Chapter 18. Performance Tuning


How fast does your computer run?

Ask that question of most people, and you’ll get a variation on this answer: not fast enough.

But you don’t have to put up with a sluggish PC. There is a lot you can do to make it run faster and more efficiently—and to do it without having to install a faster processor, or buying more RAM.

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to tune XP for top performance. You’ll use a wide variety of tools built into XP, such as the Task Manager, the Task Scheduler, Disk Cleanup, the Disk Defragmenter, and other tools as well.

Don’t expect those tools to do the job by themselves, because when it comes to tuning an operating system for a PC, you have to put a great deal of work into it as well, including some detective work.

But if you follow the recipes in this chapter, you’ll be able to do the job well. You’ll find out how to get more out of RAM, how to fine-tune applications and utilities, as well as XP itself, and more as well.

So try some of the recipes, and you’ll find yourself with a faster PC.

18.1. Speeding Up System Performance with the Task Manager


You want a quick way to speed up system performance.


The Task Manager does more than manage tasks, show all programs and processes running on your system, and let you shut down any that they don’t want to run any longer. It’s also an excellent tool for tuning system performance. There are three ways to start the Task Manager:

  • Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

  • Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. ...

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