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Windows XP Tune-up

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If you've had your computer for a while, and you've been using the Internet, chance are your system has become sluggish, you're getting more and more pop-up ads, and your email is mostly spam. Is it time for a new computer? No! You probably just need a tune-up. If you follow these steps, you'll eliminate the majority of problems users are experiencing recently, and be on your way to a more enjoyable computing experience.

Here are some suggestions:
1. Periodically, defragment your hard drive, and empty your temp folder (C:\Windows\Temp).

2. Run Windows Update regularly, or set it to update automatically.

3. Install an antivirus program, and keep it updated (Norton Antivirus recommended).

4. Scan your system with BOTH Spybot S&D and Adaware to remove any spyware. Next install Spyware Blaster and keep it updated, to prevent spyware from infecting your system.

5. If your ISP offers a spam filter, use it (most do). If you don't mind paying for a spam filter, Cloudmark Spamnet, and Qurb are recommended.
If you're getting tons of spam, change your email address, and only give it to people you know and trust. Sign up for another free email account (hotmail, yahoo, etc), and give it to everyone else. Use it when registering online, or providing to third parties. Check it weekly for legitimate email.

6. Stop pop-ups with Pop-up Stopper's free version, or the free Google Toolbar also has a built in pop up blocker.

7. Avoid tweaks. Unless you're an advanced user looking to squeeze some additional performance out of your system, you're likely to cause more harm than good. Windows XP is an efficient, fast, stable system right out of the box. Most tweaks will only make a benchmark run faster, not make a difference you can "feel".

Final comment, Windows SP2 update will include a pop-up stopper, and address some of the spyware and virus issues, but we won't see any real improvement until the next version of Windows sometime in 2006 (code name Longhorn). In the meantime it's every computer users own responsibility to keep their system running pest free. <_<
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I would agree with what the admin said, except I know one tweak that works with all Windows OSs and it is very noticable.

If you have a lot of extra hard drive sapce, you should increase your virtual memory.

virtual memory

<memory management> A system allowing a computer program to
behave as though the computer's memory was larger than the
actual physical RAM. The excess is stored on hard disk
and copied to RAM as required.

Virtual memory is usually much larger than physical memory,
making it possible to run programs for which the total code
plus data size is greater than the amount of RAM available.
This is known as "demand paged virtual memory". A page is
copied from disk to RAM ("paged in") when an attempt is made
to access it and it is not already present. This paging is
performed automatically by collaboration between the CPU,
the memory management unit (MMU), and the operating system
kernel. The program is unaware of virtual memory, it just
sees a large address space, only part of which corresponds
to physical memory at any instant.

The virtual address space is divided into pages. Each
virtual address output by the CPU is split into a
(virtual) page number (the most significant bits) and an
offset within the page (the N least significant bits). Each
page thus contains 2^N bytes (or whatever the unit of
addressing is). The offset is left unchanged and the memory
management unit (MMU) maps the virtual page number to a
physical page number. This is recombined with the offset to
give a physical address - a location in physical memory

The performance of a program will depend dramatically on how
its memory access pattern interacts with the paging scheme.
If accesses exhibit a lot of locality of reference,
i.e. each access tends to be close to previous accesses, the
performance will be better than if accesses are randomly
distributed over the program's address space thus requiring
more paging.

In a multitasking system, physical memory may contain pages
belonging to several programs. Without demand paging, an OS
would need to allocate physical memory for the whole of every
active program and its data. Such a system might still use an
MMU so that each program could be located at the same
virtual address and not require run-time relocation. Thus
virtual addressing does not necessarily imply the existence of
virtual memory. Similarly, a multitasking system might load
the whole program and its data into physical memory when it is
to be executed and copy it all out to disk when its
timeslice expired. Such "swapping" does not imply virtual
memory and is less efficient than paging.

Some application programs implement virtual memory wholly in
software, by translating every virtual memory access into a
file access, but efficient virtual memory requires hardware
and operating system support.

Source: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © 1993-2003 Dennis Howe

To change the size of the virtual memory paging file
You must be logged on as a computer administrator in order to complete this procedure.

Open System in Control Panel.
On the Advanced tab, under Performance, click Settings.
On the Advanced tab, under Virtual memory, click Change.
Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.
Under Paging file size for selected drive, click Custom size, and type a new paging file size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) or Maximum size (MB) box, and then click Set.
If you decrease the size of either the initial or maximum page file settings, you must restart your computer to see the effects of those changes. Increases typically do not require a restart.

Now I recommend (or more like was told that the best would be) that 1000 MB for both the minimum and maximum setting would show a boost o' speed. I've tried this on many computers and the unexperienced users noticed a quicker loading speed. But I'm not sure this causes stability issues...but XP is pretty stable to begin with.
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