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31 Windows Tips
Things you might or might not know
By Brandon

Here is a list of Tips & trick I have collected over the years that I know will make Windows faster, and improve its reliability & stability if done correctly.

Note: Most of the tips are for any version of Windows.

1. If you use Outlook Express, set it to use IE's Restricted sites zone.
A lot of viruses today are email born, and setting OE to use IE's restricted sites zone will keep you from getting alot of viruses. This can be done by going to Tools > Options Security in OE.

2. Reduce Internet Explorer's cache size.
Internet Explorer has a bug in it that sets the cache to 1224 MB. IF you set it to 5~10 MB, it'll speed up Internet Explorer and increase performance. You can adjust the cache by opening up IE and going to: Tools > Internet Options > General > Settings > Temporary Internet Files Folder. When you get there, there should be a slider that allows you to change the cache size. Once again, change it to 5~10 MB for best performance.

3. Run Disk cleanup often.
Running Disk cleanup regularly will get rid of a lot of junk on your computer, and it will increase performance greatly, along with regular defragmentation.

4. Set Windows Explorer to "Launch folder windows in a seperate process.
This will greatly increase the stability of Windows, albeit a small performance decrease. This option is in Windows 98 and above, and will prevent explorer.exe crashes from taking down the whole system.

5. If you are using Windows 98, set your computer to be a network server.
Setting your computer to be a "Network server" will increase Windows 98's performance a great deal, as it will take data in larger "chunks", so it has less processing to do.

6. Disable unneeded services/Startup items.
Disabling unneeded services & Startup items will increase the speed of the OS, and it may also increase stability. To do this, go to Start > Run, and type in MSConfig. You can disable Startup items and services you don't need from there. Note: DO NOT DISABLE DHCP CLIENT!!!! You will lose internet access if you do. Note2: Windows 2000 does not have MSConfig.

7. Don't let Windows manage Virtual Memory.
This will slow down your computer, so I recommend that you set it to a custom size. 1.5 times the amount of RAM you have is more than enough Virtual Memory, and it will also increase performance, because the Virtual Memory won't get fragmented. You can check the amount of RAM you have by right-clicking on my computer and selecting "Properties". Note: You most likely won't have to set it to 1.5x the amount if you have 512MB of RAM or more. You can set it to 512, or 768, it's your choice.

8. Run Scandisk, or CHKDSK under Windows 2000/XP/2003 regularly.
Just like the name suggests, it scans the HD for errors, and if possible, fixes them. It is recommended that you do this regularly, as it will fix (most) problems that you have with the HD.

9. Defragment the Virtual Memory.
If you have the Virtual memory set to 1.5 times the amount of RAM you have, you only need to do this once. Disk defragmenters such as Diskeeper and Perfect Disk can do this. If you are using Window NT/2000/XP, then I'd recommend getting Pagedfrg. It's freeware, and it's available from this site: http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware...agedefrag.shtml To defragment the virtual memory under Windows 98, disable the virtual memory, and defragment the drive. Then turn it back on, and the Virtual memory is defragmented Note: There are defragmenting programs that can do this for you, but I do not know of any.

10. Make sure you have all the drivers that you need installed.
To check and see if you do, right-click on my computer go to Properties, go to the Hardware tab, and click on Device manager. Note: Things with a yellow ! on them means the OS doesn't recognize them, so you have to install the drivers for them.

11. Make sure there are no Hardware conflicts.
Bring up the device manager, and look for any red !s. This means something is conflicting with that piece of hardware.

12. Here's a trick that works on every Windows 2000 and above, but is meant as a bug fix for Windows 2000/XP. Go to Start > Run, and type regedit into the box. After you have done that, go to press Ctrl+F and type Compress Old Files into the find box. This will make Disk Cleanup run a little faster, and it will keep it from freezing on Windows 2000

13. Keep your computer protected from Spyware.
Spyware can slow your system down quite a bit, so it is recommended that you get an Anti-spyware tool. Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D are both very good examples of Anti-spyware tools, and they are both free.

14. Run an Anti-virus and firewall.
Make sure you run an anti-virus and firewall. With the amount of viruses that spread as emails, often in legit files, it is absolutely necessary that you at least get an Anti-virus to keep your computer safe on the internet.

15. Do regular backups.
Do regular backups of all the things installed on your HD. If something becomes corrupt, you can fall back on the backup you made. Windows 2000 has a backup utility, but it's different from System Restore in XP and ME, since you can choose where to backup the files.

16. Clean up the registry often.
Cleaning up the registry is a great way to speed up Windows, and increase its reliability. There are many tools out there that clean your registry, but the two best are RegSupreme and jv16 Powertools. jv16 used to be freeware, but then he decided to make it Trialware. You can use it free for 30 days before the trial runs out. Another great registry cleaner is RegSeeker.

17. An easier way of getting to the Task manager in Windows. Right click on the Taskbar, and click on Task Manager. Alternatively, you could press Ctrl+Shift+Esc (on NT/2000/XP and above systems), or Ctrl+Alt+Delete on Windows 9x/ME.

