We received several messages thanking us for Heather’s recent piece on speeding up your PC by preventing and getting rid of Adware, among them several people mentioned Windows XP seeming slow enough on its own to them without the addition of unwanted Adware, so I thought a follow-up piece on easy methods for speeding up a PC running Windows XP would be helpful too.
#1 Stop the Indexing Service – Windows like to index every file on your system for faster searching through Explorer, however whenever I’ve talked to people about this they overwhelmingly tell me that they never (or rarely) use the search feature in Explorer, so there’s really no reason to allow Indexing to run.
It takes up memory and CPU resources in the background, as well as disk space on your hard drive–so shutting this down will give a performance boost to your normal computing use.
To turn it off simply Right click on your hard drive from within Explorer and select the Properties option. At the bottom of the informational pop-up you will see a check box labeled “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching”
Make sure that’s unchecked and press the “Apply” button. Make sure to apply the changes to all files and folders on the drive.
#2 Minimize Windows Animation Effects – Windows XP offers lots of neat animation and graphics effects, however these come at a cost to performance. If your machine is slow or sluggish you can get a boost by turning these off.
Simply Right click anywhere on your Desktop and select “Properties”.
Select the “Appearance” tab and press the “Effects” button.
In the pop-up settings screen, you can uncheck everything, or just some effects as you desire, then press “Okay”, and then press “Apply”.
#3 Defragment Your Hard Drive – Either using the Windows Defragger tool or some 3rd party Defragger, you should defragment your hard drive at least once per month, I do it once per week, to keep your disk optimized and running faster–which means your whole system runs faster.
I use the free tool Auslogics Disk Defrag because it seems to be faster and stronger than the default Windows Defragger tool.
#4 Clean Your Registry – over time your Windows registry will become cluttered with bad, outdated and unnecessary entries, so cleaning these out will speed up registry reading and access which helps to improve overall performance.
You DO NOT want to start messing around in the Registry file on your own, one wrong move can crash your system and prevent it from booting up again. Fortunately, there are good, free tools available to help with this process.
What I use is CCleaner, and I always make sure to take advantage of the option to make a backup of your registry before every cleaning. I tend to test a lot of software, which means lots of installations and uninstalls on my computer, so I run CCleaner every week, but running it once per month is probably enough for most users.
#5 Lower Your Color Depth – Most people will never notice a difference between running their monitors at 16-bit or higher color depths, but the higher the color depth setting the more resources your display are using, so by lowering the setting to 16-bit or even 24-bit will provide a small boost to your system.
To change this setting simply Right click anywhere on your Desktop and select “Properties”.
Select the “Settings” tab and under Color Quality use the drop-down listing to reduce your color depth setting, then click “Apply”.
#6 Clean Up That Disk Clutter – before running your monthly (or weekly) Disk Defragmentation, run the Disk Cleanup tool on your hard drive to remove unnecessary or unwanted files that can get left behind by programs and build up over time.
To run this just open Explorer and Right click on your main hard drive then select “Properties”.
In the pop-up screen you will see the Disk Cleanup button, press it and follow the on-screen directions. After it completes is an optimal time to run your Disk Defragger.
#7 Clean Up Your Desktop – while it may seem convenient to keep icons for every program and file on your computer right there on the Desktop, the fact is the more icons you have on the Desktop the slower your Desktop will load and respond to your actions.
Windows has an easy Start Menu that you can organize to best suit your needs, as well as a Quick Launch toolbar for your most used programs, these are the places that your program icons should be rather than on the Desktop.
For files, if you don’t want to use the My Documents features to keep your files organized, then just creating a single new folder on your Desktop and dumping all of your individual files into it will make a difference. The bottom line is you don’t want a bunch of icons and files sitting on your Desktop if you’re concerned with performance.
