XP Install for Minimum memory

By mike ·
Unfortunately I have some PC's with limited memory 128MB or 256MB, how can I best use winXP Prof, How best reduce memory usage, what services, task bars, icons, themes etc etc can I disable or remove.

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No Themes

by TheChas In reply to XP Install for Minimum me ...

Remove all themes, wall-papers, animated icons and everything else that makes the desktop look pretty.

Use a solid color background.

There is a TR download and article that lists services you can disable.

Next, think about the use and applications for these systems. Most AV and firewall programs are going to slow these down miserably. Do not install any software in a fast load or taskbar mode.

When you set up virtual memory, either allow Windows to manage the page file, or set the page file to no lower than 1GB. Remember, if Windows runs out of physical memory, it uses virtual memory. When both are full, Windows crashes.

Search the used component market and computer recyclers for compatible memory. Any additional RAM you can add will be of great value.


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Including Quick Launch toolbar ?

by mike In reply to No Themes

Thanks for the advice
By Taskbar mode do you include Quick Launch toolbar ?
What about desk top icons?


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I believe he means junk that lives in the tray

by seanferd In reply to Including Quick Launch to ...

pointless running processes that load at boot and live in the systray - things you can easily load as needed - messengers, printer properties, everyone wants to be a tray icon.

He is also referring to programs that preload bits of themselves at boot for apparent faster response times. I don't know if you can change this behavior for MS Office, but for example, Firefox will allow you to set it to do this, but I think it is off by default. Check and see which apps you use that might do this.

I don't think Quick Launch uses a large amount of resources, it's just another way to store shortcuts.

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Icons and Shortcuts

by TheChas In reply to Including Quick Launch to ...

Static icons and shortcuts mainly use up drive space rather than active memory.

It is the system tray and active processes that use up the most RAM. Every process listed under the process tab of task manager uses some resources. Installing and running only the processes you really need is the key to having a system with limited memory run smoothly.

Animated icons and cursors do use up more memory and CPU cycles than static icons and cursors.

As far as short-cuts and icons, I would have a preference to place them in the quick launch bar rather than the desktop. This assumes that these systems have on-board video which shares system RAM. Icons on the desktop will use more RAM than a clean desktop.


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Quick Launch should be fine

by Jacky Howe In reply to XP Install for Minimum me ...

Using the system configuration utility

Press the Winkey + r and type msconfig and press Enter.

To stop a program from running at start-up, go to the Startup tab in this utility, and uncheck the box next to the program. It can sometimes be difficult to understand what programs are listed on the Startup tab.

To get more information about a listing, expand the width of the Command column near the top of the Startup tab. Expand it enough and you'll see the start-up command that the program issues, including its location, such as C:\Program Files\Nero

The directory location should be another hint to help you know the name of the program.

When stopping programs from running at start-up, it's best to stop them one at a time rather than in groups. You want to make sure that you're not causing any system problems by stopping them. So stop one, then restart your PC. If it runs fine, then stop another and restart. Continue doing this until you've cleared all the programs you don't want to run automatically.

Each time you uncheck a box and restart your PC, you'll get a warning that you've used the System Configuration Utility to disable a program from starting automatically. If you don't want to see that warning, disable it by checking the box in the dialog itself.

After you've used the system configuration utility to identify programs that run on start-up, you may want to try disabling them from within the programs themselves. So run each program that starts automatically, and see if you can find a setting that allows you to prevent it from running on start-up.

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It's a pity you are stuck with XP Pro, because ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to XP Install for Minimum me ...

XP Home would run quite acceptably within 256MB of RAM.

I've still got an old Fujitsu/Siemens tower that I've used as a media centre for some years with only 256MB (Celeron 2.8GHz / Intel 845GL graphics) but with Windows XP Home, it runs admirably well. The only additional hardware I've ever installed is a TV Tuner Card and a second HDD.

Set the 'Effects' screen to minimal:
Start > right click 'My Computer' > Properties > Advanced [TAB] > Performance Settings [BUTTON] > click on 'Adjust for Best Performance > OK > OK. This will turn every visual effect OFF and relieve the stress on the low RAM.

As regards Desktop Icons, if you must have them, create a few new 'folder' icons for specific categories of program icons, then as the icons appear on the Desktop - place them in the appropriate folder. That way only a few icons will be visible at any one time. (Each icon is a drain on RAM for its placement on the Desktop.)

With limited RAM I found it far better to utilise the 'All Programs' menu system, that way if you weren't accessing it, it wasn't visible (and not using any screen-graphics memory, which was all part of the 256MB).

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Thanks for the assistance

by mike In reply to It's a pity you are stuck ...

I just want to thank you all for the great advice !

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