Tuning the Windows environment – Windows XP speed optimization

Here is a list of items that I apply to optimize a Windows XP system.

1)      Review the System Properties
Adjust the Performance Options in the Advanced Tab:

  1. Visual Effects:
    Adjust for best performance.
    In case you want to keep the look and feel of XP, then tag:
    visual styles, common tasks in folders, show window contents while dragging, smooth edges of screen fonts, smooth-scroll list boxes.
    visual effects
    Additionally, you may disable the Start Menu delay in the registry:
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\]
    set MenuShowDelay to 0
  2. Virtual Memory (Advanced Tab):
    Adjust the pagefile size used for Virtual Memory (a.k.a. swap file). The recommended size is equivalent to 1.5 times the amount of physical installed memory (RAM) on your system.
    In case you have a (fast) secondary or subsequent physical internal drive installed in your system (not an external drive), you may opt to move the paging file to one of these drives.
  3. Disable Error Reporting (Advanced Tab)
    Error Reporting
  4. Adjust Environment Variables (Advanced Tab)
    Match the location for the ‘Temp’ directory in the ‘User variables’ and in ‘System variables’
    Temp Variables
  5. Adjust the Automatic Updates selection to Notify only.
  6. Review the Device Manager IDE controllers (Hardware Tab)
    Enable DMA on primary IDE channel
    IDE Channel

2)      Disable indexing services
In Control Panel, choose Administrative Tools, Services, Indexing Service.
By default, indexing is disabled on my System Hard Disk partition. Other drive partitions should also be considered, if the Search function is not or seldom used.
Indexing Services

3)      Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile
The Virtual Memory Pagefile (a.k.a. swap file) may become fragmented.
I use two options to keep this file ‘tidy’:
option 1: Regularly perform a pagefile defrag (see ‘Five essential steps in XP Maintenance‘).
option 2: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile at shutdown
This option is also used for security purposes. It ensures that no traces are left on the system and prevents other operating systems to ‘sneak’ into this file.
The backdraw is a slower shut down.
Enable this policy in the registry to clear the system Pagefile upon shutdown.[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]
Set ClearPageFileAtShutdown value to 0

4)      Move the Temporary Internet Files (TIF) folder from the default location.
In ‘Internet Options’, select the ‘General’ tab, Temporary Internet Files box, Settings button, Move Folder button. Move the folder to the root location of any of the permanent drive partitions (like D:\). Note that this is a hidden folder and therefore may not be visible by default.

Tuning the Windows environment – Windows XP optimization
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