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How we setup our XP Computers
Things we do to make Windows XP run better

(Backup your registry before making changes. We are not responsible if you screw up your computer)

It makes no sense to try to tune and tweak an operating system that's fundamentally
incomplete or broken. So, before you start changing anything, right click on My Computer and select
Properties/Hardware/Device Manager to ensure all your hardware is set up and running properly.
In addition, use Windows Update to download and install all current patches and driver updates.

Speed up Windows 2000 & XP
I have seen reports that Windows XP is slow when accessing network shares. We use XP daily on our local home network. There are reports that deleting a particular registry key resolved the problem.
It worked fine for us. You can give it a try in XP. I would backup the key first.


To backup and delete the key, Start regedit and navigate to the NameSpace key above:
Right click {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}
Click Export. From the Export Registry File dialog box in the File Name text box :
Type the filename of your choice as in restoreshare
Click Save
This saves the file names (in my example), restoreshare.reg to the selected folder. Its now safe to delete the key.
Right click {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}
Click Delete. Click Yes in the Confirm Key Delete dialog box. You can restore the key. In Explorer, double-click on your reg file. This will restore the deleted registry key.

Place Windows Kernel into RAM and More
Anything that runs in RAM will be faster than an item that has to access the hard drive and virtual memory. Rather than have the kernel that is the foundation of XP using the slower Paging Executive functions, use this hack

1) Open the regedit tool (Start -> Run -> regedit.exe )

2) Use the navigation in the left and go to HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

3) Double click the DisablePagingExecutive attribute, and put 1 in the decimal value field
This will make the drivers and the XP kernel run in memory.

4) Double click the LargeSystemCache attribute, and put 1 in the decimal value field
This will improve performance of the kernel

How to Keep Shortcuts to Shares from being added to My Network Places
XP has a feature that causes a shortcut to be placed in My Network Places for each share on a remote
computer that you access. If you don't want these shortcuts to be added, using XP Pro, you can edit your Local Security Policy to prevent this. The following instructions assume that the computer is not a member of a domain:
Click Start | Run and type mmc.exe. Click OK.
This opens an empty management console. Highlight the Console menu and click File-Add/Remove
Click Add.
Click Group Policy.
Click Add.
The default is Local Computer. Click Finish.
Click Close and OK to close the dialog box.
In the left pane under Local Computer Policy, click User Configuration to expand it.
Click to expand Administrative Templates.
Click to expand Desktop.
In the right pane, right click Do not add shares of recently opened documents to My Network Places.
Click Properties.
Click Enable.
Click OK
No more shortcuts will be automatically added.

Turn off Microsoft's phone home error reporting "feature".
Right click My Computer, select Properties, select Advanced, select Error Reporting and check the
Disable error reporting box.

Correct slow browsing of files on your network, running a home LAN using XP machines.
 (This worked very well on our computer network)
Open Network Connections.
Select at the top of window, Advanced - Advanced Settings. Select the Provider Order tab.
Change the Provider Order to:
1- Microsoft Windows Network (this was #2)
2- Web Client Network (this was #3)
3- Microsoft Terminal Services (this was #1)

ALSO - XP and Win2K enable "LMHosts lookup" on your TCP/IP connections.
If there's no LAN Manager Host on your network (and there won't be on most small networks), XP and
Win2K may slow to a crawl each time you launch an app as they look in vain for the Host that isn't
there. Simply disabling the LMHosts Lookup solves the problem completely and allows apps to open at
normal speed. (The Default is checked "Enable LMHosts lookup")
Here's how to disable LMHosts Lookup:
Open Network Connections.
Right-click the network connection you want to configure, and then click Properties.
On the General tab (for a local area connection) or the Networking tab (all other connections),
click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click Properties.
Click Advanced, click the WINS tab.
Once there, UNcheck the "Enable LMHosts lookup."

Disable the Desktop Cleanup Wizard.
Windows XP includes a Desktop Cleanup Wizard. It's designed to remove unused items from your desktop. By default, it tries to do its cleanup job every 60 days. But what if you like your cluttered desktop and don't want it cleaned up every two months. Right click an empty area of the desktop, select Properties, select the Desktop tab, and click Customize Desktop. On the General tab, uncheck the box that says Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days.

Decline in Performance Occurs When You Right-Click a File or Folder in Windows Explorer
(This is an XP BUG)

Any file-copy operation that is occurring at that time may appear to stop responding. Network connection speed may significantly decrease. All streaming input/output operations are degraded. For example, streaming audio over Windows Media Player becomes distorted.
When you right-click a file or folder in Windows Explorer, the CPU usage goes to 100 percent while the shortcut menu is displayed. CPU usage returns to the correct level when the shortcut menu is closed.
Turn off the transition effects for menus and ToolTips. To do this, follow these steps:
Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
In Control Panel, double-click Display, and then click the Appearance tab.
On the Appearance tab, click Effects.
In the Effects dialog box, click to clear the Use the following transition effect for menus and tooltips check box, and then click OK two times.

XP - Check Computer devices for errors.
Right click on "My Computer," select Properties, then Hardware, then Device Manager. (Or: click to
Start/My Computer/View system information/Hardware/Device Manager.) You should see no items flagged with the yellow exclamation marks or red Xs that indicate trouble.
Still inside Device Manager, click on View/Show hidden devices. A red X in a hidden device may or
may not indicate a problem (some hidden devices may be disabled deliberately, because they aren't
needed). If a problem is found you may want to right click the item and select uninstall. Reboot and
it should install itself or you may need to update the driver.

