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System Optimization Guide for Gamers

A lot of gaming problems are actually nothing to do with the game itself. In most cases it's a general system optimization issue of some sort. Do yourself a favour, take a few minutes of your life and read this System Optimization Guide for Gamers where Koroush "Persian Immortal" Ghazi promises you will find something of use which will have you gaming at full speed in no time!
@TweakTown
Koroush Ghazi
Published Sat, Nov 30 2002 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

System Optimization - Introduction

Introduction
I've written a few game-specific tweak guides for TweakTown in the past and in each of those guides I've had to cover some common ground such as where to find the latest drivers and how to update them, the best BIOS settings, general Windows optimization, and overclocking issues. It usually took up 1-2 pages of each guide and quite honestly would essentially be a repeat of the same information you may have seen in one of my previous guides.This got me thinking "what would a lazy tweak guide writer do in this situation?" The answer came to me in a blinding flash of unoriginality - write a general system optimization guide which you can refer to often, and which is easy to manage and update because the information is all in one location. And so this guide was born. As you read through the guide you may think some of it is a little obvious, or may be a little "untechnical". The truth of the matter is this guide is aimed at a wide audience, from people who have just starting using a PC, through to people who think Prof. Stephen Hawking is a nice man but a little dim. Remember this is only a guide, and a simple central resource at that. If something is not mentioned here, be proactive! If you follow the links provided you'll see that there's a wealth of greater detail awaiting you if you want to know more about a particular item. If all else fails and you still have a thirst for knowledge, use trusty ol' Google to search for more information. That's what I do.If you're already thinking "Why should I bother going through this guide, I just want my game to run faster man!" then you've missed the point. A lot of gaming problems are actually nothing to do with the game itself. In most cases it's a general system optimization issue of some sort. Do yourself a favour, take a few minutes of your life and read the following and I promise you'll find something of use which should have you gaming at full speed ASAP.Note: This guide is regularly updated to ensure all advice is correct and links are active. If you believe something is in error in this guide, or you experience a dead link, please email me by clicking my name at the top of the guide.

System Optimization - Hardware Setup

Ok the layout for this guide is simple - we have to start at the very heart of your PC and work our way outwards from there. That means starting with the hardware, then moving on to the BIOS and ultimately the software such as operating system and drivers. If you really want a tight, fast, stable rig then you will need to shore up each department. The latest drivers won't do anything if the problem lies with a faulty graphics card, poor overclocking or incorrect BIOS settings.Where I refer to other guides/utilities/sites I highly recommend you take time out and read them. I don't just throw in links for the hell of it - this is stuff I use myself to optimize my system and so far it's worked extremely well for me, so I'm sharing the wealth.Hardware SetupThe first thing to do is to make sure that your PC is physically operating correctly and that no hardware is faulty or badly set up. Just because your computer boots up into Windows and everything seems ok, doesn't mean your PC is set up 100% correctly or that the hardware is working to its fullest potential.- How Do I Know What I've Got?If you've bought a pre-built computer and you have no real idea exactly what's "in the box" then the first thing you have to do is get all your system specifications. Ideally you should have a listing of each component, its manufacturer/brand, model number, and details such as amount of onboard memory. If this is not available to you, or you just want to be sure, download SiSoft Sandra, which is a free benchmarking and system information utility, and run the relevant modules such as Mainboard Information, Video System Information, Sound Card Information, etc. There you'll see the exact specifications of the components, and you should note these down for future reference.You should also note if you've got a pre-built PC and little knowledge of PCs in general, that the following information can potentially be harmful to your system, so please don't open up your case, fumble around, break the pins on your CPU, then email me angrily saying you're going to sue. Read, read, read...then do!- Correct SetupI recently built a PC and foolishly forgot to connect one of the obscure power connectors on the motherboard. Others with the same motherboard tell me it's a common mistake, but my PC seemed to be working fine initially. It did explain the occasional crashes I got in games though, and once I plugged in the extra connector - no more crashes.By now the above example's got you thinking "so why am I listening to this guy?" My point is that it's easy for anyone to make a mistake when building a PC. Overlooking a connector, not setting a dipswitch correctly or not using the right type of cable are common mistakes. You can be thankful that one of the PC world's authorities, Tom's Hardware, has a recent 2-part guide on building your own PC which I recommend to everyone:Building Your Own PC - Part 1Building Your Own PC - Part 2Even if you still think your PC is rock solid, there are a lot of great tips in those guides. Pay particular attention to their instructions on how to properly connect a hard drive and CD-ROM/DVD drive. This is something I see done incorrectly by a lot of first-time PC builders, or for people who've added drives to an existing pre-built machine. The optimal primary/secondary master/slave configuration is very important to getting the best performance out of your drives.
- Faulty HardwareThis is one area I believe is either "over-blamed" or "under-blamed", depending on whether you're new to PCs or a "veteran". The new tend to think everything that's going wrong with their PC is due to faulty hardware. The veterans are convinced there is a setting somewhere which will fix that dead hard drive. The truth lies somewhere in the middle: PC hardware components are just like any other electronics devices - they can malfunction, or be damaged through abuse, and eventually they will just plain stop working.How do you determine whether your hardware is faulty or not? It's not always easy, but try following these basic steps:1. Read software tweak guides such as those linked to in this guide to optimize all the software and BIOS settings. If that doesn't improve the situation then that's the first indication that it is hardware-related in some way.2. If you've overclocked your PC components, set them all to their defaults. For starters, the overclocking itself may have damaged a component (see Overclocking section), but sometimes a component which is overclocked too far can behave in a faulty manner. Remember that overclocking automatically voids your warranty, so at the very least don't expect support from your PC dealer if you mention the component is or has been overclocked.3. Try the drastic step of a full reformat of your hard drive and then a clean reinstall of your operating system (see Operating System section). This should resolve a lot of problems. If it doesn't then the remaining areas of exploration are the configuration of your PC components or the BIOS settings.4. Go through your BIOS settings carefully (see BIOS Optimization section) and if in doubt, or if you're still having problems, choose the "Load Fail-Safe Defaults" option.5. If you've reached this step, it's time to open up your PC and refer to your components' instruction manuals, and/or the guides linked above, for correct setup. It may well be that a badly set switch or missing/incorrect cable is the source of your problems, or perhaps a build up of heat. While you're in there, look for any signs of extreme heat such as scorch marks, a burnt smell, or strange noises. Remember to completely switch off and all your hardware before opening anything up, and to avoid damage to components from static electricity, wear a special wristband or ground yourself by touching the power supply box first.6. Once you've exhausted all of the above options and you still suspect a component is faulty, it may be hard to determine which one. If in doubt don't attempt to repair or muck around with an item yourself. Take your entire PC to an authorized dealer or specialist PC technician. Sometimes it's better to cut your losses and get something fixed correctly or replaced under warranty than to wind up losing all your data or suffering a destroyed component just because you decide to play PC Doctor one afternoon.