18. Make the registry a fixed size.
On Windows 2000Pro, right click on My Computer, go to Properties, then go to the Advanced tab, and click on Performance options. There is an option where you can change the Max registry size. It is originally set at 64 MB, but I'd recommend setting it to 10~12 MB, as it will reduce registry fragmentation. Note: This option might exist on NT4 also, but I've never used NT4.

19. A quicker way to bring up Windows Explorer
Press the Win key+E to bring up Windows Explorer.

20. An easy way to get rid of viruses that lodge themselves in System restore to keep themselves from getting deleted. In Windows XP, right-click on my computer, go to the System Restore Tab, and check "Turn off system restore for all drives". This will not only delete the virus that managed to lodge itself in there, but it will also delete all of your Restore points, so it is recommended that you create a new Restore point as soon as you do this. I haven't used ME, so I wouldn't know how to do it in ME.

21. Speed up the display of menus
Type regedit into the Run box (Start > Run), and do a search under regedit for MenuShowDelay. Once it is found, double-click on the entry, and change it's value to 0. This will speed up the display of the menus a great deal.

22. Make Windows Explorer, and Internet Explorer load faster, and become more responsive
Open up the Regedit and go to :

Under that branch, select the key :

Right click it and select "Delete".

Note: This is intended for Windows NT OSes, such as Windows 2000 and above. Note2: This is the link explaining what it does: http://www.jsiinc.com/SUBG/TIP3400/rh3492.htm

But, some people have tried it in Windows 98, and not have any problems. It is recommended that you make a backup before you do this if you plan on doing this under Windows 98.

23. Always unload DLL's
There is a registry hack that makes it so the OS unloads DLL's from memory. When the DLL's aren't unloaded when not being used, this causes mem usage problems.

Note: Number 23 is for users of Windows 2000 and above

Here's the registry hack (Thanks to MarcFou:D):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

Copy & paste this into a text file, and give it an extension of .reg, then run it.

24. Enable Compatibility mode in Windows 2000
Go to Start > Run, and type in regsvr32 %systemroot%\apppatch\slayerui.dll

%systemroot% is where your Windows folder is located.

For me it would be: regsvr32 C://WinNT\apppatch\slayerui.dll

You can copy & paste this if your windows folder is C://WINNT

25. Enable DMA on CD-ROM & Hard Drives
This won't really speed things up much, but it will reduce the amount of work the HD & CD-ROMs have to do. To do this, go to the device manager, expand the IDE/ATA/ATAPI controllers Tree, and go to properties for those listed under that tree. Look around in the tabs, and see if you can find "Enable DMA on this Device"

26. Run Disk Defragmenter on the highest priority
If you use the Built in Windows defragmenter, click on the Defrag button, press Ctrl+Alt+Esc, find the process called dfrgntfs.exe, right click on it, go to Set Process Priority, and choose Realtime. It'll ask you if you really wanna change the process priority, wen it says that, click OK. There are other defrag programs that can do this without the task manager. Note: This is for Windows 2000 and above.

27. Defragment your computer in Safe mode
This will allow for the highest level of defragmentation, since less files and processes are running. Repeat step 26 while in Safe mode for the best level of defragmentation.

28. Disable Paging Executive
Under Win2k and above, type regedit in the run box, and when regedit opens, go to Edit > Find, and type in PagingExecutive, and press enter. When it's done searching, click on the key named DisablePagingExecutive, and change the value to 1, and then click OK. Doing this will load the core OS into memory, therefore speeding things up. It's recommended to only do this on computers with 256MB+ RAM

29. Set Windows 95/98/ME to use Conservative swap usage
Find the file named system.ini, and find a line named [386Enh]. Under that, add this: ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1 This will force windows to use all available memory before writing to the swapfile, therefore increasing stability and performance. Note: This is recommended for computers with 128MB or more of RAM.

30. Optimize the Windows 95/98/ME registry.
Open up a DOS prompt, or boot into DOS, and type in this as a command: scanreg/opt/fix. This will compact/optimize Windows 95/98's registry. You can do this in ME, but I don't know how to get the Boot to DOS option back in ME

31. Optimize the Windows NT registry
Download a freeware tool called NTRegOpt, and run it. It will compact the Windows NT Registry, and speed things up a little. You can download the tool here: http://home.t-online.de/home/lars.hederer/erunt/


28070 Hits Pages: [1] 10 Comments

Latest comments (newest first)
Posted by richardj on April 04th 2007 (01:33)
QUOTE (Mastertech @ Apr 24 2007, 11:07 PM)

"Prioritizing IRQs" is totally bogus as well. Please stop spreading these Myths all it does is misinform people.




Just because this one site says these tweaks don't work means I can find 10 other sites that say they do.

The IRQ priority DOES work, as I've done it myself.

Logic dictates that a software engineer wouldn't make IRQ prioritizing feasible & then have it not work.

