My Windows startup seems to be taking a long time, and once it finally stops churning, everything seems to run slower than it used to. How can we speed up the computer performance? When you launch a program, does it snap open in a matter of seconds, or does it leave you drumming your fingers for what seems like an eternity? Countless possible culprits can be to blame for a slow system, but you have a good chance of revving things up by following a few simple steps.

Start with a RAM boost. A Windows XP system can get by on 512MB, but it'll run a lot smoother with 1GB. As for Vista, it needs at least 2GB or 3GB for optimal performance. Vista also benefits if you disable resource-hogging (and, some would say, unnecessary) extras, like Aero Glass and Flip3D. To free your system from both, right-click anywhere on the Desktop and click Personalize. Next, click Windows Color and Appearance, open Classic appearance properties for more color options, and then set the color scheme to Windows Vista Basic. Click OK and your system should seem a biat zippier.

 

For Windows XP users should consider disabling Windows' indexing service, a system hog of little practical value. To disable it, go to Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services, and scroll down to Indexing Service. Double-click it, and set Startup type to Disabled.

index service

 

For Windows XP

  1. Look under the "BOOT.INI" tab. You will see a box labeled "Timeout:", and a numerical value. By default, it's 30, which means 30 seconds of wait time before boot. This can be changed, using 3 seconds. (Note: if you have more than one operating system, this means the wait time to startup to the highlighted OS. you might want a bit more than 3 seconds)

  1. Be consistent to delete the temporary files from your computer to make the applications run faster. Type %Temp% in the run dialog box by clicking on Start -> Run, and click on "OK". You will see an open folder with many files. Click on the Edit menu and click on Select all and then click on the File menu and select Delete. Note: Always confirm that the folder which is opened has a temp on the top of menu bar and the folder indicates that it is a temporary folder.

  1. Perform a scandisk to see that your computer hard drive is in healthy condition and it helps your computer run faster. Make sure there is no bad sector.

  1. Always perform a disk defragmentation at least once in a month. Start the disk defragmentation from the system tools available in the accessories from the start menu. It takes a longer time to perform the disk defragmentation based on the hard disk capacity. Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your hard disk can work more efficiently. Disk Defragmenter runs on a schedule, but you can also defragment your hard disk manually. It is advised not to run any applications in the computer including the screen savers, best is leave the system do nothing while running the disk defragmentation.

 

Hibernation

After you have done all this, another method you can do is to allow the computer to hibernate. Hibernation closes and opens Windows faster than normally.

  1. Go to Start->Control Panel->Power Options. Click on the Hibernate tab.
  2. Click on the box that says "Enable hibernation" to check it.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab and change the Power buttons options if you want to hibernate by pressing the sleep button or the power button. Otherwise, holding the Shift key while in the Turn Off Computer menu will give you the option to hibernate.
  4. Some people they don’t shutdown the computer often but it is advised that restart your computer at least every week or so to clear your computer.
  5. The power can then be completely turned off, even at the socket so that no power is wasted. 
  • When installing new software choose not to add the program to the startup folder.
  • Regularly check to see what programs are running from your startup folder as malicious programs such as spyware may have installed itself without your knowledge.
  • If you accidentally uncheck a program, just retrace the steps above and recheck the program and restart your computer.
  • Adding more RAM to a Windows XP computer helps it boot faster, and since RAM prices are very low these days, it's an easy way to boot faster.

Disable System Restore
System restore will take up resources such as memory and hard-disk IO. Most people will never use the System Restore as they believe there are other way of doing the system backup USB stick / CD-ROM / Tape drive and so on. If you are going to disable the system restore make sure you backup important files to anther disk such as. To disable system restore in windows XP do the following:
1. Right-click ‘my computer’ and click properties.
2. Click the “System Restore” tab at the top.
3. Check the box “Turn off system restore on all drives”

 

Configure The Paging File
When your system runs out of physical memory windows XP will use something called a paging file.  A paging file is basically a file that sits on your hard-drive and will be used as memory should your system run out of memory.  Ideally you don’t want to run out of physical memory because your system will slow down if it uses the paging file.  So we need to make sure we configure the paging file correctly incase it is needed.

