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ActiveWin: How to Optimise Windows XP Home and Pro

Written By: Alex Harris
Date: 9th October 2002
Sources: ActiveWin and TweakXP


With most people now moving over to Windows XP Home or Pro on new PC's and even some older PC's everyone will be trying to get the most out of Windows speed wise. With a few simple tweaks you can get Windows XP running very sweetly without compromising on the new look that it has to offer. Also included in this is some tips and tricks for any problems you might get when things go wrong. A lot of these tweaks with with both Home and Pro, but if there is a tweak especially for one version it will be stated. A lot of these tweaks require you to use Regedit to make them work. If you do not know how to use regedit then please either do not attempt to do the tweak or ask someone who does. ActiveWin is not responsible for any problems that occur after using one of these tweaks. You do so at your own risk. If you think there may be a problem then make a System Restore point before you attempt one of these. A lot of these tweaks are ones from TweakXP which is a great site that deals with just Windows Tweaks. Be sure to go check them out at .


Enable Cleartype on Welcome Login Screen

Microsoft clear type technology greatly increases clarity of text on laptop LCD screens.  By default this feature does not start until after you log on.  But with the tweak below you will be able to make it start as windows loads so it will be enabled on the welcome login screen.

1. Start regedit by going Start -> Run and typing regedit
Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop.
3. Locate the key FontSmoothingType.
4. Change the value to 2.
5. Restart.

"With most people now moving over to Windows XP Home or Pro on new PC's and even some older PC's everyone will be trying to get the most out of Windows speed wise. With a few simple tweaks you can get Windows XP running very sweetly without compromising on the new look that it has to offer."

Place IE, My Documents, My Computer on desktop the easy way

This is an easy way to place Internet Explorer, My Computer, My Documents and My Network Places on the desktop.

1. right click on the desktop and select properties
2. click on the desktop tab
3. click the customize desktop button
4. enable the icons you want

Windows XP Quick Keys

Windows Key + E - Windows Explorer
Windows Key + F - Launch Find tool
Windows Key + M - Minimize all windows
Windows Key + R - Launch Run Tool
Windows Key + U - Launch the Utility Manager
Windows Key + Pause/Break - System Properties
Windows Key + D - Minimize all windows - Press again to Maximise all Windows
Windows Key + L - Quick Log Off

Cache Folder Thumbnails

To make folders with thumbnail images start up faster, go to control panel and then folder options. Click on the view tab and make sure "Do not cache thumbnails" is not checked.

"Also included in this is some tips and tricks for any problems you might get when things go wrong. A lot of these tweaks with with both Home and Pro, but if there is a tweak especially for one version it will be stated."

Delete Prefetch Automatically

Here's an easy way to delete your prefetch:

1. Go into My Computer and go into your hard drive.
2. Right-click anywhere that a file is not and select the 'New' submenu and click 'Text Document'
3. Name it "deleteprefetch"
4. Double-click on the text file you just created.
5. Type "del C:\Windows\Prefetch\*.*" (without the quotes).
6. Go to File > Save As... and choose "All Files" from the "Save as Type" box and save it as "deleteprefetch.bat"
7. You just created a batch file that will automatically delete all the files in your Prefetch folder. Congrats.

Note: It will prompt for you to delete the files so if you schedule for it to be done, make sure you'll be on the comp at the time of it's execution.

Get more processing power

In the Run box, type "Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks".  This frees up any idle tasks running in the background so that Windows XP can devote its full attention to what you want it to do.  For example playing graphic intensive games.

Speed up menu display

When using the start menu the you will notice a delay between different tiers of the menu hierarchy.  For the fastest computer experience possible I recommend changing this value to zero.  This will allow the different tiers to appear instantly.

1. Start Regedit.
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
3. Select MenuShowDelay from the list on the right.
4. Right on it and select Modify.
5. Change the value to 0.
6. Reboot your computer.

Modify application timeout

The operating system has a set amount of time that a program must be frozen for before it is timed out.  Often this number is set too high.  But in some circumstances it is set too low.  Depending on if the program is doing a lot of calculations in the background the computer may think that it is timed out. To prevent this increase the value of the timeout in the registry.

1. Start Regedit
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
3. Select HungAppTimeout from the list on the right.
4. Right on it and select Modify.
5. Change the value to the new timeout value.
6. Reboot your computer.

Disable Indexing Services

Indexing services is a small program that hogs HUGE amounts of RAM and can often make a computer endlessly loud and noisy.  This system process indexing and updates lists of the files on your system, so you can search for them quickly, but it's completely unnecessary.

To disable it, go to the Control Panel and click Add/Remove Programs.  Click the Add/Remove Window Components.  Simply unclick the Indexing services and click next.

Microsoft Speed-Up-Boot Tool

Microsoft has designed a tool to help in monitoring the boot up process of your computer. The tool has many cool features that allow you to find out how long each program running at start up is taking to load and when they load. For more information, visit the website by clicking here.

Increase speed by tweaking prefetcher settings

This is an unique technique for XP, which could improve the performance significantly by tweaking the prefetcher. Recommended hardware: PIII 800 or higher, 512M RAM or more.

