73 responses

  1. David H
    December 29, 2009

    An alternative to a program designed for pagefile defrag is to remove the pagefile, reboot, defrag and then create a new pagefile.
    I have installed XP SP3 on my old laptop and desktop, no problems at all, but I do regular maintenance…
    Upgrade to Vista, however, was frustrating…

  2. Paul Thompson
    May 25, 2009

    For those of you who change the size of you pagefile, note that after doing so and defragging you notice you are still fragmented, you must then defrag your pagefile. You can find page defragger here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897426.aspx

  3. FK
    January 1, 2009

    i am reinstalling windows xp and my screen is stuck at “set aol as your default internet program” DO you know what to do? My contract is up with Gateway…Thanks.

  4. ntopics
    November 10, 2008

    These are great tips.
    Its always easier to work from
    good tips.

    thanks from tony

  5. Larry Miller
    October 25, 2008

    Warning – contains some bad advice.

    5. Use a registry cleaner:
    Regular cleaning of the registry will do virtually nothing for performance. In the hands of an inxperienced user a registry cleaner can be dangerous. There is no way a program can reliably determine if a registry entry is safe to delete.

    13. QOS:
    Windows does not reserve any portion of bandwidth as described. This is a rather well known myth.

    15 Stop unwanted services:
    Do not stop the following services:
    Automatc Updates
    Event Log
    System Restore
    Task Scheduler
    The descriptions of these services provided by Microsoft is NOT complete, they do more than stated. Stopping any of the above services can have serious consequences. The saving in resources are very small.

    18. Adjust the paging file:
    Most experts would agree that you CAN disable the pagefile with 1GB of RAM. But that doesn’t mean it is a good idea. The pagefile is not merely a means of avoiding out of memory errors. The pagefile was designed to improve performance.

    Before trying any performance tweaks consult a reliable and responsible quide such as:
    http://home.comcast.net/~SupportCD/XPMyths.html
    The site is not mine but I highly recommend it.

    Larry Miller
    Microsoft MCSA

  6. Jim
    July 16, 2008

    Service Pack 3 ? It sure would be nice if Microsoft could come out with an operating system that doesn’t have a bunch of holes that constantly need patching. By the time they get finished it will be as large and as much of a ram hog as Vista. They did the same thing to Windows 2000 Pro. I guess they figure if they irritate XP users enough with screw-ups like SP3, that we will be more than happy to pay some extra money and upgrade to another bunch of problems known as Vista. When is Vista SP2 due out?

  7. Jay
    July 7, 2008

    I used the chkdsk command in the run box and I believe that it kept me from running defrag. It would tell me somethink like the drive was busy. I think that GOD fixed this, as things are back to normal. chkdsk magically ran one day when I booted up. I booted up many times before as I was told to do by instructions in DOS. It did not happen. It would appear that the correct command to use in the run box is chkdsk /f.

    I have XP ho(me). Dell. 80G. 512RAM.

    Thanx for your list.

    JayR

  8. Scot
    June 29, 2008

    I am a competent computer user. Completed coursework for the MCSE, but never took the exams.

    SP3 was and is a problem. Not for everyone, but for enough people to indicate that the release was poorly written and not satisfactorily tested.

    Whether you are an advanced computer whiz or a complete novice, a recommended patch from a major software operating system manufacturer should work. Period. End of discussion.

    The fact that so many people are having trouble with it over such a wide variety of platforms is an indication that Microsoft #$%lk))! the whole thing up.

    The IT guys at the office, all rather gifted, are avoiding it like the plague. They are also firmly in the “We’ve tried Vista and we’re not touching it with a mile-long pole,” camp.

    Perhaps they are biased. They did give me (marketing director) and my marketing specialists a pair of IMacs, which we may be giving up because they certainly have some marked shortcomings as well.

    I tried SP3 and got stuck with and endless restart cycle. My fault? Pretty sure it’s not. So to suggest that the numerous issues with SP3 are somehow all conclusively user-based errors is simply silly.

  9. paige
    June 29, 2008

    Ok folks, here’s another one I need help with.

