Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Most Underrated Free Tweak to Improve Windows Performance

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By Bill Pytlovany

Every year billions of dollars are spent by folks just trying to improve the performance of their computers. Over the last couple years there’s been a big market for “Registry Cleaners” even though there has been little evidence having a “tidy”, smaller registry makes any difference. Truth is, a few simple, free tweaks can be done which can drastically improvement the speed of their computers.

Providing support for my WinPatrol program I run into a wide range of symptoms reported by our users. Some problems don’t always make sense yet a surprising number are resolved by just cleaning up the Windows Temporary Internet Folder. I haven’t read much from Microsoft about cluttered Temp Folders but my years of experience tell me if this file gets too large all kind of seemingly unrated problems can result. You might be saying “I don’t use Internet Explorer so why do I care about it’s Temp Internet Folder” option. Trust me, if you’re using Windows XP, Vista or even Windows 7, you care.

The original purpose of the Temp Internet Folder was to save time accessing web pages by storing images and other objects that don’t change on your system. Just like the HOSTs file this was a good idea when we were all on slow dial-up connections but today many dial-up connections are fast enough these features are no longer relevant. Anecdotal evidence shows the Temp Internet Folder is used for more than just browsing the Internet

Bill’s Step by Step Guide to Cleaning Up Your Temp Internet Folder

This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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31 thoughts on “Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Most Underrated Free Tweak to Improve Windows Performance

  1. i’ve been using dsl speed, it helps to tweak ur internet performance and boost dsl connection, easy to download and use ^_-

  2. RE:RObert Street Says:
    October 3rd, 2009 at 9:13 am

    One of the posts indicated he cleans his Prefetch folder. How do you know which of the Prefetch files are Beneficial and which ones are not so good? Is it a good ideal to clean (delete)them all?
    I Do Delete All My Prefetch! All of it! iv,e Done it on my Quad X64 Vista! and on My X.P pc,s about every Few Days! I Look to See How Much Crud has Built up! and hit Edit Select All/File Delete! All it Doesn’t Hurt Anything! it Actually Speeds up Things A Bit! i Also use Advanced System Care! the Free Version Seems To Work Great! Nifty Tool! With Lots of Extras! and a Firefox Tweaker! and a anti Malware program!

  3. I’ve had a couple people mention the Pre-fetch folder which has also been a controversial topic online. Some folks say files should be deleted every so often while others say this is an old wives tale.

    I have an opinion based on my research and will share this in the next newsletter. In Window7 there have been some changes in what they now called SuperFetch so I hope everyone will enjoy the next newsletter.
    Be sure to sign up if you don’t already receive the PC Pitstop newsletter.

    Thanks again,
    Bill

  4. jrp, I hope your cough it getting better.
    One of the main points of this article is I am advocating this tip even if you don’t use IE as your browser.

    It’s not voodoo but if you think the IE stand alone browser is the only Windows component using the TIF I’m asking you to consider other possibilities. I’ve seen too many unrelated problems fixed think it’s IE only.

    It may be old advice but some times it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  5. Also under system tools do a DISK CLEANUP it will get rid off sleep mode but give you 3+ gigs HDD back. If you want to also help your system out DEFRAG you HDD 2 times a month, if not every day. This FREE way of tweaking saved me tons of money. REG-fixer programs are snake oil salesman. DONT BUY UNI-BLUE total waste of $40+… Just keep on doing the simple free stuff it will work. Also do the temp folder cleanup that does work wonders.

  6. A quick way is to click the start/Run and type %temp%

    When the window shows, click the menu item “Edit” then “Select all” then hit the delete key. Note: Make sure you have all your windows and programs shut down.

  7. One of the posts indicated he cleans his prefetch folder. How do you know which of the prefetch files are benificial and which ones are not so good? Is it a good ideal to clean (delete)them all?

  8. There is a program called Glary Utilities that has a free and a pro version that even the free version cleans the reg, the temp files and even checks for spyware. I run it a couple of times a week plus dump the TIF before I go to bed each night.I also run Spybot S&D with resident on. I Have no problems,I always have plenty of free memory and my programs all run smoothe

  9. The best way to keep it clean is to use a program called Window Washer by Webroot. I have it set to wash Windows, IE, Mozilla, Recent Activity, etc. every time I shut down so when I turn on the computer it’s clean and ready to go. I have used this program for years and between running registry cleaners often and it things do not slow down.

