There are little tweaks you can do to Windows to get more speed. These tweaks aren't hard to do, and you'll see results immediately.

 

 

  • Enable DMA
  • Direct memory access (DMA) gives your hard drive the ability to read information from memory without using the CPU. It can help speed up tasks that are disk intensive, such as accessing databases.


    To active DMA In Windows 98:


    Right-click My Computer and select Properties.
    Click on the Device Manager tab.
    Click on Disk drives. Then select your hard drive and click on the Properties button.
    Click on the Settings tab. Check the DMA check box if it is not checked.

    If the check box is grayed out, your motherboard chipset doesn't support the busmaster interface. If you have problems booting, reboot in safe mode and turn off DMA.


    To activate DMA in Windows 2000:


    Right-click My Computer and select Properties.
    Click on the Hardware tab, then select Device Manager.
    Click on IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.
    Right-click an IDE channel and select Properties (your hard drive is probably on the primary IDE channel).
    Select the Advanced Settings tab.
    For Device 0 and Device 1 under Transfer Mode, select "DMA if available." Click OK.
    Click OK and restart Windows.

    In some cases, you do not want to have DMA turned on if you are using an extremely old hard drive or if you're using a CD-R or CD-RW drive. You want to stick with the PIO mode 4 or the default setting. DMA can cause data buffer problems when used in conjuction with a CD-RW or CD-R.

     

     

  • Reduce your graphics to 16-bit
    You can make this change in the Display control panel. Find out more about the differences in color bit depth.
  • Two hundred fifty-six colors, 16-bit color, and 24-bit color are terms that describe "color depth," the number of colors displayed on your computer screen.


    Early monochrome screens displayed white, green, or amber text on a black background. Computers with those screens use a single bit per pixel to represent color. Since a bit has two possible states (1 or 0), each pixel can be in one of two states, on or off. If the pixel is "on," that means it is glowing, which shows up as white (or green or amber, depending on the screen).


    256 colors


    It wasn't long before people wanted more color on their screens. The next step up were screens that could display 16 different colors. This requires four bits per pixel. Four bits can represent 16 possible states because 2 to the 4th power is 16. But with only 16 colors, you still don't get a very realistic color effect.


    The next step up was 8 bits per pixel, which allows 256 colors. That's about the level of color you see in business graphics. When you get to 256 colors (8-bit color), you can start making cartoons and graphics that look like drawings. Icons, for the most part, use either 16 or 256 colors.


    16-bit color


    The 256-color scheme is pretty good for simple graphics but not for photo reproduction. As graphic displays on the computer got more sophisticated, people wanted to see photos on their computers and on the Web, so they added even more bits per pixel. With 16 bits per pixel (16-bit color) you get 2 to the 16th power worth of color combinations -- 65,000 color combinations. That's sometimes called a high-color display, and it's good enough for most graphics. Most games use 16-bit color.


    24-bit color


    It is estimated that the eye can resolve roughly 2 million different colors and shades. To get 2 million shades, you need 24 bits of color information per dot, or 24-bit color. This is called "true color."


    For almost everybody -- except high-end graphic artists -- 24-bit color is sufficient. However, there are displays that can go to an even higher color resolution. Using 32-bit color produces over 4 billion different shades.


    If you have a VGA monitor, it's your video card, not the monitor, that determines how may colors you can display. Most video cards can display at least 8-bit color, and almost all can display 16-bit color (high color). If you have enough memory in your video card, you can display 24-bit color (true color).


    Macs use different naming conventions. On the Mac, 16-bit color is called "thousands of colors" and 24-bit color is "millions of colors."


     

     

  • Uninstall unused fonts
    The more fonts you have, the longer it takes to load some applications.
  • There's no denying that fonts are fun. It's tempting to load up your Windows PC with a ton of fonts, all ready for you to use.


    There is a drawback to having a ton of fonts. Ever noticed that as you add more fonts, startup takes longer in Windows? All those fonts may be bogging down your system.


    According to Microsoft, "All font files are registered under a single key in the registry, and a registry key cannot exceed 64KB." Microsoft estimates that you can install between 1,000 and 1,500 TrueType fonts. Sound ridiculous? Depends on the user. But the general consensus on the Web is that anything beyond 200 to 300 fonts will slow your system.


    Fonts affect Windows startup

    Since Windows keeps all of the fonts in the Registry, the more fonts you have, the more adversely it affects the speed of your Windows startup. If you actually have 1,000 fonts in your system, you probably noticed that Windows takes longer than usual to boot.


    To speed up your startup, try removing some fonts (you never actually used Andale Mono anyway).


    To view all the fonts on your computer:

     

    Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Fonts.

    This opens the Fonts folder, a system folder that displays all your fonts and lets you see what they look like.

    System fonts

    Wait a second before you go hog wild and start deleting fonts. There are a few fonts that you cannot delete. They are system fonts, and Windows uses them.


