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Cleaning up Used Systems function like a brand new PC

Posted on 2006-07-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
How to  convert a used desktop PC to function like a new PC with the required softwares.
Question by:sti2006
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LVL 20

Accepted Solution

DVation191 earned 672 total points
ID: 17050616
If the PC is an OEM machine, OEM's usually provide restore CDs to bring the machine back to a day-1 state. The hard drive may have the restore information on it already and a notice is usually shown at boot time about what function keys or combinations to hit to initiate the restore. This information is also usually provided through a quick google seach.

If its not an oem machine, you'll probably want to wipe the drive (if there is sensitive information...take http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/ for instance) and reinstall windows with the appropriate software.

If all that sounds like too much work, the easy way out would probably be to delete all the profiles current in use on the machine and create a new fresh one. Then run something like CCleaner to clean up all the leftover files.

LVL 69

Assisted Solution

Callandor earned 664 total points
ID: 17050617
Your best bet is to format the drive and install everything from scratch.  There's a lot of stuff in the registry that can slow boot up times and complicate future installs, so a clean install starts off with a minimal registry.

If you want to keep whatever is already installed and you don't have the CDs, you're out of luck - the best you can do is clean the registry with a tool like RegSeeker: http://www.snapfiles.com/get/regseeker.html
LVL 93

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 664 total points
ID: 17056525
2 possibilities :
1- you have all the software - then a fresh install is the best (backup everything you need first) -
Now look in deviice manager for the installed devices, or use Everest to identify them : http://www.majorgeeks.com/downloads9.html   - -
Download all the drivers for them (motherboard, Display adaptor . . .)      
then format the disk, install XP , install the drivers, install the programs and restore the data

2- you are missing software - then :
-scan the PC for malware with ALL these, updated :
     adaware :      http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
     Spybot :        http://www.download.com/3000-8022-10122137.html
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/                                                               online scan for trojans
http://www.spychecker.com/program/hijackthis.html                                   download
http://www.hijackthis.de/index.php?langselect=english                                check the log
-delete the temp files and cookies in Internet explorer (tools>internet options)
-delete all data and files you do not need anymore; uninstall unneeded software
-run sfc /scannow from the run box
-do a disk scan for errors
-do a disk defragmentation

- - now it should be running again !

Expert Comment

ID: 17057051
This applies to Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server.
*NOTE* Do not reboot until have have completed all steps.

STEP 1 - The Registry

Start by running regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ Run

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\Software\ \Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ Run

Here you will see all the startup programs and services loaded. Inspect the entries carefuly and remove unwanted startup entries. If you are unsure about a startup program, go to and search for it.

STEP 2 - Cleanup temp files

Click start, run, cleanmgr. On the disk cleanup tab tick all boxes. Click more options tab, click Cleanup next to System Restore. Click YES when prompted, click ok and again click YES when prompted.

To cleanup temporary Internet files, cookies and history you can download Empty Temp Folders or CCleaner

STEP 3 - Clean the prefetch

Click start, run, %systemroot%\\Prefetch
Select all files and press delete while holding down SHIFT.

STEP 4 - Schedule a check disk (scandisk)

Click start, run, chkdsk /r

A message appears:
Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another
process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be
checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

Press Y and enter to schedule the scan.

STEP 5 - Icon Cache

Run Regedit, Go to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ explorer
Create a new string called Max Cached Icons and give it a value of 10000
This will increase response time in windows and give the Shellicon cache file more elbow room.

STEP 6 - Speed up the Network

Run regedit and expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.
Next, expand Software and then Microsoft.
Locate Windows and expand that as well.
You will want to be editing the main system files, so expand CurrentVersion.
Because this feature is a feature of the Windows component known as Explorer, expand the Explorer key.
Next, you will want to modify the remote computer settings, so expand the RemoteComputer key and then expand the NameSpace key to show all of the features that are enabled when you browse to a remote computer.
In the NameSpace folder you will find two entries. One is "{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}" which tells Explorer to show printers shared on the remote machine. The other, "{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}," tells Explorer to show remote scheduled tasks. This is the one that you should delete. This can be done by right-clicking the name of the key and selecting Delete.

If you have no use for viewing remote shared printers and are really only interested in shared files, consider deleting the printers key, "{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}", as well. This will also boost your browsing speed.

STEP 7 - Memory Managment

Improving memory performance can be done simply by preventing your hard drive from being used for cache. This is only useful with 256Mb or more of RAM.

Run regedit. Everything that you'll need to edit here can be found in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management

Disable Paging Executive
This will prevent pages sections from RAM going to the hard drive. If you have a large amount of RAM at least 256Mb (I suggest 512) you might want to keep the data in your RAM to improve your performance considerably due to reduced amount of hard drive swappage. The entry that you will want to modify is called DisablePagingExecutive. Changing this from 0 to 1 will keep the data in your RAM.


System Cache Boost
The XP kernel can be loaded into your RAM with a simple registry edit. This can greatly improve performance since the NT Kernel will always be in your RAM. With this edit you will allocate roughly 4Mb of your RAM for the kernel. Sometimes more RAM is used but most of the time it is only 4Mb. The entry that you will need to find is called LargeSystemCache and you'll need to change this from 0 to 1 in order to enable this.


To put both of these RAM tweaks into use you'll add something like this to your reg file

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\Session Mana ger\\Memory Management]
"LargeSystemCache"=dword: 00000001

STEP 8 - Speed up files access

This step is very important and MUST be completed.
Click start, run, defrag c: -f -v
This is a defrag running from the command line. Wait for it to finish or if your prefer the graphical defrag double click My Computer, right click on your C: drive and select properties. Click the Tools tab and click on Defragment now.

STEP 9 - Optimise your startup

Download Bootvis , install and run. From the Bootvis screen select Trace, Next Boot + Driver Delays. Make the number of repetitions 3 and click ok.

Allow your system to reboot 3 times to rebuild the prefetch. After this process is complete, open Bootvis again. Click Trace, Optimize System and wait for it to finish.

That's it! You will now have a pc that starts quicker and is more responsive.

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