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Tweaking Windows XP Part 2

So many emails were recieved after our original XP Tweaking Guide that Gavin "Osiris" Ballard decided he would write a second one, as there's quite a few tweaks that have been discovered since the first article. Join Gavin and he shows you ven more new tips and tricks for Windows XP!
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Published Wed, Jan 2 2002 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
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Windows XP Tweaking Part Two -

IntroductionHey again guys and gals, I got so many emails after the original XP Tweaking Guide that I decided I might as well write a second one, as there's quite a few tweaks that have been discovered since the first article. As with the first article, we'll start off small and gradually get into the good stuff :).Now, before you read this article, you should make sure you've set up a couple of things that we did in the last article. If you've forgotten, just read the 'Before We Begin' section on the first page of the original XP Tweaking guide.Windows XP Security Flaw - Don't Pick It Up!A major security flaw was discovered recently in the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) feature for Microsoft Windows XP. Basically, the flaw allowed an attacker to send bogus 'buffer over-run' packets to a computer and actually manage to gain full control of a system. Microsoft quickly released a patch for this, and has urged all XP users to run it. Also, as it is possible to use this method of attack on computers running Windows 98 or ME with the XP Internet Connection Sharing Client installed, Microsoft has provided patches for these operating systems as well. I strongly recommend you apply the appropriate patch, and keep your computer safe.
Microsoft XP (Home & Pro Edition) - UPnP Patch - Download HereMicrosoft Millenium Edition - UPnP Patch - Download HereMicrosoft 98/98SE - UPnP Patch - Download Here
If you want more information about the patches or want technical details about the flaw, check out Microsoft's Official Bulletin Notice right here.Now that we've got that important matter out of the way, let's start tweaking!How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?

Windows XP Tweaking Part Two -

Mini-TweaksAs with the last guide, we'll start with the bite-sized tweaks, then move on to bigger and better things...Tweak #1 - Shared Documents In My Computer
By default, when you open My Computer in Windows XP, you see some folders above your hard drives. These are 'Shared Folders' (see the highlighted section in the above image), and basically provide folders for all users to share things. Personally, having these folders is annoying and unecessary. The solution is to remove these folders from My Computer, and the method is simple; simply navigate toHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace\DelegateFoldersin the registry and then delete the key {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}. Next time you open My Computer, the folders will not be there.Tweak #2 - Removing Restore Points For Disk SpaceWindows XP has a feature to create 'Restore Points', which are simply files that contain information about the setup of a system, so that if it crashes, all settings, et cetera, are not lost. However, sometimes Windows creates multiple unecessary restore points - gigabytes worth in some cases. To delete all but the most recent restore point, simply go to Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup.
Select the drive you wish to clean up, then 'Clean Up...', and finally, click Yes. Done!How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?

Windows XP Tweaking Part Two -

Tweak #3 - Shutdown on speedBy altering a few registry settings, you can dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes for Windows to shut down. To do this, first open up the registry editor and navigate toHKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Once there, find the value HungAppTimeout and make sure it is set to 5000 (that's the default). Now, in the same folder, look for the value WaitToKillAppTimeout. Set this to 4000 (the default is 20000).
Lastly, navigate to the folderHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\and change the value WaitToKillServiceTimeout to 4000 as well. Another thing that helps speeding up shutting down is going to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services and then setting the NVidia Driver Help service to Manual.Tweak #4 - Setting DMA Mode on IDE DrivesFor some reason, Windows XP sometimes sets itself to use a PIO transfer mode on IDE channels instead of the DMA mode. If this is the case, you can manually set the IDE channel to DMA mode, which will reduce the amount of CPU cycles being used on that device. To set this, go to Device Manager (press Windows-Break, or right click 'My Computer' -> Properties, then go to the Hardware tab, then finally click 'Device Manager'), then open up the branch labelled 'IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers'. Now, double click on 'Primary IDE Channel' and go to Advanced Settings.
and check the Transfer Mode scroll boxes. Set them all to DMA If Available, then click OK. Continue to do this for each IDE Controller, and you should be right.Tweak #5 - Brief Network FixThis isn't really a 'tweak' per se, but more of a fix. I had this problem when I first installed XP, though, and it can be incredibly annoying. Basically, in another of XP's weird quirks, it sometimes disallows network access to people, including the Guest account, meaning that most people cannot connect to your computer and access your shares, etc. To fix up this problem, open the Control Panel, go to Administrative Tools, and open up Local Security Settings. Now go to Local Polices -> User Rights Assignments.
Now find the value called 'Deny access to this computer from the network'. Right click on it and go Properties. Now, if the Guest account is in here, remove it by clicking it once then going to remove, then close down the properties dialog. While you're in the User Right Assignments dialog, check the 'Access this computer from the network' setting, and make sure 'Everyone' is in there.
If you were having trouble trying to access computers over a network, hopefully these few adjustments will help.How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?

