Now that we've explored the basics of how to configure your
system to run at an optimum level, let's take a look at a few additional tweaks
that you can make to other areas of your operating system to improve
performance. With just a few small maintenance adjustments, you can have your
XP machine well on its way to running smoothly.
- Delete contents of the Prefetch
folder-One little-known performance booster we've discovered is to periodically
delete the contents of the Prefetch folder. What is the Prefetch folder? The
Prefetch folder collects indexes of your most frequently used programs. The
index is similar to a database index in that it helps your system access
programs faster, whereas a database index helps your system access data
quicker. Over time, your Prefetch folder can get bogged down with obsolete
links that can degrade performance. We recommend that you open this folder and
delete files when your system performance is poor. All you have to do is click
the Start button, and then choose Run. In the Open text box, type the path
c:\windows\Prefetch and press [Enter]. You should now see the contents of the
Prefetch folder. The entire directory can be deleted by just selecting all the
files and deleting them. In addition, you're prompted with a dialog box askingyou to confirm your deletion. Click Yes.
Run Disk Cleanup-As we mentioned
earlier, running XP's Disk Cleanup utility is a quick and easy way to improve
the daily functioning of your system. You can compare Disk Cleanup to a
3,000-mile oil change on your car: both are needed to keep your machineshealthy and running.
- Running out of space? Turn off
System Restore Finally, if you notice that your system isn't performing as well
as it used to, you can save on disk space and improve performance by disabling
the System Restore feature. While this feature can assist you in
troubleshooting your system, the restore points it creates can occupy valuable
hard drive space on your system. Click the Start button and then choose Control
Panel. Double-click on the System icon, and in the System Properties dialog
box, select the System Restore tab. Then, select the Turn Off System Restorecheck box.