The Dr. Bill Podcast – Optimizing Windows XP, Part One! #25

Dr. Bill Podcast – 25 – (02/25/06)
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The truth is out… Linux IS cheaper than Windows!, Advertisements that are “too smart” for their own good, Geek Software of the Week: CurrProcess!, thanks to Sam for recommending it, send in more GSoTW recommendations!, How to use Knoppix to for Linux (and Windows), “Mactel” Linux is up and running, so what?, security issues for the Mac (don;t be be so smug Mac users!), Windows: Top Server OS in 2005! Yikes!, Have you ever wanted to play with VMware? Now you can!, Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie present: “How to Buy a Computer!”… Geek Culture on display!, Part One of the Doctor’s Prescription on Optimizing Windows XP! The Podcast runs DOUBLE length to fit it all in!

Here’s the Windows XP Optimization Show Notes for this week! (Part One)

Use an Up-to-Date Virus Scanner
Grisoft AVG Free

Do a Good Spyware Cleaning

Set up Spyware Protection

Remove Microsoft Java Virtual Machine

Install the real Sun Java

Use SP2 for XP
Update with all the critical updates from Microsoft

Use PC Wizard to find out about your hardware and make sure that you are running up-to-date drivers.

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “System”, “Advanced” tab, in the “Performance” section select “Settings”. Leave only the following checked:

– 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

Then select “Apply” and “OK”.

Optimize the Page File
“Virtual Memory is the space on the hard disk Windows uses as RAM. The Page File (Pagefile.sys) serves as temporary, virtual memory storage for code and data.” – Source

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “System”, “Advanced” tab, in the “Performance” section select “Settings”, “Advanced” tab, in the “Virtual Memory” section select “Change”. Change the values to:

– Initial size (MB): 1.5 x the amount of RAM in your system
– Maximum size (MB): 3.0 x the amount of RAM in your system (PF Size Limit = 4095 MB)

Then select “Set” and “OK” and reboot.

Disable Indexing Service
The Indexing Service in Windows XP indexes your files presumably to shorten the time needed to search your hard drive if you are looking for a specific file or part of a phrase inside a file. However, the constant indexing of files actually slows down system performance and does not benefit search performance except for extreme complex searches. – Source

Instructions – To disable the Indexing Service go into “My Computer”, right-click on all your hard drive partitions one at a time, left-click “Properties”. Uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching”. Select “Apply changes to subfolders and files”. If any files cannot be updated select “Ignore All”.

Instructions– To disable all Windows XP task sounds go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “Sounds and Audio Devices”, select the “Sounds” tab, under “Sound Scheme” select “No Sounds”.

Reduce Recycling Bin Drive Space Usage
In Windows XP the Maximum size of the Recycle Bin is set by default to 10% of your hard drive, when full, this can be a big waste of drive space. Reducing the Maximum size prevents excess space from being wasted. It is quite common to have hundreds of MBs of deleted files in the Recycling Bin and it is never emptied.

Instructions – To change the Recycling Bin Size, right-click on the “Recycle Bin”, left-click on “Properties”, select the “Global” tab, then “Use one setting for all drives”. Move the slider to “3%”.

Reduce System Restore Drive Space Usage
System Restore creates periodic snapshots of your critical system files (like the registry files, COM+ database, user profiles, and such) and stores them as a “restore point.” In case something goes wrong with your system you can revert back to a previous working state. The default size that System Restore can take up can be quite large.

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “System”, “System Restore” tab, for each drive partition highlight it then select “Settings”, under “Drive Space Usage” adjust the slider so System Restore is only using roughly 5% or a minimum of 1000 MB of disk space per partition and select “OK”.

Increase the Mouse Pointer Speed
By default Windows sets the Mouse Pointer Speed to an average speed, which can slow down the time it takes to move the cursor around the screen. Increasing this will allow you use your computer quicker and more efficient with less mouse movement.

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “Mouse”, “Pointer Options” tab, under “Motion” adjust the slider 1 to 5 steps closer to “Fast”. Only 1 to 3 steps is recommended. Then check “Enhance pointer precision” and select “OK”.

Notes: This is a personal preference and should be decided by the user. The tab that the Motion setting will be under can change with third party mouse drivers. Novice Windows users or users with Motion Disabilities will not want to adjust this much, if at all. Cheap and worn out mice can give poor responsiveness, it is recommended to be using a precision optical mouse.

That’s it for this week! Join us next week for Part Two!

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