Speed up your XP box for free

Not so long ago, Windows users cried foul when meeting its XP variation for the first time. Vast improvement it might have been over its predecessors, it was unusual, and it had its bugs. Much the same as with Vista today, even though many would say that where XP had where to go to get better, Vista hasn’t got that luxury.

Future will tell.

Still, even today, many XP users are appalled at the operating system’s lack of speed. They do the obvious, such as taking off unused applications, adding memory – and all to not much avail.

Funny, but instead of buying programs that claim they would speed up a dead cat, and never mind a computer, there are a few tricks out there that would do the job.

So, first and foremost:

Disable indexing services

While the application isn’t too big by any stretch of imagination, it tends to use perfectly and unjustifiedly huge chunks of RAM. What the application does is it works like a busy-bee librarian, indexing and updating the lists of all of the files your computer carries. Fine and dandy, but if you don’t go looking around for a file too often, you might drop it without any consequences. In fact, even if you DO search often, the impact is minimal.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Control Panel
  4. Double-click Add/Remove Programs
  5. Click the Add/Remove Window Components
  6. Uncheck the Indexing Services
  7. Click Next

Still not happy?

Optimize display settings

Displaying all the visual themes Windows XP offers wastes system resources. Fix it thus:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Control Panel
  4. Click System
  5. Click Advanced tab
  6. In the Performance tab, click Settings
  7. Leave only the following ticked:

    - Show shadows under menus

    - Show shadows under mouse pointer

    - Show translucent selection rectangle

    - Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop

    - Use visual styles on windows and buttons

    - Click Apply, then click Ok

Wait, there’s more:

Remove the desktop picture

Here you are staring at your desktop, with a background picture showing your pets, be they of human or animal persuasion. Beautiful, right? Right. Space-consuming, right? Right. Slowing you down, right? Absolutely.

So, without much ado:

  1. Right-click on desktop and select Properties
  2. Select the Desktop tab
  3. In the Background window select None
  4. Click Apply, then click Ok

And better still:

Switch to the Windows classic theme

You see, the classic theme is much less of a resource-eater. Mind you, it does look somewhat like the dreaded and dreadful Windows 98 or 2000, but the increased speed is worth the suffering.

  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Properties
  2. Select the Themes tab
  3. In the Themes drop-down menu, select Windows Classic
  4. Click Apply, then click OK

A word of caution: if you’ve done this, you might have to return to Optimize display settings and repeat the procedure. You’ve changed the settings, you see. But it’s worth it. Your patience will thank you for it.