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Beginners Guides: 99 Performance Tips for Windows

Beginners Guides: 99 Performance Tips for Windows - PCSTATS
Abstract: Newest Update! PCSTATS covers all the TechTips you need to push a Windows XP PC from sluggish to quick. This Guide deals with quicker boot times, making your current hardware work faster, and 99 other Tips from PCSTATS that will help you make your computer run better, quicker, and more efficiently!
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Feb 25 2014   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 44 - 45

44. Enable write caching on hard disks

If it is not already selected, enabling the hard drive write-back cache setting on each of your hard drives can improve their performance by making the transferring of data between the drive and the memory more efficient. The only reasons not to enable this setting would be if the drive in question is in a hot-swappable drive rack, or if you expect your PC to be shut down incorrectly (I.E. not through the windows shutdown procedure) often.

To enable write caching right click on my computer and select 'properties.'

Select the hardware tab, then 'device manager.' From the device manager window, expand 'disk drives' and highlight your hard disk. Select 'properties' then the 'policies' tab.

Check the 'enable write caching on the disk' box.

Repeat the above steps for all hard drives in your system.

45. Defragment your hard disk(s)

When an operating system writes data onto a hard drive, it will generally attempt to place the data on the drive as sequentially as possible, in order to facilitate faster retrieval of the information. Over the operational life of the drive, various factors can cause data to become scattered, or fragmented, over the surface of the drive.

This does not mean it cannot be read, since the file system retains a table which links each cluster (the smallest unit of storage available on a hard drive) of data with the other clusters on the disk that contain data for a particular file.

Fragmentation does slow down drive access considerably though, since the drive has to constantly seek for a new disk location to piece a file it is reading together from the fragmented clusters, rather than just being able to grab it off the disk in one continuous stream of data. Factors that can cause fragmentation include incomplete uninstalls of software, system crashes while the disk is in use, improper shutdown of the operating system, etc.

Defragmentation is the process of reassembling the data on the disk into coherent and sequential order, making disk access easier and faster. If your drive has gone a long while without being defragmented, you may find that this process restores a lot of zip to your Windows install. All recent versions of Windows include a built-in defragmentation utility.

To access this utility in Windows XP, go to 'start\programs\accessories\system tools\disk defragmenter.'

To begin with, you need to analyze your hard disk(s) to see if defragmentation is needed. Select a drive and hit the 'analyze' button. This could take a little while depending on the amount of data on the drive.

Once the analysis is finished, you will have a graphical representation of your disk's level of fragmentation. See the pic below for an example of a highly fragmented drive (red indicates fragmented files).

Windows will also inform you if it recommends defragmenting the drive. You must have 15% of the drive free in order to fully defragment it. Anything less will result in only a partial re-ordering of the files. You may need to delete a few things to obtain this free space.

To defragment the drive, select it and hit the 'defragment' button. Note that depending on the size of the drive and the level of fragmentation, this can take a long time. It's a good thing to leave overnight, since you should not run anything else while doing the defrag.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: 99 Performance Tips for Windows
 Pg 2.  Preparing your system: Tips 1 - 3
 Pg 3.  Preparing your system: Tips 4 - 5
 Pg 4.  Preparing your system: Tips 6 - 8
 Pg 5.  BIOS Tweaks: Tips 9 - 11
 Pg 6.  BIOS Tweaks: Tips 12 - 14
 Pg 7.  Overclocking Memory / CPU: Tips 15 -16
 Pg 8.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 17 - 20
 Pg 9.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 21 - 22
 Pg 10.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 23 - 25
 Pg 11.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 26 - 28
 Pg 12.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 29 - 31
 Pg 13.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 32 - 35
 Pg 14.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 36 - 40
 Pg 15.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 41 - 43
 Pg 16.  — WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 44 - 45
 Pg 17.  WinXP Software and Registry Tweaks: Tips 46 - 48
 Pg 18.  Video and Graphics Tweaks: Tips 49 - 52
 Pg 19.  Video and Graphics Tweaks: Tips 53 - 54
 Pg 20.  Video and Graphics Tweaks: Tips 55 - 57
 Pg 21.  Network and Internet Speed Tweaks: Tips 58 - 61
 Pg 22.  Network and Internet Speed Tweaks: Tips 62 - 63
 Pg 23.  Network and Internet Speed Tweaks: Tips 64 - 66
 Pg 24.  WinXP Interface Tweaks and Shortcuts: Tips 67 - 69
 Pg 25.  WinXP Interface Tweaks and Shortcuts: Tips 70 - 73
 Pg 26.  WinXP Interface Tweaks and Shortcuts: Tips 74 - 77
 Pg 27.  WinXP Interface Tweaks and Shortcuts: Tips 78 - 81
 Pg 28.  Improving Windows XP boot speed: Tips 82 - 84
 Pg 29.  Improving Windows XP boot speed: Tips 85 - 88
 Pg 30.  Improving Windows XP boot speed: Tips 89 - 91
 Pg 31.  Improving Windows XP boot speed: Tips 92 - 94
 Pg 32.  Increasing XP shutdown speed: Tips 95 - 99

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