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 the 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 asking you 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 machines healthy 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 Restore check box.
If your computer isn't operating at top performance speeds, your daily productivity will start to slide. By implementing the simple operating system adjustments I showed you here, you can optimize XP and keep it running smoothly and keep your work on track to boot!