Speed Up Everything
Posted 23 November 2009 - 11:42 AM
Posted 23 November 2009 - 12:19 PM
Posted 23 November 2009 - 02:58 PM
When in doubt, use a stopwatch and time your system. If something you are doing shows measurable results, stick with it. That's the best benchmark.
But Registry cleaning is not just for speed. If there is a lot of sludge, and if Startups are still stuck in the Registry, booting and stability issues can arise. Run-time performance is not seriously impacted, but that is of small comfort if a Registry Error causes your system to go belly-up with a Blue Screen of Death.
So, for optimizing and (limited) protection from malware-induced Registry changes, I still believe in at least a light Registry cleanup once a month. More frequently if you modify or remove a lot of programs. (RevoUninstaller does not get everything out of the Registry.)
Posted 23 November 2009 - 05:49 PM
It's a fact that a brand new computer with all the best things inside will become obsolete in anywhere from six to nine months after you purchased it. Technology is just evolving too fast for your old machine to keep up with the updates and patches. Inevitably (unless you don't mind crawling along at a snail's pace), you will need a new machine.
Sad to say, unless you invest in new hardware, correcting these comparatively-insignificant problems won't revitalize your rig. I know we'd all like a miraculous cure for our computing woes--I know we all want to believe what has worked for us for years will continue to work for years more. But the fact is, it won't.
Now, I've tested all of these methods, and some do provide negligible benefits. Most of them though, you can't even notice much of a change. That's not to say it won't work for other people who don't do the right amount of housecleaning. But for the vast majority of halfway experienced users, none of these "fixes" will wind up doing much. Feel free to try it, but don't expect a wondrous increase--and I think that's what this article is trying to get across.
Posted 24 November 2009 - 05:52 AM
I actually don't think they listed enough PC tips. I would have added the following:
1. Check the web-browser cahce settings, set them no higher than 150 - 250 mb (anyone set it lower/higher?).
2. Clean out the recycle bin frequently - I've seen more than a few 4GB recycle bins...
3. Turn off "search' bars, and make sure that no more than one of them is enabled/loaded (the google bar and yahoo bars do not play well with each other)
4. make sure that only one safe-search add-on is running (zonealarm, adaware and spybot safe-web add-ons don't play well together, and really slow down your browsing experience)
5. run AV and spyware scans on YOUR timetable, auto-scans that run while you are trying to work are huge performance killer.
6. Look at disabling Google-desktop or Windows Desktop Search if installed. These two are notorious for fighting for CPU cycles with your open apps and background AV/spyware programs. You have to evaluate their usefullness with the performance hit.
7. I've always hated doing this, but the benfits are hard to argue with: Back-up your data and completely re-install Windows every couple years... The speed of a "re-set" PC is VERY apparent. It's just a pain to back-up everything and make sure you have all the disks/recent-downloads for all the software you are used to using.
I'm sure the PC hardware vendors would like to make you a spokesman (just kidding), because the upshot is that unless you have to play all the latest games, any mid-range PC from the last 5 or 6 years is still plenty fast enough to handle net-surfing, 'office, and photo-work, and that's 90% of the PC users. Windows 7 is supposed to be a nice upgrade, but mainly only if you were a Vista victim. For XP users whose older PC is still working fine, well why upgrade? It surfs the web, it types documents, it crops-photos... Unless you're a gamer, a little maintenance can go a long way towards putting off the cost of a system upgrade for a loooonnnnggg time.
Just my two-cents
Posted 24 November 2009 - 03:49 PM
"In Vista, start by disabling the resource hog known as the Sidebar. In both Vista and Windows 7, turn off the Aero environment to reclaim some of your PC's lost memory and processor power. To do this, right-click the desktop and choose Personalize from the context menu. In Vista, click Window color and appearance, and then uncheck the box for Enable Transparency. In Windows 7, select the theme labeled Windows 7 Basic." In other words use XP if you can, lol.
