Clean Out Your System Tray
If you have a new PC, this is something to watch. If your PC is a few months (or even weeks) old, here's a helpful tip: Eliminate every unnecessary application. These apps drain your processor's cycles and memory. That means a gradual slowdown, until you're crawling.
Update Your Drivers
It's easy and fast, yet most PC users never bother. Keeping on top of video card and chipset drivers by visiting the manufacturer's site frequently can deliver amazing performance benefits. We recommend a once-a-month checkup of drivers. You'll be happy you did.
Enable DMA For Your System
First a definition of DMA: Short for direct memory access, a technique for transferring data from main memory to a device without passing it through the CPU. Computers that have DMA channels can transfer data to and from devices much more quickly than computers without a DMA channel can. This is useful for making quick backups and for real-time applications. So, here's our recommendation: Go to the Device Manager of your PC and take a look at the Properties of your Primary IDE Channel. On the Advanced Settings tab, make sure that DMA, if available, is checked for both devices. Do the same thing with the Secondary IDE Channel.
Visit windowsupdate.com Regularly
This is a big one. Also very fast and simple. The patches that are made available on a weekly basis not only provide protection for your PC, they are also designed to improve performance. We recommend at least twice per month.
Convert Your Drives To NTFS
If you want to get the most from your drives, you may want to convert them to NTFS. Here's how: Open a command line and type:
C:\> convert x: /fs:ntfs
Except you will replace the 'x' with your drive's letter-name.
NOTE: Back up your important files before attempting this conversion.
Use Quick Launch
Common problem. Simple fix. Instead of cluttering your Desktop with shortcuts, just right-click the Taskbar, go to Toolbars, and make sure Quick Launch is checked. Then drag your favorite shortcuts to the Quick Launch bar for easy access, anytime.
Speed Up Your User Interface
Today's PCs often come to you with many graphical bells and whistles, and while they're cute, they rob your system of fundamental power. Faster is better. Here's our recommendation: Go to the Display control panel, click the Appearance tab and hit the Effects button. Uncheck the first two options, as well as Show shadows under menus. Use minimal graphics and go faster.
Create One-Click Access To Device Manager
To open Device Manager in Windows XP without the hassle of going to System Properties, just create a shortcut to devmgmt.msc
Did You Know Windows XP Has An On-Screen Keyboard?
Another XP secret revealed. You may need it if you can't get to your keyboard. Here's how: Open My Computer and browse to C:/Windows/System32 then double-click osk.exe. The keyboard operates with simple point-and-click commands.
Defrag. Defrag. Defrag.
A must for busy PC users, made simple. Here's how: Regular defragmentation can improve your machine's hard drive performance by massive amounts. To begin defragging, right-click your hard drive in My Computer, select Properties, go to the Tools tab, then click defrag. Do this religiously every month or so and you'll enjoy smooth sailing.