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Have you whipped Windows XP into shape?

By Jay Garmon Contributor ·
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Windows XP is ostensibly the do-everything desktop operating system for any and all end-users--provided you know how to tune the OS. Are you among the few who have mastered the secret art of controlling and customizing Windows XP? If so, we want to know about it! Share your best XP hacks and tweaks in this discussion, and your name (and tip) just might earn a spot in an upcoming TechRepublic download.

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My Hack Tool

by CXY In reply to Have you whipped Windows ...

I am using Iolo System Mechanic to hack my XP. It's good. It has utility to optimize Registry, too.

Two others are TweakNow PowerPack and TweakXP Pro. This two have the most comprehensive options to tweak XP.

Other than that, I also use O&O Defragmenter and PerfectDisk to defrag my hard drives.

That's how I keep my XP in shape. But, the most important thing is remember creating restore point every time you install patch(es) from Microsoft. I uninstall all patches that cause trouble, but sometime uninstall doesn't really works as expected.

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Lose the Windows XP Search Puppy and get a Real Search Tool for Windows XP

by thelamberts In reply to My Hack Tool

Although there are lots of XP hacks out there; this one is on the top of my list. "Getting Rid of the Windows Search Tool". Aside from the irritating animations; the Windows Standard search tool does not work very well on Systems Folders. Follow these steps to go back to a Real Search Tool.


Open the Registry Editor
Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\CabinetState
From the File menu,select Edit,then New,then String Value
Name the new value "Use Search Asst" (without the quotes)
Double-click the new value, type "no" (without the quotes) in the Value Data text box, and click OK
Close the Registry Editor, and restart the system.

You should now have a crisp, clean, fast search tool....oh yeah...it also works......

Marty......

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Thanks for the tip

by plum In reply to Lose the Windows XP Searc ...

Thanks for this tip.

I'm in the support business and find that I often gravitate to previous ways of doing things... mainly because they're familiar and I can do things faster.

Windows is evolving constantly... which means that technical folks are constantly in a learning mode. This isn't bad, it just is. But it makes support tough, unless tech folks share.

Thanks for sharing.

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No more Bubblegum

by DreadDave In reply to Have you whipped Windows ...

First thing I do when installing XP is kill the 'bubblegum' GUI. It just eats resources. I want my OS to be a tool, not a toy.
The next thing is killing off the dosens of (normally) usless services that are running by default.
A GREAT resource for finding out what services are needed (and not!) for your particular situation is:
http://www.blackviper.com
You'd be amazed how much more stable and smoother XP can run after 'trimming the fat'.
-DreadDave

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by pickleman In reply to No more Bubblegum

That's exactly what I do.
First thing I get rid of are the idiotic "special effects" that are completely unnecessary for an operating system. If I wanted special effects, I'd play a game or go see a movie.

In the Control Panel, I go into System Properties, then in the Advanced tab under Performance, I remove ALL checkmarks except for these two:
1) Show window contents while dragging
2) Use drop shadows for icons on desktop

The rest are all useless fluff.

Then after that's done, I immediately change the visual style to the "Classic" layout (as it was in Windows 2000)

Once that's done, I install TweakUI (PowerToys for XP) and configure it to my liking.

And last but not least, I eliminate all the useless services (including the ones that are potentially dangerous).

With a full load of applications, I have only 34 processes running on average at any given time, and with 1 GB of RAM, I always have 740 MB free after the O/S has finished loading.

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by pickleman In reply to

Oh and one thing I forgot to mention - I turn off the swap file usage. With a gig of RAM, the swap file is completely unnecessary.

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Swap File

by DreadDave In reply to

While it seems like with 1GB RAM it would certianly be ok to turn off virtual memory (pagefile) alltogeather, I HAVE seen programs that will use the pagefile no matter how much RAM you have.
For sure you won't see that very often, but it CAN happen.
On machines with such obscene ammounts of RAM, I usually set a very low size for min & max. that way windows isn't constantly trying to figure out how big the pagefile should be. Best of bolth worlds.
-DreadDave

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Installing memory chip

by ckarmadillo In reply to

I do not think this has anything to do with your discussion but if you could answer my question I really could use your HELP. I have windows XP & I need to add a memory chip & I do not know how to do this. I have been told to take the side panel off & there are no screws on the side panels. So I need to take off the back panel & there are alot of screws. CAN YOU HELP ME??? Can you send me instructions I would be very grateful. C. Adams ckarmadillo@aol.com

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Case Opening

by the24Frans In reply to Installing memory chip

Unfortunately, many cases open many ways. I went to the site of the company that made the case (or computer...) and it had pictures and everything on how to open the case. There are usually two screws on the back that attach the sides to the Back panel. When removed the panel usually has to slide back a little to disengage the tabs and slots that hold the panel tight, and then you can pull it out. There are also many places that will give you detailed instructions on how to add or replace memory. The co. that made your case, and the co. that made your memory module are your best bet.

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Adding Memory BE CAREFUL

by Aaron A Baker In reply to Installing memory chip

The Most important thing to remember, when adding "Anything" to a Computer is to Turn it "OFF" and Pull the plug.What a lot of people are not aware of is the fact that all is takes to Fry a CPU or destoy your Motherboard is a "Small" Shock,the equivalent of the same shock when you walk across a carpet and touch someone,that's all.
Then after you've pulled the plug,look at the back of your tower for 2 Main screws on the RIGHT hand slide door. There will be a few more but you will be able to tell which ones are the ones you want.Then Give the Side a GOOD tug,it will slide back off the latches and expose the interior of your Computer. "Now the important part".Be Careful how you insert your Ram Chip.
There are two notches on the Ram and the equivalent in the Ram slot. MAKE SURE THEY MATCH or the Ram won't fit. Never "FORCE PUSH" a chip into place,it will fit snuggly and the clips at the end will collapse inward and lock it in.
Once this is done, before re-installing the side, put the plug back in and try to re-start the computer. It it give you any sign of trouble immediately turn it OFF and unplug it agagin. Then find the Jumper pin that Clears the CMOS, it should be indicated on the Motherboard or in your literature. With the plug OFF Move the jumper over to the other pin and count to Five. You've just cleared your CMOS. Now PUT THE PIN BACK, and then plug in and re-start your Computer.
Upon re-start, hit the DEL key and it will go to the CMOS main menu. If you are unfamiliar with this process, start by using the START UP "DEFAULT" Settings,however,if at all possible,I would try to have it detect your system and in what order.It would be "a very good idea to get to know this area well" as this is the very heart of your Computer.It's pretty well self explanatory. "GO SLOW",read everything an then decide but if you have doubts,then use the SET DEFAULTS setting and then save your settings.Your computer should restart and will include the new Ram addition in it's Update. I strongly suggest that you become familiar with the CMOS Menus, these can usually be accessed any time at start up by hitting the [ Del ] Button right after your keyboard lights go on upon start-up.Who know's someday you may want to upgrade your CPU so this is defenitely worth the time to learn and it's not as difficult as it looks.Once your Computer has sarted up and is running OK again, Just slide the Side back on, "Gently" but firmly, return te screws and your done. Hope this has been of some help.
Good Luck and congratulations on the New Ram.It WILL Make a difference.
Regards
Aaron A Baker

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