5 Windows Tweaks That Do NOT Work

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 17, 2008
Updated • Sep 30, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

Information that is added on the Internet hardly ever go away which is highly problematic if the information is not correct. It becomes even more disturbing in sectors where everyone can have his say and it is not really a secret that most PC users have their list of recommended tweaks for Windows.

It's fairly interesting that some of the tweaks that do not work have made it into tweaking applications and that new Windows tweaker sometimes contain these as well. Not working means that they either have no positive effect on the system or are even hurting performance or the system in general.

The following list contains 5 Windows tweaks that are fairly popular on the Internet but it has been proven that they have no positive effect on the computer.

1. Deleting the contents of the Prefetch Folder: - Deleting the contents of the Windows prefetch folder will actually degrade system performance during startup of the applications that are listed in the folder. The folder contains a maximum of 128 pf files that Windows uses to quickly look up load information for the corresponding file. The folder gets cleaned automatically once the 128 file limit is reached.

2. Unload DLLs: - AlwaysUnloadDLL is a Registry setting in Windows that is very popular in tweaking utilities. Enabling this setting supposedly frees up system memory. The key has in reality no effect on Windows NT systems and was only used in pre-NT systems.

3. Enabling Superfetcher in Windows XP: Superfetcher is a feature of Windows Vista that does not exist in Windows XP.

4. Disabling System Restore: - Creating a System Restore Point is a quick process that normally only lasts a few seconds while the monitoring of the system causes no apparent performance loss. The only reason to disable System Restore would be lack of hard disk space.

5. Disabling QoS will free up the 20% bandwidth: - I'm seeing this tip all over the Internet. "Networking Quality of Service (QoS) refers to a variety of techniques that prioritize one type of traffic or program that operates across a network connection instead of relying only on "best effort" connectivity." The computer is using 100% of the bandwidth but 20% can be reserved by programs when sending data. In reality disabling QoS has normally no effect on the bandwidth of the computer.

Want to share tips and tricks that you encountered that do not work? Go ahead!

Article Name
5 Windows Tweaks That Do NOT Work
The article looks at five tips for Windows that you find all over the Internet that do not work or even have negative effects on the system.

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  1. Dwight Stegall said on December 23, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Totally hiding the taskbar in Win 7 & 8.1 seems to be impossible too. I found two programs for this and both failed miserably.

  2. Andrew said on June 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    The users who claim a performance improvement with these mythical tweaks can NEVER provide documented reproducible evidence. I have yet to have single person in six years prove any of these improve performance.

  3. Tweaks 4 PC said on June 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up about some of these tweaks. Though some users may argue that some of them do in fact make some difference in the performance of a PC, I mostly agree with your comments.

  4. Andrew said on July 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Some corrections to the comments:

    1. System Restore cannot reinfect your system so long as the Anti-Virus or Anti-Spyware application that cleaned the infection is running when a restore is attempted that includes a backed up infected file.

    2. Registry Cleaners have absolutely NO effect on system performance.

    3. Memory Management Programs AKA RAM Optimizers actually REDUCE performance.

    4. The Prefetch folder is NOT a cache. The age of the folder and files in it is absolutely irrelevant. The number of files in the folder has only one effect and that is on disk space but since the folder is auto-cleaned at 128 files this is never an issue and the folder rarely gets over 5-10mb. Old or uninstalled applications that have a prefetch trace file in the folder do absolutely nothing since these files are not even accessed unless the application the file is related to is launched. These files are NOT preload or cached ANYWHERE. They are REFERENCE files.

    Say I install 100 applications and uninstall 99. Those 99 Prefetch files related to the uninstalled applications do absolutely nothing but take up a small amount of disk space and will eventually be deleted when the folder reaches 128 files. Nothing gets stale in the folder or can it negatively effect performance.

  5. Bruno said on June 19, 2008 at 1:12 am

    it’s very interresting, thx Martin and Liz

  6. Liz said on June 18, 2008 at 12:06 pm
  7. mjc said on June 18, 2008 at 8:07 am

    The Prefetch folder is like any other system cache. It aids performance when it is ‘fresh’ and does little or nothing when ‘stale’. Yes, emptying it hinders performance, for a short while. But, there may be occasions where it may possibly be advisable to empty it. About the only one I can think of, that makes any sense is when installing/uninstalling a large number of programs…maybe after updating something that has a version number attached to the file name. This would be especially relevant if there are less than the 128 max files. It is not something that needs to, or even should, be done on any kind of regular basis.

    As for the Sys-restore…another reason to disable it would be if one makes regular, full image backups of the install. It is just as easy to restore the full image, as it is to run the restore and in my experience, more reliable (seen one too many WinUpdates that bork the SysRestore…). Also, if one is running a system that doesn’t have much installing (maybe regular updates), then the SysRestore can be tamed/turned to minimal settings without totally disabling it.

    #3…Unload DLLs, like a number of other ‘tweaks’ that are still found, is one that has survived long past its ‘use by’ date. Yes, at one time it had some value, but no longer.

    #5 is something that I do, but not to gain ‘bandwidth’, but rather my router didn’t support QoS, so it was something that was ‘on’ that I didn’t need. Yes, leaving it on without the hardware to use it doesn’t really do anything, but it is something that I think is bass-ackwards. It should have been off by default and then turned on if needed/supported.

  8. Josh said on June 18, 2008 at 6:25 am

    I would never disable system restore… it has saved my data many many times.

  9. Ceridan said on June 18, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Actually, I find turning off system restore on ‘older’ machines (pentium 4 1.6Ghz etc) does actually have a significant effect on system performance, on newer machines (AMDX2’s and Core2 Duos) it has next to no effect at all as the cpu’s have so much overhead that it hardly matters. Also it does somewhat depend on how many device drivers it has loaded and file IO operations the said machine performs.

    here is some more ones though:

    1. Registry Cleaner Programs (The Majority of)
    Have little effect on system performance in most cases, Also have a nasty tendancy to delete totally legit keys, and thus wreck program installs.

    2. Memory Management Programs (WinXP and Vista) they have next to no effect on the system performance, in most cases they actually will slow your machine down, the memory manager built into xp and vista are quite good already, loading another program to do the same job… ironically.. uses more memory, and causes more interupts.

    err.. thats all I can think of for now :)

  10. Jojo said on June 18, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I agree w/Martin. If you have cleaned your system, then it simply makes sense to also delete all your system restore points prior to rebooting.

    A list like this is good. You should make it something that is added to and available through some link on the sidebar.

  11. Martin said on June 17, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Scikotic yes that’s a reason but I thought of tweaks more in the performance sector. But it’s probably better to simply clean the system restore files and keep it enabled instead of disabling it completely because of this.

  12. Scikotic said on June 17, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Item number 4 may be correct with regard to performance but it is wrong when it states “The only reason to disable System Restore would be lack of hard disk space”. Malware, spyware, and viruses routinely use System Restore in order to return after being cleaned by anti-virus software. I have seen this on MANY occasions. The computer gets scanned and, after a reboot, the virus returns. It might not be a performance issue but it is definitely a security issue.

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