Speedup Windows XP in Minutes!

in Technology, Windows

Windows XP

It's not always wise to upgrade your hardware every time you feel your computer is getting slow. In fact, Microsoft's operating systems slow down a PC when you have lots of programs installed. In this tutorial I will tell you some easy tricks to get most out of your hardware.

1. Disable extra startup programs

Several items add up to the start up list when you install different software. Such programs are loaded when your system boots and remain in memory (RAM), they also continuously use processor. Here are is what you have to do to make them go away:

  • Goto Start>Run
  • Type "msconfig", without quotations
  • Hit enter key or click the OK button
  • A window will show up, you have to click the startup tab, as shown in the figure    
  • In the Startup tab you will see several boxes and some of them will selected (checked). All you have to do is to uncheck extra items that are of no use. If you run an antivirus program it is not recommended to uncheck it.
  • After making you choices press the OK button, you will be prompted to restart computer to apply changes.
  • After restarting your computer a dialogue will be displayed. You can check the option for not showing this dialogue every time your PC reboots.


2. Disable Extra Services

On menu opened by msconfig command, there is also another tab for Services. Click it and check "Hide All Microsoft Services" option. This option will display you list of third party services. Uncheck the services that are undesirable. As usual you have to reboot to apply the changes.

3. Adjust Display Settings

XP has a very cool looking user interface, but it consumes a certain amount of memory. To make it a little lightweight you have to:

  • Right click My Computer and select Properties
  • Click the Advanced tab
  • Go to Performance>Settings (have to click settings button in the performance section)
  • Uncheck all except:
            Use visual styles on windows and buttons

            Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop

            Show translucent selection rectangle

            Show shadows under mouse pointer

            Show shadows under menus
  • Finally click Apply and OK

Display Settings

4. Remove Widgets and Background

Different third party widgets and visual styles like for Vista like look and feel make your system slow. If you remove such packages you system will perform better on CPU and memory intensive tasks. Selecting default and no wallpaper as background also gives better performance than that of "high quality" wallpapers.  

5. Folder Browsing

When you try to browse folder, Windows automatically searches for printer and network files. This is a performance overhead. To fix this you have to follow  following steps:

  • Open My Computer
  • Click Tools>Folder Options
  • Select the View tab and unselect the check box for Automatically search for network folders and printers
  • Click Apply then OK and finally reboot to apply the change.  

6. Indexing Service

Windows XP comes with a very heavy and not so good "Indexing Service". The service "claims" to makes indexes of different files on your computer so that they can be retrieved easily. The service consumes a large amount of memory, and it has no major advantage either. To disable it you have to:

  • Go to Start>Control Panel
  • Double click Add or Remove programs.
  • Select  Add/Remove Windows Components, a new dialogue, as shown in the figure, will appear.
  •  Uncheck the Indexing Service, if not already unchecked
  • Click Next to finalize

Indexing Services

7. Size of Page File

Page file size is not constant by default. Due to this operating system has to resize the file each time when more space is required, this is a performance overhead. All you have to do is to set the file size to a reasonable limit. Follow the steps:

  • Right click My Computer, Select Properties then Advanced tab
  • Click the settings button under the performance section
  • Click the Advanced tab
  • Click Change button under the Virtual memory section
  • "Virtual Memory" dialogue will appear (also shown in the figure below)  
  • Highlight the drive containing page file, which is C: by default
  • Select the Custom size radio button and give same values in Initial size and Maximum size fields.
  • Click Set and  OK buttons to apply the changes

If your system has a sufficiently large memory (1 or 2 GB) then you can even disable paging.

Page File

8. Enable Direct Memory Access (DMA)

Go to:

  • Right Click My Computer, select properties
  • Select the Hardware tab
  • Click the Device Manager button
  • Double click IDE/ATAPI controllers
  • Keep on checking if DMA is enabled for each, you have to double click each option click Advanced Settings tab (as shown in figure) The tab may or may not be available for each option. It is only available in Primary and Secondary Channels.
  • Set the transfer mode to "DMA if Available" both for Device 1 and 0
  • Perform the same operation for other items in the list, if applicable.


Note: All of these techniques may not be available to you depending on you access rights on the system. Contact your system administrator in this regard.



wow nice tutorial.
i really like it
thanks for sharing


Tips 1 and 3 were excellent

Very good. I can definatly

Very good. I can definatly tell the difference. Thanks a lot =]

While I did not know about

While I did not know about tip Number 9, most things on here are nothing new.


IDE ports, how quaint. That tip was useful back in the days of Windows 98.

Today, if your system isn't SATA for at least the hard disks, you're using legacy hardware,

Also, try reducing the number of drives you have (less indexing, upkeep). As cool as it is to have 5 drive letters, it's superflouous.

And don't mess with the swap file. Windows knows best how to manage its paging. I know you think manually managing it helps, but it realy doesn't.

Number 8

I especially like tip #8.

Decent tut, watch your

Decent tut, watch your spelling "slow computer sown when".

This a little uninformative though... 'Normal' users don't know what services and applications they need or do not need, this should not be played with by inexperienced users. If you are expierenced enough to know these things, I'd hope you wouldn't need this tutorial. 3 and 4 are good, except for the display settings, I would recommend unchecking them all. Folder/printer browsing is required for users who have a network... this should not be disabled to advoid confusion. Indexing is good to turn off. The page file could be bad if you do not know what you are doing. Keep to the windows size or follow the common page file of 2x the ram. Make sure min/max are equal. Also DMA is enabled by default.

Hope you will consider these things if you consider a re-write or new tut.

keep up good work


Way to be a pretentious dumbass, "meh".

Most people still use IDE drives, as there isn't much of a performance boost. What are we supposed to do with our old hard drives? throw them away? Dumbass.

Also, he's not recommending you do anything crazy with the swap file, just statically assigning a size. Logically, it makes sense that it would be faster. Why should I believe you more than the writer of this article?

a nice and quick tutorial

well done.

can u plz explain more about #9 ? what exactly is DMA memory?

Good advice. Thanks. I'm not

Good advice. Thanks. I'm not wearing any pants.