    I disabled the Task Scheduler and realized that my Webroot Spyware scan (daily)was negatively effected.

    First I tried to “Activate” from the Webroot program and it didn’t work. Next,I went back in (servicesmsc)and enabled Task Scheduler – nothing. Task Scheduler is enabled but my Webroot Spyware is not acknowledging this.

    Any suggestions??

    Thanks!

  10. S Curtis
    June 28, 2008

    Thanx. I’m slowly learning all this stuff. Fun, but frustrating. The last real problem I had was a malware problem. I used MS malware removal tool to get rid of it.
    Anyway, it seems I can’t visit your site without learning.
    Thanx.

  11. R Chasin
    June 27, 2008

    Re:William Chapman comments.

    I am fully aware of the “multiplicity of problems caused by SP3.” The AMD problem was caused by HP installing an image of the OS made from an Intel based system. My guess is most of the other problems have been caused by people not taking proper care of their computers, or screwing around with them in some way, not the service pack. I have been building and repairing computers for nearly 10 years now and almost all of the problems I have had to repair involved user error. If my car dies because I didn’t maintain it I have no one to blame but myself. There is nothing wrong with the service pack. In fact, as others here have noted, the computers I have installed it on are performing even better than they were before the upgrade.

  12. gaerisch
    June 27, 2008

    I installed XPsp3 on my PC with no problems even in beta form. Until about a week ago when my PC wouldn’t boot up. It would get as far as the XP splash screen then reboot again. Not sure if it was XPsp3 problem but 45 minutes with Microsoft tier lvel 2 tech got it fixed. This is my first PC that I built so I thought it was something else at first. It was something in the registry that became corrupt somehow. But the PC is running fine now. I use pcpitstop optimize and overdrive regularly. Thanks for the great products and services.

  13. mehboob sadicote
    June 26, 2008

    All of us, newbies and pro’s alike, know that audio files take up a lot of memory and if they are associated with start-up and shutdown, they are ipso-facto bound to slow those processes up. One of the best tweaks i have come across is to go to control panel–sounds and audio devices–sounds, and from the drop down sound schemes menu, to select the ‘no sounds’ scheme, you can shave about 30 seconds from your boot time this way.

  14. paige
    June 26, 2008

    First of all I just want to tell you that I really appreciate all the free info on this site and recommend it to everyone I know!!!

    Now here’s my problem…

    I have a dinosaur of a computer HP Pavilion (2000). I just finished with #7 “Defrag your hard drive” and after running Disk MD, learned that I have only 22% available space on my hard drive. Turns out my restore system is responsible for my computer’s painfully slow speed.

    I don’t have the money to pay for Disk MD to clean up my hard drive so I hoped that doing the other tweaks would make a difference – it did but only freed up an additional 3% of space.

    Is there a way that I can manually get rid of the 10,000,000,000+ files of restored memory myself??

    THANKS!!

  15. shogan
    June 26, 2008

    Thank you Eitleoir.

    I have rewritten tip#6

  16. Eitleoir
    June 25, 2008

    I followed the directions for tip #6. Instead of removing MSN Explorer which I left checked, it removed everything that was left unchecked. I admit to being a bit leery before I hit Next and OK but I did it anyway. What happened next was that all the other programs went away. No more Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, etc. I was sick thinking that I might have lost everything in those programs. I was relieved when I reinstalled the Windows components via the Windows XP CD and everything came back. These are great ideas but be careful as the steps may not be correct.

  17. Arthur21743
    June 25, 2008

    Mine is a Wolfdale 8400 CPU 3000gigs OC’d to 4000gigs and memory from 800megs to 1068 amd FDB from 1333 to 1780. After installing a new EVGA video card I started getting occasional BSODs, so thought it was the card.

    Long story short, I got a notice about MS’ Live OneCare and decided to give it a try. First thing it did was want to get rid of Norton and I let it do so. It installed with a BS, but for all I know it was Norton doing one last convulsion.

    Anyway, once OneCare was up and running it never got above “Fair” in decribing my system status and told me I needed to update to IE7 and install SP3. I resisted for some time due to all the horror stories I had heard and even emailed MS’ tech support for OneCare about my fear of SP3. They told me if I didn’t want to do the upgrades the program would never go green, but if I went ahead they would provide any support I needed if I had any trouble with the SP3 install.