System Optimization - BIOS Optimization

BIOS OptimizationThe BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is a program held on a small chip on your motherboard. It provides the instructions for what your PC should do as soon as it turns on. Your BIOS is independent of your operating system, which means that it is not affected by which operating system you use, or which version of drivers you've installed, or what your settings are in Windows for example. The BIOS supersedes all of that, and your drivers and operating system will load well after the BIOS has loaded up. The BIOS basically controls a range of hardware-related features and is the "middle-man" between your CPU and all the attached devices in your system. All of this means that if there is an incorrect setting in your BIOS - that is a setting which is not optimal or correct for your hardware configuration - then you will have problems regardless of what you change in Windows, or which driver version you install.- POSTAs your BIOS starts to load, the first thing it does is the Power-On Self Test (POST), a diagnostic program which checks your components and makes sure everything is present and working OK. POST is usually extremely fast - blink and you'll miss it. You will only really notice it if it stops when encountering an error. POST error messages can be a bit obscure, but usually give you a lead as to where to look in your BIOS settings. A quick general guide to what the POST error beeps mean is here, but a more accurate indication is found in your motherboard's manual. If you have no POST errors you will see your PC's startup screen, which shows such information as your BIOS type (e.g. Award), the key to press to access your BIOS settings (e.g. DEL, ESC or F2), the type of processor and its speed, RAM amount and RAM test, drive information, and so on. Note if any of this information is clearly incorrect, it may be that your hardware is extremely new and hence not recognized correctly by the BIOS, you've overclocked your PC too far, or you have bad BIOS settings.At this point, if you quickly press the indicated key (usually DEL) repeatedly you can access your BIOS settings. If your BIOS has a password then you'll have to enter it first to access your BIOS settings. If you've forgotten the password, then try the following site.
- BIOS SettingsOnce in your BIOS, there are a range of settings and they will differ based on which motherboard chipset and what type of BIOS you have. I cannot possibly cover them all here, nor can I give you the best settings as this will depend on your individual hardware configuration. What I can do is point you to this excellent Definitive BIOS Optimization Guide. The guide covers what each setting actually does, and when used in conjunction with your motherboard's user manual arms you with the information you need to figure out the best settings for your individual hardware configuration. I do want to make special mention of RAM related settings, as it is almost a form of overclocking if you choose RAM timings which are faster than your RAM supports by default (see the above BIOS Guide for an explanation of RAM timings). Usually, your RAM default timings are determined by SPD (Serial Presence Detection). You can change these timings to increase RAM performance, but this can often cause problems along the same lines as overclocking other components (see the Overclocking section). Just keep in mind that if you're having any problems it could be the RAM timings as much as anything else.- BIOS UpdatesThe BIOS is actually written on an EPROM (Eraseable Programmable Read Only Memory) chip, which means that it can be updated with new information. Motherboard manufacturers often release new BIOS versions which can improve performance, stability and compatibility, add new features or modify existing features, and fix known bugs. These new BIOS versions are available for download on the manufacturer's website, and I've provided a link to the support sites of the most common motherboard manufacturers below:- ABIT- ASUS- DFI- EPoX- Gigabyte- Intel- Iwill- MSI- Shuttle- VIAGo to your manufacturer's site, download the latest BIOS for your exact motherboard model and follow the instructions on the site to "flash" (update) the chip on your motherboard with this new BIOS. A word of warning - flashing the BIOS can be tricky. If something goes wrong and your PC won't boot up then you may have to take your motherboard to a dealer to have the EPROM chip replaced, so when updating your BIOS follow the instructions to the letter. In particular, make sure your PC is not overclocked when flashing the BIOS.If you're feeling game, there are enthusiast-modified BIOS out there which may provide added functionality and performance beyond manufacturer's specifications. One place to download such BIOS is BIOSMods, but remember that playing around with BIOS is a risky thing, so take care.It's important to have the latest BIOS simply because it can help improve your PC's performance while at the same time ensuring that any known bugs with the hardware have been resolved.

