Been Around a Bit
Posted - 08/27/2008 : 9:40:31 PM
| heres my XP SP2 tweak guide for your perusal:
Guide to Windows XP bliss
The secret to Windows XP bliss is simple. First, get either a 2nd internal Harddrive or an external Harddrive. [Internal is WAY faster]. Second get
good backup software. I recommend Norton Ghost 10. With 2 HD's and good backup software, you will only install Windows, ONE
time, and if either HD ever fails.....you will be 2-10 mins from total recovery. [For various reasons, Windows built-in System Restore, is broken at best. Namely, if you ever get infected, your" restore points will also be infected. This is just one reason...there are many others...but I'm lazy.]
Ok, here is the setup:
1. Primary HD: no more than 80Gb, 40Gb better!
2. Secondary HD: large as you want, we will be partitioning it anyways.
3. Both HD: fastest spindle speed you can afford (i.e. Western Digital Raptors)
4. Partitions: Primary: 1 partition Secondary: split into 2-4 partitions 40Gb or greater.
Ok now we got the hardware. For the software here are the rules, so to speak.
1. Install Order: [Internet Line...UNhooked, physically]
a. Windows XP (or w/e OS you will be using the most.) [If you need to install SATA drivers or set up RAID, do so when Windows says to.]
b. Motherboard Chipset Drivers (from chipset manufacturer)
c. Latest version of DirectX from www.microsoft.com
d. Video Card Drivers (from GPU manufacturer)
e. Sound Card Drivers (if applicable)
f. any wierd, system specific drivers you may need. aka Network, peripheral devices (printers, cameras, phone etc)
h. Now install your' backup software, i.e. Norton Ghost.
i. Reboot your' computer 2-3 times and DEFRAG again.
j. Now run your' backup software and save an ENTIRE copy (image) of your' primary HD. "Store" the backup (image) on a "partition" on your'
k. Name it FRESH or something to remind you that this is a copy of a fresh Windows install.
2. Other software (antivirus, firewall etc) [Internet Line....STILL unhooked]
a. Install these programs in this order: Firewall, then Antivirus. I recommend ZoneAlarm Firewall (free version)
b. Set your Firewall to HIGH and any program that asks for access to internet....think before you allow it.
c. Install your Internet browser. I recommend Mozilla Firefox (free)
d. NOW rehook the LINE that supplys your internet connection.
e. Set up your default Network Connection in Control Panel / Network Connections
f. Turn on these services: Automatic Updates, Background Intelligent transfer, Event Log [Control Panel/ Administrative Tools/ Services]
g. Go STRAIGHT to www.microsoft.com and get all the recommended updates.
h. Next, go STRAIGHT to your AntiVirus site and get all the latest Virus Defitions. Then go OFFLINE however you can!!
i. Now make another backup of your entire primary HD.....with the date incoporated into the name aka: APR11.xxx
3. Tweak Windows to suit YOUR desires:
a. First we gonna need a little Microsoft program: TweakUiPowertoys (Win XP) or TweakUi (Win 98).
b. Next we gonna need a few shortcuts: Go to START / search (files and folders) for regedit, it should be in the system or sytem32 folder....
right click on its icon and choose: send to/ desktop (create shortcut).
c. Go to START / All Programs / Accessories and right click on: Windows Explorer and choose: send to / desktop (create shortcut).
d. Right click on the desktop and choose: Arrange Icons By...and make sure Auto Arrange is checked and Aligned To Grid, isn't checked.
e. Right click on the Windows Explorer icon and then click properties. On the shortcut TAB at top, the first text box you should see, should be
labled "Target". Delete w/e is in there and type in its' place: explorer.exe /n,/e,c:\program files (where c = your primary hardrive). This
will force Windows Explorer to open to the Program Files folder....which we will use a lot!
f. Now we need to install Tweak Ui Power Toys. Just double click it to install. (depending on version, you may have to have internet UP).
g. 90% of the Tweaks I use, for speed and ease, can be accomplished through Windows settings here and through the use of Tweak Ui.
so, go to START / all programs and you should see: Power Toys for Windows XP ....run it...go through each area on left side and TWEAK till
you are satisfied.
4. Tweak OTHER Windows Settings:
a. Double click on our Windows Explorer shortcut. At the top of the Windows Explorer window, click on the "View" button and choose: Details
b. Click on the "Tools" button and choose: Folder Options. On the General Tab, choose: Use Windows Classic Folders. Now click on the
View Tab. You will see many checkboxes. The following settings are for a stand-alone computer running Windows XP Pro.
If your computer is NOT hooked to other comps, uncheck: Automatically search for network folders and.....Then, click the circle labled:
Show Hidden Files and Folders. Scroll down a little and uncheck: Hide extensions for known file types, and uncheck Hide protected
Operating System Files. Put a check mark in: Remember Each Folders View Settings and Show Control Panel in My Computer.