1. Start Regedit
2. go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher
3. Set the value to either 0-Disable, 1-App launch prefetch, 2-Boot Prefetch, 3-Both ("3" is recommended).
4. reboot.

It will decrease the boot time but double and increase the performance of your XP.

Get System Uptime Only - Windows XP Pro

In XP Pro, in order to get your uptime you must execute the SYSTEMINFO command at the CMD terminal.
As you know, this produces other system information output, and you have to scroll up to see your uptime.

If you wish to receive ONLY your uptime information, simply copy and paste the following into notepad

@systeminfo | @find "System Up Time:"

And save as UPTIME.BAT (save to your windows dir if you want to be able to access it anywhere)

Now when you type UPTIME you will see just:

System Up Time: 5 Days, 20 Hours, 13 Minutes, 46 Seconds

Also, if you wish to create a shortcut to IP.BAT, or run it via the Run command, it may close before you can view the result
To stop this, add @pause after the last @echo. command, this will cause the terminal to wait for your response before closing.


@systeminfo | @find "System Up Time:"

will result:

System Up Time: 5 Days, 20 Hours, 13 Minutes, 46 Seconds

Press any key to continue . . .


(information about the code: @echo. produces a blank line, @systeminfo | @find "System Up Time:" causes the output of systeminfo to be piped to the find command, which looks for the line containing "System Up Time:", find then outputs your system uptime, the optional @pause causes the terminal to wait for user input before continuing. The @ before each command tells the terminal not to echo the command being typed.)

System Settings for a Game Machine

If you are a hard core gamer then the below tweak is for you. Below are a list of windows services that we recommend you change to the manual setting. To access the services click Start -> Run -> type services.msc -> click OK

Routing and Remote Access
Application Layer Gateway Service** (only if firewall is not used)
Application Management
Background Intelligent Transfer Service
COM+ System Application
Distributed Link Tracking Client
Distributed Transaction Coordinator
Help and Support
IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service** (only if do you not use the cd-rw xp record support)
IPSEC Services
Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service
MS Software Shadow Copy Provider
Net Logon
NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
Network DDE
Network DDE DSDM
Network Location Awareness (NLA)
NT LM Security Support Provider
Performance Logs and Alerts
Portable Media Serial Number
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator
Remote Registry
Removable Storage
Smart Card
Smart Card Helper
SSDP Discovery Service
System Restore Service
Uninterruptible Power Supply
Universal Plug and Play Device Host
Volume Shadow Copy
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)
Windows Installer
Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions
Wireless Zero Configuration
WMI Performance Adapter
Fast User Switching Compatibility ** (only if fast user switching is not used or the machine have one user only)
Protected Storage
Windows Time
Task Scheduler
Secondary Logon
Print Spooler ** (only if the pc do not have or use a printer)
Indexing Service
Error Reporting Service
Computer Browser
Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

How to change the resolution in Windows XP if it to high for the monitor

You will mainly find this if you go to boot into Windows and you get graphics all the way up to the splash screen, but then when it loads you just get a black screen. To fix this you have to boot into Windows Safe Mode (pressing F8 a lot after you hear the memory beep and then choosing Safe Mode from the list.). Once in Safe Mode you have to go to Device Manager (Either Windows Key + Pause/Break -> Hardware -> Device Manager or Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager) and delete the display adaptor. Reboot. When you start Windows again normally it will re-detect the graphics card and you should be into Windows as normal.

Speed up browsing with DNS cache

When you connect to a web site your computer sends information back and forth, this is obvious. Some of this information deals with resolving the site name to an IP address, the stuff that tcp/ip really deals with, not words. This is DNS information and is used so that you will not need to ask for the site location each and every time you visit the site. Although WinXP and win2000 has a pretty efficient DNS cache, you can increase its overall performance by increasing its size.

You can do this with the registry entries below:

************begin copy and paste***********
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


************end copy and paste***********

Make a new text file and rename it to dnscache.reg. The copy and paste the above into it and save it. Then merge it into the registry.

Network Interface Card Memory Tweak

1. Right Click on My Comp.
2. Then Properties
3. Device Manager or Hardware
4. View Resources by connection
5. Find the number IRQ of your NIC that uses the internet. (NIC meaning Network Interface Card). REMEMBER THAT NUMBER!!!
6. Then Click Run
7. Type Sysedit in the box and return
8. 4 or 5 boxes will appear, highlight the system.ini box
9. Under the [386enh] add the following exactly..
10. Irq[n]=4096, where "[n]" is the number irq of your network card. 4096 is the recommended ram to reserve in kilobytes.
11. So it will look something like this Irq10=4096.
12. Save changes in the file and reboot for effect...

This tweak was from the help of Some people with a cpu of over 500MHz had an increase of only up to 10%. Therefore it is a controversial tweak that's talked about. Hence, most likely they would be online gamers.

Be sure NOT to overdue the amount of ram because it will have little or no effect at all. Most of you probably won't notice much effect anyway but it's worth a try. This tweak is assumingly okay for all Windows users. Afterward, go to to test your internet throughput and see what they recommend to change your RWIN. (It's under the link of dslrtools on their homepage).

 How to Optimise Windows XP Home and Pro Part 2


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