    Anyway, there was no problem with either install — though I did go ahead and run System File Checker first just in case, and now with Norton gone I no longer have any BSODs. First time to install something from MS that worked! LOL :-))

    This is not my first occasion to have problems with an install with Norton on my machine. I needed to update some drivers (I forget if MB or video) and tech support told me to do so in Safe Mode — no doubt to take Norton out of the mix.

    Then too, there is no way to know just how damaging to proper Windows operation the proprietary versions of Windows are that are installed by these computer manufacturers. A tech I once had occasion to chat with via email made the remark that all his relatives’ systems have had stand-alone copies of Windows installed instead of the ones supplied by the computer manufacturers and what a difference it made in their operation!

    My first experience with MS was when I had my first ‘puter (IBM) and bought a retail copy of Win98 upgrade. I went through eight hours on the phone with MS and got to level three on the tech food chain and the only way the last tech could make it install was to completely wipe out anything IBM had put on there and start with a clean slate. He got C/S to issue me a new license key that changed my upgrade disk to a stand-alone Win98 install. I was a newbie then and don’t know what all we did, but he may have even gotten me to wipe out the old BIOS and install a new copy, because we had to do something just to get the system to recognize the CD drive.

    Say what you will about Microsoft, and believe me I have done my share of cussing in their direction, but I can’t remember even one person I have had to deal with there who was anything but nice and as helpful as someone could possibly be.

  18. JP
    June 25, 2008

    PC Pitstop has been great for years now helping everyone find ways to maintain their computers. I have been speeding up computers for years and all of my 8 pc’s are always running great. I haven’t even gone through their list of 25 yet but I am sure I have been doing many of them already. I can say I do agree with if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. But after reading all of the past replies I am still not ready to install SP3. I wont even install IE7 which is much slower than 6. Thanks PC Pitstop for the years of great advice. I’m happy to send absolutely everyone to your site!

  19. BH
    June 24, 2008

    For those with problems updating after XP SP3: I found I needed to force a Windows Update Agent re-install and this fixed the issue. I have been running SP3 since it was released to the public on 5 machines and this was the only issue I have encountered so far. The file needed to do this was WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe. I downloaded this from Microsoft, put it in my C: drive. Once you have it click Start-Run, type cmd in the run field and when you get the command prompt type c:WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe /wuforce this will force a re-install of the Windows Update Agent. If all goes well your updates should return to “normal”. This has worked fine for me but do this at your own risk.

  20. JL
    June 24, 2008

    regscrubxp scans for free, but then wants me to buy a registration key, might add that info next time

    having no trouble w/ sp3 either, built my own (and I’m a total novice) amd 64×2, dfi board, xp pro … fingers crossed!

    otherwise thanks for showing me some new tricks

  21. PawpawJ
    June 24, 2008

    I have 2 laptops, 1 gateway & 1 HP, both intel processors. I have downloaded & installed sp3 with no trouble at all. Has not effected either of them. Also downloaded it on my desktop/Built by me with an amd x2 6400 with win xp home on all 3, I have had zilch problems with either one & do appreciate all that pcpitstop has offered here on xp tips & tweaks. Most have helped . Still working on the rest of them. Thanks again. No brag, just consider myself as an intermediate pc guy.

  22. SpacemanStu
    June 23, 2008

    aramis_p,
    on several older PCs there is a jumper near the BIOS chip that you need to set to clear the BIOS. You can find a blueprint of almost any MoBo online to see if yours has one.

    If that doesn’t clear your BIOS, disconnect the battery for at least a couple of hours. Some of the older boards also have a low voltage capacitor that can sustain the BIOS for quite a while after the battery is gone.

  23. JOHN EASDALE
    June 22, 2008

    Hello fantastic tips made my wee system run a treat thank you

  24. Larry Miller
    June 21, 2008

    The QOS tweak is incorrect.
    By default 100% of bandwidth is available.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;Q316666

    The author advises disabling unneeded services, but only if you know what they do. Unfortunately he did not take his own advice. The Task Scheduler does more than schedule tasks for the user, the system itself uses it for a number of important purposes. If not set to Automatic the prefetch system will be crippled and both boot and application launch times will be impaired.

