Put New Life Into Windows XP

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Turn Off Indexing to Ease Strain on System Resources

XP's search uses an indexing system that speeds up the searching process. But it also uses up significant system resources, and uses plenty of hard-disk space. Unless you do a lot of searching, you'll be better off turning off indexing.

To turn it off, right-click your hard disk from within Windows Explorer and select Properties. On the General tab, uncheck the box next to "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching" and click OK.

You'll be asked whether to apply the changes to just the hard drive (C:\ in the example shown), or also all of its subfolders and files. Choose to apply it to all subfolders and files and click OK.

Improve Start-Up and Shutdown Times

Tired of twiddling your thumbs or taking a coffee break while XP boots up or shuts down? These tweaks and hacks will speed up both for you.

Speed Boot-Up with Boot Defragments

The simplest way to speed boot-up is to do a boot defragment so that all the boot files are next to one another on your hard disk. By default, XP performs a boot defragment, but there's a chance that it's been turned off. Here's how to make sure it's turned on.

1. Open the Registry Editor by typing regedit at a command prompt or the Run box.

2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\ BootOptimizeFunction.

3. Change the Enable string value to Y if it is not already set to Y.

4. Exit the Registry and reboot.

The next time you reboot, you'll do a boot defragment.

Tweak Your BIOS for Faster Start-Ups

Each time you turn on your PC, it performs a set of BIOS start-up procedures before XP loads. Speed up those start-up procedures, and you'll speed up boot times.

You change the start-up procedures by changing the BIOS settings with your system's built-in setup utility. How you run this utility varies from PC to PC, but you typically get to it by pressing the Delete, F1 or F10 keys during start-up. A menu of choices then appears. Here are the settings to tweak for faster start-ups:

Quick Power On Self Test (POST): With this option, your system runs an abbreviated POST rather than the normal, lengthy one. Turn it on.

Boot Up Floppy Seek: When was the last time you used a floppy, much less booted from it? If you're like most of the world, the answer is never. Disable this option. When it's enabled, your system spends a few extra seconds looking for your floppy drive.

Boot Delay: Some PCs let you delay booting after you turn on your PC so that your hard drive gets a chance to start spinning before boot-up. It's unlikely you need this boot delay, so turn it off. If you run into problems, however, you can turn it back on.

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