Jun 10, 2010

How to Improve XP System Performance

A computer's performance can deteriorate over time as more programs are installed and the hardware works less efficiently. Some problems are due to hardware wearing out, but often the cause is lack of basic maintenance. Regular maintenance can help "clean" a computer and increase performance, so it's a good starting point when problems arise. Windows XP includes multiple tools and utilities to help perform maintenance and improve system performance.


Instructions


Step 1.Click "Start," open "All Programs," then "Accessories" and navigate to "System Tools." Under this menu, open "Disk Cleanup." Disk Cleanup will scan the hard drive for files it can compress, or reduce in size, and old and unneeded files it can remove. After the scan finishes, check the boxes next to the items you choose to delete. (You can remove them all without affecting essential functions.) Click "OK" to begin the deletion process. If Disk Cleanup has never been used on a computer, or if there are many files to remove and compress, the process may take several hours.


Step 2.Return to the "System Tools" menu and open the "Disk Defragmenter" program. This program scans the hard drive for file fragments and pieces them together, making it easier for the computer to access them and in turn reducing the time needed to open files and run programs. Select the "C" drive (or whichever letter coincides with the computer's main hard drive) and then click "Defragment." This process also may take several hours depending on the degree of problems.


Step 3.Open "My Computer," then right-click on the hard drive (generally the "C" drive) and click "Properties." Click the "Tools" tab, then click the "Check Now" button under the "Error-checking" category. Check both boxes under the "Check disk options" title, then click "Start." This utility checks the entire hard drive for any errors or problems, then automatically corrects them. If there are errors, correcting them can help improve the computer's performance.


Step 4.Click "Start," then click "Run" and type "msconfig" in the dialog box. Click the "Startup" tab, then view the list of startup items. These items are set to run automatically when the computer is started and a user logs in. Uncheck the box next to applications you want to disable, then click "OK." The computer may have to be restarted in order for the changes to be finalized.

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