    Larry Miller
    Microsoft MCSA
    CompTIA Neowork+, A+

  25. Fran Mc
    June 21, 2008

    Am I the first to notice that your impressive Top 3% score sheet refers to hardware speed? Would any of these software twaeks affect hardware speed?

    I appreciate your list, did know about and peform many of them already, and am working through the rest of it now.

    Overdrive puts my computer in the bottom 17% at this point. Let’s see if it scores better after the tweaks.

    Note: It gave me a 22% fragmentation test result, but it was only 10% fragmented when I ran the Windows tool. Are they measuring the same thing?

    Thanks!
    Fran Mc

  26. aramis_p
    June 21, 2008

    I have a desk top and a laptop and both were given to me. Problem is that they both have windows NT 4.0 and both are password protected. The BIOS is also protected with a password and I can’t take the PW out and it won’t let me go any further. I would like to know how I could remove these passwords so that I could install windows XP pro and use the computers? I tried removing the CMOS battery but it’s not working. HELP!

  27. Victor Manuel
    June 21, 2008

    Hi there

    Good stuff, but maybe for all users without experience, the best one could be, If your PC is running good let it that way. And don’t do a thing if you do not know what are you doing.
    SP-3 Work great for me and installed in more than 100 PC and Laptops without any problems.

  28. Jim H
    June 21, 2008

    First and foremost, I want thank PC PITSTOP for all their ‘free help and advise’ they have provided to PC users for several years that I personally know of and especially the 25 tweaks for XP. I obviously must be a lucky XP-SP3 user. I installed it on 2 computers, Dell desktop, XPS-410 (2007) and a Toshiba M45 (2005)laptop and both have worked without any known problems and no slowdown that I can detect. I did the installation when SP3 first came out, before my “auto update’ picked up on it. Some of the problems may in fact be SP3, but I’ll bet a whole bunch of them are operator errors as well…. not to mention all the different ‘brands’ of computers as well as home/local built units, all configured in an infinite number of ways. I also suspect that some of the problems experienced with SP3 may have been brought about by the particular computer configuration running at the time of installation???? I’m certainly just a novice when it comes to computers, so I do try to follow installation instructions carefully, such as closing ‘all running programs’ before starting the installation….

  29. David W
    June 21, 2008

    Great article. I’m glad for the users that have not had problems with SP3, but the evidence is out there that issues were caused by its installation.

  30. bazzerworld inc.
    June 21, 2008

    “keith w”
    don’t know whether this is a sure-fire way to find out what is loaded, but if you right-click on ‘my computer’ > ‘properties’…should say sp3 if loaded..as opposed to sp2?

  31. Peter F
    June 21, 2008

    Regarding SP3:
    In Jan 2008 I had to reinstall my XP pro , after which point I would get Blue screens if I ran too much stuff at the same time. Eventually I got fed up with daily Crashes and I sat down to research the error message – the solution was to install SP3. Not only did SP3 fix my Blue Screens , but I immediately noticed a performance boost. Maybe I am in the minority but I give the thumbs up to SP3. ( I have a Dell 8300 3.0Ghz , duel processor )

  32. Hung Tran
    June 21, 2008

    For those having trouble getting updates after Windows XP SP3, you should read these 2 articles.
    http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/r20453460-XP-Pro-Updates-Fail-after-Fresh-Install-and-XP-SP3-Loaded

    http://windowssecrets.com/2007/09/27/03-Stealth-Windows-update-prevents-XP-repair

    The solutions in those articles worked for me at least, so they might work for you.

