How to optimize Windows XP for the best performance.








Click Start, point to Programs, click Startup, and then right-click each item in Startup and select Delete. Your Startup should be empty (See Pic.2)




2. Clean hidden Startup (Registry Editor)


Click Start and select Run.

Type “regedit” (omit quotation marks) in the resulting window. Click OK button.

Registry Editor window will open (Pic.3)




Maximize Registry Editor window.

Click plus sign next to HKEY_CURRENT _USER, plus sign next to Software, plus sign next to Microsoft, plus sign next to Windows, plus sign next to CurrentVersion, and click folder Run to highlight it (Pic.4)




With Run folder highlighted on the left, take a look at the right part of the window (Pic.5).




All items that you see start automatically whenever you start computer. Delete all unnecessary entries by right-clicking it, and selecting Delete.


Note 1: Removing items from the Run folder will not remove the corresponding program from your computer. It will simply prevent the program from loading automatically, and running in background, consuming valuable resources.


Now, repeat the same procedure for the Run folder under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (Pic.6):




Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Run. And delete everything that you don’t want to load automatically (see Note 1). As you see from Pic.6, I have a few items in Run folder. They represent Autoprotect services of my Norton Antivirus. You may have other antivirus/firewall applications loading trough Run. I wouldn’t recommend removing antivirus/firewall from Run folder. Everything else can (and should) go. Restart computer.


3. Remove useless programs (Add or Remove Programs)


Click Start, point to Settings, and click Control Panel.

Double-click Add or Remove Programs icon (Pic.7)




Scroll through the list of installed programs, and remove the once you don’t need (restart as needed).


Note 2: You may need a Windows XP installation disk for the following step.


Switch to the list of Windows Components by clicking Add/Remove Windows Components button on the left.

Uncheck Indexing Service, MSN Explorer, and Windows Messenger. Click Next button to remove programs.

Restart Computer.


4. Disable useless services (Computer Management/excessive GUI, etc.)


Right-click My Computer and select Properties (Pic.8).




Switch to Advanced tab, and click the first (under Performance subsection) Settings button.

Performance Options window will open.

Select Adjust For Best Performance option (Pic.9), and click OK button.




Click Error Reporting button on the bottom, and turn off error reporting: uncheck Windows operating system and Programs boxes, and switching to Disable error reporting option (Pic.10). Click OK button.




Now switch to Remote tab, and click Advanced button under Remote Assistance subsection (Pic.11)




Uncheck Allow this computer to be controlled remotely, and click OK button.

Uncheck Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer.

Uncheck Allow users to be connected remotely to this computer (Pic.12).




Switch to Automatic Updates tab, and check Keep my computer up to date option (Pic.13).

Click OK button. Restart computer.





Note 3: Set it to update at a time your computer will be turned on.  This will ensure that your computer will always be up-to-date with the latest worm/security patches.




Right-click My Computer and select Manage.

Computer Management window will open (Pic.15).

Maximize Computer Management window

Click plus sign next to Services and Applications, click Services, and switch to Standard tab on the right (Pic.15).




Change Startup Type for Alerter service by double-clicking Alerter, selecting Disabled from Startup type dropdown box, and clicking OK button (Pic.16).




Now disable the following services using the same technique:


Automatic Updates

Background Intelligent Transfer Service


Computer Browser (if you have a standalone pc – no network)

Error Reporting Service

Fast User Switching Compatibility

Help and Support (switch to Manual)

Indexing Service


NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing

Performance Logs and Alerts


Remote Desktop Help Session Manager

Remote Registry

Server (if you have a standalone pc – no network)



Upload Manager


Wireless Zero Configuration (don’t disable if using wireless network/Internet connection)


Close Computer Management window.

Restart computer.


5. Optimize Network Settings (Local Area Connection Properties)


Right-click My Network Places and click Properties.

Right-click Local Area Connection and click Properties.

Click QoS Packet Scheduler, and Click Uninstall button (Pic.17)




(ONLY!) if you have a standalone pc (no network), or just don’t feel like sharing anything (files, printers, etc.) with other network users, uninstall Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks. Answer No if asked to restart. Then double-click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), click Advanced button on the bottom, switch to WINS tab (Pic.18), and uncheck Enable LMHOSTS lookup, and select Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP. Click OK twice, and then click Close. Answer Yes to restart computer.





6. Disable Windows Messenger

(Or remove it Microsoft way – click the following link for details;EN-US;q302089)


Open Outlook Express (Start -> Programs -> Outlook Express). If you see Mail Account setup or Internet connection wizard, cancel it. Main Outlook Express window will open (Pic.19)




Click Tools, and select Options (Pic.19).

Uncheck Automatically log on to Windows Messenger option (Pic.20).




Click OK button.

Close Outlook Express.

Right-click Taskbar, and select Task Manager (Pic.21).




Switch to Processes tab.

Find msmsgs.exe, right-click it, and select End Process.

Close Windows Task Manager window.


Double-click My Computer, double-click C-drive, and double-click Program Files folder.

Find Messenger folder and rename it (Name it anything you want. I usually add “OFF_” at the beginning, so Messenger becomes OFF_ Messenger).


Double-click renamed OFF_ Messenger (or whatever you named it) folder (Pic.22).











the same way you renamed Messenger folder.

Close all windows.

Restart computer twice.


7. Defragment hard drive (may take up to 30 minutes)


Click Start, select Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and click Disk Defragmenter.

When Disk Defragmenter window opens, select a drive in the top portion of the window, and click Defragment button.


8. (Optionally) disable System Restore (Warning)

See Windows Help and Support (Start -> Help and Support) on how to disable System Restore.


9. (Optionally) disable Virtual Memory (also called Paging File)


Don’t disable Virtual Memory if any of the following is true:


You didn’t complete optimizations described above

Computer has less than 512 MB of RAM (memory)

Computer runs Mail, Database server or other resource-hungry applications in background

Computer usually actively runs more than five (5) programs at once.


Note: Some programs may refuse to run without Paging File (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, some games). However, most of the casual applications (MS Office, MS Works, Quake III, Unreal Tournament 2003 and almost everything else) will run just fine (well…, faster).


It’s very easy to disable/enable Virtual Memory. Try both options, and determine the one that fits your personal preference.


See Windows Help and Support (Start -> Help and Support) on how to disable Virtual Memory.

Run Disk Defragmenter after disabling/enabling Virtual Memory.

Restart computer.