4 Registry Tweaks That Will Improve Performance Of Windows XP Significantly

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.

How Can I Fix Low Virtual Memory Error in Windows?

There is always a wonderment as to when and what really happens when you get an error message, why you get it and how to fix it.First let’s see when actually you face this Low Virtual Memory error and subsequently the ways in which one could go about fixing this.

Virtual Memory is used when all of your computer’s real physical memory (RAM) is in use and you don’t have any space left. Windows will try to create virtual memory by grabbing a chunk of hard drive space and treating it like real memory.

The software or anything using that space cannot differentiate between real memory and virtual but you can know because the accessing will be slower, as it requires the activity of the hard drive.

When you encounter this message it means that you have exceeded the amount of virtual memory which is allocated to your system. So what’s next? Probably you would like to eliminate non-essential programs, i.e remove any unnecessary files or reduce the start-up selections to free up some memory.

This will help your computer run faster and be more reliable. One more solution is to add more RAM to your system.

To see memory related details on your system, follow the steps mentioned below (works good for Windows XP):

1. Click Start, then open the Control Panel.

2. Click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.

On the System Properties window, the type and speed of your processor (CPU) and the amount of RAM can be seen.

Note that Windows always seems to report that you have slightly less memory than you actually have.

For example, if Windows reports 496 MB of RAM, you actually have 512 MB.

(Memory will always be installed in 64 MB increments.)

Windows manages virtual memory by automatically shrinking or enlarging the paging file as needed so to configure just follow the below steps (Windows XP):

1. Click Start, then open the Control Panel.

2. Click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.

3. Click the Advanced tab.

4. Under Performance, click Settings.

5. Click the Advanced tab.

6. Under Virtual memory, click Change.

7. Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file (virtual memory) settings that you want to change. In almost every case, this will be your C: drive.

8. Click to select the “System managed size” option, then click Set.

9. Click OK on the remaining tabs until they all close and finally restart your computer.

How do I flush DNS in Windows, Mac and Linux ?

When do you want flush DNS?

You visit one of the most frequently viewed websites in your list and find it’s not loading up, it could be very frustrating at times.

The site can be down for more than one reason, the most common one being, the remote server being down. To ensure if the server is up, ping the server directly, and the response tells you the status.

Let’s assume that the servers working fine, but still the site does not load up in your browser! DNS failure can be the cause. And this us a common case if server is relocated and/or the site is moved on to a new server, as DNS propagation normally takes anywhere from 24 – 72 hrs to propagate and work fine.

This scenario is also true when you set up new domain on a server.

If the site fails to show up even after 72 hrs, you may have to clear your DNS cache to ensure the request is not going to the old ips of the site you are trying to load.

Clearing DNS cache will ensure your PC does not have old records of bad DNS entries.If the bad entries are not flushed then you need to wait up to 24 hours for it to be dropped from the cache automatically, which is a scheduled activity in some computers.

The following list gives you the set of commands to flush DNS on different platforms:

If you are on Microsoft Windows:

1. Use the command ipconfig/flushdns in your command prompt.

2. The ipconfig/displaydns can be used to view the DNS resolver cache.

If you wish to turn off DNS Caching on Microsoft windows then The client-side DNS caching can be disabled by using either of these two commands:

1. net stop dnscache

2. sc servername stop dnscache

Until the next reboot DNS caching will be disabled and to make this permanent user the Service Controller tool or the Services tool to disable DNS Client service startup type.

If you use Mac OS X Leopard:

1. Use dnscacheutil -flushcache

Eg: bash-2.05a$ dnscacheutil -flushcache

And if you are on any version of Linux:

1. Use nscd daemon which manages the DNS cache.

Restart the nscd daemon by using the command ‘/etc/init.d/nscd restart

Restrict Firefox From Eating Up RAM Usage

Firefox, undoubtedly is the best browser according to me, except those times when it fails to recognize some of my tags, which IE recognizes otherwise ;).

