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Guide for making your Windows run faster

By NFSFAN
Apr 29, 2008
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  1. Many times upon visiting the forums here on TS, I have noticed that many people complain about how slow their computer is, and how long it takes for their Windows to boot. In order to make life easy for everyone, I decided to create a guide on how to successfuly optimize and fine tune your computer to suit your needs, and welcome a new kind of fast.
    I will start off with the most important aspects, and gradually to the less important ones.
    Startup Programsany of you might wonder what lurks around in your taskmanager, and look at the processes dumbfounded. Well guess what..., many of those processes are not even needed for the computer to be able to function with all its programs properly. Many common users do not realize that most of these processes consume Memory, and can also hamper your CPU usage, by a great amount. This is the perfect place to start disabling and getting rid of processes that you do not want/need. There aremany utilities to doing this: StartupRun, "msconfig", Windows Defender,...,etc. Throughout my years of using a computer streamlined and tuned to my liking, I have found StartupRun to be the best utility that will allow you to disable unwanted processes, since it is small and best of all FREE!!
    I am not going to get into all of the processes that are safe to disable, but I will list a few very common ones.

    Common "Pointless" Processes
    -SSVHelper Class-->This comes when you install java on your computer, all it does is provide a command help interface which common users do not use.
    -SunJavaUpdateSched-->This process just updates java, which one can also do manually.
    -Windows Defender-->Useless when you have an AntiVirus. Disabling this will NOT disable Windows Firewall.
    -PDVD8LanguageShortcut-->Installed by Cyberlink PowerDVD 8, it is practically useless, and all it does it give the capability of changing menu interface language on the go.
    --RemoteControl8-->Installed by Cyberlink PowerDVD 8, and it gives functionality for remote control usage. If you don't have a remote, its pointless.
    --realsched-->Installed by RealPlayer; all it does is check the internet for updates, which is useless.
    --qtask-->Installed by QuickTime player; all it does is eat memory, while sitting idle in the taskbar
    --hpmon-->Installed by HP (printer/scanner); allows monitoring for networked printers (if your not on a network, it is useless)
    --Google Toolbar-->Installed by Google, when you install the toolbar through a browser such as I.E or FireFox. In my opinion, it should be completely removed
    --Yahoo Pager(ypager.exe)-->Installed by Yahoo Messenger; alerts you when someone tries to contact you. I reccommend disabling it, since it could pose as a security leak.
    There are millions of processes that can be listed, but getting into all of them would take a lot of time, and defeats the purpose of this guide.
    I would reccomend that before you disable the process, you type its name on Google, and there are websites that describe to you what each of them do. From there you can decide whether you want to leave the process enabled or disabled.

    Disabling Uneeded Windows Services
    Windows XP has about 60-70 services which it comes installed by default with, Vista has around 125. Most of the time, many of these processes are not all needed, and therefore can be disabled in order to shorten boot time, and increase performance. In order to disable Windows services you can: Go to Start-->Run and type "services.msc" or you can find it under Administrative tools in the Start menu.
    NOTE: "ALWAYS check the Dependency tab when changing a Service startup mode. YOU may not think you need the Service, but another Service might require it to run" <----Thank you Bobbye
    CAUTION: It is important, that one does not attempt to close random processes in TaskManager, because it can lead to lost/corrupt data. Most of the processes listed in TaskManager are needed by Windows for its own uses.

    Below you will find links to some websites that explain very well which processes you should and which you should not disable.
    Windows Vista Users:
    http://www.speedyvista.com/services.html
    http://www.blackviper.com/WinVista/servicecfg.htm

    Windows XP Users
    http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm
    http://www.theeldergeek.com/services_guide.htm
    You will find these links extremely helpful and easy to understand. It is important to take into consideration that disabling certain services without knowing what you are doing can most likely render your OS useless, so be CAREFUL!!

    Optimizing Boot Time & Shutdown
    Have you ever wondered why you are waiting such a long time for your computer to start up and turn off? Have you considered optimizing the boot or shutdown time? If you have not, then take a look below, as it can potentially help you tremendously in the long run.
    Optimizing for faster Boot
    msconfig
    1. Open the Start Menu.
    2. In the Search box, type msconfig and press Enter.
    3. Click on the Boot tab.
    4. In the Timeout section enter a number between 3-999 for seconds (Default 20). Normally it is better to put a time in seconds such as (5).

