Jan 2, 2007

Speed up XP

The tweaks mentioned below are for speeding up Windows XP.

Disable boot virus detection:
This feature is available for some motherboards. If enabled it will scan your boot sector for virus infection every time you start your system. As boot sector viruses are rare now, it is safe to disable it. Disabling it will also speed up the boot process.

To find out if you have it look in the ‘Advanced BIOS features’ section of your BIOS.

Change Boot Sequence:
For most PC’s the boot sequence is first set to CD-ROM and then to Hard drive. You can speed up your boot time by setting your OS-loaded hard drive as the primary boot device.

I suggest to disable other boot devices such as CD-ROM and Floppy.

Just remember to set CD-ROM as your primary boot device when you need to re-install Windows.

Disable XP load screen:
By disabling the load screen you can boost the bootup time by a couple of seconds, if not more. To disable the load screen, open the “msconfig” utility: go to Start>Run, type in “msconfig” and press [Enter]. In the sunsequent window, select the ‘boot.ini’ tab.

Check the /NOGUIBOOT option and press ‘Apply’. Restart Windows to see the effect.

The “Bootvis” utility was designed by Microsoft to help system manufacturers optimize the boot characteristics of Windows XP. It’s a free tool, and is available here.

Run the utility, go to ‘Trace’ menu and select ‘Next Boot + Driver Delays’. Bootvis will prompt a reboot. Reboot and wait for Bootvis to start again.

Go to the ‘Trace’ menu and select ‘Optimize System’. Reboot again and wait for Bootvis to complete its analysis. At the end of the analysis, your bootup time should be optimized.

Disable Disk Performance Counters:
Win XP comes with many inbuilt performance monitoring applications that constantly examine various parts of the system. This information can be of real use to a system adminstrator for collecting performance statistics. However, for a home user, these statistics hold no value and since the monitoring happens all the time, it consumes a good deal of system resources.

“Disk monitoring”, for example, happens in the background, and turning it off is advisable if you will not be using the performance monitoring applications. To turn it off, type in “diskperf -N” at a command prompt.

To bring up the command prompt: go to Start>Run, type in “cmd” and press [Enter].

Move the ‘My Documents’ Folder:
The ‘My Documents’ folder invariably ends up as the default repository of files for most Windows applications. Over a period of time, this folder starts bloating, and this, to a certain extend results in performance degradation. It might be a good idea to move the target location of the ‘My Documents’ folder to some other partition on the hard drive, or to a different drive.

To do so, right click on ‘My Documents’, and on the ‘Target’ tab, click on ‘Move’. In the subsequent dialog box, browse to the drive where you want to move the folder. Then click ‘Make New Folder’ to create a new folder, and name it appropriately. Click ‘Apply’ and then ‘Yes’.