Out with the old? Why?

As time goes on, your PC ages. So does your operating system, Windows XP, that is. It slows down, thinks about things a little more and responds a bit more slowly than it used to. Does that mean that your PC is no good? Should it retire? Absolutely not. No way.

Besides, how many of us have got the resources to buy a new machine with every passing season? So there.

Plain and simple approach will take you to your computer’s fountain of youth. There’s no need for any magic elixir, lotions or potions, just the knowledge that Windows has many enhancements and annoyances. Properly balanced and adjusted, they can make a world of difference in your computer’s performance.

A great tool for speeding up an older machine is SpeedUpMyPC 3. Try it by selecting the preceeding link for a free trial.

For starters, remove some of the items in your start-up folder, or system tray. See this related article on: Send garbage where it belongs. You can select and remove un-needed and non-critical applications. That will stop stealing valuable resources and memory. The start menu itself can be a tricky place. A system running with just the basics runs the fastest.

There is an icon for start menu and taskbar in the control panel. The easier way to get to it would be to right-mouse-click on the actual start button, and select properties.

Once there, select Classic Start menu, then click the taskbar tab at the top. Remove the checkmarks for Group Similar Taskbar Buttons, and Hide Inactive Icons. Click Apply followed by OK to apply your changes to the task bar and start menu. Please note this is also applicable to the other suggested changes that follow. Windows hides most of these details by default, but you are now able to see exactly what is running in your system tray.

Once you see clearly, start removing, mostly by uninstalling. That is the cleanest and safest way of doing things. Just make sure the application you’re removing isn’t one of those that make the computer tick. Check also you still have the original installation disks, either floppies or CDs.

A great tool for doing the above items is called WinTasks. Learn more about WinTasks at the TechnologyTips Software Library.

Next, lower your display colour quality. If you have a dedicated video card with 32 bit colour capabilities, you may be able to skip this step, but still, at the very least, lower the colour quality to 16 or 24 bit. To do this, right-click any unused area on your desktop, and select properties with the left mouse button. Select the settings tab, and finally the colour quality slider in the middle right area.

Next, change the desktop theme and wallpaper to the absolute minimum – while in the display properties menu, select Theme, then Windows Classic from the drop-down menu. Go to the desktop tab, select None from the drop-down list, and finally, on the Appearance tab, select Windows Classic Style. On that same tab, you can also select the Effects button and remove the checkmarks for transition effects.

One of the most important changes you can make to affect the speed and operation of your computer (other than buying and adding lots of memory) is to change its performance settings. Right-click My Computer, select properties, Advanced tab, and then the performance button. Change the radio button to Adjust for best performance. You can also disable the error reporting service by selecting the Error Reporting button, and disabling it.

Many of these changes will take the bells and whistles away, leaving you with a boring-looking computer and desktop, but the speed and performance gains will be well worth it on your next reboot. Sometimes, a good old stock system is better than an aftermarket system – hands down!

If you feel memory will do the trick to speed your machine up to newer standards, be sure to check out the Crucial Memory Advisor.