    To find out which fonts are your system fonts, you need to know which version of Windows you are running. To do this:


    Click on My Computer and select Properties.
    The General tab should be open (if not, click on it).
    Record what is noted under "System."
    View the fonts on your computer by using the steps above. Switch the view to Details, which should list the fonts alphabetically. You want the information listed under Modified.
    Now look at Microsoft's webpage on how to determine the default Windows fonts. Find the version of Windows that matches your own. Microsoft lists a system date for each version (for example, Windows 98, build 4.10.1998 has a system date of 5/11/98). Record that date.
    Go back to your Fonts folder. Any font that has the same date as your system date is a system font. Do not delete this font.

    Deleting fonts


    To delete a font from your computer:

     

    Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Fonts to open the Fonts folder.
    Click the icon for the font you want to delete.
    On the File menu, click Delete. To select more than one font to delete, hold down the CTRL key, and then click each of the fonts you want to delete.


     

     

  • Minimize the number of apps that start on boot up
    In Windows, you can set an application to launch every time you start the computer. It's a feature that can be either a constant irritation or a timesaver.
  • In Windows, you can set an application to launch every time you start the computer. It's a feature that can be either a constant irritation or a timesaver. Here's how you make -- or unmake -- a program load automatically when you start Windows.

     


    Any program with a shortcut in the Startup folder will automatically execute when you boot into Windows. To add a program:

    Right-Click on Start and choose Open.
    Double-click Programs.
    Double-click Start-Up and add a shortcut for any program you want to load automatically.
    To remove a program from Start-Up, just delete the Shortcut.


    The registry location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run contains the paths to programs that run when your computer boots. You can edit and remove (or add, for that matter) the path to any program you like. We highly recommend backing up your registry and exploring your other options before modifying the registry.

    In Windows 98 and later, you can run the program called MSConfig, which provides a simple user interface with checkboxes for modifying files that contain programs and utilities that run on startup.


    If you cannot find a specific program you want to remove with either of the steps above and you don't have Windows 98 or later, search your config.sys, autoexec.bat, win.ini, and system.ini files for the errant programs and drivers.

     

     

     

     

  • Defrag your drive
    Defragment your hard drive to make files open faster. Is your PC slower than molasses? Do most files take forever to open up? If you've answered yes to either of these questions, then your computer could have a case of the fragmented blues.


    We recommend a Windows application called Disk Defragmenter to increase performance, reliability, and speed.


    The more you use your computer, the more scattered files become as they get rewritten to your hard drive. Disk Defragmenter will optimize your hard drive by efficiently reordering the data. Once started, the utility will run by itself for a few hours, so don't plan to compute during this process.


    To run Disk Defragmenter, follow these directions:

     

    Single-click the Start button, mouse-over Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then single-click Disk Defragmenter.
    Select the drive you'd like to defragment and hit the Settings button.
    On the Disk Defragmenter Settings menu checkmark "Rearrange program files so my programs start faster" and "Check drive for errors." Hit OK to go back to the first screen.
    Hit OK to begin the process.
    For a graphical representation of how it works, hit the Show Details button.
    Come back in a few hours after the process is finished.

    If you use your computer often, run Disk Defragmenter every three months.


    Troubleshooting

    If the process keeps starting over (one to five percent progress, then starts over), you need to run Disk Defragementer in Safe mode.

     

     

  • Clean OS install
    Back up your data, reformat your drive, and reinstall your operating system from scratch. This can help get rid of any unnecessary software that was installed in your OS.

     

     

  • Update drivers
    Drivers are frequently updated to eliminate bugs or incorporate other changes. To download and install a new or updated driver, follow these steps:
  • A driver is a routine program that links a device to a computer's operating system. Whenever you add a new piece of hardware, such as a CD-RW, to your PC, you need to install a corresponding driver in order to run the device.


    Drivers are frequently updated to eliminate bugs or incorporate other changes. To download and install a new or updated driver, follow these steps:

     


    Connect to the Internet.
    Right-click on My Computer.
    Click on Properties.
    Click on the tab marked Device Manager.
    Click on a listed device and a new window will open.
    Click on Drivers to find out what drivers you currently have installed on your computer.
    Click on Update and Windows will check to see if you have the latest driver. If not, you can update to the newest version if you wish.

    You can also find updated versions of drivers by visiting hardware manufacturers' websites.

     

     

     

  • Lower your screen resolution
    The screen resolution determines how many pixels are used to create the image on your screen. The more pixels, the longer it takes to display the image. Learn how to lower your resolution and other Display properties you can tweak here:
  • Have you ever wanted to change the look of your monitor. If you still think wallpaper is only found on walls, you should explore your display settings.


    Jazz up your monitor with this tip:

     

    In Start Menu, select Settings.
    Click Control Panel.
    Click Display.

    In Display Properties you can alter the Background, Screen Saver, Effects, Settings, and Appearance. You can also click on Output Device and Display Information to find exactly which type of monitor you have.


    Background
    Experiment with your pattern and your wallpaper. You can center the wallpaper, which puts the wallpaper in one box in the middle of your screen. Or you can tile the wallpaper which effectively covers the entire screen.