Uncheck: Lauch Folder Windows in a seperate process and Use Simple File Sharing. Now at center-top area, click the Apply to all Folders
button and then answer Yes, then you can close all those windows.
c. Ok now, right click My Computer icon on your desktop and choose: properties. Click on the Advanced Tab, and in the Performance section
click the settings button. Put a dot in the Adjust for best Performance circle. Then click on THIS pages' Advanced tab. In the top two
sections, put a dot in the circles called: Programs. In the bottom or Virtual Memory section, click the Change Button: Put a dot in the
Custom Size circle. We need to set the paging files' Initial size and maximum size to the SAME value. You will see near the bottom, the
Recommended: XXXXMB. Type this value in BOTH the Initial and the Maximum size boxes. Then click the SET button, and any and all
OK's Yes's Applys etc., if asked to reboot, do so! Setting the Page File / Virtual memory this way, keeps it from becoming fragmented.
d. Now...right click your desktop and choose properties. Click the Desktop Tab. Click the Customize Desktop button at bottom. Here you
can change icons, remove icons etc. Close the Desktop items page. Now, at the top, click on the Appearance tab and in the top two
dropdown boxes, choose: Windows Classic Style and then, Windows Classic. Click Apply. To the right click the Effects button, and
UNcheck all boxes. EXCEPT: If you use an LCD, then you will WANT to check the box labled: Use the following method to
smooth edges of screen fonts, and then in the drop down choose: Clear Type. Close that window and click on the andvanced button in
lower right. During tweaking and setup I recommend setting the desktop background color to black. Ok now at the top, click on the
Settings Tab. Here you can set ur screen resolution and color quality....I recommend the highest setting for both, that you and your'
hardware can support. At the bottom you will see another Advanced button, click on this to get to your particular Video Card Settings.
e. Windows built in ZIP program is not very good. I recommend Winzip 7.0...there are other ZIP programs, but Winzip is one of the most common.
IF, you have another program for handling ZIP files and wish to disable Windows built in ZIP intergration, go to START / Run and type:
regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll If you ever wish to re-enable it, type the same command but leave out the /u
f. I also recommend using the Classic taskbar and start menu. They are much more intuitive and easier to navigate. Right click the Taskbar and
choose Properties. On the window that opens, click the Start Menu tab at the top. At bottom left click Classic Start Menu. Next click Customize
in the lower right corner. In the check boxes, I suggest you make sure that Display Run and Enable Dragging and Dropping are checked,
and uncheck: Use Personalized menus. Now would be a good time to go through Power Toys for Windows / Tweak UI again. Some of the settings we will do next involve editing the Registry (dangerous) so any that CAN be set in Tweak UI, should be.
5. Registry tweaks:
a. First, we need to get to know the registry. Earlier we created a shortcut to the Registry Editor (the Icon looks sort of like a Rubics Cube), double
click the icon to open the Registry Editor. You should now see a window with 2 panes. The left pane contains the 5 HKEY's. The HKEYS......
ARE Windows XP. The desktop etc., is merely the Graphical User Interface (GUI). It exists to make it easier to perform tasks in Windows.
CAUTION: Any edits made to the registry are IMMEDIATE!!! So, It would be a good idea to backup your registry BEFORE you attempt to edit it.
To back up the Registry simply click on File / Export at the top left of registry Editor, and choose a name for the backup. For example, regback1
IF you make a mistake while editing the Registry, merely double clicking the backup file you made, will restore the registry. So make a backup now.
b. Even though the HKEY's "look" like folders, they do NOT act like folders. They can not be renamed or deleted. Ok, now click the plus sign by
HKEY_CURRENT USER and then click the plus sign by Software. In the Software Key are all your installed programs. Notice at the bottom left
side of the Registry Editor window, you can see the "file path" pointing to where you happen to be in the registry. To illustrate how to actually edit
something, we will now ....edit something. In this case we are going to edit an entry in the registry, that will allow Windows Menus to open faster.
c. By use of the plus signs on the left pane, we will open the "branches" to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop. Single-click the Desktop in the left pane. Now, you should see many entries in the right pane. The right pane is where we do 90% of our registry editing. In the right pane, double click the MenuShowDelay in the name column. This will open another window in which you can change the menu delay value. You can type any number in here from 0 to 65534, the number you enter is the time delay in milliseconds. The default is 400 which is about 1/2 second. IF the MenuShowDelay is NOT in the right pane, then go up to the Edit button (top left) click it and choose NEW then String Value, then type: MenuShowDelay (each word is capitalized and NO spaces between words). Then just double click the newly created MenuShowDelay value and set to whatever speed you like. Mine is set to a value of 1, but that may be too fast for some people. A good number to try first is: 100, it's fast but not "hectic fast". There, you have just succesfully edited the registry. The following will be a list of recommended registry entries, that will make windows more responsive and eliminate some of Microsofts' stupider ideas.
d. To turn Off Windows Picture and Fax Viewer:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ SystemFileAssociations \ image \ ShellEx \ ContextMenuHandlers then, delete the ShellImagePreview key.
