SLIDESHOW

Keep XP in Tip Top Shape Long After Vista is Dead

Get a closer look at some of the programs you can use to get Vista's features in XP -- and to keep XP operating smoothly for a long, long time.

Windows Defender

Editor's note: This image gallery accompanies our story "How to make Windows XP last for the next seven years." Click through to that story for the full set of tips and tools.

Microsoft's free Windows Defender antispyware tool is exactly the same on Windows XP as on Windows Vista. Be sure to use at least one other antispyware program as a backup

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Comodo Firewall Pro

Comodo Firewall Pro gives you both inbound and outbound firewall protection -- for free.

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Desktop Sidebar, Google Desktop Gadgets, and Yahoo Widgets

Like Vista's Sidebar and Gadgets? These three freebies give Windows XP similar features. Desktop Sidebar (left) and Google Desktop Gadgets (center) can only run in a sidebar area, while Yahoo Widgets (right) can run in a sidebar or anywhere on your desktop.Note that Google Desktop Gadgets require that you download and use the Google Desktop, which could slow down your system.

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Alt-Tab Replacement Power Toy

Microsoft's free Alt-Tab Replacement Power Toy lets you preview windows before switching to them.

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TweakWindow

TweakWindow gives XP users cooler transparency features than Vista's -- including the ability to make entire windows transparent.

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Vista Transformation Pack

Is it XP or Vista? It's XP, using the Vista Transformation Pack to become Vista's twin.

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Network Magic

Network Magic gives you many of the networking features you'll find in Vista -- and more.

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Turn Off Visual Effects

Turning off some of XP's visual effects, such as animations, can make your system seem a lot snappier.

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TCP Optimizer

SpeedGuide's free TCP Optimizer can tweak XP's Internet settings to provide fast Web browsing and file downloads.

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Save Some Space

By default, XP assigns too much disk space to System Restore to save restore point files and settings, and to the Recycle Bin to store deleted files -- but you can rein in both of these space hogs. Set System Restore (left) to something less than 1 GB. When adjusting the Recycle Bin (right), you'll have to select a percentage of the drive with the slider, then click to the individual drive tabs to see the actual size of the Recycle Bin; try to get to around 1GB.

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Microsoft Update

Microsoft Update provides patches for Windows XP and other Microsoft products such as Office.

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Disk Cleanup

The Disk Cleanup utility can scrub away unneeded files left behind by Windows and applications.

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CCleaner

The free CCleaner application cleans even more files than Disk Cleanup does and offers some registry-cleaning features.

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Disk Defragmenter

Use Disk Defragmenter on a weekly basis after cleaning up the drive to keep XP performing at its peak.

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