    Defragmentation of boot files
    For Windows XP users, one can use TuneXP, which has the option to do a "Ultra Fast Boot" Optimization, where it defragments and rearanges the boot files to the start of the boot location on the hard drive. Alternatively, which works for both Vista and XP users, you can use a 3rd party Defragmentation tool such as O&O Defrag, or Diskeeper.
    CAUTION: **NEVER run any defrag program without first running CHKDSK /F.
    If you defrag an HD with errors, live gets miserable and your data becomes useless!
    NOTE:
    Use Pagedefrag at least once per year, since it does two things normal defrag
    can not:
    1. defrag the pagefile itself
    2. defrag all the registry files
    **Thanks jobeard above info is very useful

    Fast Shutdown Optimization
    The below trick in the registry will allow for your computer to shutdown faster, by not having to wait for all the programs to send their kill signal.
    1. Open the Start Menu.
    2. In the Search box, type regedit and press Enter.
    3. In regedit browse to the following value: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
    4. In right pane, right click on WaitToKillServiceTimeout and click Modify
    5. Change the value from 20000 to something like 5000 or 7000.
    By doing this, you should notice a slight improvement in shutdown times.

    Optimization Programs
    There are many programs out there that are free and can clean your computer of unwanted data. This can lead to a cleaner more streamlined installation, and therefore boost performance. One of the programs that I've found usefull throughout my experience is: CCleaner, which has the abillity to clean out and optimize the registry and perform maintenance on the OS. There are others which I use, but they are not free however: WinASO, jv16 Powertool 2008.
    One of the best ways to optimize your computer is to defragment it once in a while
    (monthly/weekly) depending on often you install/uninstall programs. Windows has a built in defragment utility, but it is not as efficient as a 3rd party one like O&O Defrag and Diskeeper.

    Installing the newest Drivers
    It is very important to make sure you always keep up with the driver updates that a certain manufacturer releases. So it is good to make it a habit of checking for driver updates every so often. Links include:
    nVidia--> http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us
    ATi--> http://ati.amd.com/support/driver.html
    iNTEL-->http://downloadcenter.intel.com/default.aspx?iid=homepage hdr_nav2_download
    Creative -->http://us.creative.com/support/

    Uninstalling unneeded programs
    It is a good practice to remove programs which you don't use anymore, as they take up space, and just fragment you hard drive. It is important that after you uninstall a program, to make sure it has not left any traces on your computer check the following folders:
    C:\Program Files\
    C:\Program Files\Common Files
    C:\Program Data\
    C:\Documents and Settings\**UserName**\AppData\Local\ <--XP
    C:\Documents and Settings\**UserName**\AppData\Roaming <--XP
    C:\Users\**UserName**\AppData\Local\ <--Vista
    C:\Users\**UserName**\AppData\Roaming <--Vista
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Thats it, your computer should now be able to run more efficiently/faster than before you have performed any of these "optimizations". Eventually most people will come up with their own ways of what they think the best way of streamlining a computer is, but remember this is just a preliminary guide to help people who have little to no clue as to how to make their computer(s) run faster, and perform efficiently.
    thebat1 and JCB1981 like this.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    Questionable and may be dangerous. Consider:
    For standalone systems without networked programs (ie a multiuser accounting system), this might be ok.
    However, the object of waiting for the application to terminate is to allow it to
    finalize all activity and to FLUSH buffers and close files properly.
    If we reduce the wait time such that the system does a full shutdown
    WHILE the application is still cleaning up, this change can cause file corruption.

    As the time savings is trivial, I would caution that this is too aggressive to warrant the risk.

    caveat emptor.
  3. NFSFAN

    NFSFAN TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 340

    I agree with you somewhat. But I have never had any problem with a value of even 1000. Normally one shouldn't leave any open programs without saving their information before they shut down their computer. But however a value such as 5000-7000 is very safe, and should not cause any trouble.
    P.S. It would be good to sticky this, so people can read this.
  4. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,392   +36

    I would have like to have seen a special note when working with Services

    ALWAYS check the Dependency tab when changing a Service startup mode. YOU may not think you need the Service, but another Service might require it to run.

    I would also caution anyone from stopping a process in the Task Manager and not knowing what the process is for. While the actual number of running processes can be informative, it is also important to note it's source.

    These processes are better considered through the msconfig utility or a Startup program if one if used.