Disable the Messenger service. Its easy to reverse at a later time if you wish to do so.

Windows XP Home
Click Start->Settings ->Control Panel
Click Performance and Maintenance
Click Administrative Tools
Double click Services Scroll down and highlight "Messenger"
Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
Click the STOP button.
Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
Click OK

Windows XP Professional
Click Start->Settings ->Control Panel
Click Administrative Tools
Click Services
Double click Services Scroll down and highlight "Messenger"
Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
Click the STOP button.
Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
Click OK

Adjust XP's virtual memory settings, your "swapfile" or "paging file"
XP places your "swapfile" or "paging file" (a portion of your hard drive that's used as a kind of
pseudo-RAM) on your C: drive, and sets it up so it can grow and shrink as needed. However, you may
be able to do better. For example, if you have more than one physical disk in your system, you may
get better performance by either placing the swapfile on the lesser-used disk (assuming it's as fast
as or faster than the primary disk). You also may see modest improvements in responsiveness if you set the swapfile to a fixed size, so Windows won't waste time growing and shrinking the file on demand.
i.e.  512MB ram, set the swap file to a fixed size of 700MB or
2GB ram we use
a fixed size of 3070MB.

Tune XP's Visual Performance
Depending on how you set it up, XP may have reserved a substantial amount of your CPU horsepower for
things like animating various desktop elements, placing shadows under menus and cursors, and rounding the upper corners of open windows. These visual effects can slow down screen drawing operations significantly. Also, XP may have selected a "color depth" for your video system in excess of what you really need; this, too, can slow down screen operations.   
To adjust the color depth, right click anywhere on an empty portion of your desktop and select
Properties/Settings. For most normal business users, the Color Quality setting should be set to
Medium (16 bit). Higher settings do matter in photo/video editing and similar applications, but for
things like Web browsing, E mail, and word processing, the Medium setting is fully adequate, and it's faster.
To adjust XP's desktop animations and visual effects, right click on My Computer and select
Properties/Advanced/Performance Settings. You can choose to activate/deactivate individual items or
use the general "best performance/best appearance" buttons. When you've made a change, click Apply,
and you'll see the effects almost immediately.Experiment until you've found the mix of speed and visual effects that works best for you.

Customize the Taskbar
Right click on an empty spot in the Task Bar (the bar next to the Start button). Uncheck Lock the
Taskbar. This lets you resize various portions of the taskbar the way you want them. Now, explore
the other Taskbar settings to see if any will work for you.

Recycle Bin size
By default, both the Recycle Bin and Internet Explorer's Cache want to consume ridiculous amounts of
your hard drive space. Right click on the Recycle Bin, select Properties, and on the Global tab,
decide how much space you want the Recycle Bin to consume, either for all drives in your system, or
on a per drive basis. (It's a percentage of the total space. I adjust the slider way to the left, so
I'm using "only" a few hundred megs of space for trash.)
Similarly, open Internet Explorer, and select Tools/Internet Options. Under Temporary Internet Files, click the Settings button and select a reasonable size for this cache area. Generally speaking, if you have a fast connection, 5 Mbytes to 10 Mbytes is adequate; 25 Mbytes or so is usually enough with a slower dial up connection.

Rein In System Restore
System Restore is an incredible space hog. It might be worth it, if  System Restore were a truly complete and foolproof form of backup, but it's not. At best, System Restore can and will get the core operating system running again after a bad crash, but it doesn't return all files to the pre trouble state, and it can't remove all traces of a program that went bad. As a result, System Restores usefulness is limited, and so should be its appetite for disk space.
Right click on My Computer, select Properties, and select the System Restore tab. Select your main
drive (usually C:), click Settings, and move the slider to reserve a reasonable amount of disk space. With a good regimen of daily backups, you can even move the slider all the way to the left.
If you have more than one drive, you may wish to turn off System Restore entirely for non system
drives. There's little, if any, benefit to be gained by having them monitored.

Take The Brakes Off Your Network Settings
XP's default network settings for Maximum Transmission Unit, Receive Window, and such, may or may
not be ideal for your circumstances. The only way to know is to take a close look: For example, DSL
Reports and SpeedGuide have excellent free information, online tests, and even one click tweaks that
can automatically optimize all or some of XP's internal plumbing for high speed connectivity. DSL Reports also offers a free, simple network tweaking tool called DrTCP that lets you instantly and easily adjust a variety of parameters; this tool makes iterative testing a snap, as you experiment to find the best settings for your particular setup.

Lock The Door
XP has a built in desktop firewall, but it's turned off by default.
We leave it off and use the very good Free Comodo Firewall.
If you must use XP's firewall, to turn it on: Right click on My Network Places, Properties, right click on your connection (e.g. Local Area Connection), select Properties again, then Advanced, and then click the box for Protect My Computer. But note that the built in firewall is very basic, as any free LeakTest tool will demonstrate for you.

Unhide all files
To see *all* hidden files, click to "Tools/Folder Options/View" in Explorer (not Internet Explorer, but the tool you use for navigating your hard drive.) Check "Show hidden files and folders," and UNcheck "Hide protected operating system files." (I also like to UNcheck "Hide extensions for known file types.") Click the "Apply to all folders" button at the top of the Window, and then you should be able to see all hidden and system files and folders, everywhere on your hard drive.


*To help keep your computer running the way it should,
we recommend using the commercial programs shown below

*** Repair XP Pro - (Great program) The most comprehensive system repair tool on the market.

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