Tuning-Up Windows XP Computer

The purpose of this procedure is to get your computer running again in peak performance just like the day you purchased it. Many of the steps listed below will free up wasted hard disk space, increase protection of personal information from outside intrusions, and clean and reorganize the system registry where everything you do on the computer is recorded.

If the registry remains cluttered with obsolete or invalid entries, your PC will gradually become more and more bogged down and start running slower and slower. This procedure is designed for use on the average stand-alone or small network desktop computers that are not server based.

Prior to starting the tune-up procedure, gather the following information. At the end, gather the same information and compare the results.

  • Amount of Free Disk Space
  • Current CPU Utilization
  • Number of Startup Jobs
  • Disk Fragmentation %
  • Number of Active Processes
  • Number of Started Services
  • Current Memory Usage

The following steps can be performed by using either Windows XP procedures or some other custom maintenance utility. There are several highly recommended products that can be purchased to help speed up your computer and bring it back to running in peak performance.

For a list of software retailers and tune-up procedure forms, visit the Computer Software page at Home-Computer-Maintenance.com

Windows XP keeps track of many things you do on the computer, like the web sites you visit, the pictures you view using image viewers and movies you watch using Media player. Likewise, many of the applications that you use keep a list of the most recent activities that you have done with it. These first two steps guide you to freeing up wasted disk space and getting rid of past activity records.

1) Clear Windows History Files

  • Empty Prefetch folder
  • Delete empty folders in Windows Temp folder
  • Delete Outlook Express ‘Deleted Emails’
  • Erase folder streams in Windows registry
  • Empty Print Spool folder
  • Delete recently opened document history records
  • Erase run history
  • Clear past Icon History of system tray

2) Clear Internet History Records

  • Delete Cookies
  • Delete locked URL Cache files
  • Delete all Auto-Complete Data
  • Clear Browser History
  • Delete Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, Opera Cache files

Junk files are created by most all applications you use. These files are usually temporary and should be deleted when the program ends, but are not. They can also be created unexpected termination of the program, error in program, a system crash etc. These files reside on your hard disk and accumulate over time unless you manually find and remove them. Step 3, guides you to eliminating junk files and freeing up hard disk space.

3) Remove unneeded junk filed from system

  • Delete zero length files
  • Delete old Backup files (*.bak, *.old)
  • Delete dump file (*.dmp)
  • Delete temporary files (*.tmp, *.temp)
  • Delete empty folders
  • Delete duplicate files
  • Delete files bigger than 5MB
  • Delete temporary help files (*.gid)
  • Delete unwanted image files (*.jpg, *.jpeg, *.gif, *.bmp)
  • Delete scandisk broken link files (*.chk)
  • Delete archive or download files (*.zip, *.tar, *.cab)
  • Delete invalid or broken shortcut links (*.lnk)

The actions of the next 3 steps will have an overall increase in your computers performance by freeing up wasted space.

4) Adjust Windows OS Settings

  • Adjust System Restore Point (1-5%) depending on disk size)
  • Adjust Recycle Bin size (10% or recommended)
  • Disable Active Desktop
  • Turn off Error Reporting

5) Optimize Windows performance

  • Remove unwanted applications
  • Disable unnecessary Startup programs
  • Fix/remove invalid registry entries
  • Defragment hard drive

6) Perform file system analysis

  • Check partition table, file structures, directory structures, indexes, etc…

Disabling system services that are not needed will decrease the time it takes to boot your PC, increase security from unwanted network intrusions, and increase overall performance of your computer. Step 7 lists typical services that are probably not needed for the normal home computer environment.

7) Disable unnecessary services

  • Alerter
  • Application Management
  • Clipbook
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client
  • Disributed Transaction Coordinator
  • Error Reporting
  • Fast User Switching Compatibility
  • Human Interface Device Access
  • Indexing Service
  • IPSec
  • Logical Disk Manager
  • Logical Disk Manager Administrative
  • Machine Debug Manager
  • Messenger
  • Netmeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
  • Network DDE
  • Network DDE DSDM
  • Performance Logs and Alerts
  • Portable Media Serial Number
  • Qos RSVP
  • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
  • Remote Registry
  • Routing and Remote Access
  • Secondary Login
  • SSDP Discovery
  • Task Scheduler
  • Telnet
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply
  • Universal Plug and Play Device Host
  • Web Client
  • Windows Time
  • WMI performance Adapter

Source by Don Cundiff

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