  33. Chuck Schmitz
    June 20, 2008

    Let me add a “couple” more things that serious readers would want to know relative to my previously stated findings: 1). I run Windows XP – Home Edition. It does have SP3 and I did download with absolutely no problems. I’ll grant you that my computer is really is in “tip-top” shape relative to having kept it current with all of the software I’m running, including “ancient” programs like Office 2000. 2). This is an “old” machine, Micron Millennia Max, upgraded to a 1.4 GHz Tualatin, most recent BIOS available, and 1.5 GB of RAM. 3). I regularly run PC Pitstop’s Optimize V2.0 and the most recent version of CCleaner. Both are invaluable programs for keeping the registry cleaned up and the Internet running at peak performance. Thanks to the crew at PC Pitstop for all of their informative articles and their products I’ve found to be of immeasurable value. Keep ’em coming!!!

  34. Keith W
    June 20, 2008

    How can I be sure SP3 has not installed on my computer. It had rejected it in automatic updates. I don’t see it in the list of installed programs at least not as SP3. Am I looking for the right thing.

  35. Chuck Schmitz
    June 20, 2008

    While there are many things in this article that most of us already know, there’s always something that at least this reader has learned. The removing of the “pagefile” for systems with >1GB of RAM and the use of “Clear Type” for the DeskTop were things I had never thought about or considered – I have now, done it, and am very, very impressed with the increased performance. The only thing I would caution all readers on is the tacit recommendation of “Acronis” as a backup tool. I did, it failed when I needed it, and I lost everything. The worst is that there obviously is no way to test this kind of program until you really need it -and- when it failed, Acronis provided me ZERO support for a recovery. Let the buyer beware…

  36. PrestonM
    June 20, 2008

    My experience with SP3 has shown that IT IS buggy. The first bug to appear prevented Windows Update from installing updates. The updates downloaded but would not install. Also, some issues developed with Windows Installer and Windows Indexing. Using the scannow command, I discovered some corrupt system files. Since a clean install of XP was not an option, I was forced to seek help from MSFT tech support. After hours of getting bounced from one lame tech to another, a clever geek in India took ‘remote control’ of my PC and replaced the corrupt system files. That MSFT tech admitted SP3 had some issues that were being corrected. In the end, my XP SP3 PC is working fine, albeit slower. But, may I be condemned to H*e*l*l if I install it on my other PCs until next year…after MSFT gets SP3 right…maybe.

  37. rickoh
    June 20, 2008

    to R Chasin…
    Obviously you havnt had sp3 on your computers very long.
    You will find that over a few weeks…your computer will slow down. I got it the day it was released…and I couldnt figure out why my computer was dragging its heals….so I removed sp3 and all my speed came back. It isnt the fastest in the world…but I am in the top 31%
    So….I suppose you are now sitting …waiting for sp4…and sp5

  38. GaryB
    June 20, 2008

    I thought of a couple more changes for WinXP systems. In IE6 (don’t know about IE7)go to ,,privacy tab, adavanced and check “Over ride Automatic Cookie Handling”. Under “First Party Cookies”, check Accept. Check “Always allow session cookies”, and under “Third Party Cookies” check Block.
    On the General tab go to Temporary Internet files, Settings and change the “Check for newer versions of stored pages to “Never”. On “amount of disk space to use” change that to 10Mb. the default here is 150Mb, thatza a lotta temp files. I have had no problem with these settinsg

  39. GaryB
    June 20, 2008

    Wow! I must be smarter than I thought. Your article is great and I have done all these changes/tweaks exceapt having no page file (I also have 2GB RAM), and stopping Task Scheduler since I run auto spy and AV scans. I have an AMD machine and did in fact try SP3 and the system would not boot afterwards! I got a BSOD with “ntdlr not found” or something like that.

  40. Robert
    June 20, 2008

    It seems to me that after reading all of these posts, by various skill level people, that we all should be able to see that some people have a solid grasp about what this article is about and then others do not even have a grasp about what Microsoft is about. This article made the assumption that you knew what you were doing in the first place working on your Windows installation but, sad to say, it appeared many that replied were clueless so we have to read their rants about their problems when they messed up what they were doing. I have worked on computers since 1971 and there are always problems but we live and learn so I hope these complainers will do likewise. Good luck and keep up the handy reminder articles.

