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Source for Stripping Down Windows XP

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12 replies to this topic

#1
tlcmd

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Hello,
Would like some advice, please. My current computer running Windows XP SP3 has a 2.66 Dual Core Pentium, 2 Gigs of RAM, and a 320 HDD. I'm 72 and use this computer for my music Jukebox, email, general surfing, word processing, occasional graphs, bittorrents, and forums. I am not a gamer. I run Microsoft Security essentials, CCleaner, and malwarebytes, keep it defragged, and run the diskscan.
Windows XP has a lot of things on it that I do not and never expect to use.

Is there a sour where i can find a list of programs, files, etc which I can safely delete which will speed up my computer and free up some more space?

Thanks,
tlcmd (aka Dick)


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#2
CharlotteTheHarlot

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A computer doesn't gain any "speed up" by deleting stuff except in those extreme scenarios where the system hard drive might be nearly full and consequently the operating system is struggling to use a pagefile resulting in huge reads and writes of a GB sized file. Or if you burn large images like DVD copying where large temp files are written and it bumps you up close to disk full status and it trips the pagefile resizing dance. ADDED: another extreme case is that the HDD might be badly fragmented and the system is so low on free space that DEFRAG cannot run. Extreme and far-fetched but possible.

Anyway, let's say you have 4GB RAM and let the system manage the swapfile, in this case there is an approx 3.5 GB pagefile sitting in the root folder. Now you do a hibernate and another file of same size is created. Now you copy a DVD and temp files totalling 5 GB or 9 GB are created ( and in cases of burn failures, some of these might persist, especially if the DVD copy program crashes and fails to clean up these temp files ). You can add up these numbers for yourself and see how quickly a system can slip into "low disk space" status and to compensate it starts to resize the pagefile and you get long and huge reads and writes that tie up the system with no explanation.

So in general, if you have less than 10GB free you are in the danger zone and should get more space. if you have more than 10 GB free you probably do not have disk space problems except in extreme scenarios. If you have 20 GB or more free you are in the clear, for now at least. Again, these are real round numbers that are subject to your installed RAM, swap settings, and computing habits.

IMHO, the best way to get free space is NOT to spend ages deleting files here and there, it is an inefficient use of time. But by all means, do empty the TEMP folders, particularly these ...

C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Temp
C:\Windows\Temp


... where there may be quite a chunk of wasted space. Look around for any stale disk images ( perhaps orphaned CD/DVD copies ). Also flush all browser disk caches ( like Temporary Internet Files ) and any "Download" folders and the like. If you have a decent file searching program then you can set it to look for all files that exist on the HDD physically larger than about 100 MB. Once you hit all these major stores of waste, you will then know your approximate maximum free space level, but there is very little value-add in spending further time scouring for MB and smaller sized files because it takes a whole lot of them to total into the gigabytes.

Okay, now knowing your absolute max free-space level, if you definitely need more space get a new HDD to replace the current system disk ( e.g., upgrade an 80 GB to 240 GB or 320 GB etc ) and use the tools that come with a new retail HDD which allows you to clone the current one in place duplicating it to the new one; after which you will finally pull the old one out and leaving the new one in its place and you instantly have huge new disk space available ( BTW, the old one sitting on a shelf makes a nice fallback if the new one fails or gets infected ). As an extra bonus, a new larger drive will often be much faster because of higher density, plus it naturally adds more lifespan to the system. If your system has SATA, you might get luckier still if the system is SATA II but the original HDD was SATA I for some reason, doubling the disk I/O. Lucky things like this are known to happen especially on OEM systems that were constructed using the most inexpensive parts available when shipped.

Now back to the original question ... Stripping down Windows XP features on disk is really not a great use of time IMHO. Too little to gain and you might remove something you want later. Stripping down Windows XP ( and 3rd party ) features that are running is something else entirely.

The real gain in performance is found by killing time-wasting "startup" applications and services. The two biggest time wasters out of the box are Disk Indexing and System Restore. I always kill them but others leave them running. Many other suggested tweaks are all over the internet. Look at Black Viper :: Windows XP Services for a nice comprehensive list of official Microsoft Windows services ( but not 3rd party items ). Additionally there are things in Startup folders and registry keys that can be toggled from running at bootup by using programs like System Internals :: AutoRuns. This kind of "tweaking" is necessary because so many 3rd party hardware and software insert themselves into "startup" locations. Such a list is just too numerous to create. Your best bet is to list the ones that you see and let others help you decide if they are necessary, or if you would prefer not to list them do it yourself privately by searching in Google.

EDIT: typos

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 17 February 2013 - 05:57 PM.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#3
ihateusernames

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Judging by the posted specs, your computer should be able to run XP very well. The OS should only take up a few GB, so if you have a 320GB drive that is a very small slice of the pie. Is there a particular reason you think it needs to be tidied-up?

