We all don't like waiting for a task to be completed, and it's no different when we use our computers. There are many different settings that we can change within Windows XP that will increase the speed of your computer.
To increase the speed of Windows XP, use the following steps:
- Stop programs from starting when Windows XP starts. The more programs that are running in the background, the slower Windows XP will be running. To stop the programs from running when Windows starts, click "Start->Run" and then type "msconfig.exe" in the Run dialog. Click the "Startup" tab at the top, then uncheck any programs that you don't want to start. If you change your mind, then you can simply re-check the checkbox and the programs will once again start with Windows. Once you have deselected the programs, click "OK" and then the "Restart" button to restart your computer.
- Modify the Windows XP performance settings. Windows XP allows you to modify certain settings to help increase performance. To access these settings, click "Start->Control Panel->System." Click the "Advanced" tab, and then under the "Performance" section, click the "Settings" button. Within the "Visual Effects" tab, select the "Adjust for best performance" option. Click the "OK" button to close the window, and then "OK" again to close the "System Properties."
- Change to the classic Windows theme. The Windows XP theme takes more resources than the classic gray-chiseled look. To get the last bit of performance, change to the classic look. To do this, right-click any empty area on the desktop and then select "Properties." Under the "Themes" tab, select the "Windows Classic" option from the list and click "OK." The classic Windows look should now be displayed instead of the Windows XP look.
- Defragment your hard drives. As you use your computer, many files get created and deleted. This can lead to unused fragments of disk space throughout your hard drive. Windows will fill those unused spaces with parts of a file, which will cause a file to be split into several pieces all over your hard drive. This causes your computer to slow down as your hard drive must look in different places to piece together the file. To increase the performance, you should defrag your hard drive to defragment the files on your computer. To do this, open Windows Explorer and right-click a drive to defragment and select "Properties." Click the "Tools" tab, and then click the "Defragment Now" button. Select the drive in the list and click the "Defragment" button at the bottom. It is good to defragment all your hard drives at least once a month.
- Run anti-virus and anti-spyware applications. I recommend you acquire the NoAdware program to protect your computer from adware and spyware. Viruses and spyware can reduce the performance of your computer, or even worse, prevent it from booting. Ensure that you have anti-virus and anti-spyware applications installed and updated. Run the scans from both applications at least once a week to ensure your computer is clean.
- Disconnect USB devices you aren't using. When Windows starts, it must load all the drivers for the devices connected to your computer. If you have many devices connected to the USB ports, such as printers, scanners, cameras and hard drives that you don't use on a regular basis, disconnect them. You can reconnect them when you use them. Disconnecting them when they are not in use will allow Windows to load the drivers only when needed.
- Stop unneeded services from running. This tip is for the more experienced computer user. Windows XP has many services that are loaded when it starts. Some of these services are not needed and so can be stopped. To modify the services, right-click "My Computer" on your desktop and select "Manage." Expand the "Services and Applications" item on the left and then click "Services." A list of the services installed on your computer is shown on the right. Stop the services that are not needed. Remember, if you are unsure, then don't stop any of the services.
The above steps should help increase the performance of Windows XP as well as keep it running with more stability. The above steps, with the exception of the last one, can be followed easily and safely without any issues.
Paul has been involved with computers for 20 years and currently works as a technical systems analyst. He has been involved in many aspects of computers including hardware, software development and quality assurance, and currently manages the Technically Easy Blog.