  41. Lee Barrett
    June 20, 2008

    People who say “Windows XP SP3 Debacle?” with that “Deer in the headlights” look are either living in a cave or else use nothing on their PCs but MS products. We run a print shop. SP3 took out every major suite and program (Adobe and otherwise). It even took out the sound driver which refuses to restore. The only thing left standing was MS Office – it worked just fine. We are still recovering – thanks for the great tips, PC Pitstop!

  42. Stacey R
    June 20, 2008

    Handy article…Have been doing many tweaks already. I have had no problems with SP3 on three of my computers.

  43. Raymond
    June 20, 2008

    Windows XP SP3 Debacle? Very few, if any, of the 25 suggestions have anything to do with SP3 and can/should be done on any installation of Windows XP… it also fails to list the TCP connection limit (event ID 4226) that should be patched so that a person can download more files simultaneously).

  44. HGARMSTRONG
    June 20, 2008

    I DON’T LIKE TO GO THRU ALL THIS STUFF, AND FIND OUT AT THE END THAT IT IS GOING TO COST ME A LOT OF MONEY TO FIX THE PROBLEMS THAT YOUR SOFTWARE FOUND. SO, BEFORE I DO THAT, PLEASE LET ME KNOW UP FRONT, HOW MUCH DOES THIS ALL COST????????

  45. Luke
    June 20, 2008

    This article will come in handy. Although, I am probably going to keep my antivirus, ClamWin. I used to use avast free but I kept getting false positives. Other than that, it is a great AV. I also used to use AVG Free, but when AVG 8.0 Free came out, I heard it was crippling so I decided to switch. I also have multiple antispyware programs installed because one of them may find an infection that the others won’t. One thing you did not mention though was a good firewall. I use Comodo. I’m thinking of learning linux. Windows may be easier to use, but it is prone to errors and is not as secure as Linux. OPENSOURCE ROCKS!!!

  46. Anne Cutter
    June 20, 2008

    I’ve just finished a clean install.My PC wouldn’t even go fopr the system restore, I ended up with at last count 51 infections, talk about wanting to scream. I went thru th one-at-atime upgrade before. The tens of thousands updates and hotfixes, this time after reinstalling xp1; I went straight to the xp3. Not so much garbage as before,my machine is alittle outdated and I don’t have that much memory floating around ;that’s why opted to do it the short method. So far so good, it’s running faster and I’m on top of the cleaning, and not downloading so much junk. Figure If I don’t use it I don’t need it. And Thank You so much for putting that list up,I had forgotten a few of the in-b-tween steps. So glad there’s someone out there thinking about us idiotsand so know-it-alls. Again thank you.

  47. Leo
    June 20, 2008

    Well, I followed your instructions under “Remove Unused Windows Components” and removed MSN Explorer and lost my Outlook Express. Good thing I created a system restore point 1st. Please advise, is this normal?

  48. Chuck J
    June 20, 2008

    I installed SP3 on my 2 month old Dell computer. After install, computer would not restart. Could not even get it to start in safe mode. After about 8 hours on phone with Dell, with several technicians, I was told I hold to reload XP. I took computer to local repair guy. After 2 days and $250, got computer running again without reloading XP or losing any of my files. So some people do have problems with XP. I was current with all other updates previous to SP3. I will not be installing SP3 again any time soon.

  49. John Weisenberger
    June 20, 2008

    Don’t forget Java temp files. I play Pogo and this file becomes enormous. I also suggest BootVis. It reorganizes your start up to be faster. It is a free tool that I run about once a month; takes a while to run it thru 5 restarts.

  50. Paul
    June 20, 2008

    SP3 would not install on either of my machines……it stalled part way through the install on both of them….in different parts of the install. At the time I was not happy but as more and more stories of problems surfaced I was happy with the failures.

    For people who are not particularly aware about their systems the list above is a good guide. I’ve already done most of them anyway but thanks for the list

  51. Calvin Singleton
    June 20, 2008

    I do most of the tips you listed weekly, use Optimize also. But for you to take the time and give the tips with instructions I think is great. Will wait for a later date to reinstall SP3.

