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I'm using a program called Quemu to run a virtual machine on another computer of mine. The computer I'm using this on is slow and has a lot of admin locks on it. I've gotten a copy of Windows XP to run in the VM but even on my computer, it runs extremely slow. This is because Quemu is completely portable because it doesn't utilize drivers. This allows me to use it even when installations and other things are blocked.

Now, I don't need a pretty VM. I just need it to be usable. I could live with its current speed but I plan on using it to develop software in VS2010. I don't think it will be fun.

What settings, options, files can I delete, turn off, change to make Windows XP as fast as it can possibly be? I don't need UI, I need performance.

Basically, what things should I do to tear Windows XP down until it is as fast as it can be without upgrading the hardware.

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What are the specifications on this computer? –  Simon Sheehan Sep 20 '11 at 22:41
    
Errr... it's a laptop, 4 gigs of RAM, an OK processor. Nothing too fancy. The main problem is that it wont get any hardware acceleration because it can't install the drivers for it. –  Xan Sep 20 '11 at 22:43
    
If you could tell me the exact processor and such, it may help since this was a "speed" issue –  Simon Sheehan Sep 20 '11 at 22:46
    
Well, I was hoping just to break XP down to get the highest speed possible for it, on any hardware. I don't care if it is actually fast, it just has to be usable. I'm not sure on the computers full specs. –  Xan Sep 20 '11 at 22:48
    
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You should visit the Black Viper website for an exhaustive listing of XP services and recommendations regarding what can and can't be turned off for a given set of functions.

I used this on an old laptop to enable XP to run for incredibly long periods of time. For instance, using a customized service group I was able to get 6-7 hours of usable DVD watching time on a 15" screen with a normal battery for use in airplanes by turning off all network and network related services.

Also, use Autoruns from Sysinternals to remove unnecessary start up entries, context menu entries, and unneeded or broken drivers. Using AutoRuns is more of a power user tool though, as there is little documentation beyond your own sense as to what items to disable or remove.

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+1 for Autoruns. –  jakub.g Sep 21 '11 at 10:44
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For the good start:

  1. My computer (Right click) -> Properties -> Advanced -> Performance -> Settings -> Visual Effects. Turn everything off.

  2. Run (Win+R) -> services.msc, go through the running processes one-by-one (yeah, can be kinda long, but it's worth it) and see which ones are not necessary. See Black Viper as @music2myear suggested or The Elder Geek (navigate A..Z in the top) - they have a very nice descriptions of all the processes in Win XP.

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More specifically, the list of services: theeldergeek.com/services_guide.htm –  jakub.g Sep 20 '11 at 23:37
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