The computer helper: Improving XP's boot-up time
By Jay Dougherty Nov 6, 2006, 11:44 GMT
Washington - For many, Windows XP means slower boot-up times. The operating system itself is partly to blame for this as many components of the graphical interface require more system overhead than any previous version of Windows. But also to blame are little programs that load automatically when you start your computer. Read on to learn how to streamline your boot process.
Q: Every time I turn on my computer, Windows Messenger starts up. I never even use it. How do I get rid of that?
A: Windows Messenger is Microsoft's instant messaging program. It competes with AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, and others. The trouble is, if you don't use Messenger, it starts up anyway, sitting in your taskbar, slowing down the boot process, and bothering you at various times with messages about its presence.
To rid your system of it entirely, you have to do two things. First, the e-mail programs Outlook and Outlook Express call the messenger program by default at various times, so you need to tell them not to, if you use either of those e-mail programs.
From Outlook, open the Tools menu, and click Options. From the resulting Options dialogue box, select the tab labelled Other, and then clear any Messenger-related check boxes. In Outlook 2003, clear the check box labelled 'Enable the Person Names Smart Tag.'
From Outlook Express, open the Tools menu, and click Options. From the Options dialogue box's General tab, at the bottom, disable any Messenger-related boxes or buttons.
Second, you need to stop Windows itself from calling Messenger when it starts. To do this, click the Start button, and select Run. In the Run dialogue box, type this: RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%/INF/msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove-- being careful not to mistype anything and paying special attention to spaces.
When you've typed that, click OK, and Windows will remove Messenger. You'll need to reboot for the changes to take effect. When you do, you'll finally be free of Windows Messenger.
Q: I'd like Windows XP to boot faster, but I don't like to fiddle with settings. Isn't there a tool that I can use that will help XP boot faster?
A: It's difficult for an automated tool to tackle the specific issues that cause slow boot times on each person's computer, but some have reported speed improvement's by using Microsoft's BOOTVIS application, downloadable from many places on the Internet, including Softpedia (http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/BootVis-Download- 3465.html).
BOOTVIS, once installed, will analyze your boot-up process when you open the File menu and click New ... Next Boot + Drivers Trace. You'll need to allow BOOTVIS to reboot your machine at least once. Before you do anything with BOOTVIS or another tool that is designed to help you with slow boot-ups, back up your entire system.
When your computer restarts, open the Trace menu in BOOTVIS and select Optimize System. BOOTVIS will again require a reboot of your computer. After that, however, you may notice some improvement in boot-up time.
Q: I'm running Windows XP on an older computer. What's the easiest way to speed things up?
A: The easiest way is the use the built-in performance tuning features of Windows XP. By default, XP's graphical interface uses a lot of system resources and takes a significant toll on the performance of older PCs.
You can disable many unnecessary graphical elements such as shrinking windows, animation and the like- to recover some performance and make the operating system run as snappily as Windows 95 or Windows 2000.
To do so, open the Windows Control Panel, and then open the System applet. In the resulting System Properties dialogue box, click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under the Performance section. The Performance Options dialogue box opens. From there, select the option button labelled 'Adjust for best performance.' Click OK, and then click OK again to exit the System Properties dialogue box.
Windows XP will revert to a look and feel that resembles that of Windows 2000, which had graphics that did not put such a strain on system resources.
--- Have a computer question? Send it to the Computer Helper at firstname.lastname@example.org.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur