Still Running Windows XP? Try these quick tips to make your PC super fast

50 replies
Hi

The other day my computer slowed down to a crawl. It took like 60 seconds to start Firefox, and it 'hung' every time I opened a new page.

The PC took ages to start up, and even longer to shut down.

Times like these where you consider re-installing Windows and formatting the hard-drive. But I've done this too many times.

It takes too long to re-install, transfer the files, re-install the software, and update Windows.

Okay - the point of this post?

Well, since I found a few techniques to rapidly clean up the machine, speed it up and bring it back to life (without Windows re-install), I thought, why not share it with other Warriors?

Surely there are other dinosaurs like me who are still running XP? Maybe?

Oh well, here goes anyway - hopefully one or two people will benefit from it...

Instant speed boost step one:

Go to start menu, right click 'my computer', click 'properties'.

Click the 'advanced' tab. Then click the 'settings' button under the heading 'performance'.

Click the 'adjust for best performance' radio button, but, scroll to the bottom and re-select the 'use visual styles on windows and buttons', other wise the buttons will look plain and ugly.

Click apply, then ok. Then ok again in the properties box.

Look, it's already speeded up!

This is only the first part of speeding up your XP machine. There's another few steps.

However, I'm beginning to wonder if I should carry on, as there is *heaps* more to write. And I don't want to write it all out if no-one is interested .

If anyone wants me to carry on with this thread and the other steps, please post a reply.

Thanks
#fast #make #quick #running #speed #super #tips #windows #windows xp
  • Profile picture of the author Pandan
    I have the same problem with my comp (running XP) but I am dreading reinstalling the windows or touching my registry coz I've heard if you don't know what you're doing (and I don't) you could lose some data. So your tip came quite handy, and it looks like it works. Yuppie.
    I surely want to hear your other tips!
    Thanks.

    Jana
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    • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
      Thanks Pandan and mrmatiesto. Glad you're interested.

      Okay, I'll carry on. But it will be a bit fragmented, as I need to go out soon, so I'll put one tip in each post

      Instant speed boost step two:

      Well, maybe not so 'instant' - it requires a little work.

      Go to start menu, then control panel. Then double click 'Add or Remove Programs'.

      If your computer is at a snails pace, it will take a while for the content to load ("list is being populated").

      Now, scroll down this list, and uninstall everything you don't use, or don't need. But only things that you actually installed - nothing crucial to the system

      Tip: If you want to get rid of every last trace of a program you don't want installed any more, use 'revo uninstaller', available free from download.com.

      You won't experience any massive speed boosts from this step, but in conjunction with the other tips, it's very worthwhile.

      Will carry on with further tips a little later, after I get back. Thanks for reading
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  • Profile picture of the author wkathome
    Thanks for the tip, just changed my settings so hope my xp speeds up some.
    thanks again
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  • Profile picture of the author teleam
    These are some good tips. My Daughter's computer uses XP and right now it's at a crawl.
    Also something is wrong with her netgear not operating to connect online.
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  • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
    Thanks teleam and wkathome.

    Yeah, the tips are very helpful, in fact I 'resurrected' 2 old laptops that were supposedly 'passed it'.

    We're talking 850mhz processors and 512kb ram, and even these are back working at lighting speed These old things are still ideal for browsing the web.

    Okay - back to the tips.

    Instant speed boost step 3:


    Click on Start, then 'Run' and in the run line type in: msconfig

    and click on OK.

    Now click the startup tab. Scroll through the programs. Any there that you don't think need to be booted at startup?

    If so, uncheck the box and then click 'apply'

    Warning! Don't uncheck any program you don't know. Google the name of it first to see if it is or isn't part of the system.

    There are some oddly named ones in there that need to stay activated, like SkyTel.exe, or 'bonjour' if you have itunes installed.

    Other more obvious ones, like Open Office can safely be unchecked. It only means that it will take a little longer to load the program when you want it, instead of Windows loading it automatically in startup (making the computer start up really slow).

    But hey, you're in charge right? You load programs when you want them loaded...


    Instant speed boost step 4:


    Remove the background on the desktop. Sure, it may be your favorite background, but it's eating up precious resources.

    Just right click on the background with all other windows closed.

    Then click 'Properties', then when the box is opened, click the 'Desktop' tab.

    In the background box, select 'none' which is at the top, then click apply.


    Instant speed boost step 5:


    Don't close that box from step 4 yet. Time to get rid of that 'cool' screensaver. If your computer is really slow, it seems to grind to a halt when a screensaver tries to load.

    Select none, or blank. Don't worry, it's far better to rely on power settings than a screensaver anyway. You could turn the screensaver off, and simply adjust the power settings to turn off the monitor after however many minutes being idle.


    Instant speed boost step 6:


    Right, now we've gotten rid of all the junk, we've optimized. Now it's time to clean up.

    Go to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> 'Disk Cleanup'

    Make sure there's nothing you want salvaging from your recycle bin.

    The disc cleanup will now scan for files. It may take a while if your computer is really slow, or if you've never even used this utility. By a while, I mean up to half an hour.

    Scanned? Ok, keep it on the 'Disk Cleanup' tab, select everything, check all the boxes. Then hit 'OK'.

    Again, this can take a while if you don't do it regularly, especially low-spec machines.

    I've had it take over 3 hours on the old laptop. But this step is essential, and soo worth it.

    You need to do this every day, but don't worry, once you've done it once, it will only take 5 minutes the next time.


    Instant speed boost step 7:


    So you removed all the junk completely. Now to sort things out. That cleanup left some large gaps in the hard drive, but they are here and there - they need to be sorted out into one big lump of free space.

    Also known as Defrag

    Go to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> Disk Defragmenter

    Select your main drive, hit 'Defragment'.

    All done

    Notice any difference? Is XP flying? Great! Glad I could help.

    You should really do step 6 and 7 every day. To make it quicker,

    Go to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >>

    and right click 'Disk Defragmenter', then hover over 'send to', then click Desktop (create shortcut).

    Do this with 'Disk Cleanup' too.

    Now they will always be on your desktop, reminding you to do them before you power off each day.

    Also, you can do all this with an app called 'C Cleaner', another free program from download.com. It willl make things easier, although you don't really need it now you know how to do it manually.

    Extra tip:

    Still running a little slow? This may be your antivirus. If you've downloaded any free ones like Avira, they can be a little system intensive, especially on old PC's/laptops.

    Even Norton/Mcafee/Trend can cause the same problem if you're not up to spec.

    The solution?

    Download windows security essentials (google it). This is Microsoft's own antivirus. It is free, and doesn't 'bog down' windows.

    Try disabling your current antivirus/firewall, and using windows essentials. If it works to speed up your system, consider uninstalling your old antivirus.

    Phew! This is one long post

    Hope you like it, and I hope the advice is effective.

    If you thought it useful, could you please hit the 'thank-you' button?

    Thanks! lol
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    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by Maximillion_Z View Post

      Still running a little slow? This may be your antivirus. If you've downloaded any free ones like Avira, they can be a little system intensive, especially on old PC's/laptops.

      Even Norton/Mcafee/Trend can cause the same problem if you're not up to spec.

      The solution?

      Download windows security essentials (google it). This is Microsoft's own antivirus. It is free, and doesn't 'bog down' windows.

      Try disabling your current antivirus/firewall, and using windows essentials. If it works to speed up your system, consider uninstalling your old antivirus.

      Phew! This is one long post

      Hope you like it, and I hope the advice is effective.

      If you thought it useful, could you please hit the 'thank-you' button?

      Thanks! lol
      Microsoft security essentials will not pick up all viruses and neither will Mcaffe or Norton. Avg free version is an excellent anti virus program, and picks up most viruses out there if kept up to date.

      If your computer is still running slow, it could be a virus, malware, or spyware, in which case you want to download a program called Malwarebytes and run a scan. You can also use Spybot...both free. ESPECIALLY WITH WINDOWS XP, don't go online without an antivirus program running along with a good firewall.

      These programs will get rid of the Trojans, viruses, malware and spyware.

      Another free program you can use to optimize your computer is called "Advanced System Care." It does many things to optimize and fix problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
    Originally Posted by ProductCreator View Post

    I recommend using a browser cleaner. The type people use to make sure their girlfriends won't discover their pr0n sites.

    The thing is, they do a great job of wiping the cache and other areas, better than you can do manually yourself. This is because some areas of the operating system can only be reached using programs like this.

    The result? A much quicker PC, you don't have to wait years for your clicks to happen.

    I used to use Window Washer and Cyberscrub but they are paid tools. I am sure that there are free alternatives.
    Good point Chris.

    If you're using FireFox, I recommend 'BetterPrivacy' addon.

    This one gets rid of flash cookies too. The ones that last forever...

    I think I'll do another post on cookie security later on.

    About the cache, disk cleaner does clear cached internet pages. Probably not as good as the paid software, but good enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author iw433
    thank you thank you. I like XP and like to run it. One of my computers is running about as fast as a snail in molasses running up hill. Will try this out.
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  • Profile picture of the author danyray
    Thanks for the tip. Will try it on one of my slower computers to speed it up.

