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WinXP Tweaking: From Reformat to Relax

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

Registry Editor


To access: Start>Run>Regedit or search for and run Regedit.exe



Most system settings can be changed with the registry editor. If you don't feel comfortable using Regedit, see the Further Optimization section for other 'user-friendly' tools which can make most of these changes. The changes are provided without much description, so I recommend you look at other WinXP Guides or do a search on Google if you have any doubts. Make sure you have a backup of the registry as described in the Before We Begin section. Just like the Group Editor, changes in Registry Editor affect either individual users (HKEY_CURRENT_USER) or a machine (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE). To edit a setting, expand the folders until you see the required entry, then double click on it. Recommended settings are shown for each entry. Where an entry doesn't exist, create it:


Stop programs from automatically starting when booting up


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]; and




None of the entries under these folders are really necessary for WinXP to operate properly. See MSConfig section, and in particular see this list of startup items to see what the common startup items and what they do.


Dramatically improve menu speeds and application and system shutdown/restart speeds


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]


HungAppTimeout=4000 Delay before a hung application is allowed to terminate (each 1000 = 1 sec)


WaitToKillAppTimeout=4000 Delay before windows finally starts to shutdown (each 1000 = 1 sec)


MenuShowDelay=20 Delay before a menu pops open. (each 1000 = 1 sec)


AutoEndTasks=1 Automatically closes running applications when Windows shuts down.


Unload DLLs from memory when not needed to maintain free memory




Create a new Key (a sub-folder, not an entry) called AlwaysUnloadDll. Once created double-click on the (Default) entry in the right pane and enter a value of 1.


Improve usage of Physical RAM and caches to significantly improve system performance


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]


DisablePagingExecutive=1 Will load your core WinXP files into system RAM and keep them there. Use this tweak if you have 512MB RAM or more.


LargeSystemCache=0 For 512MB RAM or more set to 1 for potential performance improvement.


Note that data corruption may occur if the Large System Cache feature is enabled in Windows XP. If you have more than 512MB of RAM, a large NTFS disk or multiple large volumes (60-100 gigabyte hard drives possibly in RAID arrays), and/or AGP graphics with large AGP resource requirements (AGP aperture greater than default) then you will get hard drive corruption. Don't enable Large System Cache in these circumstances, i.e use LargeSystemCache=0.


IOPageLockLimit=226492416 Enter value (bytes) in Decimal view. Default of 0 = 512KB. I personally use the Cacheman-determined setting of "Large IO page lock limit" (for 512MB RAM it's 226492416) for optimal performance. See Cacheman section.


SecondLevelDataCache=256 Enter your CPU's L2 cache size in Decimal view. Microsoft suggest the default setting of 0 will automatically detect your L2 Cache size, however entering it manually in this way won't harm performance.


If any of these entries don't exist, create them as new DWORDs.


Improve Windows Prefetcher performance for faster loadup


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters]


EnablePrefetcher=3 Default of 3 is recommended but a value of 5 may be better for some.


Note if the Task Scheduler service is Disabled, Prefetcher does not work.


Disable Windows File Protection (Use with Extreme Caution)


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]


SFCDisable=0 A setting of 1 for this DWORD will allow you to view and delete important system files (Not recommended).


Set the system to give priority to a major device (by its IRQ)




IRQ8Priority=1 Determine the IRQ of the device you want to give top priority. Create a new DWORD with the IRQ number (e.g. IRQ5Priority) and give it a value of 1. Recommended that System CMOS/Real Time Clock be given the top priority to provide greatest overall system boost.


Speed up NTFS and general system performance




DisableNTFSLastAccessUpdate=1 Disables constant updating of dates a file/folder was last accessed.


NTFSDisable8Dot3NameCreation=1 To disable support for old DOS 8-character filenames.


If these entries don't exist, create them as new DWORDs.


Note also that if you disable 8Dot3 Name Creation you will have problems installing Norton Antivirus. To successfully install NAV, set it to 0 (enabled) first, reboot your system, install NAV, reboot once again and set it back to 1 (disabled).


Turn off MSN Messenger




PreventRun=1 Will prevent MSN Messenger from running


PreventAutoRun=1 Will prevent MSN from popping up automatically.


Set/create both these DWORD entries to 1 to disable MSN Messenger.


Fix Outlook Express slowdown when MSN Messenger is disabled




Find the key {FB7199AB-79BF-11d2-8D94-0000F875C541} and under it select the folder IniProcServer32. In the right panel of regedit double-click on the (Default) entry at the top and completely delete the value data it contains. Now do the same for the LocalServer32 folder as well.


Turn off CD Autoplay




Autorun=0 To turn off CDs being automatically loaded when inserted in a CD/DVD/CDRW drive.


Turn off built-in XP CD Burning




NoCDBurning=1 Disables built-in XP burning but allows other burning software to work.


Remove Shared Documents from My Computer




Delete the {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee} key under this folder.


Change thumbnail size and quality - lower values improve performance




ThumbnailSize=32 A DWORD value in Decimal view between 32 and 256.


ThumbnailQuality=50 A DWORD value in Decimal view between 50 and 100.


Remove the Outlook Express splash screen


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{Unique Identity}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0]


NoSplash=1 A DWORD value where default is 0 (splash screen).


Turn off "low disk space" notification when free space falls below 10% of drive




DiskSpaceThreshold=0 A DWORD value 0 to 99 of the percentage before notification is given.


Disable Balloon Tips and Force early grouping of similar tasks in taskbar




EnableBalloonTips=0 A DWORD value of 0 turns off the yellow popup balloon tips.


TaskbarGroupSize=3 A DWORD value of the number of similar windows reached before grouped together.


Install non-XP programs on WinXP if compatibility mode fails


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]


ProductName=Microsoft Windows 2000 To install a Win2K app, or rename to another OS.


CurrentBuildNumber=2600 You may have to edit this value if the program still refuses to run.


Make WinXP a registered copy without going through registration


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]


RegDone=1 This is not to be confused with Activation - it's MS product registration.


RegisteredOrganization="" Fill in organization name or leave blank.


RegisteredOwner=User1 Fill in a name - I suggest one which is not uniquely identifiable.


How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?


Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (ZAT00008) for PC


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