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My Windows XP installation at work is (painfully) slow.

How can I determine the bottlenecks?

I'm using TuneUp Utilities to clean my registry.
What else can I do to speed up my windows installation.


The SysInternals Suite is a nice toolset to determine the bottleneck. (esp. Procexp.exe & Procmon.ex)

Some of the performance hits where caused by:

  • AntiVirus:(eTrust Antivirus Tool)
  • Windows Search 4.0
  • Windows Update Microsoft Update
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Registry cleaning? – Corey Aug 20 '10 at 19:01

The only sure fire way is to do a fresh install and then limit what programs you put back onto the system.

If you want to evaluate software then use a virtual machine.

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+1 This might help, but if it's a work environment chances are some of the cruft he's complaining about is probably mandated by management. – hotei Aug 20 '10 at 19:20

Talk to whomever is in charge of maintaining the computer(systems guys, help desk, etc). Create some metrics about how it takes 3 minutes to to X task, 10 times a day. With a faster machine you'll gain a significant amount of productivity.

Use this to ask them to upgrade to a new machine or max the ram. This has worked for me in the past getting new software, new hardware, upgrades etc. Once its a business expense, it can be written into the budget.

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  1. Check you've got a decent amount of free disk space on the C: drive - if not, make some space or increase the partition size - as lack of space will grind your PC to a halt
  2. If you've not got a minimum of 1Gb of RAM, see if you can get some more. 2Gb is nice on XP, much less than 1Gb will hurt
  3. Make sure that any programs that auto-run on start up have enough RAM (e.g. MS Security Essentials will grind with less than 1Gb)
  4. Defragging won't hurt (but is unlikely to make a noticable difference unless the drive is very fragmented)
  5. If the slowdown is most noticable after logging in to your work domain, try setting up a local user account and logging in to that instead - if this is a lot quicker, then it's likely that your network logon script is introducing slowdowns (makes a huge difference on my work PC)
  6. And of course, you can ask your IT team to re-image the PC
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Check your startup folder for anything loading there

Run MSConfig, check the startup tab for anything loading there.

Still in MSConfig, put a check in hide microsoft services under the services tab and see what's loading there.

Remove/deselect anything you know you don't need from the above.

Defrag your drive under programs > accessories > system tools

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Have you tried CCleaner? I love this program.

CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download.

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What's slow? Bootup? A specific program? Your network connection? EVERYTHING? What are you comparing it to? And why are you still using XP?

Don't you know that Microsfot intentionally slows down their old operating systems with patches until it's so painful that you're thankful when they've forced you to upgrade? It's a trick they learned from IBM way back when... and it still works.

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I manage a number of XP systems here that perform just fine fully patched. Please provide data to back up this claim. – DHayes Aug 20 '10 at 19:26
Hell, maybe he skipped all that patching thing and just went the direct way ... and installed an antivirus software ;-) – Rook Aug 20 '10 at 19:26
Btw, what's wrong with XP ? – Rook Aug 20 '10 at 19:27
For what it's worth I like XP. I just don't like what's happened to it lately. It used to be lean and mean, now it's as bloated as VISTA with my XP system using 478 MB RAM usage at IDLE. No programs running except task manager. That laptop only has 512 MB (which was plenty in 2004 when I got it). And Yes, the Antivirus software was/is part of the problem. As was the "on by default" disk indexing service". I used to reinstall XP every other year just to clean out the cobwebs but now it doesn't help. – hotei Aug 20 '10 at 19:43
My work laptop running XP boots to 288MB in use, with 56MB being AV software providing real-time protection. I don't have any active systems circa 2001, though when I decommissioned one of my home systems with 2001 hardware in 2009, XP still booted and ran just fine with similar memory usage. I wanted newer hardware to handle more intensive programs, XP itself worked just like new. Keep a system clean and it will keep working for you. I don't let anything but AV software load on startup. – DHayes Aug 20 '10 at 21:04

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