 

system properties

To configure a Windows XP paging file right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop, click advanced tab, then under the performance section click on the settings button.  In the next window click on the advanced tab then change button.

 

performance options

Goto Advance tab and clicking the Change on the Virtual Memory section.

 

virtual memory

You don’t want windows to automatically handle the size of the paging file so select custom size and then enter 2048 for the initial size and also maximum size.

Housekeep Your Hard-Disk
Over time your hard-disk will mess up and you will need to clear this down and also run some checks to make sure everything is running okay. Consistently delete unwanted files, temp files, and etc.  The more data that is stored on a hard-disk the slower it will take to access data as it has to search through more files.

 

BIOS Upgrade
The BIOS is a bit of software that sits on your computers motherboard and controls how each component talks to each other. It is a good idea to upgrade this if possible to the latest version as you could see many benefits. A BIOS upgrade will help the motherboard to be more efficient in the way that its components talk to each other. To upgrade your BIOS find out what motherboard you have. Always choose the stable BIOS version to upgrade, try to avoid for the Beta version.

 

Speed up Vista file copying

Whatever Vista's deal is, it's a slug when copying files to external and network drives. To step things up, adopt a utility such as FastCopy, SuperCopier. All of which do the job an awful lot faster. What's more, both SuperCopier and TeraCopy can pause and resume file transfers, which may come in handy if you need to interrupt the copy process. All three programs are freebies, too.

Open Office 2007 documents in older versions of Office

With Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft introduced a new batch of file formats: .docx, .xlsx and .pptx, all incompatible with earlier versions of the suite. So if someone sends you a Word 2007 document and you use Word 2003, an error message awaits you. Fortunately, the fix is easy: Use the succinctly named Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.

MOCPWEP2007FF enables you to open Office 2007 documents in Office 2000, 2003 or XP without any work on your part. Just make sure that your suite has the latest Service Pack installed -- either SP3 for Office 2000 and XP, or SP1 for Office 2003.

If you don't want to go to all that trouble and you need to convert just a single .docx file, point your browser to docx-converter.com. Upload your file, select your desired format (.doc is just one choice) and enter your e-mail address. In short order you'll get a message containing a link to download the converted file. It's a free service.

 

Check for viruses and spyware

If your PC is running slowly, one dreaded possibility is that it might be infected with a virus or spyware. This is not as common as the other problems, but it is something to consider. Before you worry too much, check your PC using antispyware and antivirus programs.

A common symptom of a virus is a much slower-than-normal computer performance. Other signs include uneXPected messages that pop up on your PC, programs that start automatically, or the sound of your hard disk constantly working.

 

Turn off visual effects

If Windows is running slowly, you can speed it up by disabling some of its visual effects. It comes down to appearance versus performance. Would you rather have Windows run faster or look prettier? If your PC is fast enough, you don’t have to make this tradeoff, but if your computer is just barely powerful enough for Windows Vista, it can be useful to scale back on the visual bells and whistles.

You can choose which visual effects to turn off, one by one, or you can let Windows choose a bunch for you. There are 20 visual effects you can control, such as the transparent glass look, the way menus open or close, and whether shadows are displayed.

performance options vista

The Performance Options dialog box lets you turn on or off up to 20 visual effects

To adjust all visual effects for best performance: 
 1.  Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, goto System and Maintenance, and then clicking Performance Information and Tools.
2.  Click Adjust visual effects.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  Click the Visual Effects tab, click Adjust for best performance, and then click OK. (For a less drastic option, select Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer.

Disable the services that you don’t need
This is the most technically advanced of all these tips. If you don’t want to mess with anything too advanced or complicated, you can skip this one. Windows has more than 100 services running silently in the background with names such as Network Access Protection Agent and Shell Hardware Detection. These typically launch when your computer is started and they run until your computer is shut down. Some secure Microsoft services cannot be disabled, but most others can be. Many software companies also install their own services, some of which you can disable to conserve memory and processor power. You should not turn off a service unless you understand what it does and are confident you don’t need it.