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Make windows XP faster

Posted on Aug 12, 2007 by Paul White

If you are using a computer that is more than 4 years old, chances are that you have noticed it slowing down a bit.  There are many things that can affect a computers speed.  Some things are within your control, some things are not.  Even though many want to believe that the solution is to run off and buy a copy of Windows Vista.  That would be the last thing you want to do.  Windows Vista has much higher CPU and memory requirements, meaning if you install it on your older computer it will drag it to its knees.  Something to keep in mind is that foofy pretty stuff slows down your computer. Things like having a desktop background, 32 bit color graphics, and the windows XP themes are not helping you in performance.  If you want your computer to be fast, then you need to forget about the eye candy. 

1. Disk Cleanup
Disk Cleanup removes temporary files from your computer.  These files are created as you browse the internet and run programs.  Alot of time these temporary files are left on your computer to make programs load faster next time you use them, or next time you visit a website.
Click here for a step by step tutorial on how to run Disk Clean on Windows XP.

2. Defrag your Hard drive

Your hard drive is constantly writting data to the disk.  To prevent wasting disk space, files are sometimes broken apart and written on various sectors of the disk.    Over time when you have lots of fragmented files it will take longer for your computer to load programs or even bootup.  Keeping in mind that your harddrive is the slowest part of your computer, anything that makes it slower kills performance.  Running Defrag once a week will keep your file system clean and running fast.  Keep in mind defrag can sometimes take many hours to complete so if you are planning on running it, its best to do it before bed, and then let it run all night.
See my tutorial on how to run Defrag

3. Reduce your Graphics to 16bit color
Even though many graphics cards support 24bit and 32bit color, unless you spend alot of time playing games, or doing graphic design, 16bit will get the job done.  By setting your graphics card to 16 Bit color you will free up CPU time and Memory, giving you a performance gain.
See my tutorial on how to make reduce your graphics to 16 bit color

4. Disable Windows XP Visual Effects
Even though we all like to make a fashion statement with our computers, looks may be worthless if it slows you down.  Everthing from animated effects to shadows, to fades, will slow down your computer.  Even though these effects are pleasing to the eye, disabling them can dramatically speed things up.
See my tutorial on how to disable Windows XP Visual Effects ( coming soon )

5. Run the Classic Start Menu
Windows XP changed the way the start bar looks with colors and gradients.  Unfortunately this comes with a performance loss.
See my tutorial on how to run your computer with classic start menu. ( coming soon )

4. Remove Spyware
Spyware is the most common reason computers run slow.  You can get spyware just by surfing the internet.  Certain sites will try to install Plugins on your computer saying you need them to access their site. Sometimes this is true for Adobe Flash, or Quicktime, but other times you don't need these plugins.  What they are really doing is installing spyware on your computer.  Spyware allows these websites to spy on you.  Every time you view a webpage they spyware reports back to a server what sites you visit.  The company that makes the spyware then sells these stats to other companies.  Another problem with spyware is spyware can be used to force you to browse websites you don't want to see ( notorious with adult websites ).  Even though Spyware is annoying, the biggest problem is spyware will consume alot of your system resources ( CPU time, and Memory ), Once you get several pieces of spyware running on your computer, your computer will run very slow.  There are a few problems that can help you remove spyware.
Click here for a tutorial on how to download and install one of these problems ( coming soon )

5. Upgrade your Memory.
If you didn't build your own computer, and instead bought it from dell, bestbuy, compusa, hp, or somewhere else.  The chances are you don't have alot of memory on your computer.  Memory is one place that can make a huge difference in your computer's performance.  When you boot up your computer you are already using at least 100 Megs of memory just to run Windows XP.  When you originally bought your computer years ago, memory was rather expensive.  But now you can get memory for pretty cheap, making it a logical upgrade if you are not ready to buy a brand new machine.
Tutorial on how to determine if you need to upgrade memory, and Q & A coming soon.

If you have tried all of these and your computer is still running slow. it might be time for a new computer.
Click here for my recommendation on new computers. ( coming soon )

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Anjan | Feb 5, 2008 3:52 PM
Please make the (coming soon)'s come a little sooner.
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