System Optimization - Overclocking

OverclockingI'm going to run through the basics of overclocking, and the impact it has on games. If you're a veteran overclocker bear with me.- What Is Overclocking?Overclocking is the process of increasing the clock speed of a component of your PC. The "clock" referred to is a specialised oscillator pulsing with a frequency that determines the rate at which a processor can perform instructions. A 2 Gigahertz Pentium 4 for example has a frequency of oscillation of around 2 billion pulses per second. The theory of overclocking is simple: increase this clock speed and you'll increase the rate at which instructions are performed - ergo you have a faster PC. This is similar to the way in which increasing the revs on an internal combustion engine means it can work faster. It's interesting to note that just like the engine, a PC which is now running faster will often also require more fuel (voltage) and cooling to perform correctly, otherwise just like the engine you risk overheating, a shut down, or even permanent damage. At the very least, it is well known that overclocking - depending on component tolerance and cooling - will reduce the life of your components, even if this is as trivial as getting 5 years out of a CPU instead of 10. On the other hand, if done correctly and within reason, overclocking will give a noticeable system performance boost for at most the cost of some extra cooling. In practice system overclocking is usually done by increasing the Front Side Bus (FSB) speed in the BIOS. The FSB is the main pathway between your major system components, and as the FSB speed increases, information is transferred back and forth more rapidly as all your major components work off this bus speed. However there are certain problems with increasing the FSB. To start with, some components running off this bus, such as your AGP graphics card and PCI devices (e.g. Sound card) operate at a much lower bus speed by default, so your motherboard has special Dividers/Multipliers to maintain the PCI and AGP bus speeds at or close to their default (typically ~ 33Mhz for PCI and 66Mhz for AGP). As you increase the FSB, your CPU speed will increase. Your RAM speed may also increase (depending on the memory divider/multiplier), which increases the amount of information the RAM can transfer back and forth with the CPU (referred to as Bandwidth). This improves performance but increases the stress on your RAM. At the same time, depending on your PCI/AGP dividers, the bus speeds on your graphics card and PCI devices may also increase. These devices can malfunction at higher bus speeds. All the while, as your system speed increases, at some point certain components, particularly the CPU but to some extent the RAM and AGP port, will require more voltage to fuel this increased performance. You can increase the voltage through your BIOS, but greater voltage equals greater heat, for which the standard cooling on your components - typically a metal heatsink with a fan on top - will no longer be adequate. Now you begin to appreciate the delicate balancing act which is overclocking!For more information on FSB overclocking, check out our FSB Overclocking Guide, and for more on how heatsink cooling works, try our Heatsink Theory Guide. That's just the start. If you're interested, start searching for more information on overclocking.
- How Do I Overclock?The main components which can be overclocked successfully for higher overall system performance are your CPU, RAM and Video Card. Now before you think I'm going to begin covering the actual steps required to overclock your PC, believe me it's too long and detailed and varies too much from system to system to be covered here. Some good starting points for finding out more are Beginner's Guide to Overclocking at Overclockers.com, a good site to pursue this topic, and this basic Overclocking Help Guide. We also have a Beginner's Guide to Overclocking nVidia Video Cards here at TweakTown which will show how a video card can be overclocked. Note that along with the utilities mentioned in that guide, I highly recommend RivaTuner for overclocking and tweaking your nVidia based video card, or PowerStrip for ATi (and nVidia) cards.The main aim of covering overclocking here is to give you some guidance on the impact of overclocking when optimizing your system, particularly for gaming.- Overclocking and GamesOverclocking is a strange thing indeed. It's as much luck as it is science. Two people with identical systems will achieve different levels of overclock successfully (i.e. with stability and performance) due to factors such as different build qualities/dates of the components, different environmental conditions such as ambient temperature and humidity, different BIOS versions/settings, and finally different operating system and driver settings.It's important to remember therefore that even if you've heard of "the same" machine as yours running at much higher speeds, your system could be limited by a number of factors and therefore you just might be pushing it too far in trying to reach this "guaranteed" speed. Any time you overclock your system you are pushing it beyond specifications, so don't be surprised if this manifests itself in some very strange and unpredictable ways. Everyone who overclocks is familiar with some of the more noticeable problems of an unstable overclock: system freezes/resets/crashes to desktop, Windows blue screen errors (also called the Blue Screen Of Death - BSOD), registry corruption errors, PC not loading up or stopping part-way through loading, PC not even getting past POST (with beeping errors), and so forth.While some of the above are clearly due to overclocking, some people don't realise that less frequent freezing/resets, strange application behaviour (not starting correctly, crashing to desktop at some point, flickering, graphical glitches, strange AI behaviour), corrupt downloaded files, corrupted files copied to/from the hard drive and/or CD/DVD-ROM, badly burnt CDRWs etc. are the more subtle signs of overclocking-related errors. This is something you should not put up with. There's no reason why your system can't be stable 99% of the time, especially if you run a recent operating system like Windows XP.

System Optimization - Overclocking (Part 2)

Overclocking (Continued)- Stress TestingThere's a point at which your system is "over"-overclocked for the combination of components and cooling you've got. The trick is determining exactly when is "too far", especially with the somewhat misleading guidance from some overclockers along the lines of "If it's not on fire, it can go higher". Here are some helpful free tools which should help you determine whether your system is acceptably stable at your current level of overclock:- 3DMark2003 - A graphical benchmarking tool, can also be used to determine whether your system will be stable for gaming. Leave it on default settings and run it several times in a row. If your PC has frozen or rebooted, crashed back to the desktop, or you can clearly see texture flickering or small glitches ("artifacts") or dots appearing randomly ("sparkles") then your system is overclocked too far. Try additional cooling, and failing that simply scale back the overclock on either your video card and/or your CPU.
Note that you need DirectX9.0 (see Device Drivers section) to run 3DMark2003. If you don't want to install DirectX9.0 and you have DirectX8.1, you can download and run 3DMark2001SE from the link above, although it is much less indicative of current and upcoming games and hence won't be as good a test of your system. Also note that you must have 3DMark2001SE version 330 to allow it to run under DirectX9.0. There is also a patch to bring 3DMark2003 up to the latest version. Patches for both these products are available from the Futuremark site.- RthDribl - that stands for Real-Time High Dynamic Range Image-Based Lighting. If you have a recent graphics card with full support for DirectX9.0, specifically Pixel Shader version 2.0 then this demo will use those features to render truly amazing lighting and details on a range of models, with a range of backgrounds. Running this demo in fullscreen mode at high resolution will stress your graphics card and if left to run for a while will show up instabilities in the form of lockups, crashes, or artifacts. Definitely worth a spin if your system is up to it.
- Codecreatures - Another good graphical benchmarking similar to 3DMark, which also doubles as a stress test for your system. Run the benchmark several times and again if your system crashes or displays anomalies then you've overclocked too far.- Prime95 - A program which will effectively stress test your CPU and memory subset. Once you've installed the application, to run the actual stress test run Prime95.exe and choose the Just Stress Testing button. Next, under the Options menu select Torture Test to start testing. Also read the document Stress.txt that comes with the program when you get the chance. It will explain more about CPU stress testing and how Prime95 helps uncover instability. The program recommends running the torture test for between 6 - 24 hours. A heavily overclocked PC may crash within a few minutes of running the test, however if your PC lasts over 2 hours it should be stable enough for gaming.- SiSoft Sandra - Sandra is a benchmarking and system information utility which is quite handy. Once you've installed Sandra, it has a range of modules for providing system information, but some are primarily for benchmarking and stress testing. Run the Burn-In Wizard module and you'll see that it allows you to select any or all of the 6 major benchmarking modules in Sandra. If you then continue, it will allow you to choose the number of times you wish to run these tests, or to simply run them continuously until stopped. I recommend running all but the File System and CD-ROM/DVD benchmarks in a continuous loop for at least 2 hours to test for stability. As always, if your system crashes or freezes at any point you know something's not right with your overclock. If you want to pinpoint the problem, try running individual modules on a loop (such as the CPU Arithmetic Benchmark by itself) and if there's a failure you'll have a better idea of which component is to blame.
- Memtest86 - Memtest86 is a memory test for x86 architecture systems (Intel). It tests your memory before anything else loads up, so it really is a good stress test/check of your actual RAM and memory subset. To use Memtest download the latest zip file and extract the contents. Run the Install.bat file from the archive and enter a blank 1.44MB floppy as prompted. To run Memtest, leave the floppy in the drive and reboot your system - it will run from the floppy.- DocMemory - A memory testing utility which can identify RAM-specific problems by stress testing your memory. You will have to install the program on a floppy disk, then reboot your system booting from this floppy. Upon reboot it will start DocMem and default to the Stress Test mode. Simply choose the Test button to start the testing. If you have any crashes or errors then it's quite clear the problem is with your RAM.Of course, if you have any current games with a demo mode or a benchmarking utility (such as Benchmark.exe in Unreal Tournament 2003) then I suggest running those for a lengthy period of time as well to see how stable your system is in a 'real world' gaming environment.The aim of any system, overclocked or not, should be a combination of stability and performance, not one or the other. There's no point having a blindingly fast system if it crashes most of the time. Forget PC benchmarking "drag races" or bragging rights, the ultimate aim of a computer for every day use is to run your programs quickly and dependably. By the same token - and the reason why this guide was written - there's no point having great hardware if you're not going to work it to its full potential, so I am by no means saying that you shouldn't overclock - just that you should do it correctly.

