowsXP

From faster boot times, to speeding up your current hardware, PCstats has 99 Tips to make your computer run quicker, better, and more efficiently.
This is PCStats' second massive Tips and Tweaks Guide! This time around, our focus is on making your Windows XP computer perform faster, and better! Whether this means booting and shutting down quicker, achieving better 3D gaming performance, or just making your PC feel more 'snappy,' chances are there's a tip or two in here to help you speed things up. We'll also cover the basics of overclocking the processor, memory and video card, so as not to miss out on this important area of extra performance potential. Please pay special attention to our 'Tweak Insurance' tips at the beginning of this guide to help you prepare your system against any potential mishaps.
Continue Here>>
Preparing Your System (1-8)
  1. Use 'whole system' performance benchmarks
  2. Tweak insurance part 1: backing up and editing the registry
  3. Tweak Insurance part 2: Creating a system restore point
  4. Saving your hard drive space from the system restore utility
  5. Tweak insurance part 3: Restoring BIOS defaults
  6. Tweak insurance part 4: Use hardware profiles to experiment with system settings.
  7. Editing BIOS settings
  8. Editing registry settings without restarting

BIOS tweaks and Insight (9-13)

  1. Change memory Latency times
  2. Set the correct AGP mode
  3. Update your bios
  4. Disable unneeded ports
  5. Disable built-in features on your motherboard

Overclocking your processor and memory (14-16)

  1. Overclocking the memory/front side bus
  2. Changing the CPU multiplier
  3. Modify Processor and memory voltage

WindowsXP Software and Registry Performance Tweaks (17-46)

  1. Stop the 'last access update' stamp
  2. Disable the 8.3 naming convention
  3. Keep Windows operating data in main memory
  4. Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware
  5. Disable performance counters
  6. Move the page file from system drive
  7. Create a 'permanent' page file
  8. Optimize your page file size
  9. Defrag page file with PageDefrag utility
  10. Set priority for important programs
  11. Check your hard drives with scandisk
  12. Force XP to unload DLL files after closing a program
  13. Thaw out your desktop
  14. Speed up mouse movement, part 1
  15. Speed up mouse movement, part 2
  16. Create a RAID configuration
  17. Disable the themes service
  18. Remove the desktop picture
  19. Change to the NTFS file system
  20. Perform a manual Application and Boot file Defrag
  21. Disable the hibernation feature
  22. Disable automatic sensing on network cards
  23. Use the prefetch switch to load applications faster
  24. Verify DMA mode is set for all drives
  25. Do a windows repair install
  26. Stop hard disks spinning down
  27. Reduce recycling bin reserved space
  28. Enable write caching on hard disks
  29. Defragment your hard disk(s)
  30. Turn off the indexing service
Graphics Performance Tweaks (47-55)
  1. 3d game benchmarks
  2. Change your Monitor's refresh rate (CRT monitors only)
  3. Fix the refresh rate for 3d games
  4. Enable AGP Master 1WS Write/Read
  5. Enable AGP Fast Write
  6. Set Video Memory Cache Mode
  7. Overclocking ATI video cards
  8. Overclocking Nvidia Video cards
  9. Disable VSYNC

Network and Internet Performance Tweaks (56-66)

  1. Increase maximum number of simultaneous connection in Internet Explorer
  2. b' devices slow down 802.11g networks
  3. Proprietary modes for wireless networking
  4. Closer is better for wireless
  5. Enhance your Internet connection.
  6. Increase DNS cache size
  7. Disable DHCP with DSL connections
  8. Do not cache failed DNS entries
  9. Use CTRL+ENTER to speed up Internet address entering
  10. Get a faster network connection to Windows 9x/ME computers
  11. Remove the QoS Bandwidth Reserve Setting

WindowsXP User Interface Shortcuts and Hints (67-78)

  1. Create shortcut keys
  2. Create a custom shortcuts toolbar
  3. Using ALT+TAB to switch between applications
  4. Add the address taskbar to desktop
  5. Disable error reporting
  6. Reduce menu delays
  7. Restore the Quick launch bar
  8. Increase desktop graphic performance
  9. Make 'my computer' open faster
  10. Remove the need to enter a password to login to XP (be careful!)
  11. Sort out spam
  12. Keyboard shortcuts using the Win Key (ÿ)

Improving Windows XP boot speed (79-94)

  1. Disable floppy drive seek
  2. Set primary display adaptor
  3. Enable quick POST/memory test
  4. Eliminate unwanted programs from boot up
  5. Scan your PC for spyware and Adware
  6. Disable boot virus detection
  7. Change boot sequence.
  8. Disable the XP loading screen
  9. Eliminate unwanted fonts to increase boot speed
  10. Turn off bios disk detection
  11. Use the Bootvis utility
  12. Use the Intel application accelerator
  13. Disable unnecessary services
  14. Disable unneeded devices in device manager
  15. Disable auto detection for empty IDE slots
  16. Reduce wait time after XP boots

Increasing XP shutdown speed (95-99)

  1. Increasing shutdown speed by reducing wait times part 1
  2. Increasing shutdown speed by reducing wait times part 2
  3. Increasing shutdown speed by reducing wait times part 3
  4. Disable the Nvidia driver helper service
  5. Auto kill tasks on shutdown

A Reader Asks...

