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after some months from running my windows xp i feel its getting old and slower.

i always hear about tools and applications that can make the windows faster, such as registry cleaners, but i am always afraid from those applications.

Which steps you did and trust which made your xp work faster?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Check what is being run at startup using autoruns, and get rid of anything you don't need. Also, use CCleaner

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I second the CCleaner suggestion. It also provides a shortcut for seeing all programs that start up automatically, and it gives you an easier way to remove applications. – nathanbedford Jul 16 '09 at 17:03

I suggest not cleaning the Prefetch folder. See this article for reasons why this is not recommended.

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Duly noted, and post corrected. Thank you. – George Claghorn Jul 16 '09 at 15:30
  • Defragment HDDs
  • Uninstall all applications, which you didn't using.
  • Clear applications at startup
  • Set all services (Control Panel -> Administration Tools -> Services), which you didn't using to "Start Manualy"
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I right click My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Performance Settings, Adjust for best performance. That turns off animations and similar (you can see exactly what it turns off, there are tick boxes). It looks less pretty but makes a difference to performance.

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A little-known trick that I do for everyone who tells me that their Windows computer is starting to get slower is to raise the amount of Virtual Memory.

Here are the steps:

Go to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced. Under the "Performance" section, press "Settings", then chose Advanced tab again. The last category is Virtual Memory, press Change to change the values.

You will get a list with all your partitions.


For the partition where you want to make virtual memory, chose "Custom size". You must specify initial and maximum memory. For the initial size, put a value equal to your RAM Memory, and for maximum, twice. This is not a rule, you can choose what amount you want as long as your computer works. If you get the message: "Virtual Memory Minimum too low", raise the initial size value.

You'll want to change the amount on your main partition, setting it fairly higher than the current amount.

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The useful swap file size depends on the amount of RAM installed on the system. I have 3GB pyhsical RAM installed on my Windows XP laptop and only a 128MB swap file. Now, this would be a problem if the installed memory was 512MB and swap file size was fixed, but otherwise it is a red-herring. Finally, put the swap file on the same partition as your Windows installation or put it on a separate physical drive (as the master on the secondary controller if this is IDE). Oh, you don't need to mess with the prefetch files either. – Sinan Ünür Jul 16 '09 at 15:32

I know this is an old thread, but anyhow, here are the measures I took to speed up the old xp laptop of my girlfriend (Asus A3F, Centrino Duo 1,6 Ghz, 1 GB RAM):

Just my two cents ...


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