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How to Increase the Speed of Laptop: Performance

Posted on 2004-08-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a laptop: P3, 800MHZ, 192 RAM with XP Pro

I would like to increase of my Laptop, what are the tips and tricks to do that?

Question by:joy12345
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Author Comment

ID: 11839579
Its compaq presario 1700.
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

JohnnyCanuck earned 120 total points
ID: 11840226
1.  For immediate and FREE speed increase, go to control panel, click on system, click on the advanced tab, under performance clcik the settings button, select "Adjust for best performance" and click apply.  This will kill the "features" of your windows desktop, but you could also select "Custom" and turn features on or off until you get a mix of performance and features that satisfies you.

2.  Buy more memory.  And after you've bought more memory, buy more memory.  Seriously, try to put 512mb of RAM in the machine.

3.  Carefully examine what programs and services are starting up and check to see if they are really necessary.  Turn them off if you don't need them.  Google each item to find out what it is.

4.  Clean out Temp files and Temporary Internet Files.  I use Cleanup!

5.  Make sure your antivirus and spyware cleaners are up to date and do complete scans on a regular basis.  (Note.  cleaning out your Temp files and Temporary Internet Files before running scans will speed them up)
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 11840591
I think you have excellent advice above. Just let me stress the #3 item:
Take a look at for their process list. Very good.
Also check the autostart items in the registry. Generally, you don't need to have anything but your antivirus and possibly your touchpad drivers in there. I've seen some horrible examples here where people have ten or more autostarting entries in the registry (the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" key and "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\...\Run" key). Try to get familiar with those keys as they are favourite dwelling places for spyware startup commands.

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LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 11842747
WinXP performance enhancement

Assisted Solution

by:Lieven Embrechts
Lieven Embrechts earned 120 total points
ID: 11845491
Already a very good list and links in earlier messages. A very interesting question also.
Generally it's a matter of keeping lots of free memory and keeping lots of free clean diskspace.
If you can afford a 5400rpm harddisk or even a 7200rpm in a laptop, don't hesitate, it's a huge difference.  Here are a number of extra perls :

(1)  i always switch off the indexing service. to be honnest, it doesn't work well, it's supposed to index to eternity and a simple or advanced search is much more reliable.  a pc becomes snappier immediatly after switchin it off.  (IMMEDIAT)

(2)  switching off system restore can free a lot of hidden diskspace, but you can turn it back on afterwards without immediat performance penalty.  in that way you are still protected when a next installation fails. Some installers even check if system restore is on and will not allow you to install when it's off.  So a good cleanup is to turn it off and on from time to time on a stable system just to free the diskspace.  Exactly the same as clearing the temp folder and the internet explorer temp files.  (EVERY MONTH OR SO)

(3)  if you are online a lot, i would keep autoupdate and autoinstall on. it's the only way to protect against worms, trojans and stuff.  (ALWAYS)

(4)  there was a time when defragging a disc didn't make a lot of sense (performance wise) since disks were fast enough anyway.  however on busy systems fragmentation can become a real bottleneck, since we all have ten thousands of files these days.  tests with better defrag tools (like oodefrag; perfectdisk, diskkeeper) - the tools that can also defrag the directories and the swap-files in a reboot - showed me that a considerable performance gain can be reached with it.  (EACH COUPLE OF MONTHS)

(5)  a full disk is always slow, so it's important to have enough free space. copy some stuff to a file-server, to cd or to a usb-disc and keep the internal disc half empty just for performance's sake.  an area that people often forget to clean are the hidden temp folders in each user's directory. go to documents and settings, make sure hidden files and directories are shown and then investigate each user folder. you will probably find stuffed temp folders.  (EACH MONTH OR SO)

(6)  if a database server should run stable it's a good idea to set the swapfile fixed, ie minimal size = maximum size. eg if you have 640mb ram you could set the swapfile to a fixed size of 1GB.

(7)  there are lots of tools to optimize and defrag the registry.  i can't comment on these since i never clocked performance improvements.  the same with memory defragmentors: the ones i tried did not give good results, on the contrary, but maybe someone else has more experience with these tools.

Final comment: with all these tips and trics we still see that all windows systems become slower over time: they feel slower and it's clear they also boot slower and shut down slower after some extended period.
Do we really want to spend so much time cleaning, optimizing, etc ?
I wonder where the miracle tools (or bundles) are that automagically keep your windows in top shape ?
To be honnest, Norton Utilities and Systemworks can't keep up and made my system even worse when i tried them. Anything better & top-quality ?
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 11845841
"To be honnest, Norton Utilities and Systemworks can't keep up and made my system even worse when i tried them. Anything better & top-quality ?"

Forget it. For every hardware step forward in speed and capacity, there's a step forward in software bloat. A Pentium 133 with win3.11 will start up faster than a P IV 2GHz win XP machine. For productivity software there hasn't been a step forward since forever if you're talking speed... The tools for protecting your system have turned into manacles...