System Optimization - Operating System

Operating SystemWe've worked our way from the hardware to the software, and the most important piece of software on your system is the Operating System (OS). The OS is the interface between you the user and the hardware and peripherals of your system. It takes your inputs and converts them into information the hardware can understand, and vice versa. For many years this was a Microsoft OS by the name of DOS (Disk Operating System). It consisted of plain black screen with green or white text, and the only input device was the keyboard. DOS holds some fond memories for the older ones among us, but Windows - although the earlier versions were somewhat unstable at times - is infinitely more friendly and easy-to-use.Quite obviously optimizing your OS is imperative to a fast stable system. Below I provide resources and advice on how best to do that for your particular OS.- Linux
In recent times an alternative to Windows has sprung up in the form of Linux. Now you can call me all the bad names under the sun, but I'm not going to cover Linux optimization in much detail here. If you want to know more about Linux, a recent guide to the various distributions of Linux is here. If you already use Linux and want to optimize it, try a site like TuneLinux or this article at Tom's Hardware about Windows Gaming on Linux as your starting points.Unfortunately I simply don't have the knowledge or experience to provide you with much more Linux guidance.- Windows OptimizationLike it or not, Microsoft Windows is the most popular operating system at present on personal computers. There are several versions of Windows floating around on PCs out there, the most common ones being used for gaming being Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), Windows Millennium (ME), Windows 2000 and Windows XP (Home and Pro).I don't want to get into a debate over which OS is best for gaming, as that is a topic of contention amongst geeks which I can't resolve here. Suffice it to say that unless you've performed a clean reformat and install of each OS on your current system, thoroughly tweaked the OS and run benchmarks on each then you won't ever truly know which is actually the fastest or the best for you. Results from other people will differ based on their exact setup, level of overclock, optimization of the OS and BIOS, etc. In the end it all depends on what you can afford, what features you're looking for, what type of interface you like, how large your hard drive and memory is, how new your hardware is, and so forth. Everything that follows is my personal view based on experience and research.- Windows XP (Home & Professional)
I personally use WinXP Pro and so it's only natural for me to have prepared two comprehensive Windows XP Tweak Guides, which should be followed one after the other:WinXP Tweaking: From Reformat to Relax. This guide brings together all the main known performance tweaks, and is guaranteed to speed up your system noticeably.WinXP Tweaking: From Relax to Righteous. This guide picks up where the previous one left off - visual enhancements, convenience tweaks and troubleshooting is the focus.Without being modest, I highly recommend you read and follow these guides from start to finish to optimize XP correctly. I also provide links to other Windows XP tweaking resources in both guides, so there's plenty more XP tweaking to discover once you've read them. Below I address three common questions about Windows XP:- What is the Difference Between WinXP Home and WinXP Pro?Well effectively there is no difference whatsoever for performance and gaming purposes. The main differences are that XP Pro has a few extra utilities/functions for administering networks, such as the Group Editor. If you have WinXP Home you are not missing out on anything, and in fact if you have a standalone machine at home (i.e. you're not connected to a network), XP Home is just as good as XP Pro for your purposes.- What is the Difference Between OEM, Upgrade, Academic and Full Versions of Windows?There is no difference - aside from price and packaging - between any of these versions in terms of performance or content. These are just different methods by which Microsoft can target particular markets. OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer and an OEM copy of Windows can only be sold with the first-time purchase of several major hardware components (basically a PC). The upgrade edition is based on the assumption that you own a valid earlier version of Windows. The upgrade is the same as the full edition, and you can do a full clean install on a reformatted hard drive using the upgrade edition. The only difference is that during the installation it will ask you to insert your earlier version of Windows to verify that you're entitled to the cheaper upgrade edition. The Academic edition is again identical to the equivalent standard version, however you can only purchase it if you are an educator or a student.- Which File System is Better - NTFS or FAT32?This is another contentious topic, and the answer depends on your requirements. From the Microsoft Windows XP manual comes this advice: Use FAT32 if:- Your hard drive is smaller than 32GB.- You want to install more than one operating system on your computer.Use NTFS if:- Your hard drive is larger than 32GB and you are running only one operating system on your computer.- You want enhanced file security.- You need better disk compression.Essentially NTFS is a newer, more stable and much more secure file system which has several benefits FAT32 doesn't. For example, if you format your hard drive in NTFS and password protect it, no one can access the information on the drive without the correct password, even if they physically steal it. As for the speed difference, well for larger drives it is negligible. In my opinion the benefits of NTFS, and the similarities in speed with FAT32 make a strong case for formatting your drive in NTFS, unless you have a very small drive or want to install more than one OS on it.- Windows 2000
Windows 2000 is extremely similar to Windows XP, quite simply because XP is based on Windows 2000. Many of the tweaks and issues covered in the WinXP section above will apply to Windows 2000. However here are some Windows 2000 Tweak Guides which should help you if you run this OS:- Tweak3D Windows 2000 Tweak Guide- Rojak Pot Windows 2000 Hints and Tips- ClanKiller's Windows 2000 Network Tweak Guide- ClanKiller's Windows 2000 Speed Tweak Guide- WinGuide's Windows 2000 Tweaks- Tweaker's Asylum Windows 2000 Tweak GuideThe above guides should cover the bulk of your Windows 2000 tweaking needs. However there is one question which is often asked by Windows 2000 users:- Should I Switch from Windows 2000 to Windows XP?From my research and experience, I have seen that Windows 2000 and Windows XP are similar in speed. Windows 2000 used to have issues with compatibility for games as it was originally designed for professional (office and server) use. However with the release of four Service Packs, the latest being Service Pack 4 (SP4), the OS has no major compatibility or performance issues, just like Windows XP.I personally believe that Windows XP provides more flexibility in interface customization, additional features and built-in support for the latest peripherals, however I don't think anything really warrants switching from Windows 2000 just yet. If you're happy with Windows 2000 stick with it. If you're using any other version of Windows, or choosing an OS for the first time, I would recommend Windows XP because it has excellent stability and memory management compared to the Win9X/ME family, and quite simply because Microsoft and the major developers are focusing their driver support and compatibility efforts towards WinXP.

