Optimize Windows XP to improve both work and gaming performance safely. Windows XP’s default configuration is far from optimized. This guide will help you improve your overall system performance. I avoid using or recommending “all-in-one” Windows XP Tweak programs since many blindly adjust settings that have no affect on performance and can cause future problems. This guide is designed to be performed top to bottom, in sequence since some steps are required to be performed before others. Before using this guide make sure your system meets Microsoft’s Official: Windows XP System Requirements
Update – This guide is not designed to be used in combination with other Windows tweaking guides or other Windows tweaking software. It is also not designed to be used in parts.
Viruses not only reduce system performance but they have the potential to destroy data and allow a third party complete control over your computer. No PC today should be running without an update AntiVirus program. Updated means that the AntiVirus program should have a current virus pattern, reference or definition file from within the last seven days. Emailing, file sharing, disk sharing, and simply browsing the Internet can all potentially cause a computer virus infection.Run a free Virus Scan Online. Select “My Computer”, “Auto Clean” and then “SCAN”. Delete any viruses that can not be cleaned. Even if you have an AntiVirus program installed run this anyway. If a Virus is unable to be cleaned or deleted use the Sysclean Package for removal.
In the event the Online Virus Scanner is unable to clean or delete a virus, download the Sysclean Package and the latest Virus Pattern File (lptXXX.zip). Create a folder on your C: drive (C:Sysclean), download both files to this folder, unzip the “lptXXX.zip” pattern file into this folder, then run “sysclean.com”, check “Automatically clean or delete detected files”, left-click “Scan”.
Notes – The Virus Pattern File is updated on a weekly sometimes daily basis. Anytime a Virus is detected that your AntiVirus program or the Online Virus Scanner is unable to clean, you will have to download the latest Virus Pattern File for sysclean to be able to properly remove it. A larger numbered file (lptXXX.zip) represents a newer Virus Pattern File.
A free AntiVirus Program for those who do not already own a commercial one such as Trend Micro’s PC-Cillin, McAfee or Norton AntiVirus. Avast Home Edition includes full virus protection in an easy to use interface with free automatic updating. If you are currently using a commercial AntiVirus program do not install this but confirm that yours is updated.
Install All of the updates. Not just the critical ones. This may have to be run multiple times. Run it over again until it says updates available.
Notes – If a Driver issue arises that Windows Update insists upon installing a Driver version older then one you have updated, do not install the one from Windows Update. Use the manufacturers latest version instead and just ignore that Windows Driver Update. With Drivers, the Hardware manufacturer is the one who is correct not Microsoft. Windows Update will sometimes show a Driver is outdated if it is not “Microsoft Certified”. It is quite ok to use non-certified drivers so long as they are Official non BETA releases.
Update – Microsoft Windows Journal Viewer can sometimes conflict with Adobe Acrobat Reader when you open .PDF files, Error: “An installation package for the product Microsoft Windows Journal Viewer cannot be found.” If this is happening uninstall The Microsoft Windows Journal Viewer, go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Add or Remove Programs”. The Journal Viewer is only needed to read Journal files created on a Windows XP Tablet Edition PC. It is highly unlikely you will ever need to read these.
Q815411 fixes a flaw in Windows XP SP1. Changes to memory handling code result in programs which often allocate memory (which is many of them) can take up to ten times longer than normal to start. This Hotfix will be incorporated into SP2 when it is released. Install this update after installing SP1
Update – Microsoft updated their KB article to try and dismiss this issue as only affecting select users and one application that Microsoft has tested “internally”. Since it is common logic that Microsoft can not possibly test EVERY Windows application in existence and there is always a possibility you are using one or many such applications that do not allocate memory the Microsoft way, I would recommend installing this fix. Regardless, this fix is being included in SP2 for a reason. Special workaround fixes for single non Microsoft Products are never included via Service Packs. You do the math.
Windows Update will install the latest version of DirectX. It is still a good idea to check what version you are running and make sure you have the latest version of DirectX installed prior to installing any Drivers. Got to “Start”, “Run”, type in “Dxdiag” and select “OK”. Under the “System” Tab, “DirectX Version” check that you have the latest version that is available from the DirectX
Install the latest Official Drivers for your Hardware. Never install BETA or Prerelease Drivers. Only the component manufacturer will have the latest Official Drivers.
Network Interface Card
Notes – If you are having trouble identifying your hardware use:
EVEREST Home Edition – Download – Home Page
A professional system information tool. Quickly identify components based on their model and manufacturer, allowing you to download and install the correct drivers.
ion or the Optimize XP Forum