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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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Windows Performance Improvement Tips

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In spite of the bad press it has been receiving from the technical community, Microsoft's Windows is still the most widely used operating system in the world – and that by a distance. Windows represents the kindergarten in the hierarchy of computer education.

At one time, Macintosh computers were considered a serious rival to Windows; but Mac never captured the public imagination as Windows has.

Then came Linux, which many thought would displace Windows as the operating system of the world. It is free and the source code is bundled along with the software. However, its popularity never reached outside the circles of hardcore tech wizards and self-confessed geeks.

Google has recently announced – buoyed perhaps by the success of its web browser, Chrome – that it would launch an operating system for laptops and desktops. The new operating system, christened Chrome Operating System, would be web-based and much faster. However, it is unlikely, though not impossible, to end the near-monopoly of Windows.

This post is not intended to predict the outcomes of the so-called operating system war between software giants. Rather, this is intended to provide a few tips to improve the performance of the good old Windows operating system. These are general tips and will work for almost all versions of Windows – from the vintage Windows 98 to the chic Windows Vista.

Clean The Registries

Windows registry, for the sake of those who are not in the know, is a database that contains the details of all the programs installed in a system. When you install a program, its details are written on the registry. On the other hand, if you simply copy a stand-alone .exe file, its details are not normally copied to the registry.

Keeping a clean registry is important for the efficient and reliable performance of Windows. If you delete a program by using the delete button, the registry entry remains in the operating system as a broken link, which can slow down the system. Therefore, make sure that you delete the programs only by using the uninstall option available with most software packages. In case you can't find that option, go to the "Add or Remove Programs" option (you can find it in the control panel) of Windows and remove the software through that option.

Clean The Startup Folder

Startup is a folder in Windows in which details of programs that should automatically start after loading the operating system are stored. There might be some essential programs in the system tray and certain Windows elements that must be started for the proper running of the operating system. If too many programs start up after booting, it would slow down the system.

You can run a command called msconfig.exe to find out the entries in the Startup folder. You can deselect any programs that you do not want to start up after booting. One has to be careful while doing this and should not remove any essential Windows components.

Use System Tools

You can run system tools such as Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter to make the system run faster. Make sure that you clear temporary internet files and cookies periodically. You can also uninstall all the programs that you do not use to improve the performance of Windows.

In addition, you have to leave sufficient free space in the drive in which Windows is running, i.e., C drive in most cases. Similarly, do not save too many files in the Desktop folder or create too many short cuts there.

This is guest article written by Reed Terry.

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