  10. Rod, its the same as ‘internet options’ on the control panel. on the first tab (general), right under ‘home page’ is an option for ‘browsing history’. you delete files there.
    i also use CCleaner, run a malware program and check for updates on my antivirus program.

  11. Deleting tif’s every time i enter or leave a web site. Already have IE8 set to do this on exit. Everybody should do this.

  12. Uh – huh.

    ::cough:: placebo effect ::cough::

    If your problem is not IE-related, then how would clearing the TIF make a difference? This isn’t voodoo we’re talking about, it’s a computer.

    Clearing the TIF will make your computer (appear to) go slower, because it’s having to re-download things it *should* be reading off the hard drive.

    On the upside, it solves many web-app and cookie based issues – which is why the option to clear the cache exists at all. Furthermore, if you’re concerned with privacy — because you don’t want your boss to know that you’re looking at hot pokemon-on-pokemon action during working hours — then clearing the TIF makes it harder to see what you’ve been up to.

    If this is the case, then go ahead and set up a little 50mb ramdrive to be your TIF, and then it’ll be a bit faster (after it’s re-downloaded, that is) and will automatically perma-clear upon shutting the power off.

  13. Sorry for the typos

    My swap is 500 MB
    This install of win runs for nearly 3 years now and with this tweak faster than the first time it booted after the fresh install.

  14. Just get ramdrive, create a ramdrive of 100mb or so.
    Let win use the ramdrive for all temp tmp and ie temp files.
    Tweak will imprpve preformance and after every reboot all is clean again due to the fact that your ram will not keep the data without power.

    Do not know if this works on 64 bit. But with win xp pro my speed is drastically improved, i created a ramdrive of 1gb on my 2gb mem, and besides the temp tmp and ie temp i also putted the swapfile (500) gb on that. 48 secs my simple pc needs to boot and open firefox and OOo writer.

  15. Make a batch file which clears your TIF on IE run, runs IE and then clears TIF on IE close. Access IE through a shortcut to this batch file. Works like an absolute charm.

    @echo off
    RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 4351
    RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 2

    C:progra~2intern~1iexplore.exe

    RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 4351
    RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 2

  16. In Firefox go Tools/Options/Privacy and check the “Clear history when Firefox closes” box. There are Settings you can tweak too …..

  17. I also go to Ccleaner. Additionally I run Diskeeper all day on Saturdays and that keeps the hard drive in good order. Why only Saturday? Because I run Shadow Protect Desktop and make incremental backups Monday – Friday and if I were to also run Diskeeper during that period my incremental backups would be huge.

  18. Yes, Yes, Yes this is something I have been doing for a long time as well as cleaning the windows/temp and the Windows/prefetch folder contents in the Windows directory. Another free program that does all this for you is ATF cleaner. There is at the top of that programs page (Main) to clean Internet explorer and a tab for Firefox as well. Note: works in XP Many places to download for free! Just Google IT

  19. In the above comments from Mike he said go to control panel and open interent properties and have it automatically delete. How do I find a place called internet properties in the control panel.??? and what do i click or check to have the delete function work. Thanks rod garnett

  20. I thought everyone knew this trick.
    I usually do it once a week or so and Yes, I do clean my registery file frequently. I also run CleanUp. Works great and is a freebie!

  21. Aaaah. Maybe a coincidence but I was having a problem with IE7 not allowing me to use the MS FTP app because my proxy server was set to read only ( – I don’t have a proxy server set up) and although IE7 opened up on start up, if I closed it, I found it froze if I tried to restart it.
    Since I cleared the Temp Folders, all is back to normal.
    ….. I wonder?

  22. I have found that leaving my internet cache at about 100Mb is good enough that I don’t drag my bandwidth down by repeatedly getting graphics, and there is no worry about ever having so much crap in there that it will slow you down.
    I’d also suggest every week or so that you should delete all the files it will let you from any “Temp” folder found on your machine.

  23. I totally agree. When ever I feel like my machine is getting sluggish, that’s the first thing I do and its amazing what a difference it makes. Just go to Control Panel…internet properties and have it automatically delete it all when you exit (nicest feature I’ve seen on IE8) I have even gotten in the habit of cleaning it each morning at work and every night at home.

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