System Optimization - Operating System (Part 2)

Operating System (Continued)- Windows Millennium Edition
In most respects Windows Millennium Edition (ME) is the same as Windows 98 Second Edition (SE). It does contain some additional features and some hidden updates (such as some modem tweaks) from Win98SE, but in most cases any tweak guide for Windows ME should apply to Windows 98SE and vice versa, and to a significant extent Window 98. Windows ME is much maligned because of the cosmetic nature of its "upgrade" from Windows 98SE. A lot of this is unfair however, because Windows ME can be just as fast as Windows 98SE given the right tweaking, and in my experience is just as good for gaming as the older OS. Here are some Windows ME specific tweak guides, although all the Windows 98/98SE tweak guides further below can be used for Windows ME as well:- TweakTown WinME System Tweaking Guide- TweakTown WinME Modem Tweaking Guide- Tweak3D WinME Tweak Guide- Tweaker's Hideout WinME Tweak Guide- WinGuide's WinME TweaksRemember to check the Windows 98/98SE guides below for more tweaking information, and again for Windows 98/98SE users, read through the above WinME guides as many tweaks will apply to you.- Windows 98 / 98 Second Edition
Windows 98 Second Edition (SE) was released around a year after the original Windows 98 was released, and added a range of features and updates to the original Windows 98. Basically you can download Windows 98 SR1 (Service Pack 1) which will add all the important features and updates to the original Windows 98 - minus some of the additional user interface updates of Windows 98SE. If you're running Windows 98, make sure you download SR1 and all additional updates from the Microsoft Windows 98 Downloads Site otherwise you may have major compatibility and performance problems with the latest games and applications.Even if you're running the newer Windows 98SE it's vital that you update your OS by using Windows Update, or by going here. Because these operating systems predate some of the newer technology, they have limitations in terms of recognising or correctly utilizing some new hardware or newer configurations. For example, the Windows 98/98SE/ME family all have issues with managing more than 512MB of RAM efficiently - see this Microsoft Knowledge Base Article for more information. Quite obviously some of these problems are inherent in the design of the OS and can only be "fixed" by upgrading your Windows. Many others require the updates or tweaks to overcome.There is a vast range of Windows 95/98/98SE (commonly referred to as Win 9X) Tweak Guides available. Some are listed below:- Tweak3D Win9X Tweak Guide- Tweak3D Win9X Shell Tweak Guide- WinGuide's Windows TweaksRemember that you can refer to the guides under the Windows ME section as well for more tweaking information.In the end Windows 98, 98SE and ME will be phased out and you will find support for these OS harder and harder to come by. It is a sad fact of life that whether through deliberate obsolescence or simple technological progression or both, you will need to upgrade your operating system. This has already happened to Windows 95 to a major extent and that is why I don't cover it here. It is simply not a viable gaming platform anymore if you want the best performance, stability and compatibility on a modern PC - MS has dropped support for it altogether and so have most developers and manufacturers.- General Windows OptimizationNo matter which version of Windows you run, there are some simple tips which will give you the best performance:1. As much as possible, start with a clean full install of your OS of choice. That is, I strongly recommend against "upgraded" installations. If you want to upgrade (say from Windows 98SE to Windows XP), do a full reformat of your hard drive and install the new OS. Believe me, it makes a difference.2. If you have replaced any major system components such as motherboards, CPUs or even graphics cards, I recommend a reformat and reinstall. This is particularly true if you've changed the brand of the chipset (e.g. from Intel to VIA, or from ATi to nVidia). While your system should operate correctly because of the plug-and-play nature of new systems, your performance is not optimal unless you do a clean install of your OS with the new component(s).3. If you've installed Windows XP, and you want to convert to NTFS from an existing FAT32 file system, I highly recommend reformatting in NTFS for optimal performance. You can convert from FAT32 to NTFS without a reinstall (see my WinXP Tweak Guide above), but the cluster sizes will not be optimal and hence your performance will not be at its best.4. No matter which version of Windows you run, always run the Windows Update function (under Tools>Windows Update in Internet Explorer 6, or click the Windows Update Icon) as often as possible, as many critical updates are necessary to maintain a stable, secure PC environment. The older your version of Windows, the more vital it is that you run Windows Update regularly. If you cannot run Windows Update then either you have a pirated copy of Windows, in which case I cannot help you, or if you have a legitimate copy try this link to get to Windows Update. If you want to download updates and save them for later installation and archiving, try the Windows Update Corporate Site.5. If there is a Service Pack available for your version of Windows, install the latest one. You may hear rumours about SP1 for Windows XP "ruining XP". If SP1 does cause you problems then it's highly likely your current install of Windows is not very sound. Ideally you should start with a clean install of your OS, then install the latest SP for best results. If you can't do that then back up all your important data first, then install the Service Pack just to be safe. I have upgraded my existing XP Pro with SP1 and found no problems in over 2 months of use. There are no tricks to installation, just run as intended. These Service Packs are essential if you want your machine to be up to date and function as intended. 6. If you have any problems with Windows and the answer is not in one of the above guides, your best bet is to search the Microsoft Knowledge Base. It is a rich and revealing source of information on a range of Windows problems, and if you spend a bit of time on the Knowledge Base it may save you hours of frustration.Well that's the basics of Operating System optimization. Next up, we look at the drivers which are so essential to keeping your system performing well.