For speed you'll have to turn to a clean system, a minimal amount of processes running and, if internet connection is present, an external firewall. There are no shortcuts. You need to know your system.

Expert Comment

ID: 11845952
tweaking services and start-up is a good idea, also has a guide to determine which services could be disabled (like remote reg, upnp, etc.).

Also, make sure cpu throttling is disabled in bios, this function will reduce your cpu speed and thereby enlong your battery life, but will slow thing down too.

Make sure you have the latest hotfixes, servicepacks and drivers (video, chipset and directX). For the drivers, try tweaked ones; for example DNA drivers are much beter than ATI's catalyst drivers and support more hardware too! (just installed them on an ATI Mobility M6, which is not supported by ATI's drivers...)
Install a video tweaking tool as well. Look for the drivers/tweakers on:

If you have NTFS as filesystem; turn off 'update last accessed attribute' and also 'create 8.3 filenames' (use this one only when not using legacy software). (both can be done with the freeware tweaking tool x-setup:

Increase IOpagelocklimit to increase drivespeed (x-setup), defrg regularly (system mechanic's defrag is way better than windows' build-in, how-ever not freeware)

Also, upgrading mem would speed things up quite a bit (but is more expensive)

Ever noticed how fast a fresh install of windows is? Here my final tip: install windows fresh, update it, install all software u use standard and make an image of the disk...when windows becomes slow again, just back-up your docs and data, and put the image back...

Blue Rishi

Expert Comment

ID: 11848536
the 1st thing that would definitley work is adding more ram. i dont recommend running xp with any less than 256 of ram.

2nd use your msconfig utility and clean up  your startup

3rd download spybot search and destroy and get rid of any spyware

4th go to system properties to performance and make sure applications is clicked

5th if u have more than one hard drive....spread your paging file across all the drives so that your pretty much setting them up in a raid.

Author Comment

ID: 11849324
my hard drive is 10 gigs and only 2.6 gigs is free

Expert Comment

by:Lieven Embrechts
ID: 11849636
"if u have more than one hard drive....spread your paging file across all the drives so that your pretty much setting them up in a raid."

Yup, try adding more disks in you laptop and add a scsi raid controller (grin) ;-)

Seriously, 192mb ram is on the low side and 10gb disk too. 2.6gb free is not enough for speed.
A little bit more memory and a 40gb rpm5400 disk will improve things a lot.
You laptop has a nice design so it's worth it to spend eg. 200$ on hardware upgrades.

I can recommend the Hitachi Travelstar 40GB 5400RPM (around 100$ retail).
Idea: the 10Gb disk can be put in an external usb-case for backup purpuses.

Your pressario 1700 laptop has a maximum memory capacity of 512 mb ram. This ram is in 2 banks, currently a 64mb sodimm and a 128mb sodimm. You could swap the 64mb by a new 128 or 256 mb sodimm. (around 50$ per 128mb in normal retail stores)

For windows xp tuning, my advice would be: don't spend too much time tweaking and cleaning, because in the end you will try tool nbr 101 that will totally corrupt your system, and reinstalling things over and over again isn't exactly a time saver either ;-)

LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 11858255
>>  1)  i always switch off the indexing service. to be honnest, it doesn't work well, it's supposed to index to eternity and a simple or advanced search is much more reliable.  a pc becomes snappier immediatly after switchin it off.  (IMMEDIAT)  <<

How do you do that?  Just curious...

Expert Comment

by:Lieven Embrechts
ID: 11865549
2 methods:
- administrative tools, services, set indexing service to manual
- properties of each disk: switch off 'allow indexing service to index this disk for some kind of text searching but not finding', select all subdirs, and select 'ignore all' when some files cannot be changed.

Expert Comment

by:Lieven Embrechts
ID: 11882433
"there are no tools, you have to know your system" was not good enough for me.
I read a number of technotes about speed problems, had a look at the available tools and found a pretty good one.

Windows has a ton of parameters in the registry, that allow to tune certain parts of the system.
Only, there's no user interface at all and no docs. There are also a couple of standard windows tools like gpedit and msconfig, that can be launched manually from the run.. menu.

There are plenty of tweaking tools, most of them focussing on 1 facet (look & feel, network speed, registry, memory, etc..) so only to solve very specific problems.  Most of it is free, hardware- or OS-specific, and dangerous.

Some popular more general tools (tackling several topics and explaining the importance) are:
- norton systemworks  (pushing a cache on the trash, yuck!)
- windows powertoys
- system mechanic (iolo technologies)
- advanced system optimizer
- tuneup utlities 2004 (

TuneUp Utilitites has a splendid interface and tunes, cleans, compresses, explains, speeds up.
A very nice tool imho.


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