Q: Hello, I have a question about networking. I want to network two PCs together; should I just buy a network cable and connect them just like that, or would I have to build my own cable? I was reading about networking and they were saying that to connect two PCs without a switch or a hub, I would have to build a crossover cable. Could you please explain this some more?

A: Assuming you have a network card already installed correctly in each computer, all you need to do is go down to your local computer store and purchase some RJ45 Ethernet Crossover cable in the desired length. Any computer store that carries cables will stock them. If you really want to make your own cables, and have the necessary parts on hand, this vintage PCstats article on How to Cut CAT5 will show you the correct wiring for a crossover cable.

Basically though, a crossover Ethernet cable simply flips the data wires inside the cable so that the data 'out' wire from one network card connects to the data 'in' wire from the other, and vice versa. Ordinary, or 'patch' cables do not flip the data wires, since hub and switch devices that can link several PCs together perform this operation internally. If you want to connect two PCs without a hub, you must use crossover cable, since it provides a path for the data to get from one computer to the other.

Once you have connected your PCs together with the crossover cable, you should get a green light on the back of both network cards. This indicates a connection. All that remains is to correctly configure your two system's IP addresses so that they can 'talk' to each other. See our Beginner's guide to home networking for detailed instructions.

Next week: Video card comparisons and DDR2 memory. To submit your questions, send PCstats an email.
-Join us - Beginners Q and A in the PCstats Forums

LG GSA-4082B Super Multi DVD Rewriter
Read it Now!

DVD burners are the next logical step in recordable media drives. After all, a standard DVD-/+RW disc holds about seven times more data than a regular 650MB CD-R, and DVD-/+RW's are rewriteable like regular CD-R/RW's. The LG GSA-4082B drive PCstats is testing in this review tackles CD-R/RW and DVD-/+RW media as well as DVD-RAM discs. The LG GSA-4082B can write DVD-/+R media at 8X, DVD-/+RW media at 4x, DVD-RAM at 3x and read DVD's at 12x. For standard CD media, the drive can burn CD-R's at 24x, CD-RW's at 16x and read CD's at 32x. The drive has a 2MB cache as well as BURN proof technology. Essentially, with this one drive, all of your recordable optical media requirements are covered in one sweep. Continue Here>>

Skype - Voice over IP Calling
Read it Now!

It is likely that almost all computer users are familiar with email, and probably instant messaging as well. In a matter of a few years, the Internet has completely changed the way we communicate with each other, with one exception, the Telephone. However, the Internet does provide possibilities for making the calling process more flexible, and most importantly, more affordable. Today we are going to look at Skype, an Internet Phone application currently going through a free beta-test, and generating a lot of buzz. It's been said that Internet based voice calling will replace traditional telephone networks, the only question being how long it will take. Skype could be one of the applications that make this a reality. Continue Here>>

DFI LANParty PRO875B Motherboard Review
When we reviewed the DFI LANParty NF2 Ultra B motherboard earlier we didn't really know what to expect. We had heard a lot of good things about it and not only did it turn out to be well equipped and full of extra's, it's also extremely fast and overclocks like nothing we've ever seen before. The LANParty PRO875B motherboard comes with a HighPoint IDE RAID controller, Intel CSA Gigabit LAN and 5.1 audio. Among the long list of bundled in extra's are a FrontX drive bay (USB, Audio, LED), two orange braided UV reactive rounded IDE cables and an orange UV reactive rounded Floppy drive cable, and of course the 'PC Transpo' PC carrying strap. Continue Here>>

PCstats Weekly Tech Tips When Windows Crashes...
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No one likes to get BSOD's but as mentioned an earlier tip, deciphering the message is important in figuring out what the problem is. Unfortunately by default whenever WindowsXP shows a blue screen it will reboot the PC within a few seconds often not letting you read the error code. As always though there's a way to disable the OS from rebooting every time it crashes.

First right click on the "My Computer" icon then go to properties. From there click the advanced tab and under the Startup and Recovery section click the settings button. Find the Automatically restart check box and uncheck it, then press ok and press ok again.

From now on when your PC crashes it will no longer automatically reboot allowing you time to write down the error code which should help you find out what's wrong with your PC. We're looking for new people to join the PCStats Folding@Home team and help us to break into the top 50 teams! If you think you got what it takes, join up here.
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Industry Insights

Back in 2000, Intel was eagerly abandoning its P6 micro-architecture in favor of NetBurst, which proved to offer lofty operating frequencies in exchange for reduced efficiency. While the Pentium 4 proffered disappointing performance at 1.5GHz, Intel promised that the NetBurst micro-architecture would scale well, putting out significantly better numbers as it picked up momentum. Sure enough, at 2GHz and beyond, the Pentium 4 demonstrated real potential.

More recently, Intel unveiled its latest generation of Pentium 4 processor manufactured on a 90nm process (and sporting an unwieldy 31-stage execution pipeline). Performance was uninspiring and the chip's power dissipation at 3.4GHz exceeded 100W. Recognizing that the situation would worsen before getting better, Intel reportedly cut Prescott's successor, Tejas, from its roadmap.

Rather than manufacture another revision to the NetBurst micro-architecture, Intel may be adopting a design not unlike the Pentium M for its next generation flagship, set to launch in 2005. Of course, the desktop version will be much beefier than anything in Intel's mobile repertoire. In fact, it's very likely that Intel will employ multiple processing cores on a single interface. And by that time, the 65nm manufacturing process should be online, ready to mass-produce the perpetually shrinking chips.
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