  52. Ralph Niebuhr
    June 19, 2008

    PS: after you install the Office updates, run all the Office programs before you do anything like diskclean or CleanReg or any kind of clean-up-loose-ends routine. Otherwise, you will have to re-install Office all over again and then re-install the updates again. Voice of experience…

  53. Ralph Niebuhr
    June 19, 2008

    Before you reinstall SP3, try installing just the MS security updates, one at a time. Also, don’t install updates for Office 2007 (constantly offered) if you are running MS Office 2003. Don’t install updates for anything you have not activated, such as MSnet, instant messaging, etc.

  54. Lois Harle
    June 19, 2008

    I use Firefox, as I prefer it over Internet Exp. I have not found the references you list to clean under tools. I show:
    Web Search
    Downloads
    Add-Ons
    Error Console
    Page Info
    Clear Private Data:
    Browsing History
    Download History
    Saved form & Search History
    Cache
    Cookies
    Saved Passwords
    Authenticated Sessions
    IE Tab Options
    Options

    There is no Privacy to check other then then clear private data. There is no check to accept cooiies, nor is there a keep until I close Firefox. Please advise where these are found.

    Thank you.

    Lois

  55. Mel
    June 19, 2008

    The only problem I see is with SP3 is that I am constantly reminded that there are 3 windows install for MS Office and MS Works. All the programs for SP3 installed but I am always being told that I have an unsuccessful install for MS Works and Office. I uninstalled SP3 in the safe mode and that seemed to take care of the Office and Works. I went into windows upgrade and it did show that there was the security fixes in SP3. I don’t want to be unprotected so once again I reinstalled SP3 and the same installation problems occured again with MS Office and Works.

  56. AlanRC
    June 19, 2008

    Thanks for the tips–I especially liked the one about QoS. (#13) However, I must tell you that I followed the suggestions in #15, and it screwed up my computer. In particular, I was using CreateRestorePt.vbs in my Startup, and it depends on one or more of the services you disable. Luckily, I had not disabled System Restore, so I restored my system with no problem. I suggest that you need to check the “Dependencies” tab for each service before disabling it.

  57. Ralph Niebuhr
    June 19, 2008

    I already do much of the maintenance recommended, etc., but I am grateful for the tips that I did not know about. I had a disastrous experience with MS Office SP3 (perhaps because had not installed XP SP3) and after that I decided to install all the previously disregarded MS updates that applied to my machine, very gradually. Based on advice from a trusted source, I finally bit the bullet and with shaking hands actually installed SP3. I have to confess that my machine (a 3-yr old powerspec with Intel(R)Pentium(R)D 2.80GHz & 3G RAM) actually runs better since.

  58. Joe S.
    June 19, 2008

    Fortunately im kind of a slacker about service packs so I heard about the horror stories before ever thinking about installing SP3. (was busy trying to get my Vista to work with existing hard and software)

    But anyway I think the lesson we all need to be reminded of is that a little maintenance goes a long ways towards happy computing. And good one Dave, a sense of humour also goes a long ways.

    And props to PCPitstop and anyone that takes the time to give this information to us. Thank You!

  59. Vengence1
    June 19, 2008

    the SP3 update works just fine and I have installed it on 9 of my family PCs, as far as the tips go I already use most of them so THANKYOU for them.

    yours, Vengence1

  60. Steve Sloshberg
    June 19, 2008

    Please check the website:

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;Q316666

    According to this Microsoft link, the QoS setting discussed in this article will not have an effect on one’s usable bandwidth (that is, will not increase one’s usable bandwidth). I am not an expert, but I think that this “tweak” is not a valid one. But, I do appreciate the other “tweaks” in helping speed-up our computing!

  61. George Benson
    June 19, 2008

    Thanks for all the tips.most of them i already had set.not everyone has had trouble with sp3.it has worked fine on my amd and intel computers.

  62. Sharon
    June 19, 2008

    I was going thru the checklist and performing each operation. Well, I lost My Windows Explorer. I had to do a system restore. It happened after I cleaned the registry with your recommended free utility, and I had also removed msn explorer. Call me a total idiot, is msn explorer the SAME as windows explorer? Is that a yes….wish they would just call these things by the same name.

