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How to Speed Up Windows XP's Performance

Updated on September 2, 2012

This instruction will show you some easy tricks to improve Windows XP’s performance on your desktop or laptop computer. These steps do not require you opening up the computer any only apply to making setup changes in the operating system or reorganizing files. Here’s how to speed up Windows XP. You will only need your computer with Windows XP, with or without service packs.

Windows XP applies visual effects to enhance the look of the computer items shown on the desktop or any other operating views such as the list of folders or files. The visual effects include such features like showing shadows over menus, animating windows when minimizing and maximizing, smoothing out images, and many others. Disable all these effects to reduce the operating system’s overhead.

To remove the visual effects, go to Start and click on the Control Panel (see Fig 1). In the Classic View, click on the System icon (see Fig 2). If you are in the Category View, click on Performance and Maintenance (not shown).

After clicking the System Icon, you will see the Systems Properties window. Click on the Advanced tab (see Fig 3). Click on Settings in the Performance box. You will see the Performance Options window (see Fig 4).

In the Performance Options window, select the Visual Effects tab. Select Adjust For Best Performance and click OK and close the remaining pop up windows.

Your desktop’s wallpaper uses more memory space, especially if the picture is a high resolution picture. Do a right click on the desktop wallpaper background and select Properties. This will open up the Display Properties window (see Fig 5).

Every user loves to have a personalized desktop with a wallpaper picture that is loved dearly. If you are serious about making your computer faster, you need to remove the wallpaper.

Here are instructions for removing the wallpaper. In the Display Properties window, select the desktop tab (see Fig 6). Click on None for the background to get the basic blue background. Click OK to save the changes.

Having shortcuts and files cluttering your desktop is also a memory “hog”. If you want to keep the clutter but don’t want to organize them or delete them yet, you can just move them to a folder that you can call Desktop Shortcuts. See Fig. 7 to see an example of a Windows Desktop with few items. Having less items on the desktop will avoid draining memory resources and keep your computer running faster.

Avoid installing new software if possible. New software is designed to stretch the limits of the computer hardware’s power. This is especially true with games. Find older software in computer shows or online such as Ebay or Amazon.

If you use you computer to store images and videos, then one of the most easiest method of speeding up your computer is to backup your these files on DVD or a portable harddrive, flashdrive, or thumbdrive. Flash drives or thumbdrives are small and could be lost easily. To save your precious media files, DVDs and portable drives will do. I would recommend backing up videos and photos at least twice. Once the photos or videos are gone, they are gone forever.

To get your computer to a state that makes it as fast as when you originally bought it, is to backup all your data, format your hard drive and reinstall the operating system. Hopefully, you are experienced in installing operating systems properly. If not, get a computer smart, relative, friend or neighbor to help.

Fig 1.  Start and Control Panel
Fig 1. Start and Control Panel | Source
Fig 2. System Icon
Fig 2. System Icon | Source
Fig 3. Advanced Tab
Fig 3. Advanced Tab | Source
Fig 4. Visual Effects Tab
Fig 4. Visual Effects Tab | Source
Fig 5. Display Properties
Fig 5. Display Properties | Source
Fig 6. Desktop Properties
Fig 6. Desktop Properties | Source
Fig 7.  Clear Desktop
Fig 7. Clear Desktop | Source


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