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WinXP Tweaks Compilation


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Hey Hak.5 Members/Fans/Etc. I'm new to the whole Hak.5 sensation (woot!) and so I looked a bit around and maybe thought I may help people out in some case. I'm not a hacker or anything, although I mess with my computer (a whole lot), tweaking it to get the best performance or for liking in the UI I can for gaming and application usage. So this topic/post is just a few performance tweaks I have used on my Windows XP platform that I have searched around the net.

Please note and try not to screw up because it may be vital.

All of these Tweaks and changes have been tested on Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home.

These may help some gamers or hackers likes, I guess :P

NOTE: I do not take credit on any of these tweaks. All of these tweaks/changes are a compilation of several guides I have browsed around the net.


Most Windows users (maybe not) are familiar with MsConfig, which is a built-in system configuration utility from Microsoft in their Windows products. I remember using MsConfig back in Windows 98, so Win98 and up are a sure thing for MsConfig although I am not sure for Win95 or earlier.

Simply go to Start, and select Run. For the shortcut, hit your Windows Key + R. In the Run window, type msconfig in the line provided and hit OK. You will see lots of tabbed sections like General, SYSTEM.INI, BOOT.INI, etc. Now I am using Windows XP so it may look different on Win2000 or Win98.

In msconfig as what this topic would want to tweak your computer for performance, so the tab you would mostly should be interested in is the Startup tab. This tab displays all the programs that will start when Windows boots up. None in the startup tab should be vital for Windows, so you don't need to be worried about unchecking some of the items to test how quicker it would boot up Windows. Stuff like Winamp or AOL Instant Messenger takes up resources when booting up, so unchecking these (as well as whatever is else in your tab on your PC), would take up less resources and help reduce the boot time.


Go to Start, and select Run (or WindowsKey+R), and enter Services.msc then click OK. What you should get is a Window with a whole lot of things listed, the window being named Services. Make sure you are in "Services (Local)". Here you see all the Windows services that starts up, what is running, or what does not start up unless manually, or just disabled.

This is a more detailed list of processes that are starting up with Windows. All the items with 'Automatic' listed next to their names are booting with Windows. Not everything listed is a neccessity to run Windows, although there are a lot of things you do not want to even touch. Click on the items to find out what they do, and what other services they depend on (dependencies). If you decide you don't need a certain service, you can simply right-click on it and change it's properties from Automatic to Manual.

Menu Delays

Another minor small easy tweak is to remove any delay from menus fading or sliding out. For this you will need to use regedit, and to access regedit, simpl goto Start, select Run. In the Run prompt type regedit, and hit OK. You should get the Regedit window titled Registry Editor. On the left you should see your computer with 5 folders.

Simply follow in order the keys and folders:


Control Panel


When you select Desktop, on the right side of the Registry Editor, you should look for the item called MenuShowDelay. All you have to do is double-click that, and change the value to 0. Exit Registry Editor after this and reboot your computer. It will not take effect until after a reboot.

Automatically Kill Programs at Shutdown

You know when you try rebooting or shutting down your computer pauses for a second and then a small box telling you that a program is still running? You can avoid all of this by simply editing a single key in Regedit. Navigate to:


Control Panel


in the Desktop folder of find the key called AutoEndTasks, and alter the key value to 1.

If this key is not found in your registry, simply create it with a value of 1. Just create a REG_SZ, name it AutoEndTasks, and input the number 1.

To disable this tweak, change the value to 0.

Prioritizing Individual Processes

If you press Control+Alt+Delete, depending on how your computer is set up, you may immetiately get the Windows Task Manager. You may need to hit Task manager to see it. Click on the processes tab, and you should see a list of all the processes running on your computer at the time. If you are running a program that you want to dedicate more processing time like 3D Games or something, you can just right-click on that process, move your cursor down to 'Set Priority', then select how high you want that program prioritized.

Please note selecting RealTime can and may cause system instability. Other priority selections have a lesser chance of system instability issues.

Shared Documents in My Computer

By default when you open My Computer in Windows XP, you normally see folders above your hard drives and whatnot. These are called 'Shared Folders', and provides folders for all users to share things on that computer. IMO, these folders are just annoying and useless, especially if you are the only person who uses the computer. Do you want to get rid of those folders? Simple. Start up regedit and find your way through the following list:










in the DelegateFolders, you should see 2 folders. The one you would want to be focusing on is {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}.

All you have to do is delete this folder (do not delete DelegateFolders, delete the {5903...). Next time you open My Computer, the folders will no longer be there.

Shutdown by registry Speed

By altering a few settings in your registry, you can decrease the amount of time it takes for Windows to shut down. To do this, first open up the registry editor and find your way to:


Control Panel


Find the value HungAppTimeout. By default it is 5000, so make sure the value for HungAppTimeout is 5000. In that same folder look for the value WaitToKillAppTimeout. Default is 20000, change it to 4000.

After this, navigate to:





Find the value WaitToKillServiceTimeout, and change it to 4000.

This should decrease the time it takes for your computer to shut down.

Windows XP Prefetcher

Windows XP comes with a service called the Prefetcher (not listed). This service monitors which programs initalize when Windows boots, then in the future, fetches them quickly. By default Windows has the prefetcher enabled, but you can improve its performance. Open up regedit and find your way to:





Session Manager

Memory Management


In that folder find the value EnablePrefetcher. Most likely it will be set to 3. Recommended is 5. Feel free to play around with it a bit though. Values 0-5 are all I know which works.

Windows XP ZIP folder

Windows XP has a built-in support for .ZIP files, so it acts like normal folders basically on your system. Although this works, the system uses a sizeable portion of resources doing this, so disabling this feature can increase a bit of performance. You can simply disable this by going to Start, select Run. In the box type:

regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

Press enter or click OK, and you should get a confirm prompt that it was unregistered. IMO you should do this if you use programs like WinRAR or WinACE or other archive programs that exist out there. Do this first then install your archive program.

Windows Hibernation

If you are not going to be using Hibernation, make sure it is disabled, as Windows reserves an amount of hard drive space equal to that of your RAM for hibernation. To disable Hibernation, go to Control Panel, Power Options, Hibernate Tab.

Simply make sure it is unchecked (disabled).

Shortcut Prefetch

One thing I have done on my computer in my shortcuts is simply put in arguements (in some cases would be after the target), and entering /prefetch:1 . I am not sure EXACTLY what this does but whenever I open programs or games it is quicker than without this arguement.

There may be a few tweaks/changes you may like that I have not listed but has been explained in other guides and whatnot. You can go to the following:



I recommend you to go to these sites for more tweaks and changes you may like :)

Also for those that just want to be a bit of a Windows Vista wannabe in Windows XP, I highly recommend you go purchase WindowBlinds. Get that and visit www.joejoe.org on how to "transform" your computer WinXP to WinVista.

Thanks for reading. I hope some of these tweaks help a few of you gamers out ^_^

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