  63. Jan Berry
    June 19, 2008

    It matters not what any of you whiners have to complain about…If you already know everything why did you even read these tips!!! How awesome that this kind of info is available. Compiling this list of tips took time and valuable effort and how anyone can find serious fault with it is beyond me. I thank you Shogun and PC Pitstop.

  64. CHARLES HARGIS
    June 19, 2008

    Thanks for the tips there are only a few that Ihavent done. Thanks for those few.

  65. Dave Pullin
    June 19, 2008

    Mr. Chapman, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. My ISP provides an optimization program that is much smarter than you, and they regularly remind me how important it is for me to use it.

    For example, your #2 must be wrong, because my ISP’s optimizer ADDs things to my desktop (and pretty much every else they can stick their icons).

    And you have completely missed the most important optimization (according to my ISP’s program) which is to change my browser’s default page from the terribly inefficient “about:blank” to the ISP’s home page which is loaded with wonderful advertising and other junk.

    How can you dare to give all this useless advice, when I have my ISP taking care only of my best interests.

  66. John W
    June 19, 2008

    Thanks to Belarc I discovered that I was not receiving Windows updates after installing SP3. Numerous visits to the updates site and direct to Microsoft support indicated that I was up to date. Belarc support advised me to uninstall and reinstall SP3. I spent a happy four hours doing this but then got all missing updates. I could have gone for months without knowing I was not getting updates.

    I had a worse experience on my Compaq laptop. It will not boot after SP3 was installed. I get told that NTDLR is missing and that is the end of the process.

  67. GDC
    June 19, 2008

    I have heard more flak over XP3 upgrade, I have installed it on both my machines with no problems at all. Could someone provide a list of issues to look for? Yes I am “looking for trouble”.

  68. Michael in San Antonio
    June 19, 2008

    I am on W. Chapmans side. I went and looked at what SP3 had to offer. I got tired of scrolling and seeing crap that had no business being installed on my computer. I practice most of the suggestions on a weekly basis. I have to with a family using the same terminal, it can get bloated very fast.

  69. wwadek
    June 18, 2008

    Great article. I had already done most of these tweaks but the QOS tip is a good one. I like that one. A few of the others I had taken from Fred Langa’s LangaList articles, “10 ways to make Windows (95,98,XP,Vista, others) Run Faster.” Thanks for the great help.

  70. JamesM
    June 18, 2008

    Most of the suggestions can be done with free utilities and you need not do them manually. Utilities like ‘ccleaner’.

    The paranoia over installed programs is unnecessary. They do not take up any memory unless you start them. Unless you are out of disk space there is almost no need.

    Using anti-spyware, anti-virus and other tools, while applicable to cleaning up infections are really part of good maintance, not so much cleanup.

    There are several free TCP/IP optimization tools that are better than your regedits.

    Running Hijack This and analyzing what is in there and why is a very good idea. Do it and then, once it is cleaned up keep a printed list, and mark the good ones safe, so you can easily spot new processes.

    Cleaning out the toolbars and browser plugins is a must. I do this with Hijack this, at least for the IE ones.

  71. Andrew in Oz
    June 18, 2008

    This is a terrific set of guidelines. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to remind some of us of what we should be doing. I already use most of them but I hadnt heard of the QOS tip until now. I think the comment by R Chasin is both unfair and unreasonable and it goes to show he doesnt read too many of Shogans posts on this site.

  72. William Chapman
    June 18, 2008

    The previous post apparently is not aware of the multiplicity of problems caused by SP3. His limited experience is NOT representative of the many horror stories that have surfaced on the net. In any case, your 25 Super Tweaks article is of great value and certainly will be applicable to many who wish to improve their XP installation.
    As for Microsoft, their anti user arrogant mentality is precisely what one would expect from a monopoly.

  73. R Chasin
    June 17, 2008

    Since the XP SP3 debacle? What is wrong with you besides you obviously like to complain about anything MS. Win XP SP3 was an excellent upgrade. I have installed in on a half dozen computers all without any problems. My guess is that people who have had problems havn’t taken care of their computer like they should. I’m not necessarily a fan of MS but they make a good product. Quit whining.

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