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How can newbies safely clean, optimize, speed up XP?


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#1
futuregeek

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Hi-

I have win xp, sp2, 1.6ghz intel processor
I have searched the forums and seen software recommended, but I dont have the know how to set the software to make sure I dont clean out anything necessary. I would like to go beyond the "disk clean-up" that comes with xp. I have already run ATF cleaner with trepidation and lack of understanding (everything seems ok, tho- so far). I found something called "Easy Duplicate Finder" because it seemed it could help clean up stuff I could understand, but it wont do the entire job to optimize, I'm sure. Is there a way to really optimize without knowing the settings? Easier software perhaps or what particular settings to create for the recommended optimizing software ?

Thanks so much, all responses greatly appreciated
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#2
1101doc

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ATF won't get you into trouble like CCleaner can. Wait a while before making the switch, and take plently of time to configure CCleaner before running it blind. When I use ATF I do not select cookies-I use Opera to control them and keep only those I want. I also do not have ATF always clean my prefetch. Rebuilding prefetch means slower loading apps for a while. (though it fractionally improves boot)

Now the bad news. (Which is really the good news!)

There is no magic bullet!

There are plenty of apps that claim to do the job, but they don't. And can't really. A good rule of thumb is: The more they make it sound like the ultimate final answer, the more likely it is snake oil.

Why is it good news? Cause you can do a better job of it yourself. It just takes a little (gulp) learning.
And it turns out to be fun.

Read all the pinned posts in the forum. Apply what you can as you can.
Take it a step at a time, and build on what you've learned.

I suggest that you attempt no changes except to your own personal user account. That way, if things go 'horribly awry' you can create a new account and start over quite easily.

My philosophy is: Simple is best. Many things can be 'automated,' but often that makes them quite complex. Most of my procedures are done manually. That way things don't get out of control. I avoid "Suites" in applications, and use a different program for each function. Much easier to troubleshoot that way.

I have posted a good 'getting started under the hood' guide on Vox: http://doc1101.vox.com/ it has web addresses of useful tools and informational sites. The 'links' are not 'live.' Copy and paste the URLs to your browser address bar to view the referenced pages.

One more thing. Avoid Registry 'cleaners.' I have never read a post in which anyone reported any problem being corrected by such an application. I have read many, many posts in which using a Registry cleaner started a serious problem. There are circumstances under which using a Registry tool is warranted. "Cleaning" is not one of them.

If you have specific issues with your system feel free to post back with them, and we will help get things sorted. Let us know how you are progressing. OH! And Welcome aboard futuregeek! Good to have another shoulder at the wheel.
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#3
Relemar

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I use the following software to keep my system extremely fast, also here are my specs listed.

Ccleaner (free)
Windows Washer
Ashampoo WinOptimizer
JKDefrag (free)
Advanced WindowsCare Personal (free edition)

JKDefrag, is an excellent free defragger. My system specifications, in other words my hardware is as follows:

Intel core 2 duo E6400 @ 2.13 GHz
NVIDIA Geforce 7900 GS
1GB RAM

My PC is lightning fast, I also run Royale theme.
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#4
PsychPosse

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Would be a good thing to make a "restore" point before you begin your cleaning.
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#5
futuregeek

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Thank you so much Doc for your reply and warm welcome!- exactly what I needed to hear :) Your blog is great and helps to have all that info in one place. As, always patience is the soundest way to approach much of life. What most brings me happiness is doing the art part of graphics- I guess I was just resisting all this programming-like stuff. However, it is essential and I realize in order to do the art securely and seriously, I have to be the geek- at least to a certain degree. I have decided to do my homework and try my best to get a full understanding of what I'm doing. I have got several books

Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Windows XP in 24 Hours

Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out Deluxe, Second Edition

Microsoft Windows Registry Guide, Second Edition (Pro One Offs)

Master VISUALLY Optimizing PC Performance

PC Magazine Windows XP Speed Solutions

Microsoft Windows XP Power Optimization

In no way am I attempting to like, "master" the registry in one week or anything lol- But, it should help me at least clean my puter and understand the backup process better so I can finally get on with using Acronis and put my mind at ease about a fatal puter crash. I'm sure I'll be back here in the forums soon!

I take all advice to heart about software and will definitely set restore points & check out ERUNT before doing any tinkering.

Thanks for all replies :)
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#6
1101doc

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You're going to have more fun this way, guaranteed. Enjoy!
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