#4
vinifera

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2 things that cause XP (and any other newer windows) to take huge space

1. system restore files
2. page file


both can be turned off (if I'm not mistaken) with rclick on my computer -> properties

if your "graph" business doesn't take alot of RAM, and you say you're not gamer, then you don't need page file, to which I think eats about 4 GB or 4.5 GB of your disk space

as for system restore, it is quite useless :P
you can clean its left over files (after you disable it first ! ) within Disk Cleanup (start - accessories - sys tools)

XP by itself is already small, so removal of whatever programs won't help you that much
you can speed it up (as already told you above by CharlotteTheHarlot) by disabling some of its services

Edited by vinifera, 21 February 2013 - 10:22 AM.

If you want true Windows user experience
try Longhorn builds: 3718, 4029, 4066

#5
jaclaz

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XP by itself is already small, so removal of whatever programs won't help you that much

Well, if XP is "small", than 2K is "tiny "and NT 4.00 is not even viewable without a big magnifying glass.... :whistle:

;)

jaclaz

#6
vinifera

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comparing to NT 6 series they are all tiny :P
beside look how huge his HDD is
If you want true Windows user experience
try Longhorn builds: 3718, 4029, 4066

#7
tlcmd

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Thanks to all of you. I guess my comprehension of the parts of Windows was incorrect. I was comparing it to an automobile where the more accessories you put on it and the heavier the load in the car, the more inefficient it is. Apparently, Windows, once the start menu is simplified, runs efficiently.

Thanks again,
tlcmd (aka Dick)

#8
jaclaz

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Apparently, Windows, once the start menu is simplified, runs efficiently.

NO, not only "start menu" items, a lot of the bloat is made by running services (which are initiated/loaded at startup, but not through the start menu, see the previous post by Charlotte).

jaclaz

#9
Kelsenellenelvian

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I also fully agree that blackvipers guide and services are the best way to speed up XP.

#10
Andromeda43

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WOW! Now you're playing in MY backyard! Game ON!

I've spent the last 13 years, collecting and utilizing speed up tips and tweaks for Windows XP.

I learned early on, that XP is loaded with every service that any person anywhere in the world running any programs would ever need. Whew!

Can you say "Overload" ???
I did go to the Black Viper's web site and I used his advise about what services to either Disable totally or at least put into Manual mode.
That can take a huge load off of the CPU and ram as the PC runs.
Doing those changes manually in "Services.msc" is one way to do it, but it takes forever.
So, being an old Batch file fanatic, I wrote a batch file to reset all the unneeded services. It takes only a few seconds to run.

Similarly, there are a number of registry tweaks that can GREATLY enhance the efficiency of Windows XP. Those too, I relegated to a script, so they take only seconds to apply. Then there is another Tip that I've not found an easy way to turn into a batch file or script, but it takes only maybe a minute to perform manually, so that's how I still do it. Here is the text for that Tip.

Shorten the Boot Time in XP, Vista & Windows 7

Go to the start button, choose run, then type msconfig and press Ok.
On the system configuration window, choose Boot tab.

Check “No Gui Boot”, then lower the timeout to a more manageable time.
I choose 3 seconds in stead of 30. (windows won’t accept a lower number than 3)

Next choose advanced options.
This is where you can choose how many processors you have.
Most modern PC's are duo core (2 processors) with some quad core (4 processors)
then choose OK. The Windows default is only 1 core.

Now choose apply and OK, reboot and you should see a marked decrease in boot time,
And an increase in Run-Time efficiency.


If I were there, it would take only a few minutes to effectively 'Double' your PC's efficiency.
Drop me a PM if you need more details.

Cheers Mate!
Andromeda B)

PS: For a more efficient PC, DO keep your PC clean of junk files and then keep it de-fragmented.
I suggest this be done on a regular WEEKLY schedule. Using Window's own Disk Cleanup, in extended mode, is a good place to start the cleanup process. There have been several very good write-ups on how to implement that.

Edited by Andromeda43, 06 April 2013 - 08:54 AM.

A person with experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.

#11
bphlpt

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For tweaking Windows services in XP, Vista, or Win7 the easy way, using Black Viper's recommendations, you could always use the free automated solution SMART. Hey, I'm lazy. LOL You can still easily manually fine tune it if you need to.

Cheers and Regards

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#12
tlcmd

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Many thanks to all of y'all for the replies. i will try "Black Viper."
I am also in the process of switching from Windows XP to a Linux rolling distro (Linux Mint Debian Edition) since upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 will necessitate upgrading my current hardware (ie: new computer..So am currently running a dual boot with the choice of Windows XP and LMDE. And most Linux distros run very well and rapidly on lower hardware resource computers.

I have only one Windows program which will not run completely on LMDE (JRivers Media Jukebox 8) which i can run on LMDE with WINE, but does not recognize my dvd/cd drive or runthe equalizer. Otherwise seems to work well.

Thanks again,
tlcmd (aka Dick)

#13
tlcmd

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I'll also look at SMART.
Thanks.




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