    Dany
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardHK
    Good tips. Here's another really great tool for defragmenting those system files that are locked while the standard Windows defrag tool operates, so they are never defragmented and gradually make your PC slower and slower. My PC got so slow due to the main system page file getting broken into thousands of parts due to not having much spare space on the drive.

    So do the drive cleanups and other tips first, then run this page defrag tool to help. Like me, you may find a quantum leap in performance after I gave my system drive more space (by moving data off an adjacent partition and making drive all one, then defragging the system page file.
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  • Profile picture of the author dika
    60 seconds to start Firefix is a good time, it takes more than two minutes to start when I first launch it, then another two minutes or more if I have many saved tabs that need to be restored. I already have tweaked my XP for best performance.
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    • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
      Originally Posted by dika View Post

      60 seconds to start Firefix is a good time, it takes more than two minutes to start when I first launch it, then another two minutes or more if I have many saved tabs that need to be restored. I already have tweaked my XP for best performance.
      In your case you should uninstall Firefox and then re-install it.

      I had this trouble before - this sorted it.
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      • Profile picture of the author dika
        Originally Posted by Maximillion_Z View Post

        In your case you should uninstall Firefox and then re-install it.

        I had this trouble before - this sorted it.
        I'm using Chrome more and more but I can't do without FF. I'll try your suggestion. Thanks.

        BTW, another tip to reduce the boot time of XP is running msconfig (start > Run > type "msconfig"). In the startup tab, uncheck all unnecessary software and processes.
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        • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
          Chrome is certainly cool, but wish it worked better with Roboform...
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      • Profile picture of the author Paleochora
        Originally Posted by Maximillion_Z View Post

        In your case you should uninstall Firefox and then re-install it.

        I had this trouble before - this sorted it.
        Before you make a clean install of Firefox, back up your settings, bookmarks, saved passwords etc with MozBackup. Its a free tool do do just this!
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        • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
          Originally Posted by Paleochora View Post

          Before you make a clean install of Firefox, back up your settings, bookmarks, saved passwords etc with MozBackup. Its a free tool do do just this!
          Another good point. Although, I'm not sure uninstalling FF completely deletes bookmarks etc?
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          • Profile picture of the author Orator
            Originally Posted by Maximillion_Z View Post

            Another good point. Although, I'm not sure uninstalling FF completely deletes bookmarks etc?
            If you use a firefox plugin called Xmarks, you can create a backup of your bookmarks and passwords if you choose to. Then when you create a fresh install of firefox, all you have to do is download the plugin. and update it.
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Thanks to all who provided tips. My wife's laptop still runs XP, and she's been complaining about how slow things are. I'm looking forward to surprising her with better computer performance...
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  • Profile picture of the author jlmkt
    Thanks for your tips, couldn't have come at a better time.
    Just commenting last night how slow my laptop had gotten (XP).
    So, off to implement and fix!
    JL
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  • Profile picture of the author addictiod
    Great tips here!
    All are working very good.
    Use Chrome for better browsing.
    Waiting for more tips.
    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Fairwar
    Hello =D
    Thank you very much for the tips. It is unbelievable how fast my laptop runs now. Although the words and such changed a little to plain. But It is so worth it since I don't have to reboot my laptop and lose everything. It just so much work reboot and reinstall all the programs that I have on my laptop. Plus all my old pictures and documents that cannot get anything again.
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    • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
      Originally Posted by Fairwar View Post

      Hello =D
      Thank you very much for the tips. It is unbelievable how fast my laptop runs now. Although the words and such changed a little to plain. But It is so worth it since I don't have to reboot my laptop and lose everything. It just so much work reboot and reinstall all the programs that I have on my laptop. Plus all my old pictures and documents that cannot get anything again.
      I may have been a bit hasty with step one.

      Instead of clicking 'adjust for best performance' radio button, click the 'custom' radio button and deselect most of the effects.

      To get the fonts looking nice again, select 'smooth edges of screen fonts'.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shounak Gupte
    good tips mate!! i am thinking of posting them to my blog :p

    do you have any tips to reduce the memory usage of firefox?
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    • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
      Originally Posted by Shounak Gupte View Post

      good tips mate!! i am thinking of posting them to my blog :p
      I'm sure someone will also try to make an info product out of it too. lol

      It's happened before
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    • Profile picture of the author tboneman
      These are good basic tips. Just be very careful NOT to delete any programs you have any doubts about. If you're not sure what it does, or even how it got on your machine, leave it alone and go ask a knowledgeable computer person.

