Technology content trusted in North America and globally since 1999
8,193 Reviews & Articles | 61,991 News Posts

WinXP Tweaking: From Reformat to Relax

By: Koroush Ghazi | Guides | Posted: Jul 26, 2002 4:00 am

Hard Drive Properties


To access: Windows Explorer>Right click on each Hard Drive icon then select Properties





I highly recommend reformatting your drive and choosing the NTFS file system for maximum speed and security. However, you can still convert an existing FAT32 file system to an NTFS one even after installing WinXP by going to Start>Run and typing "Convert C: /FS:NTFS" (without quotes). This will take some time to complete and won't be as fast as if you'd formatted with NTFS, but still faster than FAT32 for most larger hard drives and certainly much more secure. Make sure you backup your data before doing this just in case.


Untick "Compress drive to save disk space" to speed up reading from the drive. Untick "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching" and then select "Apply changes to [Drive letter]\, subfolders and files" in the subsequent prompt to improve performance and free up disk space. Ignore any "errors" which are shown, this is simply because some files cannot have their properties changed to remove indexing.


Click the Disk Cleanup button, and under the "Disk Cleanup" tab tick everything except "Temporary Internet Files" (to speed up internet browsing) for cleaning. This will optimise your disk space by cleaning out and compressing old files. Use this utility often to clean your hard drive. Under the More Options tab you'll find two options which will help you remove installed programs/WinXP utilities which you may not need. If you use System Restore, the third option allows you to clean out older restore points which you no longer use, freeing up a great deal of disk space.




Error Checking is the WinXP version of the old Scandisk. If you don't select either of the options here and click Start it will scan your drive for errors. However, if you select one or both of the options here (primarily to fix errors) WinXP will require a reboot so it can run the checks and automatically fix any errors as your system starts up after the reboot. It should be run every time you have a bad crash or suspect bad sectors or file corruption. Select the first option for a quick scan on a regular basis, and the second one less frequently.


Defragmentation is the WinXP version of the old Defrag. Over time parts of individual files will become fragmented and spread out over your hard drive. The defragmenter puts all these fragments back together and makes sure they're all packed as close to the start of the drive as possible to speed up reading the drive. Run Defrag after any large file changes such as installations or deletions. At the very least make sure to run defrag after installing XP and applying all the tweaks in this guide. It will take a while the first time but once done regularly (at least once a week) will become quite quick.


Note that your pagefile cannot be defragmented. If the Pagefile/Virtual memory (marked as "unmovable files" in green) is not in one large green block, follow the instructions in the System section below to set the Virtual memory to "No Paging File">Set, then run Defrag again, then reset the paging file back to the optimal size.


Backup is a utility which literally backs up your entire drive contents. Rather than that, I recommend regularly saving only the files you need to CD/DVD or another hard drive.




Hard drive optimisation is covered in the System section. Change CD/DVD/CDRW settings to taste.




Do not enable sharing for performance and security reasons.




Do not enable quota management for performance and stability reasons.


Recycle Bin


To access: Right-click on Recycle Bin>Properties



Untick the "Display delete confirmation dialog" to get rid of the annoying "Are You Sure?" prompt each time you delete a file.


How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?


Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (ZAT00008) for PC


    PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

    United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon's website.

    United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.

    Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.

    We at TweakTown openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion of our content. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here.