    Screen saver
    Opt for a scrolling marquee to show off your witticism to co-workers and family members. Click the drop-down menu for screen saver choices. Choose whichever image strikes your fancy, then hit settings to adjust the frequency. If you decide to have a scrolling message, click settings to type it in.


    Effects
    Change your desktop icons or hide icons when you view your desktop as a webpage. You can also adjust the visual settings. Choose large or small icons, colors, and so forth.


    Settings
    Choose your color pallette, size of icons, or the size of the display screen on your monitor. Choose Advanced Properties to enhance monitor performance.


    Appearance
    Change the color scheme and font for different areas of your display. For example, change your desktop to red. Browse the drop-down menu to find what you need to change.

     

     

     

     

  • Clean out your registry
    A cluttered Registry can cause problems. Learn more about RegCleaner and how it can get your Registry back in shape.

     

     

  • Turn off Active Desktop
    Active Desktop can be a useful Windows feature, but it can also be a resource hog.
  • The Active Desktop in Windows lets you see Web content on the desktop. Each Active Desktop item is either an HTML document, a part of a webpage, or an entire webpage.


    You can make the desktop your own personal and updated webpage with information such as stock tickers, sports scores, weather updates, and headlines.


    Many people do not use Active Desktop because it can be a serious resource hog and a distraction.


    To enable Active Desktop:

     

    Right-click an empty area on the desktop.
    Point to Active Desktop and click View As Web Page. A check mark will appear.

    To disable the Active Desktop, click View As Web Page to clear the check mark.


    To add an Active Desktop item, follow these steps:

     

    Right-click an empty area on the desktop and select Properties.

    Click the Web tab, and then click New.

    Click no, unless you want to use an Active Desktop item from the Desktop Component Gallery on Microsoft's website. (Microsoft does provide some decent Active Desktop fodder.)

    To use a website as an Active Desktop item, either type the site's address or click Browse to search your hard disk.

    Add as many websites as you want.

    Click the created box(es) you want to include and select Apply.

    Items will appear in your new Active desktop and can be resized to any desired size.

     

     

     

     

  • Turn off wallpaper
    Sure, it's fun and gives your screen a personal touch, but it might be slowing down your performance. You can turn it off in the Display Control Panel..
  • Have you ever wanted to change the look of your monitor. If you still think wallpaper is only found on walls, you should explore your display settings.


    Jazz up your monitor with this tip:

     

    In Start Menu, select Settings.
    Click Control Panel.
    Click Display.

    In Display Properties you can alter the Background, Screen Saver, Effects, Settings, and Appearance. You can also click on Output Device and Display Information to find exactly which type of monitor you have.


    Background
    Experiment with your pattern and your wallpaper. You can center the wallpaper, which puts the wallpaper in one box in the middle of your screen. Or you can tile the wallpaper which effectively covers the entire screen.


    Screen saver
    Opt for a scrolling marquee to show off your witticism to co-workers and family members. Click the drop-down menu for screen saver choices. Choose whichever image strikes your fancy, then hit settings to adjust the frequency. If you decide to have a scrolling message, click settings to type it in.


    Effects
    Change your desktop icons or hide icons when you view your desktop as a webpage. You can also adjust the visual settings. Choose large or small icons, colors, and so forth.


    Settings
    Choose your color pallette, size of icons, or the size of the display screen on your monitor. Choose Advanced Properties to enhance monitor performance.


    Appearance
    Change the color scheme and font for different areas of your display. For example, change your desktop to red. Browse the drop-down menu to find what you need to change.

     

     

     

     

  • Delete unused programs from autoexec.bat and config.sys
    Even if you properly uninstall a program, there may be stray commands left behind in the autoexec.bat and config.sys files that can affect performance. You may have to go into these files and remove the commands yourself.
  • Even if you properly uninstall a program, there may be stray commands left behind in the autoexec.bat and config.sys files that can affect performance. You may have to go into these files and remove the commands yourself.


    To do this:


    Click on the Start menu and select Find Files or Folders.
    Search for config.sys.
    Once you find this file, make a copy of it. Save it in a separate folder where you know you'll remember where it's located.
    Click on the Start menu and select Run.
    Enter sysedit.exe in the box and hit OK.
    You are now in the System Configuration Editor. Look for and delete references to uninstalled programs in autoexec.bat and config.sys.
    Save the files.
    Reboot. If you have problems rebooting, restore the autoexec.bat and config.sys files with the backups you made.

     

  • Enable 32-bit mode on your drives
    Why limit the data path of your drives? Here's how you can make sure 32-bit mode is active on your drives.
  • Enabling 32-bit mode on your hard drive opens up one of the bottlenecks in your system. Here's how you can check to see if your hard drive is running in 32-bit:

     

    Right click on My Computer and select Properties.
    Click on the Performance tab.
    In the Performance status, look at File System and Virtual Memory. If it already says 32-bit, you don't have to do anything else.
    If it says 16-bit, click on File System.
    Click on the Troubleshooting tab.
    Make sure the "Disable all 32-bit protected-mode disk drivers" box is unchecked.
    Click OK.

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