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.