One of the few disadvantages of Firefox that makes me grit my teeth is, Firefox’s habit of using my system resources. Firefox, when compared to the other browsers uses a lot of resources and slows down the system. It gets worse if you put a few Add On’s and open a couple of tabs where you browse different sites simultaneously. They should optimize their multi threading a bit more I guess ;).

I had high hopes on Firefox 3 and was hoping those folks would do something about this issue and fix it, but darn!! …  seems like nothing has changed in this front. The browser still eats up my RAM!

However, I did find a cool little trick that one can put in use to optimize RAM usage by Firefox:

1> Open ‘Firefox
2> Go to the ‘Address Bar
3> Type in ‘about:config‘ and hit Enter.
4> Right Click on the page that loads up and select ‘New‘->’Boolean‘.
5> Enter ‘config.trim_on_minimize‘ in the box that pops up and select OK / hit enter.
6> Select the value as ‘True‘ and select Enter.
7> Restart a much better and faster Firefox.

This tweak won’t solve the Firefox-slow-loading problem completely, but u can say that the fix definitely gives a moment or two of relief.

Disable Auto Scanning For Viruses In Firefox-3 After Downloading

This tutorial will help you Disable Auto Scanning For Viruses In Firefox-3 After Downloading anything from the net.

Firefox 3 has a new feature. It scans all the downloads for potential viruses once the download is completed. This feature usually takes a few seconds to complete, but it was not the case when I downloaded a huge game, which is about 450MB+ in size. The process went on for a while, at one point I wanted to close the download shell, but I was not sure if that would harm my download in any way.

Actually, the scan did not make any sense to me because:

1> The files I downloaded are from an authority site, and we can be sure that there are not around to spread Viruses (I downloaded the game from Electronic Arts, EA)

2> I have an anti virus installed, which I am sure will do a better job when compared to Firefox (I have McAfee).

Guess feature is good for, folks who download from free download sites, and/or hacked software.

I searched the Firefox knowledge base and found out a way to disable the automatic scanning. You can disable the automatic scanning of downloaded files in Firefox 3 by following thise few simple steps:

1> Open Firefox browser and key in about:config in the URL bar and hit Enter.
2> A screen warning you “This might void your warranty! Changing these advanced settings can be harmful to the stability, security and performance of this application. You should only continue if you are sure of what you are doing“, might pop up. Select “I’ll be careful, I promise” button.
3> You land in a page which has a Filter. Type browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone and you’ll see under the preference name : browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone, which has a default status, type boolean and the value will be true.
4> Change the value to false from true.

You don’t need to re-start the Firefox browser for the effect to take place, the effect is immediate. Once you are done with the tweak, the downloaded files will no longer undergo the auto scan for viruses.

If I had been a part of this release of Firefox, I definitely would have put a check to see if the system already has a Anti virus which does this, than just forcing users to find their way to disable it!

How To Recover Lost Computer Data: Undelete Your Troubles Away!

One of the biggest frustrations working with computers these days is the accidental loss of computer data for more than one reason. At times it’s we who delete the files by mistake and at times a crash, system hang or viruses can delete the files. You’ll desperately need software which can recover the lost files when the files / folders are critical components that your computer may need. Over time these deletions begin to add up and we are all engulfed by the computer grim reaper.

Not to fear though, there are many options available at your disposal. You will never have to worry about those pesky glitches, power-outages, or human errors again. These errors often are the source of the deletion of your critical information. All you will need to do is undelete the information that you managed to lose.

There has been a growing market for software that will aid in the recovery of your lost data. This software is actually quite simple; all it does is undelete the files that were erased. Just like your text-editors, these data recovery software offer a similar “undo” feature. So there is a pretty simple system for recovering your information.

Another cool feature of these data recovery software involves the recycle bin. Whenever you empty your recycle bin all of its contents are removed entirely. Or so you thought. Actually that’s not the case. With these programs you can recover data that has been emptied from your recycle bin too.

These software are great for individuals. Every one likes to be independent and lost data recovery is a critical issue that you may not have enough time. These programs just help you achieve the same, they are so simple to operate that you hardly need assistance and no more having to call up to the local IT department or searching the internet for help. This is most useful if you are one of those who work from home or have systems at home.