james debate
james debate

Friday 25 April 2008

Just to clarify: i dont write these 'how to' guides about anything unless I know what I'm talking about, which generally means they are formulated through a healthy mix of common sense, my own experience and a good deal of research. But of course I welcome anyone who wants to ask how I know about such things, and on all occasions am more than happy to answer such queries :)

Now on to today's how to guide. We've all been there where your windows computer (it doesn't happen with macs as far as I've seen, which is one of the many reasons I switched) starts to age badly, take long periods of time to start up when you switch it on, and lets face it, it sucks. Fortunately in most cases this is just one of those stupid things that Windows does, and can be easily fixed with only a few minutes' effort.

The biggest problem is that so often when you install new software, it adds itself to the boot list, that is, programs which load when you start up your computer. To see what is loading now and to pick and choose in Windows XP click on your Start Menu. Go to Run. Type: msconfig. You’ll be presented with tabs. You’re probably operating under Normal Start Up which loads all device drivers and services. Choose Selective Startup instead. Under Selective Startup I’ve checked Process System.INI file, Process Win.INI.file, Load System Services, Load Startup Intems and Use Original Boot.INI. If you are an advanced user and you know what you are doing you can select or deselect these boxes as you choose. If you click everything except Services and then click disable all, followed by OK, you’ll end up booting in Safe Mode. Our goal here is to cut back on the Start Up programs. Click that tab. There you’ll find a long list of applications like ALCMTR and hpsysdrv. I took the time to enter each of them in Google to search for what they did. Sites like processlibrary.com proved useful in determining whether or not I should enable or disable the applications on booting. Right now I’ve only selected about a third of those listed. My machine boots faster and I’ve notice no lack of performance.

While you are in MS Config, look under the "BOOT.INI" tab. You will see a box labeled "Timeout." It is typically set to 30, which adds a half a minute delay. Feel free to change it, but do not set it to less than 3 seconds. Close that tab, Click OK and reboot in order for the changes to take place. The first time you restart you’ll probably have a window pop up saying you’re in selective boot mode. You can disable the window while preserving your changes.

Then make sure that you are not loading Trojans or ad ware when you boot. Not only should you keep your anti virus software like McAffee or Norton up to date, or if you want a free program try AVG, but you should also load and install an adware remover like Lavasoft’s Ad Aware 2007 which is free for private use and is damn good.

Finally, at least once a month, clear out your Internet temp files through your browser, empty your recycle bin, move unneeded files to a back up drive and perform a disc defragmentation. In My Computer, right click on your boot drive. Click on Properties, Go to Tools then defragment. This will take time, so don’t run any applications including screen savers while performing this task. When your files are closer together they’ll load faster. You can also go through your cookies folder, deleting those you don't need.

Newer Post Older Post Home