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1 Performance Tech Tips (1-12) on 21st March 2009, 9:18 am

Performance Tech Tips (1-12)

  1. Turn off or reduce system restore to save hard drive space [/size]
  2. Altering page files
  3. Clean out prefetch folder
  4. Set priority for individual programs
  5. Cleaning up unwanted startup programs
  6. Defrag your hard drive
  7. Disable unnecessary services
  8. Disable the Disk performance counter(s)
  9. Turn Off Windows Indexing service
  10. Increasing desktop Graphics Performance
  11. Check and set the DMA mode on your drives
  12. Smooth out your mouse movement

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2 Re: Performance Tech Tips (1-12) on 21st March 2009, 9:26 am

1. Turn off or reduce system restore to save hard drive space

Windows XP includes a system restore utility which is capable of rolling your computer back to a pre-defined point in time, removing all changes made to the system since that point. This can be an extremely useful feature for rescuing your PC from viruses or faulty software problems, but it also eats up a large amount of hard drive space.
By default, system restore reserves a whopping 12% of each logical drive for itself. You can considerably reduce the amount of space system restore uses by cutting back on the number of restore points the utility sets for itself, or you can turn the feature off altogether.
To adjust system restore settings: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'properties.' Choose the 'system restore' tab.
To disable system restore, simply check the 'turn off system restore on all drives' box. Otherwise, highlight a drive and click 'settings.'

Using the slider, you can set how much space on this drive system restore will use for its restore points. Decreasing this number will limit some of your flexibility in restoring your system should it be necessary, but reducing the amount down to about 5% or less should still be safe enough for anyone with a 80GB hard drive. Click ok when you decide on the exact amount, or choose 5% if you are unsure.

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3 Re: Performance Tech Tips (1-12) on 22nd March 2009, 3:07 pm

2. Altering page files

The page files are one or more areas of your hard disks that Windows XP reserves as virtual memory. To put it simply, these reserved areas are used to contain any data that may spill over from your main memory.

Virtual memory is accessed by Windows just like physical memory, but is many times slower, due to the much slower speed of hard drive data transfer as compared to RAM. Windows XP actually uses the Page files continuously, regardless of the amount of free memory on your system, so optimizing these files can have a positive effect on the performance of your computer.

To optimize the page file(s), there are a few options you can consider.

Page File Placement:
Since Page files require intermittent disk access to write and retrieve information, putting them on the same drive as the operating system can compromise the performance of both. Of course, since most systems contain only a single hard drive, this is not usually something that can be changed. If your system contains more than one hard disk, consider placing a page file on the the non-OS disk and removing the one on the OS-disk containing the Windows files.

To do this: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'properties' then the 'advanced' tab. In the 'performance' section, click 'settings' then select the 'advanced' tab. In the 'virtual memory' section, click 'change.' From here you can choose individual drives and customize the size of the paging files you wish to create. See below for more info.

Page File Size:
By default, page files are created with a starting size and a maximum size. These values allow Windows to resize the paging file as system demand grows. It is more efficient to set an identical starting and maximum value so that no resources are wasted resizing the file.
To do this, choose 'custom size' for each page file and set the initial and maximum sizes to the same number.
As for what size to set them at, the best bet is to leave them at, or slightly below the default 'maximum' setting the system assigned, with a ceiling of 1GB. This is the amount of space that is reserved for the file, regardless of its current size. If you are creating multiple page files, split the amount between them.

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4 Re: Performance Tech Tips (1-12) on 23rd March 2009, 12:55 pm

3. Clean out the prefetch folder

Windows XP uses a system called 'prefetch' to organize and preload some of the data necessary for commonly used applications and files. A folder called prefetch is used to store the information the operating system needs to carry out this operation. After several months of use, the prefetch folder may become quite overloaded with older references to software and files that may no longer be in use.
It's a good idea to manually empty the older files out of the prefetch folder every few months or so. To do this: Navigate to 'c:\windows\prefetch' and delete all .PF files that are older than a week or two.

4. Set priority for individual programs

If you regularly multi-task while you are working at your computer, but some of the applications you use require more horsepower than others to work effectively (for example using Adobe Photoshop along with Word or other less demanding programs), you may want to consider setting a custom priority for the high-demand applications.
Priority is how the operating system determines how to share the processor time among applications. Most applications default to the 'normal' priority, so by setting your high demand application higher, you can increase its performance when multitasking.
To do this: Load the program you wish to change the priority for and press CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up the Task Manager. Select the applications tab and highlight your program. Right click the program and select 'go to process.' Now right click on the highlighted process and choose 'set priority.'
The higher you set the priority above normal, the more CPU time the program will steal from other applications when you are multitasking.

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