Today, I will pick up where I last left off on Windows XP Tips and Tweaks.
Control the number of startup programs: Having a large number of startup programs can slow down Windows XP. Oftentimes, when you install new software, it will add itself to the list of startup programs. Here is how to disable startup programs you don't need.
- Go to Start Menu > Run > enter "msconfig" (without the quotation marks) > [O.K.] > "Startup" tab > uncheck any program you don't need to load at startup > [O.K.] > [Restart].
- Some of the entries use cryptic names and it is not obvious what the program it corresponds to. In such cares, you can use Bleeping Computer's startup program list. Enter the name which appears in "msconfig" and Castlecop will display the corresponding program.
Change a process priority: At any given time, numerous processes are working in the background without you realizing it. Windows XP assigns different priorities for different processes. Windows XP allots more memory and CPU power for higher priority processes than low priority processes. For example, you working on a Microsoft Word document takes precedent over the printer spooler service. Most processes are given a "normal" priority but you can change the priority level manually. Here's how to change it.
- Press Cltr+Alt+Delete to display the task manager.
- Go to the "Process" tab > scroll down to the process you want to edit > right click the process and choose "Select priority" > change the priority level.
Show file extensions: By default, Windows XP hide file extensions. However, you can change it to show them.
- Open Windows Explorer.
- On the menu bar, go to Tools > Folder Options > "View" tab > scroll down and uncheck "Hide extension for known file types." > [Apply] > [O.K.].
Disable search for network folders and printers: By default, Windows XP will search for network folders and printers even if you don't have any. This causes a drop in Windows XP performance. You can speed things up by disabling this feature.
- Open Windows Explorer.
- On the menu bar, go to Tools > Folder Options > "View" tab > scroll down and uncheck "Automatically search for network folders and printers." > [Apply] > [O.K.].
Change the default program for a file extension: Most file extensions are opened in a default program. For example, .doc files are opened with Microsoft Word while .txt files are opened with Notepad. You can change which program to use for any given file extension.
- Open Windows Explorer
- On the menu bar, go to Tools > Folder Options > "File Types" tab > scroll down and select the file extension > click [Change] > under Recommended program, is the current default program > under Other programs, are programs recommend by Windows XP > if the program you want to use is not listed, click [Browse] > select a default program > [Open] > [O.K.] > [O.K.].