To reduce the Hung Application Timeout:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop then double click the WaitToKillAppTimeout value. The default is 20000 (20 seconds).
...the recommended setting is: 2000 (2 seconds). Also in this key is the HungAppTimeout value, just set it to the same value.
To add Encrypt/Decrypt to right click menus:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced ...create a new value by going to
Edit then NEW then DWORD Value and then type: EncryptionContextMenu for the name of the new value. Now double click the
EncryptionContextMenu value and enter 1 for the Value Data, and click OK.
To speed up Disk Cleaner:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ VolumeCaches \ Compress old files ...just
delete the Compress old files folder from the left pane.
6. The SERVICES Jungle:
Windows XP comes with about 90 services, turned on by default. While only about 25-30 Services are actually needed to allow Windows
to function properly. The remaining 60 or so Services either use up system resources or are downright security risks. NOTE: If your computer
is "networked" with other computers, be careful NOT to turn off any Services that are required for your' network to function. The Services are
located in: Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Services. [Make sure that the "Extended tab" is chosen at the bottom...this will provide
descriptions for each sevice when you highlight each service] The object here is to disable and/or stop any services you don't need. Below is a list
of Services that mainly are security risks and should be set to manual or better yet, disabled and then stopped. Just double clicking on a Service,
will bring up a dialog box which will allow you to change the default settings. This list is from www.tweakXP.com ...this list contains services
that should be changed for a gaming machine (in other words a FAST machine).
Below are a list of windows services that we reccomend you change to the manual setting.
Application Layer Gateway Service** (only if Windows firewall is not used)
Background Intelligent Transfer Service
COM+ System Application
Distributed Link Tracking Client
Distributed Transaction Coordinator
Help and Support
IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service
Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service
MS Software Shadow Copy Provider
NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
Network DDE DSDM
Network Location Awareness (NLA)
NT LM Security Support Provider
Performance Logs and Alerts
Portable Media Serial Number
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator
Remote Registry ***DISABLE***
Routing and Remote Access
Smart Card Helper
SSDP Discovery Service ***DISABLE***
System Restore Service ** (ONLY stop this service if you have an alternate backup system like Norton Ghost)
Uninterruptible Power Supply
Universal Plug and Play Device Host ***DISABLE***
Volume Shadow Copy
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)
Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions
Wireless Zero Configuration
WMI Performance Adapter
Fast User Switching Compatibility ** (only if fast user switching is not used or the machine has one user only)
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
Print Spooler ** (only if the pc does not have or use a printer)
Error Reporting Service
Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing
7. Secrets to easy Windows life:
a. NEVER buy/install a security SUITE...use stand alone products, for example: Use Notron Antivirus...NOT Norton Security Suite.
b. NEVER use two Antivirus or two Firewall applications.
c. DO USE 2-3 Anti Spyware applications. (they will NOT interfere with each other)
d. ALWAYS get the latest Microsoft Updates (they are released on the 2nd Tuesday of each month)
e. ALWAYS update your' anitvirus, and spyware applications, definitions (check every 1-3 days for new definitions)
f. Make sure that there are NO applications in: START / programs / startup (it should say "empty")
g. Download and learn to use: HijackThis (it is by far the easiest and fastest way to find out if you've been infected)
h. Go to this site: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/winxpannoy2/ and GET THE DAMN BOOK!
i. Download and learn to use: Glary Utilities (free) http://www.glarysoft.com/ (the fastest way to a slow computer is a "bloated registry")
j. DEFRAG your hard drive before and after you install a program. DEFRAG after you UNinstall a program.
8. Websites everyone should have added to favorites and / or bookmarked:
d. http://www.spywareinfo.com/%7Emerijn/programs.php AND http://hjt.networktechs.com/
n. http://www.freewebs.com/coilscollection/ <--- My site
In short, have a good stand-alone antivirus, a good stand alone firewall, a good backup system, 1-3 stand alone spyware applications,
a good registry cleaner, the latest chipset, video card, soundcard drivers. Check for updated definitions for your anitvirus and spyware apps once
every 3 days. Check for Microsoft Updates on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. Whenever your system seems to be running slower....assume
that you are infected until you've proven otherwise. Defragment your hard drive once a week or once every 2 weeks at the outside. Run a Registry
cleaner once every other day or so. Get the book mentioned in 7h..it is by far the most complete Windows XP book available. Get and learn to use
HijackThis....I can't stress these last two items enough.
Following these simple proceedures will make even an old computer faster, more secure and far less prone to errors.