    What I would like to see included in all those "pointless processes" is ALL automatic update checking: Java, HP, Real Player, Quick Time, Google and several others do NOT need to contact the internet daily looking for updates. I sometimes look at the hijack this logs and am amazed at the latitude users give to these programs!
  5. NFSFAN

    NFSFAN TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 340

    You are tottaly right about the pointless processes. However the links posted, explain in detail which processes to disable, and how safe it is to disable that specific process.

    EDIT: I have added your reccomendations, thank you for your contribution to the guide.
    :)
  6. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,392   +36

    You're welcome. Now if we can only get the users to read it! Seems like we say this same thing over and over! You did a nice job setting things up.
  7. NFSFAN

    NFSFAN TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 340

    Thank you. I believe that if Julio can make it a sticky, users will definately read it more than if just letting it loose in the forums. I really hope that this can help many users with their problems.
  8. NFSFAN

    NFSFAN TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 340

    Any, suggestions or additions to improve this guide are highly appreciated. Don't forget to leave some feedback.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    Suggest using Pagedefrag at least once per year -- it does two things normal defrag
    can not:
    1. defrag the pagefile itself
    2. defrag all the registry files
    and by all means, don't go crazy and defrag at every boot!

    Speaking of defrag, NEVER run any defrag program without first running CHKDSK /F.
    If you defrag an HD with errors, live gets miserable and your data becomes useless!
  10. GawiCakes

    GawiCakes TS Rookie

    Useful guide. Thanks a lot.
  11. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

     
  12. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 2,057   +8

    You can use Bootvis (developed by Microsoft) to reduce up your boot time on Windows (XP upto SP2). There is some controversy on using it. I found it useful on my PCs.

    You can download it from

    http://majorgeeks.com/downloadget.php?id=664&file=10&evp=42bcbfb72b106c700fe6d18eb6c20dbe
    This link tells you more about Bootvis and how to use it.

    http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5034622.html

    A summarized procedure is

    1. Install it.

    2. Click 'trace' at the top menu bar.

    3. Click 'next boot', and click OK. The system will restart automatically. When the system reboots , Bootvis will automatically open, and show a report.

    4. Click 'trace' from the menu bar again.

    5. Click 'Optimize System' and click OK. The system will reboot again

    Your next boot should be faster.
  13. Appzalien

    Appzalien TS Rookie Posts: 96

    I use bootvis as well but I trace 2 times and then optimize, go to the bootvis directory (Program Files > Microsoft Bootvis) erase the two boot traces and do it all over again. I keep doing that until the traces size gets bigger instead of smaller.
  14. ChadDuke

    ChadDuke TS Rookie

    Is memory optimization really necessary using windows XP? I'm not seeing any big difference in performance. I thought XP has it's own memory mangement, but im unsure of this fact. Can anyone elaborate?
  15. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    Back in DOS with Stay Resident code, memory optimization was useful.

    In any modern OS, memory optimization is just wishful thinking :)

    Far more effective is to ensure that the Windows Pagefile and Registry are not
    fragmented.

    See http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic14680.html
  16. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,392   +36

    I have occasionally read over the years that running the memory 'optimizers' are discouraged because they themselves use valuable resources.
  17. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,916   +9

    Thread title changed from making PC run faster to making Windows run faster. These things wouldn't affect FreeBSD or OpenSolaris, for example.
  18. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    Precautionary Measures

    First, I’d like to add my vote to the motion that this topic be made a sticky. For now, I bump it to the top.

    As a contribution in the interests of security, I believe the following precautionary measures should receive due attention.

    Before you embark on system changes, make a System Restore Point or, probably even better, a registry backup with ERUNT. But best of all is to make a complete image of your C partition by using a specialized imaging tool, such as Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost or the free DriveImage XML from Runtime Software: http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm. With such an image you can restore your system entirely, even in the worst case when the computer refuses to start.

    Furthermore, do not execute all steps in one go. Instead do, say, 3 changes at a time and then restart the computer. Preferably work on it for a while before proceeding with further changes.

