Best Tips and Tricks to Tweak Windows XP Performance

Many hidden techniques make Windows XP run faster than usual. At Microsoft, the folks are more focused on giving us many features. They pay less attention to optimizing it for faster performance. This article gathers top-notch tricks that boost Windows XP speed dramatically. All these tricks are tested at the TechnoPark office with 4 XP systems. Here are the best tips to tweak Windows XP performance.

Best Tips and Tricks to Tweak Windows XP Performance

1) Overcome the Indexing annoyance.

XP comes with an Indexing system to help us perform a faster search for files in the system. It is pretty useless. It consumes vast resources, but its usage is minimal. Disable it without a second thought. Here is how you do it:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Control Panel
  4. Double-click Add/Remove Programs
  5. Click the Add/Remove Window Components
  6. Uncheck the Indexing services
  7. Click Next.
Set page Size in Windows XP
Indexing Service  in Windows XP

2) Optimize the PageFile

There is a reserved portion in the HardDisk called PageFile or SwapFile. This portion of HardDisk can be used as an Extension to the actual Physical Memory (RAM). In XP, the PageFile is, by default, allocated 1.5X times of physical memory. We can optimize the PageFile based on the amount of physical memory. Usually, if the Physical Memory is more than 512 MB, we need not have PageFile 1.5X times of Physical Memory. Rarely will we need that much PageFile. The best optimization for systems that have more than 512 MB of memory would be to have a 1:1 PageFile. For systems with less than 512 MB RAM, keep the default setting.

Here is the procedure to change PageFile Size:

  1. Right-click on My Computer and select Properties
  2. Select the Advanced tab
  3. Under Performance, choose the Settings button
  4. Select the Advanced tab again and under Virtual Memory, select Change.
  5. Highlight the drive containing your page file and make the initial Size of the file the same as the Maximum Size of the file.
Set Page Size in XP
Set Page Size in XP

3) Faster Menu Loading

This tweak removes the slight delay between clicking on a menu and XP displaying the list.

  1. Go to Start, then Run
  2. Type Regedit then click Ok.
  3. Find “HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop”
  4. Select “MenuShowDelay”
  5. Right-click and select “Modify.
  6. Reduce the number to around “100″

4) Make use of the DMA Mode

XP enables DMA for Hard-Drives and CD-Roms by default on most ATA or ATAPI (IDE) devices. However, sometimes computers switch to PIO mode, which is slower for data transfer – a typical reason is because of a virus. To ensure that your machine is using DMA:

  1. Right Click My Computer
  2. Click Properties
  3. Select the Hardware tab
  4. Open Device Manager
  5. Double-click IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers
  6. Right-click Primary Channel and select Properties and then Advanced Settings
  7. In the Current Transfer Mode drop-down box, select DMA if Available if the current setting is PIO Only.

5) Avoid Time wasting Display effects

Windows XPs Rich visual effects are much-hyped but less used. Most of the impact eat resources. Here is the Optimization:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Click Settings > Control Panel > System > Advanced tab
  3. In the Performance tab, click Settings
  4. Leave only the following ticked:
    1. Show shadows under menus, under the mouse pointer, translucent selection rectangle
    2. Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
    3. Use visual styles on windows and buttons

6) Faster Folder Operations

You may notice a slight delay whenever you open folders in the system. This is because XP automatically searches for network files and printers whenever you open folders. Here is the optimization to overcome this:

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Click on the Tools menu > Folder Options > View tab.
  3. Uncheck the Automatically search for network folders and printers checkbox
  4. Click Apply
  5. Click Ok
  6. Reboot your computer

Other Important dos:

  1. Free Up Disk Space
  2. Speed Up Access to Data with Disk Defragmenter
  3. Detect and Repair Disk Errors
  4. Protect Your Computer against Spyware Spyware

This post is contributed by Ramanathan.He is from Chennai, India. He is a full time blogger. He was with an MNC for more than 3 years. Driven by the passion of blogging, he quit his day job. His blog, TechnoPark is reality now in the blogosphere and he has developed a substantial reader base. He is a serious tech geek. He writes about Softwares, Internet, Web 2.0, Security and many more.


  1. @Thilak: I wish i could get some tip but i dont have one.Well lets see let me come back and see.

    I will try to ping u next time, Thought you had exams so didn’t wanted to ping u.

    @Knight: Xp might take some time to go away like 98 did.May be till then the tips will work for people.Keep up with the Guest Blogging there are lot more to come!!!

    Feel free to ask the post authors.They are keeping an eye on it

  2. Knight, Thanks for the comment. You are right. These tips are there for ages now. But the whole idea is to help newbies who are not aware of it. These tips dont expire. Timeless. Useful at anytime.

    Anyway, I may come up with new tips.

    Thilak, Thanks man. You are a die hard Mac Fan!!

  3. Nice tips , So when are you planning to shift to Windows Vista so that we can have some tips for that as well .

  4. Hey Thilak,

    No offense man. Just for fun. Ya, we all know it was a typo. Never mind. Your name and face are very popular in the blogosphere. Everybody knows you well.

  5. Hey Knight17, here are some fresh xp tweaks

    Some excellent tips all on one page to make your pc load faster, use fewer resources and improve efficiency. My fps in games has increased, overall boot time reduced and application performance increased. Contains some useful direct links to recommended software.


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