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Tweaking Windows XP for Performance, Step 1

Written by IT News on 10:24 PM

The purpose of this guide is to tweak Windows XP for optimal performance, get rid of all the useless extras that Windows XP comes with, and to decrease the startup time of Windows XP.

:: Test System
Pentium II 350MHz

2GB Maxtor Hard Drive

8x Mitsumi CD-ROM


This system is a peice of crap by today's standards, but after I tweak the install of Window XP on this system it will run faster, use less RAM, and boot up times will be lowered.

For comparison at the end of this guide I recorded the boot up times of Windows XP right after a default install.

Boot up (time to get to logon screen) = 59 Seconds
RAM used at startup = 60 MB
Processes = 15
Time to load after logging in = 35 Seconds


1. Getting Rid of Windows "eye candy"

1A. Disabling Windows Themes, transition effects, and smoothing fonts

One thing you'll notice if your upgrading from an older version of Windows is that the start menu and all the windows now have this Bluish theme. Since this is a tweaking guide we're going to get rid of this bluish theme to save RAM. First thing you'll want to do is right click anywhere on the desktop. It'll come up with a menu, click on properties and a window will come up called display properties.

Themes, Select Windows Classice from the slide down menu --> apply.

Desktop, select none from the list of background --> apply.

Screensaver, select none from the drop down list of screen savers --> apply.

Appearance, go down and select "effects", a new screen will pop up, unselect everything including transition effect and smoothing of fonts --> ok --> apply.

Settings, don't need to do anything

1B. Customizing the appearance of the start menu and task bar

Right click anywhere on the task bar, a menu will pop up, select properties.

A. Task Menu

Task appearance, customize this to your liking.

Notification area, customize this to your liking.

B. Start Menu

Start menu, this is the XP default start menu leave it if you like it.

Classic start menu, this is the older version of the start menu found in older OS's like Windows 2000 or Windows 98, if you perfer this start menu select it and apply. Once applied, Windows will dump the My Computer, Recycle Bin, etc... icons onto the desktop.

C. Select which menu you want, either default or classic, and to the left is the customize button. A new pop up window will come up for either one and customize the look of the start menu to your liking.

Continued to Step 2...

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