Windows XP Tweaking Part Two -

Tweak #6 - The XP PrefetcherWith Windows XP comes a service called the Prefetcher. This service monitors which programs initialize when Windows boots, then in future, fetches them quickly. The Prefetcher is enabled by default, but you can improve its performance. Simply navigate toHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParametersin the registry and find the value EnablePrefetcher. Most likely, it will be set to 3. The recommended setting for the prefetcher is 5, and that's what works best for me. Feel free to play around with it a bit, though, and find out what works best for you.
It is possible to disable the Prefetcher by setting the value to 0, but the only reasons you might want to do this is if you wanted to test a machine in a lab environment.Tweak #7 - ZIP FoldersA really quick tweak... Windows XP has built-in support for .ZIP files, so that you can view them as normal folders. However, the system uses a sizeable portion of resources doing this, so disabling this feature can increase performance. It's easy to do, you just have to un-register the zipfldr.dll, by going to Start -> Run... and typingregsvr32 /u zipfldr.dllthen pressing Enter.Tweak #8 - Unloading DLLs
                         
Explorer often caches DLL files in memory for a period of time after they have finished being used. This can result in large amounts of memory being taken up by DLL files that are not even being used. To stop this happening, navigate toHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ExplorerNow, you have to create a new sub-key called AlwaysUnloadDLL with a default value of 1.
If you want to disable this tweak, just delete the key. Note: Windows has to restart for this tweak to take effect.How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?

Windows XP Tweaking Part Two -

Tweak #9 - HibernationAnother really quick and easy tweak - if you're not going to be using Hibernation (as most people don't), make sure it is disabled, as Windows reserves an amount of Hard Drive space equal to that of your RAM for hibernation. To disable Hibernation, go to Control Panel -> Power Options -> Hibernate Tab.
As you can see, for people with larger amounts of RAM, this tweak can free up large portions of space.Tweak #10 - QoS TweakageWith Windows XP comes a long acronym - the QoSRRP. This stands for Quality of Service Resource Reservation Protocol. Basically, programs either use QoS APIs and are passed through QoS when trying to access information through whatever bandwidth is available, or they are passed to another API called TCI. One of the differences between QoS and TCI is that it is possible to reserve bandwidth for QoS applications. This is great if you are using QoS applications, but if you don't use any, it means that a percentage (20% by default) of your bandwidth is sitting unused.To change this, we have to go to Start -> Run..., then type 'gpedit.msc'. Now, open the branches Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Network -> QoS Packet Scheduler.
Now, double-click the option in the right-hand window 'Limit reservable bandwidth', and then set it to Enabled, and the Bandwidth Limit to 0%.
Now, you should have more free bandwidth to play with (20%, hopefully :).How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?

Windows XP Tweaking Part Two -

Tweak #11 - L2 Cache TweakageThe L2, or second-level, cache, is an integral part of your CPU. However, XP is very shoddy at detecting it, so setting it manually is sometimes necessary. It's easy to do, though, you simply have to navigate toHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\in the registry and find the value SecondLevelDataCache. You must then adjust it to the value (in kilobytes) of the L2 Cache of your processor.
You should be able to find the L2 Cache value of your processor from its manufacturer.NOTE: Sorry about this people, but the original version of this article showed me, in the above tweak, entering data in Hexadecimal mode. The L2 Cache of your processor should be entered in Decimal mode. Sorry, guys :(.Tweak #12+ - TweakUtilsFinally, for those of you looking to squeeze the most out of your XP experience, there are a couple of programs floating around that serve to tweak XP even futher. They are;Microsoft's PowerToys - Download HereThese PowerToys were developed by the XP team after the release of XP, and include things like Power Calculators, Super Fast User Switching, and improved Alt-Tab menus.Microsoft's BootVis.exe - Download HereThis is another tool developed by the Microsoft Windows XP development team. It was designed to aid in decreasing boot times, and has been very effective at that task.Xteq X-Setup - Download HereA third-party tool, great for tweaking all versions of Windows, including XP.That's all, folks!Well, that does it for the second part of the Windows XP tweaking guide. I'd like to thank Leigh "Grim Reaper" for putting me on the trail of a couple of tweaks. Thanks mate! I hope this installment helped you get even more out of your systems, and if you have any questions, comments, et cetera, drop me a line at gavinballard@tweaktown.com or, post around in the TweakTown Forums.Have some great Tweakage!-Gavin "Osiris" BallardHow much to upgrade to x64 Edition?

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