Quick Tip: Improve XP performance by changing display options

Make XP run faster with these tweaks

Windows XP includes many visual features that do not directly add to or improve the functionality of the product. Examples of these features include the shadow behind the mouse cursor and menus, and animated windows.

The problem
These visual effects may look cool, but they don’t actually increase a user’s productivity. And, in some cases, they can be counterproductive. On many computers, these visual features cause negative side effects and considerably slow system performance. For example, a system may appear extremely slow while opening the Start menu or other program menus. This slowdown is typically caused by the graphics card and unoptimized drivers.

The fix
There are several ways to work around this problem. The first option is to check the manufacturer’s Web site for updated drivers. If this doesn’t help, it’s best to either purchase a better graphics card or turn off the visual effects that slow down the computer.

To turn off the visual effects:
  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the System icon.
  3. Click Performance And Maintenance if using the Web view.
  4. Click System on the next screen.
  5. Open the Advanced tab in the System Properties dialog that appears.
  6. Click the Settings button under the Performance section.

The Performance Options dialog will open, listing all the visual effects that can possibly slow down the system. Users can manually enable or disable individual effects or use one of the predefined settings.

Additional settings are located in the Display Properties dialog box. To view these settings:
  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Properties.
  2. Click the Effects button on the Appearance tab. A new dialog box with six additional visual settings will open.

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