System Optimization - Device Drivers

Device DriversA Device Driver (or simply Driver for short) is a program which controls a specific hardware device on your system. Your OS should already have built into it all the drivers necessary to communicate adequately with devices which were around at or around the time your OS came out. The issue then is why should you update your drivers? Updating a driver may be required due to one or more of the following basic reasons:1. Your device may be much newer than your operating system.2. Your device may have features which were not activated in the original set of drivers.3. Your device may have "bugs" (problems) or incompatibilities which can be reduced or resolved by means of software driver updates.The truth of the matter is that now that almost everyone has some form of internet connection, manufacturers are willing to rely on regular driver updates to address the above issues. This may mean that a piece of hardware or software may well leave the factory with known issues/incompatibilities or with features which aren't quite working right. The manufacturer then depends on the end user updating their driver over the internet when these issues are finally sorted out and a new driver is released. It's not an ideal situation but that's where it currently stands.More commonly though, because some games are released with new and sometimes not thoroughly tested features, certain hardware - particularly graphics and sound cards - will require driver updates to properly utilize these features.As you can see, it is extremely important that you have the latest drivers. Not so much for the sake of "having the latest", but because a great many problems in games and applications are actually resolved in the latest drivers, particularly if the game or application is a popular one.- Microsoft WHQL Certified and Non-Certified Drivers
Before we go any further, it's important to note that some drivers have been "certified" by the Microsoft Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) for use with Windows. Other drivers may not have this certification, and you may receive a warning about it in Windows. Without getting into a big anti- or pro-Microsoft debate here, suffice it to say that "non-certified" drivers are safe to use on your machine. WHQL certification is a quality control exercise Microsoft has introduced to ensure driver compatibility with Windows, but it is extremely expensive for developers to get each and every driver they release WHQL-certified, so often drivers are simply not certified. Also WHQL certification does not automatically guarantee that a driver will fix your problems. It simply means it's had an extra level of testing to make sure it doesn't have any major problems in a Windows environment with a range of hardware. The upshot of all of this is that you can safely ignore whether a driver is WHQL certified as long as it's from a reputable company, like those I link to below.- Beta DriversWhen software is being developed it undergoes various levels of testing, including alpha and beta (pre-release) stages. A beta driver is a driver which is not officially supported by the manufacturer, but often these drivers are "leaked" onto the internet and in recent times can even be downloaded directly from the chipset-makers website (see links below). While beta drivers can certainly help resolve problems, you should be wary of them due to the fact that they have not been fully tested - and in fact they're often released so that the public can be the guinea pigs at no cost to the developer. As long as you back up data regularly, and if available to you, you use System Restore or some other method to protect yourself, installation of a beta driver is not a giant threat. Just remember that if things do go wrong the drivers are officially unsupported, and in some cases if they're leaked you will not receive much sympathy from technical support.- Video Card DriversYour video card drivers have a large bearing on your graphics performance in games. Certain anomalies in newer games such as flickering or missing textures, objects appears inside another, garbled text, etc. can often be resolved through driver updates. In any case, if you contact a technical support area chances are the first thing they'll ask you is to update your drivers, so do that first and foremost.There are two types of video card drivers you can download - manufacturer-specific drivers and reference drivers. What's the difference? Well modern graphics cards are based on a reference chipset design by one company which is then used by another company (perhaps with some features added or removed) to manufacture the final video card which sits in your machine. For example, nVidia will produce the GeForce FX reference chipset design, which will then be bought by particular manufacturers such as ASUS who may then decide to use faster memory chips on the final card they produce, or add Video Out capabilities, and so forth.Because most manufacturers do not currently deviate much (if at all) from the reference design, you can usually download and install the reference driver from the chipset designer's website without any problems. The manufacturer will also have a modified (and usually older) version of these reference drivers which are customized for your exact video card, and will utilize every feature on your card - such as any video out capabilities. For most people I would recommend using the reference drivers as these are the latest and hence have the most recent bug fixes. If you have any problems with the reference drivers (such as inactive features on your card) switch to the manufacturer's latest set.Below are the links to the driver download pages for the most popular chipset makers:- nVidia- ATi- SiS- Matrox- S3You can also download a range of official and unofficial (beta, leaked) drivers from the following 3D graphics websites:- 3DChipset- Guru3D- VideoDriversFinally, if you want to download manufacturer-modified drivers, the following are some of the more popular video card manufacturers' support sites:- Abit- ASUS- Creative- Gainward- Gigabyte- Hercules- Leadtek- PowerColor- X-MicroNote you can also download new BIOS for your video card from the manufacturer's website (where available). Generally speaking you shouldn't need to update the BIOS on your video card, but the procedure is much the same as flashing the BIOS on your motherboard - take extreme care.

System Optimization - Device Drivers (Part 2)

