Optimising registry and prefetch folder

Posted on 2007-10-06
Last Modified: 2013-11-30
I'm doing some deep cleaning on my pc, Windows XP Pro, would you recommend clearing out the Prefetch folder and using ERUNT to compact and defrag my registry? Does anyone have and ideas on how to do these processes safely and any suggestions on what free software to use?
Question by:rolfvalley
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    Well, if you take a look at: (Search for "Cleaning the Prefetch Folder")
    it'll explain about the prefetch folder clearing
    Check out:
    for more info on tweaking Windows.

    Defragging the registry might be a good idea, although I've heard that it can only slightly increase startup speed. I would use TuneUp Utilities ( or CCleaner ( to clean your registry. says registry cleaners don't improve performance but I think they can slightly and it removes obsolete menu items and other useless junk from your registry.
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Agreed with orangutung.
    Clearing the prefetch folder will not make it any faster, but in reality make it slower on the next few boots and application starts until the pre-fetch is re-populated properly.
    Defragging the registry can be done in a better way by using crap cleaner and diskkeeper (not free
    Diskeeper does a full out of windows defrag of the registry and system files.
    Cleaning the registry only need to be done once every 6 months- a year (Well on my machine where no teenagers get anywhere near it)  It depends on the machine.

    If you really want to clean it out properly, do a clean install, it's the only true way.

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    a clean install is the best suggestion you can get.
    ccleaner is good to clean out crap
    Create a new profile.

    Since the regestry has so many dependancies some hidden from old  installs spyware/ updates/ a lockups/     endless really, depending on how long since the OS was installed.
    its nearly impossible to have a good houseclean without it effecting something else.

    If you are like some of the laid back owners of a computer and have not backed up your hdd
    Then I would recomend  buy a new hdd exactly the same brand and size as this one,
    take out this hdd jumper it to slave and stick it behind the your master rom drive it will become a great source to access your files and and keep as a fully booting system.

    Take the new hdd and clean install use the same user name as before. Grab the av setup installer off the slaved before connecting to the internet to re-activate and update..
    Presto you have a fast computer again while keeping your files.
    If you need a step by step no probs.

    How old is the computer and how much have you added since you purchased it, you could consider upgrading the power supply unit (PSU)  they do get forgotton and because we add more hardware foget it may not have enough juice to carry the extra loads so pushes the load over to windows ( your processor) and the ram.

    How old is the ram
    replace the hdd after 3 years
    replace PSU after 3 years or depends on the usage. Fluctuating PSU can kill a OS slowly.
    Format clean install every 12 months if there is a slowing.
    Check the mainboard components fans heatsink for dust
    theraml jel under processor if it dries out watch out
    cabling is in good order.
    No swollen capacitors on the mainboard.
    Hows that
    Cheers Merete

    Author Comment

    Merete, I would love to do a clean install but I'm scared to carry it out on my own. I'm not in a position at the moment to afford a new pc, so trying to revamp my existing desktop as best I can. My specs are as follows

    Assembled April 2003
    Micron ClientPro 325 Intel Pentium(R) 4 CPU 1.6GHz
    1.5GHz RAM (I've this last week added the extra 1G memory)
    Windows XP Professional 2002 SP2

    C drive 40GB NTFS
    D drive 20GB FAT32 approx 7 years old
    G drive - external 160GB NTFS purchased 2006

    F drive LITEON CD-ROM LTN526S
    E drive SONY CD-RW CRX175A1
    A drive Floppy disk drive

    Netgear wireless network card added two months ago otherwise the basic delivery specs with internal modem, Intel PRO/100 VE network card etc

    External peripherals constantly connected:
    160GB HDD
    HP OfficeJet printer
    Logitech messenger webcam
    Canon CanoScanLiDE 60 scanner
    4 port USB hub
    Altec Lansing speakers
    Samsung SyncMaster 17GLi monitor
    Microsoft mouse
    Manhattan True-touch multimedia keyboard
    USB bluetooth

    The OS has been reinstalled once, probably in 2005 and in the interim there has been a loads of stuff installed/removed/reinstalled etc. My ideal would be to swap the C and D drives over, install windows onto the 20GB, keep the 40GB for programs and data and the external for music/photos/backup etc. I have another 80GB USB2 drive which I've backed everything onto.

    do you think possible to do a reinstall myself or should I be taking it into a technician?

    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    No probs I fully understand, a re-install is very simple so long as you have the right tools.
    But my advise if in doubt don't.
    But why run the re-reinstall it doesnt really speed up anything unless you have some corruption, do you have some corruption after virus or something?
     I am not there and can't see what you have from experience I woudl never encourage it to a novus as simple as it is things can go wrong.
    Your welcome to take a look a visual guide first then ask away if you have any questions.

    1.5GHz RAM (I've this last week added the extra 1G memory)<< has any problems started since this??
    Maybe mis matched ram?
    Your processor is a bit small so it pushes the the proces memory to ram.

    What's the PSU watts that maybe part of the problem since you have a lot of gear there especially with several hdd including an external.

    D drive 20GB FAT32 approx 7 years old<< must be getting to it's used by date, if this drive fails you won't be able to boot into windows until you remove it.
    Any failing slaved drives drain the system.

     I would unplug these if not in use, what happens is windows is monitoring the usb ports even if inactive but have the plugs in.

    HP OfficeJet printer
    Logitech messenger webcam
    Canon CanoScanLiDE 60 scanner

    How long since you defragged the C drive its a big drive. One partition?
    Hit analyze and see how much red there is.

    Author Comment

    thank you, I shall take your advice and not run a reinstall but will look at the two links you've given me. I basically wanted to do it to clean things up, get rid of the rubbish. I know I've done loads of installs etc. The new RAM is working fine, but will take out the plugs on peripherals I'm not using until I need them as I have my camera and iPod cables plugged in, even though I only use them once a week or so. I've defragged both internal hdd last week.

    The C drive is one partition only. I was wondering on my new mini USB2 drive whether I should partition it, 80GB Maxtor OneTouch III mini drive? Can you partition a drive once it has stuff on? My 160GB drive is about half full.

    Why would you recommend a partition on my C drive?

    How do I find out the PSU watts?

    Is there a way to check the integrity of a drive before it fails? I'm getting concerned on this D drive now
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    To see the PSU watts get a torch open the sidecase and just look on the side of the PSU.
    its written on the side.

    When running a repair re-install unplug all your USB devices scanners printers etc.
    Perform a reinstallation of Windows XP, sometimes called a repair installation?
    You will need the COA key on the sticker and the xp setup disc that is installed on the computer
    Configure your computer to start from the CD-ROM drive. Then insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and restart your computer.
    When the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.
     Press ENTER when you see the message To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.
     Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console.
    In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
     Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.
     Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    yes to run a diag on the drive I'll need the manufacture make and make.
    they have down loadable
    choose your hdd manufacture
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    for the bios  boot order
    press F10 when booting in the  advanced move the HD0  to cdrom
    highlight the HDO or hard drive using the up down arrows on your keyboard move it to second then highlight the CDrom and move it to the top
     put in the xp cd shoudl be xp pro sp2  then press F10 to save and exit windows reboots then follow my guide

    Author Comment

    the PSU is Tiger 250W 12V
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Thanks its barely enough but shoudl be okay, I have 560 watts to give a comparison.
    But I also have several cards that use juice.
    you can stress test your PSU
    Power Supply Calculator


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