Why Should You Optimize Windows XP?
Given that XP was the last ‘version’ of the ubiquitous Windows operating system before the relatively recently released Vista system, it is probably fair to say that it is still the most popular and common version still in use.
So, given that there are now estimated to be a billion people worldwide who have computers that are hooked up to the internet, that probably means that many millions of people are using XP right now.
And perhaps the most staggering thought is that almost every one of those people will be using their PC’s in a slightly different way, dependent on their own personal requirements and situation.
So, some people will be using their computers for fantastically intricate design projects, whilst others will do little other than the most basic word processing.
Some people will have installed complex software on their machines that requires lots of power to run, in order to do their jobs. Others will be creating video or watching them, playing games or listening to music.
And, in every case, Windows XP is driving these folks’ machines to do whatever it is that they require.
In other words, XP has to be all things to all people, all of the time!
Little wonder then that XP as it comes ‘out of the box’ or pre-installed on your brand new PC is going to be a long, long way from optimized.
Plus, whenever Microsoft releases a brand new version of Windows, no matter how much it was tested in advance, it will never be absolutely perfect.
Problems and bugs inevitably come to the light with the passage of time.
Steps Toward Optimization
Firstly, you need to make sure that you have all of the latest and most current Windows updates installed on your machine.
For most XP users, the updating process happens automatically, but you can check whether there are any updates available manually from the Microsoft website here.
Microsoft also released a service pack for XP a couple of years ago called SP2 that was supposed to fix all of the bugs and weaknesses that they had discovered in the original XP system.
Unfortunately, for many people, SP2 caused more problems than it fixed, so you should check that everything installed properly in SP2 as well, by checking the SP2 home page here.
You want to make sure that all of the drivers that you have installed on your machine are the current, up-to-date ones too.
These can be found at the XP drivers page which is located here, but before downloading anything from there, you should also ensure that you have the latest version of DirectX installed as well, as this is instrumental n making sure that any drives you do attempt to download will do so correctly.
How To Optimize Windows XP
Okay, your PC is now ready for a good spring clean, as getting rid of files, folders and programs that you do not need or use will speed up the performance of your machine immeasurably.
So, uninstall any programs that you are not using.
Go through your files and folders and get rid of any that you do not use, and all of the duplicates.
Pay special attention to video and any other multi-media files and folders, because they invariably take up he most disk space, which in turn is the biggest cause of XP slowing down.
Click on ‘Start’ and go into the ‘Administrative Tools’ and then ‘Computer Management’. Check whether the disk needs ‘Defragmenting’ and, if it does, then do it.
Double click the ‘My Computer’ on your desk top.
Right click on the drive that you want to ‘tidy up’ and scroll to the bottom where it says ‘Properties’ and left click.
Then hit the ‘Tools’ tab and ‘Check Now’.
This instructs your machine to run a comprehensive disk check, either immediately or later, when you next reboot your machine.
Finally, check your registry for errors, especially if you were uninstalling programs earlier (which is a major cause of registry errors).
Run a free scan using proprietary software like SpeedyPC, and, whatever registry problems the program finds, you will the need to download and install SpeedyPC to make sure that they get fixed thoroughly.
That should optimize XP as far as possible, and hopefully, you should notice marked improvements in the performance of your XP powered PC.