I know several people who have slow PCs. You know Windows has always been kinda slow...but you also know that your computer can be faster than what it is right now.
The following tips to clean up/improve a slow PC running Windows XP. Please don't do this if you aren't confident with messing around with Windows a little bit...if you know me personally, next time I see you I could try to fix the computer myself.
1. Remove worthless programs:
Go to Start Menu>Set Program Access and Defaults>on that window that opens up, choose Add and Remove Programs (on the left side of the window) and go through the list and remove programs that you don't use. After you have removed some programs, close out that window.
2. Remove worthless startup programs:
Go to the Start Menu again, click Run, type in "msconfig" (without quotation marks) and click Ok or hit the Enter key. A window will pop up telling. There will be several tabs at the top of that little window; choose Startup, (note: only do the following if you can make sense out of what is displayed) there will be a long list of programs that automatically startup when you boot. Go ahead an un-check items that you KNOW what they are and that you KNOW that they don't do anything (like games, other programs, ect) useful. You will want to keep your antivirus program, computer drivers and system files on at startup. PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL!!! I keep this as a general rule: if you don't know what it is, leave it alone!!! If you don't know what it is, but you still think it is not a necessary program to have running, Google it! What is Apoint...hmm...OH that is my trackpad driver! Don't want to disable that! :P After you have removed some programs from Startup, click Apply. Don't close the window just yet, though.
3. Faster boot settings
Now after you have done all that, go over to the tab "BOOT.INI" and click on it. There will be some check boxes. Check the box that says NO GUIBOOT. Note: all this does is disable the Windows XP loading splash screen when Windows is booting. It saves a little time. Now there is a box on the right side under BOOT.INI that says Timeout ___ sec. Change the number to 3. This should improve the boot time a little.
4. Disable eye candy
If you want to, you can disable all the neat "eye candy" or visual effects on Windows that make it look cooler. Your PC won't look as cool, but it will perform faster! Here is how:
Start Menu>right click on My Computer>choose the Advanced tab>click Performance Settings>you can select which effects to use by checking and unchecking the checkboxes in the window that opens, or disable all visual effects by choosing the radio button "Adjust for best performance."
5. Take a look at your system specs
Go to Start Menu>right click on My Computer>on that window that opens, it will give you detailed info about your computer. It will look sorta like this:
Microsoft Windows XP
Home or Professional
Version _____ (some year)
Service Pack 2 or 3
2398423984238423984 (random serial number)
CPU Type (Intel Core 2 CPU is an example)
T5500 (CPU model) @ (some number like 1.66 or 2.25) GHz or MHz (probably GHz)
Same GHz or MHz as previous line and some #.## MB or GB of RAM
If you have less than 1 GB of RAM (aprox. 1000 MB = 1 GB) then you should probably go to your manufacter's website and see if your model can upgrade the RAM, or Random Access memory, common known as memory. This will improve your PC speed.
Also if you have Windows XP SP2, consider upgrading to Windows XP SP3. Free update for Windows can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5B33B5A8-5E76-401F-BE08-1E1555D4F3D4&displaylang=en
It is large, so it will take some time.
6. Clean up junk files
besides making your PC a little faster, this will help you keep organized. delete files on your PC that you don't use--but beware! do not delete PROGRAMS...you must remove them via the Add/Remove Programs feature I talked about earlier.
Restart your PC and see if you notice a bit of difference. Please bear in mind that Windows gets slower as it gets older...most computers do (Macs are usually an exception, though, as they last longer than a typical PC!). Enjoy (if you can!),