The complete guide to optimizing Windows XP

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 6, 2007
Updated • May 29, 2013

Windows XP will be the dominant operating system for the next years even though Microsoft released the operating system's successor Windows Vista just a few days ago.

The major disadvantage of Vista is that it is hardware hungry and poses problems to users of Windows XP who would like to migrate to the new version but can't because they are restricted by the hardware of their computer.

My good friend Everton posted a comprehensive guide to optimizing Windows XP which should be useful for everyone who is still running Windows XP.

He posted a nice mix of known and lesser known tips that should be at least partially useful for most users. Had to wait with the post because Everton experienced a hard disk failure on his site.

Here is the complete list of tips that he posted on his website:

  • Remove Annoying Delete Confirmation Messages
  • Disable Indexing Services
  • Optimise Display Settings
  • Speedup Folder Browsing
  • Disable Performance Counters
  • Improve Memory Usage
  • Optimise your internet connection
  • Optimise Your Pagefile
  • Run BootVis - Improve Boot Times
  • Remove Fonts for Speed
  • Turn Off System Restore
  • Defragment Your Pagefile
  • Make Your Menus Load Faster
  • Make Programs Load Faster
  • Ensure XP Is Using DMA Mode
  • Speed Up Boot Times I
  • Speed Up Boot Times II
  • Speed Up Boot Times III
  • Disable Unnecessary Services
  • Speedup Folder Access - Disable Last Access Update
  • Improve Boot Times
  • Improve Swapfile Performance
  • Improve XP Shutdown Speed

As you can see it contains several evergreens that work in all versions of Windows, even newer versions like Windows 7 or 8, and some that are only useful for users of Windows XP, like disabling unnecessary services. I suggest you head over to read the guide and apply the changes to your system if you are still running XP.

The guide divides tips into beginner, intermediate and expert tips, and links to other guides that have been published on the site. Most of the guides are for XP, but at least one covers Windows Vista as well.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Andrew said on August 4, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    1. Cacheman includes a performance slowing RAM optimizer and other useless tweaks such as IOPagelocklimit.

    2. The Paging File information is total nonsense, leave it at system managed.

    3. Turning off System Restore does not improve performance.

    4. The /prefetch:1 switch is a total Myth

    5. Deleting Temp Files does not improve performance, it only improves Disk Space and irresponsibly telling people to create a useless Batch file that runs at system shutdown to delete these will REDUCE shutdown times.

    6. ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1 is a total Myth and does absolutely nothing on Windows XP.

    This guide also includes other erroneous items that have not been proven to improve performance or is simply bad advice. It should be called the “The Completely Guide to Useless and Performance Slowing Tweaks”.

    Oh and Optimising should be spelled – Optimizing

  2. gnome said on February 7, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Everything seems to be working fine for me.. and, my, what a brilliant site!

  3. VoodooTool said on February 7, 2007 at 7:44 am
  4. Thinker said on February 6, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    that site does not work any more

    1. Martin said on February 6, 2007 at 10:06 pm

      he has hard drive problems, thought they were fixed.. just wait a day, will be back up

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