How can I make my windows XP Run faster ??

Learn to tweak windows XP by hacking the registry and ensure your system runs faster than it normally does. There are a lot of commercially available tweaking utilities, while using them you need to be cautioned about where you are buying the utility from. Best is to learn to tweak registry with the tools which Microsoft provides with XP.

Before tweaking – you need to know your machines limitations. There can be significant improvement in your systems performance, doesn’t mean that you buy a good old Celeron and by making some minor adjustments turn it into an gaming monster XPS 😛 . Set realistic expectations to avoid yourself from any kind of disappointment. Here are some of the tweaks I’ve got on my system. There are a lot more tweaks on my system, but I’m listing down 4 of them which I can remember right away. I’ll list more registry tweaks as and when I recall.

Registry tweak to increase Menu Speed in Windows XP:

XP came with a bang new interface, which is it’s default look and feel and according to me, I just love the way it looks. But there are a lot of complaints that when a user clicks on “Start” menu, there is a bit of delay before you see any action. Inspite of the initial complaints people tend to use it, while some users prefer reverting to the  “Classic interface” version which is an option in XP.

Here is how you can increase the default speed of the “Start” menu in Windows XP :

Go to the Registry key : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\MenuShowDelay . 400 is the default value. Change 400 to 0 and the delay is off completely.

There is a catch here, if you set it to zero, the menu speed becomes too fasat for you to activate any programs. Experiment with different values between 0 – 400. Find the speed which you are comfortable with, which should be a good point between speed and usability and set it to that value

Registry tweak to Place Windows Kernel into RAM in Windows XP:

Known fact is that any program on RAM runs quicker than that on hard drive and virtual / secondary memory. Kernel which is the building fondation of Windows XP access the Pagin Executve functions whichs slows down the system. Use the hack to create and set the DisablePagingExecutive DWORD to a value of 1.

Note: This hack should be perfomed only if the RAM installed is 256 MB or more.

Editing the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\DisablePagingExecutive to 1 disables paging and ensures the hernel runs in RAM. You can set the value to 0 if you want to undo this hack. For the hack to be effective, you need to reboot the system, once the changes are done.

Registry tweak to Alter Prefetch Parameters in Windows XP:

Pre-fetching is a process in which the system boot files are read into cache, to help faster loading. If handled correctly, pre-fetching will have a significant impact on systems total boot time. With this tweak, you have the flexibility to select only those components which will make use of pre-fetch parameters. It involves a repetitive process of clearing cache and making a note of the files that are gathered in C:\Windows\Prefetch (assuming your OS is installed in C:\ Drive), for each setting.

Setting the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher to 0 disables prefetching, 1 prefetches application launch files, 2 prefetches boot files and/or 3 prefetches as many files as possible.

Registry tweak to Disable 8.3 Name Creation in NTFS in Windows XP:

If you don’t know what 8.3 naming is then read this.

8.3 naming convention is for the older MS-DOS FAT file. On Windows XP this can possibly degrade the NTFS drives performance. If you have a strong reason to retain the 8.3 naming convention, go ahead, if you have no idea what it is then you can disable it to achieve better performance.

Set the Registry DWORD key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem\NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation to 1. Exit the Registry and reboot.


  1. DisablePagingExecutive:
    The description of this setting is confused and largely incorrect. By default Windows will keep the kernel in RAM whenever possible, regardless of any registry settings. Only in the case of heavy memory demand would it be paged out. If you have sufficient RAM this will not occur very often, if at all. The setting prevents this from occuring. The setting is intended primarily for servers with a well defined and limited application set and not for workstations.

    The description of prefetching is largely incorrect. Prefetch is NOT a cache. Prefetch files are used to optimize both boot and application launch times. Application prefetch files are referenced only after application launch, not at boot time. The default and optimum value for this setting is 3. There is nothing to be gained by changing it.

    Disable 8.3 Name Creation:
    This mat well improve performance, but not by much. But we warned, some older applications may not work if this is done. DOS and 16 bit applications will amost certainly fail.

    Larry Miller
    Microsoft MCSA