Device Drivers (Continued)- Microsoft DirectX
DirectX is a set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) - such as Direct3D - built into Windows which allows software developers to access complex multimedia functions with greater ease. What that means is that most games require DirectX to run in Windows as they were designed around it, and most recent games require DirectX version 8.1 or higher. Windows XP has Version 8.1 of DirectX built into it, but older versions of Windows will definitely require an update to the latest DirectX version. You can download the latest version, which is DirectX 9.0b from the Microsoft DirectX Home Page, and I highly recommend you update any version of Windows to DirectX 9.0b, if for no other reason than 9.0b fixes a security flaw in earlier versions of DirectX. If for any reason you want to uninstall DX9.0b, you can try to use this DirectX Uninstaller but note that generally speaking once you've installed a version of DirectX it is very difficult, if not impossible to "uninstall" it properly. If you're worred, make a System Restore point first before updating your DirectX version.Often there are "beta" versions of DirectX which can be found on sites like Betas.Intercom.Net, but my recommendation is to stay away from non-official versions of DirectX, as it is such a crucial part of Windows (and extremely difficult to uninstall properly) that if anything goes wrong you may have to completely reinstall your Windows. Better safe than sorry in this case.If you want to know which version of DirectX is currently running on your system - and in fact a whole lot more information about your system components - go to Start>Run and type "DXDiag" (without the quotes). The DirectX Diagnostic utility will open up (if it asks about checking and updating WHQL drivers, say no - see WHQL section above), and you'll see your DirectX version near the bottom of the first screen. You can use DXDiag to change some of your hardware settings and test and troubleshoot your multimedia components. Even more handy for advanced users is this small DirectX Control Panel application which allows you to change even more settings for troubleshooting purposes. Make sure that the debug level is at its lowest (slider to far left) for each device for fastest performance, and don't change anything without first noting down the original settings.- Sound Card DriversJust like your video card, your sound card needs the latest drivers to ensure peak operating efficiency. The following is a list of driver download links for the major sound card manufacturers:- AOpen- Creative- Guillemot- Hercules- Turtle BeachIf your manufacturer is not above, try one of these general sound card driver sites:- Driver Zone- Gold FilesThere are often additional utilities and demos which you can download for your sound card which may help increase the usefulness of the card. These should also be available on your manufacturer's site, or on the installation CD provided with your sound card, so hunt around.- Motherboard DriversYour motherboard is just like any other piece of hardware - it requires drivers to operate correctly. While your OS will contain drivers which support most motherboards without a problem, it's strongly advised that you update your motherboard drivers to get the best performance and to fix any known bugs and compatibility issues. Motherboard driver updates go hand-in-hand with BIOS updates.Just like graphic cards, motherboards are based on a reference chipset which may then be altered by the final manufacturer - and often is. However it is recommended that unless you have a very unique chipset (such as so-called "hybrid" chipsets) that you use the reference drivers from the chipset designer, with links to the download sites for these drivers provided below:- VIA (also see TweakTown's VIA Hyperion Driver Guide/FAQ for more information)- Intel- SiS- nVidiaGeneral sites for downloading motherboard drivers include:- Guru3D- Motherboards.orgFor manufacturer-specific drivers, check the links provided for motherboard manufacturers in the BIOS section above.- Hard Drive, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and CD-RW DriversFor most purposes your Hard Drive, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and CD-RW will not require a driver update as such, because the motherboard drivers (see above) for the controllers connected to these drives are sufficient. However, you can download Firmware updates which act as both a driver and a BIOS update. Just like your motherboard and graphics card, your drive has a chip onboard which contains information on how to communicate with your system and also contains information on the best way to manage the drive itself, such as controlling drive speeds during read/write, and management of error checking and protection checking procedures.Firmware updates are typically available from your drive manufacturer's site and require a similar procedure (and caution) as flashing the BIOS on a motherboard or graphics card. The following are a list of common hard drive manufacturers:- IBM (also refer to this site for IBM Drive Firmware updates and information)- Maxtor- Seagate- Western DigitalFor CD/DVD/CDRW drives try the manufacturer's website (there are too many to list), or the following excellent general site to obtain new firmware for your drive:- The Firmware PageIt is not essential that you update your drive's firmware, except in circumstances such as the IBM 60GXP and 75GXP drives which are prone to crash without a firmware update, or if you have an older CD/DVD/CDRW drive and you want to make sure it remains compatible with newer software/hardware.Other peripherals such as digital cameras, optical mice or printers may well have driver updates which you can download and install, but usually the drivers which accompany such devices on their installation CDs are sufficient, and if you run a newer OS like WinXP, most current peripherals or devices are supported straight out of the box without even needing to install additional drivers.

System Optimization - Device Drivers (Part 3)

