How to Make an XP Computer Run Faster

By Kim Linton

A computer running Windows XP tends to slow down over time as programs and services leave temporary files scattered on the hard drive. These files become fragmented resulting in a significant decrease in performance. A hard drive that is almost full can also slow down disk access and virtual memory functions. Keeping your XP computer clean and optimized is not that difficult. Here are a few tips to make your XP computer run faster and more efficiently.

Step 1

Install the latest Windows XP updates. Open Internet Explorer, click "Tools" then "Windows Update." Allow Microsoft to scan and update your system on a regular basis.

Step 2

Remove viruses and spyware. Use a free anti-virus program like AVG Free. Set the program to run a complete scan every 24 hours. Make sure the virus definitions are updated regularly.

Step 3

Uninstall unused programs. Go to "Control Panel" then "Add/Remove Programs" to see what packages are currently installed on your XP computer. Click "Remove" to uninstall any programs you don't use.

Step 4

Clean your hard drive. Open "My Computer," right-click the "C: Drive," select "Properties," then click "Disk Cleanup." After the scan is complete, click "OK" to clean the disk.

Step 5

Defragment your hard drive. Close all running programs, open "My Computer," right-click the "C: Drive," select "Properties" then the "Tools" tab. Click "Defragment Now" to scan and defragment your hard drive.

Step 6

Disable unnecessary startup programs. Click "Start" then "Run." Type "MSCONFIG" in the box, click "Enter," then select "Startup." Uncheck any programs you don't need then click "Apply."

Step 7

Set virtual memory. Go to "Control Panel" then "System" then "Advanced." Click the "Settings" button under Performance. Click "Advanced," then the "Change" button under Virtual Memory. Make sure System Managed Size is selected, then click "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with startup programs. Turn off one program at a time, restart your computer, then make sure everything is working properly. If not, go back and recheck the item in the Startup list.
  • To speed up your XP computer even more, use a solid background and delete any unused icons, files or folders on your desktop.

References & Resources