I say try the tweaks--nothing ventured, nothing gained. deal.gif

Posted by Red Squirrel on April 04th 2007 (00:19)
Interesting myths there. I loved the one about putting a swap file to a ram drive. The idea sounds all smart, until you think about it more, its totally stupid, since the page file is what gets used if theres not enough ram. laugh.gif Mind you windows tends to use it no matter what. So if you have a rediculous amount of ram, maybe it could help.
Posted by Mastertech on April 04th 2007 (00:07)
QUOTE (rovingcowboy)
but i have to disagree with masterteck on the cleaning reg. often, he says that is a myth.

not ture.

sure i seen leo on call for help last year test it.

Sorry but Leo doesn't know more about Windows than Mark Russinovich. You have to understand how the Windows Registry is accessed to understand what effect unused keys have on performance, the fact is they don't. Finding "errors" with a Registry cleaner is not proof of anything other than some unused keys are present, it is hardly proof of lost performance.

Registry Junk: A Windows Fact of Life
QUOTE (Mark Russinovich)
A few hundred kilobytes of unused keys and values causes no noticeable performance impact on system operation. Even if the registry was massively bloated there would be little impact on the performance of anything other than exhaustive searches.

QUOTE (rovingcowboy)
number 23 removing all the unused dll's from ram is half right and half wrong.

some of the dll's are not needed after the programs start but they author was sloppy and did not make it remove the dll files when it was done with them.

so cleaning them out is needed. how ever a good ram cleaning program will handle those types of dll's.

No it is WRONG on Windows XP it does NOTHING on Windows XP. It also does NOTHING in Windows 2000 which is why it is stated for operating systems PRIOR to Windows 2000.

RAM Cleaners are bogus too and will REDUCE performance.

The Memory-Optimization Hoax
QUOTE (Mark Russinovich)
RAM Optimizers have no effect, and at worst, they seriously degrade performance. Although gaining more available memory might seem beneficial, it isn't. As RAM Optimizers force the available-memory counter up, they force other processes' data and code out of memory. Say that you're running Word, for example. As the optimizer forces the available-memory counter up, the text of open documents and the program code that was part of Word's working set before the optimization (and was therefore present in physical memory) must be reread from disk as you continue to edit your document. The act of allocating, then freeing a large amount of virtual memory might, as a conceivable side effect, lead to blocks of contiguous available memory. However, because virtual memory masks the layout of physical memory from processes, processes can't directly benefit from having virtual memory backed by contiguous physical memory. As processes execute and undergo working-set trimming and growth, their virtual-memory-to-physical-memory mappings will become fragmented despite the availability of contiguous memory.

"Prioritizing IRQs" is totally bogus as well. Please stop spreading these Myths all it does is misinform people.


Posted by richardj on June 06th 2006 (21:59)
Here's another that really worked for me--I had'nt heard of it before:

#12 - Prioritizing IRQs

The main components of your computer have an IRQ number assigned to them. With this tweak we can increase the priority given to any IRQ number, thereby improving the performance of that component. The most common component this tweak is used for is the System CMOS/real time clock, which improves performance across the board. First of all, decide which component you want to give a performance boost to. Next, you have to discover which IRQ that piece of hardware is using. To do this, simply go to Control Panel, then open the System panel (You can also press the shortcut of Windows+Break). Click the 'Hardware' tab, then on the 'Device Manager' button.

Now, right click on the component you want to discover the IRQ for and click 'Properties', then click on the 'Resources' tab.

You can plainly see which IRQ this device is using (if there is no IRQ number, select another device). Remember the number and close down all of the dialog boxes you have opened, then start up RegEdit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlPriorityControl in the registry. Now, we have to create a new DWORD value - called IRQ#Priority (where '#’ is the IRQ number), then set the data to 1. For example, the IRQ of my System CMOS is 8, so I would create the key IRQ8Priority.

Now, after restarting, you should notice improved performance in the component you tweaked. I would strongly recommend the CMOS, as it improves performance around the board. Also note that you can have multiple IRQ prioritized, but it is fairly inefficient and can cause instability. To remove this tweak, simply delete the value you created.

I did the above and also priorotized my main drive controller-----------COOL! yodude.gif


Posted by richardj on June 06th 2006 (17:37)
#7 Rather then defragging Virtual memory have Windows delete the file on reboot

Then it's always fresh & any private info in it is always purged. wink.gif

I teach u everything I know---and u still no nothing. dancingbanada.gif

And, while you're there, in the same key,

Disable Paging Executive

In normal usage, XP pages sections from RAM memory to the hard drive. We can stop this happening and keep the data in RAM, resulting in improved performance. Note that only users with a large amount of RAM (256MB+) should use this setting. The setting we want to change to disable the 'Paging Executive', as it is called, is called DisablePagingExecutive. Changing the value of this key from 0 to 1 will de-activate memory paging.

Also number 23 will not work as a .reg file.

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