Device Drivers (Continued)- Correct Installation Method for Device DriversThis is something which many, many people think they know how to do correctly, but brother, believe me they don't. Even if you're certain of the best method for installing device drivers, read through the following information just to be safe.- General PrecautionsBefore attempting to install any driver, make sure of the following:1. Do not have any other programs running in the background. That means close down any audio players, games, apps - you name it, even if they're not currently active. Open programs can cause problems with driver installs, even if you can't see it straight away. For example an audio player may be using a system audio file which the new driver needs to update, so the file may not be updated as a result. Or a program may cause a memory conflict with the driver installation program. It's just safer to not install a driver while your system is tied up with other tasks.2. Do not have an anti-virus program running in the background. Anti-virus programs are very system intrusive (they have to be to catch viruses), but that also means they're well and truly likely at some point to cause a conflict or prevent full, correct installation. In general you should disable your anti-virus program completely before installing anything - be it a game, application or drivers.3. Make sure your system is set to accept non-WHQL drivers, or at least prompts you about it rather than rejecting them outright. In WinXP this is done by going into Control Panel>System>Hardware>Driver Signing and tick "Warn - Prompt me each time to choose an action" and tick "Make this action the system default". If the driver is non-WHQL you'll see a prompt, but as mentioned earlier, non-WHQL drivers are absolutely fine to install if from a reputable source like the manufacturers listed previously.4. Reduce your overclock to what you know to be a "safe" level, or back to default - whichever one is guaranteed not to corrupt data or result in a freeze. If you read the overclocking section you've heard me nag about this one continuously, but it's true. Being "too" overclocked will result in subtle problems and this could mean a driver looks like it's installed properly when there may well be a corruption in one or more of its files.5. Do not abort an installation once it starts installing - by pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL, or manually resetting/switching off the machine for example. At the point where you see files being copied across, any interruption may cause a corruption of the driver files.6. Reboot as requested. Doing too many things after a driver requests a reboot may cause problems or conflicts resulting in a crash, especially if the system attempts to access the updated files or a function which has changed in the new drivers. Be safe and reboot when asked, or as soon as possible afterwards.7. Finally, if you get errors when trying to run a driver setup program, reboot and retry. In most cases the next time you try and run the file it will work properly. If not, then the driver package may have been corrupted upon download. For example this has happened to me several times because I downloaded a driver from the nVidia site using a download manager (like GetRight, Download Accelerator, etc.) rather than the default Internet Explorer method. Disable your download manager and retry, you'll often find this resolves the problem.- Video Card Driver InstallationWhat follows is an example of how to do a "clean" install of a graphics driver in WinXP. Note that the method will essentially be the same for other Windows OS and most brands of video cards - the aim of the exercise is simply to remove all traces of the existing driver from the system before installing the new one. This is a common cause of graphics and performance-related problems - when different versions of various driver files are being accessed by the system because they were never removed/replaced properly. This is especially true if you switch back to an older version of a driver from an existing newer version.Note that I've written a very comprehensive ATi Catalyst Installation Guide, so if you're an ATi graphics card owner, refer to that guide for more detailed instructions.Now you may tell me there are programs around which purport to do all this for you, such as Detonator Destroyer, but often they don't work for newer versions of drivers (and you have to wait for an update), and even more importantly the method below works just as well, is completely free, and there's no wait, no fuss. The choice is yours but I stick by the following method:1. Download the new driver package for your OS. If it's a zip file, extract the contents to an empty folder. If it's an executable, don't run it just yet. If you have an Nvidia card, follow steps 2 to 4 below first. If you have an ATi card, skip to step 5.2. Go to Control Panel>Display>Settings>Advanced>Adapter>Properties>Driver>Update Driver.3. Select the second option "Install from a list or specific location", then click Next. Select the last option "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install" and click Next. You will see a list of existing graphics drivers for your card on your system. The first one (or two) will be the default "built-in" drivers.4. In Win9x/ME, switch to the Standard VGA driver. In WinXP select the default WinXP graphics driver. This usually has the name of your card followed by (Microsoft) next to it. If not, select the first driver on the list as this should be the default. Once selected click Next. You should see some files being copied - don't interrupt this process - and when prompted, reboot as requested.5. Upon reboot, go to Control Panel>Add/Remove, and uninstall any and all incidences of "display drivers", such as "Nvidia Windows 2000/XP Display Drivers" or "ATi Display Driver". This should correctly remove all the driver components. Reboot as requested.6. If the new driver is in an .exe format, simply run the .exe file to setup. If it's a .zip file, extract the contents as instructed in 1 and execute the Setup.exe file, or if one doesn't exist (e.g. for beta drivers), go through steps 2 and 3 above, but this time select "Have Disk" and point windows to the directory where you unzipped the new drivers. Select the driver .inf file which is displayed and continue.7. Once the above is done Windows should show a "files installing" dialog. Do not interrupt this process, and when completed, reboot as requested.You now have a clean install of whichever driver version you've chosen. If you're running Windows 2000/Windows XP, the refresh rate (number of times the screen redraws itself every second) will be locked at 60Hz (60 frames per second) for every resolution regardless of your monitor/graphics cards capabilities. This is bad for your eyes, reduces game performance and can even slow your mouse down. Use a refresh rate fix such as RefreshForce to resolve this problem quickly and easily. This fix applies to all graphics cards and monitors.- Sound Card Driver InstallationSound card driver installation is very similar, but fortunately much easier. Go to the Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs and uninstall any existing sound drivers listed (e.g. "Sound Blaster Audigy"), and reboot as required. Note than on booting back into Windows you may have no audio. This is normal. Next simply download the driver package, and either extract the contents to an empty folder and run the Setup executable, or run the package itself and it will extract and install automatically.- Motherboard Driver InstallationInstalling these drivers can be tricky, depending on your motherboard chipset and the form in which the drivers come.For Intel chipsets, full instructions for correct installation come in a Readme.txt file which accompanies the file, or can be viewed on the Intel Support Site for each file. Typically you shouldn't do a "clean" install of motherboard drivers. Simply download the program (e.g. Intel Application Accelerator, Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility or VIA Hyperion package) and run the executable, following the prompts. Once installed, reboot as requested.If the drivers come without an executable, or the executable simply extracts a whole bunch of (non-.exe) files, then you will need to search for a Readme.txt (or similar) file which specifies which device the driver is for and manually update the device driver. Then follow the instructions further below.For VIA Chipsets, I have a full VIA Hyperion Driver Guide/FAQ which can be found here, and covers the correct installation and version checking for the VIA Hyperion (4in1s) and all other VIA drivers.If you want to update a specific device manually, or simply check the version of the driver(s) follow these instructions:1. Go to Control Panel>System>Hardware>Device Manager and make sure under the View menu you can see "Devices by Type" selected.2. Find the device(s) you need to update/check. For example, expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers section and you should see an entry such as "Intel 82801xx Ultra ATA Controller" (which the Intel Application Accelerator updates) or "VIA Bus Master IDE Controller" (which the Hyperions update). You will find other motherboard drivers under the System Devices section.3. Right click on the device and choose Properties, or simply double-click on it, then select the Driver tab to see the driver version currently installed.4. If you want to update this device, first check for an existing version in Control Panel>Add/Remove programs and uninstall it if it's there, rebooting if necessary. Then in the device properties select Driver>Update Driver>Select "Install from a list or specific location", then click Next. Select "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install" and click Next. Select "Have Disk" and point windows to the directory where you unzipped the new drivers. Select the driver .inf file which is displayed and continue.5. You should see a "files installing" dialog. Do not interrupt this process, and when completed, reboot as requested.The above process applies not only to all motherboard chipsets, but for any device where the drivers do not have an executable setup file. If there is a Setup.exe, or the package itself is an executable, run this file as it will correctly install the driver(s) as intended. Do not run this .exe in compatibility mode or any other tricky stuff - this can result in the wrong drivers being installed for your system configuration.That covers the installation of all the major device drivers you will usually update on a regular basis. Other devices may need driver updates but the procedures are the same as those specified above.

System Optimization - Conclusion

Conclusion
Well by now you're probably sick and tired of your PC and you want to trash the entire thing and replace it with a Mac. This is a very dangerous line of thinking, and I would urge you to seek professional psychiatric help before even thinking of buying a Mac. The truth is that a PC is a complex machine, made of up several different components of varying age, quality and function. Top that off with an operating system which is designed to be compatible with near infinite combinations of hardware and software and of course you need to spend some time and effort optimizing, customizing and maintaining your PC. It's a lot like a motor vehicle - every once in a while something goes wrong and it has to go to a mechanic. Even if nothing goes wrong it has to be serviced regularly to keep everything in tune. A PC needs the same sort of attention.Hopefully this guide has been some help in giving you a central resource for PC troubleshooting, maintenance and optimization, particularly when it comes to gaming. Modern PC games push computer hardware and software to its absolute limit, and while you may be able to run older games on your PC without a problem rest assured that a cutting edge game will bring it to its knees and uncover a weak link in no time.I want to thank all the sites I've linked to for providing a wealth of information and resources for PC users. I want to state categorically that there may well be errors in this guide, although I have made every effort to make sure everything is accurate. I guarantee that this guide will be kept up-to-date and I'll be continually refining and adding to the content to make sure it remains useful. If you find an error or a dead (non-working) link, or if you have some feedback, please email me (click my name at the top of the guide) and let me know. I try and respond to every email I get. You can also jump onto the TweakTown Forums and discuss any of the topics in this guide in the relevant forum.Game Tweak GuidesIf you're hankering for some game-specific nitty-gritty tweak guides, luckily I prepared some earlier for your reading pleasure. Try the following game guides I've written on TweakTown:America's Army Tweak GuideBattlefield 1942 Tweak GuideHalo Tweak GuideMorrowind Tweak GuideNeed for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 Tweak GuideUnreal Tournament 2003 Tweak GuideNow if you've been referred here from another guide, it's time to get back there and continue your tweaking!

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