      A good forum I found where very knowledgeable computer nerds hang out is the Elder Geek forum (I have no connection but I don't know if I'm allowed to put a link in here....just type in ElderGeek. com. you'll get there).

      The site has some very smart volunteers. They'll help you get rid of a virus if you ask for help. Very professional, with solid procedures.

      Here's somethng else that could make a big difference in your machine's speed. If after doing the tweaks outlined here there isn't much improvement, you might want to invest in some additional RAM memory.

      Firefox and Open Office were deadly slow in loading on my Gateway desktop Media Center with XP Pro. I had 512K of RAM. That's no where near enough memory to run several large programs at the same time.

      I bought one gigabyte of RAM, hoping to wind up with 1.5 gig total. That part of the plan didn't work due to the age of the machine (5 years old). After installing the two new 512K memory chips, the computer woulldn't boot at all.

      I removed my original RAM chips, leaving me with 1 gig total. The machine booted up just fine. The problem is, the two different brands of memory were not compatible. This often happens when trying to match old chips with new ones.

      But, the good news is, even with just a half a gig additional memory installed (total 1 gig), it's amazing how fast Firefox and Open Office boot up All 300 programs I have on the machine run faster. It really made a huge difference.

      The tech types at the Elder Geek will tell you, the single biggest improvement you can make to your computer is to add more RAM memory. (One gig costs about $50 at Crucial Memory)

      I also endorse the recommendation about downloading and installing CCleaner (free). I run mine once or twice a week. It's a super utility for keeping the junk off your computer.
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      • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
        Originally Posted by tboneman View Post

        These are good basic tips. Just be very careful NOT to delete any programs you have any doubts about. If you're not sure what it does, or even how it got on your machine, leave it alone and go ask a knowledgeable computer person.

        A good forum I found where very knowledgeable computer nerds hang out is the Elder Geek forum (I have no connection but I don't know if I'm allowed to put a link in here....just type in ElderGeek. com. you'll get there).

        The site has some very smart volunteers. They'll help you get rid of a virus if you ask for help. Very professional, with solid procedures.

        Here's somethng else that could make a big difference in your machine's speed. If after doing the tweaks outlined here there isn't much improvement, you might want to invest in some additional RAM memory.

        Firefox and Open Office were deadly slow in loading on my Gateway desktop Media Center with XP Pro. I had 512K of RAM. That's no where near enough memory to run several large programs at the same time.

        I bought one gigabyte of RAM, hoping to wind up with 1.5 gig total. That part of the plan didn't work due to the age of the machine (5 years old). After installing the two new 512K memory chips, the computer woulldn't boot at all.

        I removed my original RAM chips, leaving me with 1 gig total. The machine booted up just fine. The problem is, the two different brands of memory were not compatible. This often happens when trying to match old chips with new ones.

        But, the good news is, even with just a half a gig additional memory installed (total 1 gig), it's amazing how fast Firefox and Open Office boot up All 300 programs I have on the machine run faster. It really made a huge difference.

        The tech types at the Elder Geek will tell you, the single biggest improvement you can make to your computer is to add more RAM memory. (One gig costs about $50 at Crucial Memory)

        I also endorse the recommendation about downloading and installing CCleaner (free). I run mine once or twice a week. It's a super utility for keeping the junk off your computer.
        Thanks for your great post Tboneman

        That's the first thing I thought of when the laptops starting getting slow. But these old things wouldn't take any more ram than 512kb - and I don't think there is a way to expand it. Or maybe someone can correct me here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Orator
    Excellent tips Maximillion, there is some freeware though that can automate all these processes.

    Glary Utilities- This is a freeware suit of programs that clean your registry, clean shortcuts, and a bunch of other things.

    Revo Uninstaller Pro- This is the defacto greatest uninstaller around, period. It will not only unistall programs, but scan your registry and computer for leftover files. It's also freeware.

    Auslogic- There freeware drive defrag is a lot better then the standard windows defragmenter.

    Each of these programs is free, but can really help keep your pc running smooth.
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  • Profile picture of the author teleam
    Thank You for these excellent tips. I am going to start working on my daugher's computer later today.

