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Beginners Guides: 101 Tech Tips and Tweaks for Windows XP

Beginners Guides: 101 Tech Tips and Tweaks for Windows XP - PCSTATS
Abstract: PCSTATS has a massive Tech Tip guide for Windows XP covering 101 useful and sometimes spicy Tweaks and Tech Tips that will make your clunkly PC run better!
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS May 01 2011   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Performance Tips 3 to 5

3. Clean out the prefetch folder

Windows XP uses a system called 'prefetch' to organize and preload some of the data necessary for commonly used applications and files. A folder called prefetch is used to store the information the operating system needs to carry out this operation. After several months of use, the prefetch folder may become quite overloaded with older references to software and files that may no longer be in use.

It's a good idea to manually empty the older files out of the prefetch folder every few months or so. To do this: Navigate to 'c:\windows\prefetch' and delete all .PF files that are older than a week or two.

4. Set priority for individual programs

If you regularly multi-task while you are working at your computer, but some of the applications you use require more horsepower than others to work effectively (for example using Adobe Photoshop along with Word or other less demanding programs), you may want to consider setting a custom priority for the high-demand applications.

Priority is how the operating system determines how to share the processor time among applications. Most applications default to the 'normal' priority, so by setting your high demand application higher, you can increase its performance when multitasking.

To do this: Load the program you wish to change the priority for and press CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up the Task Manager. Select the applications tab and highlight your program. Right click the program and select 'go to process.' Now right click on the highlighted process and choose 'set priority.'

The higher you set the priority above normal, the more CPU time the program will steal from other applications when you are multitasking.

5. Cleaning up unwanted startup programs

Many freeware and commercial software programs have a habit of setting themselves up to run automatically upon Windows startup. This can contribute to the gradual decline in startup speed that most Windows XP systems (and windows PCs in general) experience. Also, having programs that you only use selectively, or not at all, load automatically is a waste of system resources that could be better used for other things.

To top it off, many internet nasties such as spyware programs, viruses and Trojan horses will install themselves into one of the automatic start locations on your system in order to make sure that they are run on startup. So the point is, take a look at what is currently running every time you load your PC, and disable what you don't need or can't identify.

To do this: The first place you should go is 'start\programs\startup' which is a directory Windows XP uses to launch application shortcuts on boot-up.

If you remove the shortcuts from this directory, the applications will not load on startup. This directory can also be a repository for various badness such as spyware and virus software, so if there are files here which are not shortcuts and you don't recognize them, you may wish to consider removing them anyways, as Windows will not place critical files in this directory.

The next location for removing unnecessary startup files is the handy MSCONFIG utility that has been resurrected from the graveyard of Windows 9x especially for XP.

Go to 'start\run' and type 'msconfig' to access the utility.

The 'startup' tab in MSCONFIG provides access to several other applications that are started at boot up and are running in the background. By examining their Filenames and directories, you should be able to get a feeling for what is necessary and what is not. Be aware than several viruses and worms have a habit of disguising themselves with authoritative sounding Windows system file names, such as the Win32.spybot.worm present in the above screenshot as MSCONFIG32.EXE. Leave these for now if you are not sure.

The other method for removing these programs is through the programs themselves, as many applications, for example MSN messenger, contain the option to remove the software from startup.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: 101 Tech Tips and Tweaks for Windows XP
 Pg 2.  PCSTATS Performance Tech Tips
 Pg 3.  — Performance Tips 3 to 5
 Pg 4.  Performance Tips 6 to 7
 Pg 5.  Performance Tips 8 to 12
 Pg 6.  Useful tips for XP (13 to 16)
 Pg 7.  Useful Tips for XP: tips 17 to 18
 Pg 8.  Useful Tips for XP: tip 19
 Pg 9.  Useful Tips for XP: tips 20 to 22
 Pg 10.  Useful Tips for XP: tips 23 to 26
 Pg 11.  Useful Tips for XP: tips 27 to 30
 Pg 12.  Security, privacy and recovery tips (31 to 33)
 Pg 13.  Security, privacy and recovery: tips 34 to 36
 Pg 14.  Security, privacy and recovery: tips 37 to 39
 Pg 15.  Security, privacy and recovery: tips 40 to 42
 Pg 16.  Security, privacy and recovery: tips 43 to 45
 Pg 17.  Customizing WinsdowsXP: tips 46 to 49
 Pg 18.  Customizing WinsdowsXP: tips 50 to 52
 Pg 19.  Customizing WinsdowsXP: tips 53 to 54
 Pg 20.  Customizing WinsdowsXP: tips 55 to 56
 Pg 21.  Customizing WinsdowsXP: tips 57 to 59
 Pg 22.  Essential Advice for Beginners: Tips 60 to 61
 Pg 23.  Essential Advice for Beginners: Tips 62 to 64
 Pg 24.  Essential Advice for Beginners: Tips 65 to 68
 Pg 25.  Essential Advice for Beginners: Tips 69 to 71
 Pg 26.  Essential Advice for Beginners: Tips 72 to 76
 Pg 27.  Essential Advice for Beginners: Tips 77
 Pg 28.  Essential Advice for Beginners: Tips 78 to 80
 Pg 29.  Next Section: Registry tweaks (81)
 Pg 30.  Registry Tweaks: Tip 82
 Pg 31.  Registry Tweaks For performance (83 to 85)
 Pg 32.  Registry Tweaks for Performance: Tips 86 to 88
 Pg 33.  Registry Tweaks for Performance: Tips 89 to 92
 Pg 34.  Miscellaneous registry tweaks (93 to 95)
 Pg 35.  Miscellaneous Registry Tweaks: Tips 96 to 99
 Pg 36.  Miscellaneous Registry Tweaks: Tips 100 to 101

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