"...don't use Windows 7's uninstall function or a program's default uninstall executable to remove an application from your drive." What?! Is it bad or something? What about Vista or XP? Are they okay to use? I find most third party uninstallers to be worse than Windows. Especially when they go ripping stuff out of the registry. Unless it's alot of stuff, it's safer to leave it alone. BTW, tweaking and cleaning the registry are two different things. I found that tweaking tools are usually safer than cleaners, isn't that wierd? Tweak UI, WinPatrol, XSetupPro, and others are all capable of tweaking things to improve speed, appearance, functionality, privacy, and even safety. Haven't had any issues with these (read all warnings before changing settings though). Registry cleaners, on the other hand, have been directly responsible for several system restores and a few reinstalls of Windows. It's all automated. You would think they make sure these apps work well on systems before including some of the areas they do for cleaning. Most registry entries shown in their results seem like random useless junk, until you can't open WMP by default, your fonts are no longer registered, DirectX needs to be reinstalled, IE takes forever to open, you get the idea. I recommend you stay away from cleaners altogether unless your system is ALREADY having many of those issues. Then what can it hurt? If need be reinstall Windows. Like others say, backup after a successful install of Windows and the apps you use regularly. Then, restore if you get in over your head. Less painful and less time-consuming than the Windows setup disc. Finding a good backup program is tricky though. What drive types will it recognize, etc.? I use Western Digital's app. I have a backup on the same type of drive I'm using now (both WD). If all fails, I'll power down, switch cables (the drive is not connected right now, for extra security) to the other drive and restart. Then I just bring things back up to date (Windows Updates, Anti-virus definitions). It only costs how ever much a second drive costs ($75 for me). Some backup apps cost that much or more. For simple data backup or syncing, I recommend Karen's Replicator and SyncBack (the free version of SyncBack doesn't do unicode though - had a favorite for Sonic Mayhem's site that wouldn't backup). Haven't used on a network yet, so can't recommend them for that. They aren't for newbies though, are any?
"You'll also see some ecofriendly drives with as much as 32GB of cache..." The ecofriendly drives I've had the misfortune to try failed to impress (WD). The biggest issue was the time it took to acknowledge a request in the first place. Who cares about cache when it takes 3 seconds to spin up everytime you access it. Maybe they fixed this in the newer models.
"Most important, prepare for your shot by prefocusing: Point at your subject and press the shutter release halfway to lock your focus." I keep telling people this, but they won't listen.
I have System Restore disabled, but I also have an extensive backup routine. I find that system restore rarely works as well as advertised, anyway.
"Back in the days when drives were small and operating systems were simpler, running Defrag now and then was necessary to keep your computer running smoothly. But Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all include automated disk optimization, and it's rare for a drive to become so fragmented that it hampers performance. So, while firing up your Disk Defragmenter isn't likely to do any harm, it's usually a waste of your time." I really don't know what any of that means. If you do backups, burn CDs or DVDs, install a bunch of apps or games, copy pictures from your camera, scan images (am I making sense here?) defragging can help prevent alot of coasters and improve speed. How many cores you have on your CPU doesn't mean diddley when most apps still only access one core, and 20 cores won't save your DVD from being a coaster if you have a heavily fragmented drive. Besides, I think automated optimization only works on the system partition, am I wrong? I have five partitions and two external drives (one with four partitions). I'm not saying to do it every day (that's useless). You should know when you've done enough to need it. Like after installing a game. It definitely improves load time. Anyone who tests a new hard drive with HDTune knows that the beginning of the drive is significantly faster than the end of the drive, so defragging can pull all the stray data from the end of the drive closer to the beginning of the drive, improving speed, no theory involved, that's proven data. Not to mention, minimizing the amount of scanning needed to load all the files from an app. I installed PSP 9 and extras, then loaded it. Until I defragged, it took about two to three seconds longer to load each time. As far as using a third party app, Smart Defrag lets you batch defrag, so it is more convenient for people with several partitions/drives. Do any apps defrag better than others? No way I know about that.
tsharvey5 makes some good points.
Remember this is designed for users that don't already know this stuff. My sister's PC is so crapped out from years of neglect, I've decided to reinstall Windows rather try to dredge through all of it trying to bring back a little performance. If she knew this stuff and utilized it, I wouldn't need to do all that.
Posted 24 November 2009 - 05:43 PM
-Keep Using Your XPSP2+ Firewall.
-Keep Using Your Antivirus.
-Keep All Your Service Pack M$ Updates.
-Keep All The M$ Updates That Your Hardware And Software Do Not Function Without.
-Keeping The Latter In Mind, Uninstall:
--All Applications, You Do Not Need On A Regular Basis.
--All M$ Optional Updates.
--All M$ Priority Updates.
Finally, Tell Me I Am Wrong.
Posted 25 November 2009 - 01:04 AM
I remember a few years ago noticing the hit to performance when an update to Windows Search was released. I did some Googling and completely disabled it.
I created the files and I know where I put them. Why take up CPU clock cycles and putting wear and tear on the hard drive just so the computer is capable of telling me something I'm never going to ask it??
Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:29 AM
I agree. However, I have noticed that after months of heavy use without a defrag, even on my 3 yr. old dual core, even after cleaning it up as much as I possibly can, Smart Defrag did seem to help. It might just have been coincidence, but I'm not betting against it. In anycase, I'll be the first to admit I over-optimize my PC. But, it generally runs at about the same speed as when I bought it, so no complaints.