    These measures are advisable not only because mistakes are always possible, even on the side of the advisor (however unlikely) and especially the user, but also because systems differ and effects of changes are not 100% predictable.
  19. matoi

    matoi TS Rookie

    hmm.. just a clarification, PageDefrag can only be used on Windows XP/2000 am i correct?

    if so.. is there a similar tool that can be used for Vista then? or does the built-in windows defrag already perform the same job?

    thanks..
  20. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Vista defrags all the d@m time, to turn it off you need to change the tasks settings in Control Panel
    Just let Vista Defrag do the job :)

    Even XP defrag is good enough, you don't need all these 3rd party tools, unless you want to registry defrag or something. Just keep it standard
  21. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,367   +125

    I would assume this means the normal defrag will not do this, but I did think windowsXPSP3 defraged the page file.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897426.aspx

    Edit: I vote for a sticky too.
  22. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    Regarding pagefile defrags you can make your life much simpler! :) I'll explain

    Once Windows starts, the pagefile space is "locked-in-place" because Windows starts using it so it can't be moved. Normal Windows' defraggers run under Windows (i.e. after it's started) and therefore can't move that pagefile space.

    The Sysinternals Pagedefrag utility hooks itself into the Windows startup process in order to do it's job BEFORE Windows is running. Therefore, it can move the pagefile without interfering with Windows.

    By default, Windows controls your pagefile space and will increase the pagefile as it needs more space. This can be done while windows is running because it doesn't move existing pagefile disk space but simply adds to it (using whatever free disk space is available). This only makes fragmentation worse so you need to defrag the pagefile once in a while

    But why bother with this hassle? IMHO: Don't let Windows grow it as needed. Given you probably have the free disk already available, invest what you need for max pagefile space once upfront. Meaning you allocate your space once upfront, defrag it to, ideally, one contiguous block of disk space upfront and then you never need worry about it again! (Unless of course you ever add physical RAM in the future)

    To do this
    • Do a normal Windows defrag
    • Change your windows' settings under System Properties->Advanced->Settings->Advanced->Virtual Memory->Change
    • Set your Virtual Memory to Custom Size. Then set Initial Size = Maximum Size = whatever maximum you figure you'll need based on your current physical memory size
    • Start Sysinternal's Pagefrag tool and tell it defrag on next boot.
    • Reboot and you're done with it once and for all unless you ever add RAM in the future
    p.s I run with a 3.0 GB pagefile size that's already in ONE contiguous disk block! so i never want to touch it again (unless i add more memory)
  23. sumitcool246

    sumitcool246 TS Rookie

    nice forum

    i think this is a good post for me who is new in It , i m looking for various tools by which my pc run fast, i have ram cleaner and advanced system care which i download from www,techpost.com, nd this is gr8 , i m using it , nd my pc runs very much fast,., this is agood post for new ones.
  24. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    While LookinAround’s advised values would allocate plenty of disk space to pagefile, those who prefer a more conservative allocation can use values as described below:

    start > CP > System > Advanced > Performance: Settings > Advanced > Virtual Memory: Change > tick “Custom size”.

    Under “Total paging file size for all drives” you’ll see 3 values which vary depending on physical memory available, e.g.
    Minimum allowed: 2 MB
    Recommended: 1342 MB
    Currently allocated: 720 MB

    Now, under “Paging file for selected drive” (usually C), use the above recommended size as Initial size and twice the physical memory as Maximum size, e.g.

    Initial size (MB): enter the above recommended size (1342)
    Maximum size (MB): enter a value 2 times the physical memory, e.g. for a 1 GB physical memory enter 2000

    > Set > OK
  25. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    bobcat

    I think you're missing a perhaps subtle point.

    1) The thread title is about "Making Windows run faster"
    2) As part of that approach, my whole point is IMHO it's well worth comitting to the maximum page file size once and upfront. Then defrag your pagefile to try and get it to the "ideal" of occupying just one large contiguous block of space on your disk (ie. will you give you a speed/performance boost!)
    >> Not doing so means Windows will grow (and fragment your pagefile as it grows) at the price of performance
    >> One can keep monitoring and TRYing to defrag their pagefile every so often.. but why bother?
    ====> Modern disks are HUGE. IMHO i consider giving up some extra disk upfront to gain the performance. AND KEEP THE PEFORMANCE so I never have a future worry of my pagefile fragmenting. So i never need even look/check again (unless i ever add/change my physical RAM size)
    ====> PLUS: As your disk gets full AND your pagefile grows.. there's also no guarantee you can keep getting a large pagefile defragged to just one contiguous block unless you do so early and upfront (especially with a new disk before you start to fill it up with stuff). Then no worries about ever having to pagefile defrag again as you fill up your disk and no need to worry if windows has been growing and fragmenting your pagefile unbeknownst to you

    /* EDIT */
    See display output of PageDefrag tool (click the thumbnail for full view below). Seeing my pagefile.sys file always display as just 1 fragment is what i always want to see on my machine :)
    [​IMG]


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