    Thanks Again

    Tom
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    • Profile picture of the author fuad muhammad
      thanks for a great tips..

      i'm currently using Windows 7 for my pc and it works great!hohohohoho..

      u should try windows 7..~
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      • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
        Originally Posted by fuad muhammad View Post

        thanks for a great tips..

        i'm currently using Windows 7 for my pc and it works great!hohohohoho..

        u should try windows 7..~
        I'd love to, but shelling out £99 isn't practical for a lot of people at the moment, and I've heard that XP still out-does it in certain areas.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Caldbeck
    Howdy

    My XP system has been real slooooooooooow lately, I willgive these ideas a shot
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  • Profile picture of the author Derwin
    Dinosaurs like you are not running Windows XP, but seventy or eighty percent people in world running this. Are they all dinosaurs? I am running windows seven currently which is excellent operating with new features and some time I run XP also. Thanks for giving these tips, I think that many people will take benefit from these great tips.
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    • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
      Originally Posted by Derwin View Post

      Dinosaurs like you are not running Windows XP, but seventy or eighty percent people in world running this. Are they all dinosaurs? I am running windows seven currently which is excellent operating with new features and some time I run XP also. Thanks for giving these tips, I think that many people will take benefit from these great tips.
      No, we're not dinosaurs - I was only joking
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  • Profile picture of the author Oscar D
    Thanks for these tips, very useful stuff,

    With regards to the first tip, I selected use visual styles on windows and buttons and clicked apply, but then the icons on my desktop had some weird grey/black color around the description, so I also selected the "use drop shadows for icon labels on desktop" and now its working better I must say

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    • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
      Originally Posted by Oscar D View Post

      Thanks for these tips, very useful stuff,

      With regards to the first tip, I selected use visual styles on windows and buttons and clicked apply, but then the icons on my desktop had some weird grey/black color around the description, so I also selected the "use drop shadows for icon labels on desktop" and now its working better I must say

      Warrior forum rocks
      That would be because 'use visual styles on windows and buttons' was checked. Kinda looks like Windows 95 This may only be necessary as a last resort - doesn't do all that much.

      That's why I backtracked a little concerning step 1. Select 'custom' instead of 'adjust for best performance', and make select/de-select one checkbox at a time, hit 'apply' and see what changes.

      One of the things that makes a difference to performance is shadows or animated windows.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacqueline Smith
    Thank you so much for these tips!!!!! I should get double the amount of work done now!
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  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    Thanks so much for this guide! With my PC just having died, I'm working on a netbook and I did everything you said...works like it's brand new again!

    Again, HUGE thanks!
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    • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
      Originally Posted by Lisa Gergets View Post

      Thanks so much for this guide! With my PC just having died, I'm working on a netbook and I did everything you said...works like it's brand new again!

      Again, HUGE thanks!
      Excellent. Glad it worked Lisa
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  • Profile picture of the author CACruiser
    Thanks for the tips---I have my Dell with XP sitting next to me here and I looked at it early this morning and thought what can I do for this machine? I will give these ideas a try---thanks to all in this thread!
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  • Profile picture of the author batchos
    Thanks for the tips. The appearance looks ugly but the speed has improved.

    How do you access loading a "new tab" while working in the browser?

    Thanks

    batchos
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  • Profile picture of the author dika
    Originally Posted by Chris Kent View Post

    OK here's a tip if you are running out of space but want to free some up fast.

    XP slows to a crawl if you are running less than a gig free.

    Download this free program, sizemap: Coig Change Directory v0.803a

    Run it and scan either an individual drive or your whole system.

    It will give you a size count for each folder and you can drill down in Windows expandable tree style.

    This is the best way to free some space up quick. You'll be like "wow, never knew that folder was sitting there, taking up so much space!"

    btw I think XP rocks. My laptop came with Vista but I got rid of it and put XP on it on purpose.
    My preferred software to free up the diskspace is WinDirStat. It's free and there is a stand alone version which you can run without installing it in the disk. Try it and you'll forget all other programs.

    WinDirStat - Windows Directory Statistics
    WinDirStat Portable | PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives
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  • Profile picture of the author David Louis Monk
    Thanks for all the tips. I reckon to use XP for a while longer. I used someone else's laptop running Vista and was not tha timpressed do will probably try a MAC when I change.

    I recommend CCleaner mentioned in step 7. I found this reccomendation when searching another site for information on this topic. I found an improvement after I ran the software so it is worth 1000s % more than the purchase price of $0.00

    Having a lively PC even makes me livelier. Whenever, the PC starts running slow, I just want to fall asleep.
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  • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
    Just to update this thread. I dl'd some dodgy programs and thought I had to re-install windows.

    However, I thought I'd try the 'repair' option instead, that appears when you boot from the XP disc.

    It worked fantastic! And it kept all my files and settings in place. The machine is like lightning again

    Only thing that needed doing was the windows updates and service packs.

    Recommended. Far better than deleting everything...
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