There’s a lot more users can do to improve their PC performance, but I wanted to start with 7 and if this is helpful to readers I will write additional follow-ups with even more tips.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Gadgetwise: Q & A Tip of the Week: Windows Taskbar Mastery (gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Where Can You Find a Good Free Registry Cleaner (masbuchin.com)
- How To Uninstall Applications Efficiently And Remove Obsolete Files (makeuseof.com)
We write about the threats of viruses, spyware and malware a lot, but it’s still what we’re most often asked about so we are happy to continue trying to provide you with the best information we can find on the subjects.
The bottom line with these threats is that while a majority can be cleaned or removed from your system after infection, that doesn’t mean they didn’t do great harm before you found them, so the best thing to do is take every step possible to prevent them from getting on your PC in the first place.
This means having a good Firewall and AntiVirus setup on your machine, and allowing them to update your protections daily. This usually runs in the background and won’t interfere with what you’re doing on the computer.
There are free options for both available, as well as affordable commercial titles too. We prefer one of the commercial products out there simply because they seem to update against the latest threats a little faster than the free options do, and the level of support you can expect when paying for software is usually higher.
Still, if you can’t afford a few dollars for one of the commercial firewall and antivirus products then at the very least use the free options… just get your PC protected.
Software companies and experts from the National Education Association see a future where gaming devices become classroom tools rather than just home entertainment systems.
Jayel Gibson, author and adjunct professor at Southwestern Oregon Community College says “Gaming has enormous potential as a teaching tool”, and we couldn’t agree more.
Today’s teens and younger children are tech-oriented. Studies have shown that information is often better consumed in chunks, which is in-line with how computer and gaming devices present data.
Think of your favorite news network, whether it’s CNN or FOX you always see the anchor on-screen giving the story, with a related image over their shoulder, a bold related headline across their chest and a scroll-ticker along the bottom giving the latest unrelated news headlines.
For many adults all of this information presented in this manner can be distracting, but for a lot of adults and most younger people today that’s how we consume information. It feels natural for us, and we get more faster because of it.
If this can be applied to learning educators could easily double or even triple the yearly curriculum for their courses with the potential of also increasing comprehension and retention rates with students.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) is, or have never heard of an Offender Management System; most people have never heard these terms before.
Basically, VINE is a free service that allows victims of crime and concerned citizens to receive real-time information on the custody status of offenders in prison. People may also register to be notified when an offender is transferred, released or escapes.
Unfortunately, to date VINE has only been able to monitor about 75% of the incarcerated offenders in America. This has been because many smaller facilities lacked the technical infrastructure or resources required for the VINE system to communicate with them.
This is where the partnership between Appriss Inc. and Digital Solutions Inc. comes in. Digital Solutions provides a low-cost, web based and secure Offender Management System that even the smallest jails can implement, thus connecting them to the VINE system and affords the opportunity to provide a complete blanket of information coverage for victims of crime and communities.
I read yesterday that grade schools in Virginia have started teaching classes on Internet safety to children and their parents who often don’t have a practical understanding of the technologies their children are even using.
I know that if you look at the numbers there isn’t a greater risk from predators to children online than there is in the real world, heck I’ve even supported that argument in fighting against dumb and censoring legislation attempts, but I also think that just because the risk isn’t higher that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge it at all, or that we can’t take smart steps toward reducing it further.
Education is the perfect way to combat risk. That’s true with most things. The majority of people who have problems or end up in dangerous situations do so because they were unaware.
If you walk into an unknown situation, and you’re unaware of the dangers and consequences inherent to that situation, you’re bound to end up in trouble.
And since children are getting online at very early ages, and spending more time online as a whole with each passing month, giving them sound guidance and understanding of the environment is not only practical but seems like the moral thing to do if you care at all about kids.
I also read that Texas and Illinois are planning to start similar classes soon too. It’s a sad day (for this Yankee) when Texas is on the leading edge so I hope the rest of the country will begin adopting this common sense approach very soon. Let’s all put that “To Catch A Predator” show off the air by removing the easy victims.
SPECIAL NOTE: I actually love Texas, just poking fun at friends and family I have there with my comments