As a note, clogged hard drives can be a little easier to use after a defrag, thus easier to clean. At least in my opinion.
Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:05 PM
Posted 01 December 2009 - 04:05 PM
That's worth a lot more than two cents. I wholeheartly agree! I've worked on people's computers that have had 6 toolbars, 5 active search engines , 4 media players, 48 start-up programs, the ever-present nagging "updater", etc. etc. etc. After cleaning up/uninstalling with Revo/running CCleaner/defragging/and yes, reg. cleaning, or maybe doing a format/re-install, they are amazed that their computer is running better than it ever did!
I now set my cache at 200mb. I used to set in very low, but when filled, it would severely slow down the browser until I cleared it using CCleaner.
I also wipe my HD and re-install XP every year or two; usually on a nasty winter day. It may be time consuming, but who says all your programs have to be re-installed immediately?
Bottom line = my computer always runs fine.
This post has been edited by rje49: 01 December 2009 - 04:07 PM
Posted 22 December 2009 - 08:12 AM
I agree that many of the suggestions offer negligible results for most users. However, as tsharvey5 and others have pointed out, there are people who have systems so full of useless junk and conflicting programs, a little house cleaning can go a long way.
Reinstalling on occasion is certainly the best advice for most users IMHO. However, to spend an entire day, or likely much more reinstalling is worse than a waste of time. The are programs like DriveImage XML that allow you to backup your entire system, and then reinstall in minutes.
Here is what I do, in addition to my regular full daily system backup (DriveImage XML), and file backups every 6 hours (using SyncBack). I divide my 500GB drive into C and E partitions, all programs and XP on C, ALL files on E, including a backup of My Documents. After a full install of your system, all updates, all programs, and the settings for all of your programs, use DriveImage XML to create a backup and keep that copy until your next restore.
After my next restore, I update XP, any programs that need updated, and once again use DriveImage XML to make a backup.
Now your ready to go if you have a system crash, or just want to do a "clean install" of your system. Takes just a few minutes to do and your system will run like new again, literally.
Just make sure you backup everything to a separate drive, though personally I sync two computers, AND backup everything to an external drive. Overkill? Maybe so, but I have virtually zero downtime and reinstall a "fresh" system every 6 to 12 months and all my systems always run smooth.
DriveImage XML, SyncBack and Revo Uninstaller are three of my favorite programs, free programs that really work great (DriveImage XML is NOT free for commercial use).
This post has been edited by DragonsSon: 22 December 2009 - 08:23 AM
Posted 29 December 2009 - 08:45 PM
EXTENDED TASK MANAGER (free) by Extensoft(my favorite system monitor).
It is much more usefull and friendly than other system and process monitors and will identify most causes of slowing or bogging.
I run it at startup by adding it to Glary Utilities (free) > Modules > Startup Manager.
DDR MEMORY: An old principle from the DOS days based upon observation is:
The system will slow and bog, after some time, as dynamic memory (DDR) "approaches" half or 50% utilization. (This is because of fragmentation). Hence for "free" system operation more than twice (say two and one half times) installed to in-use DDR. Restated: Free Physical memory should be greater than the total in use. The PageFile is no substitute for DDR; it was a "workaround" for insufficient physical memory.
In my opinion the current generation of desktop PCs is just now sufficient for Windows XP to operate freely without system hangups.
Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:19 AM
I used Wireshark to determine that I was not receiving a number of frames during these pauses. That causes TCP to request retransmissions. The server increases the delay between frames during retransmissions, which slows down the reception of frames, causing the video to wait for more data.
In the Wireshark trace I saw that my system regularly acknowledged frames after receiving 2 frames, and each frame is 1492 bytes of data since DSL uses PPPoE, but my TCP Receive Window was 65535. This allows the server to send a lot of frames that got lost somewhere. My resolution was to reduce the TCP Receive Window to approximately 3000 in order to prevent the server from sending many frames that could get lost.
To do this, I downloaded TCP Optimizer, and using its custom optimization setting, just changed the TCP Receive Window, leaving all other settings as is. I didn't want to change the registry myself because this setting did not exist in my registry yet. As it turned out, there were several places that TCP Optimizer defined with this setting, making it a perfect tool to do this.
The results were amazing. You can read some more details at my site
Posted 15 January 2010 - 01:18 PM
I respectfully disagree with this article and BulldogXX about registry cleaners. I recently encountered several PCs at work that were taking no less than 15 minutes to boot from a powered-off state to a visible desktop with icons. After running CCleaner's registry scanner and removing over 1000 invalid entries, the boot time dropped to under 3 minutes. While registry cleaners are not for everyday use, and need to be handled carefully, they are an important component of my troubleshooting arsenal.