I recently was asked by a friend to take a look at his computer because he was getting frustrated by how slow it had become. My first question to him was, “What version of Windows are you running?” and he replied, “Windows XP”. Not being surprised, I told him that I would be happy to fix his PC. If you find yourself having this same problem and wondering what makes Windows XP slow, you’re most certainly not alone.
As with all software developed these days, there are the good, the bad and the ugly. I have yet to come across anything that I could honestly say is perfect, although there are some applications out there that get really really close to it. Having said that, Windows XP is by far, less than perfect. If you’re interested in the reasons what makes Windows XP slow, I’ll give you a short explanation, otherwise you can just scroll down and follow my list of things to speed up your PC.
What Makes Windows XP Slow?
To be quite blunt, it’s everyday use of your computer. Unfortunately, Windows XP was released with a whole bunch of problems, and that’s why they keep issuing Service Packs. Basically, they try and make it work a little better than before, but it doesn’t always work out that way. If I had to put it down to one thing that makes Windows XP slow, it would have to be the Windows Registry. This small component of the Operating System (that’s computer speak for the Software that controls your computer and is exactly what Windows XP is), causes the most problems amongst the average computer user.
After a while, the Windows Registry begins to fill up with a number of entries that are not always valid. The best way to think about it is to consider the Registry to be like the phone book for your computer. It stores all the programs and settings for your computer (the equivalent to a person’s name in the phone book) and what the computer should do when it has a request from you, the user (the equivalent to the phone number). As you can imagine, this can get rather large over a long period of time and it’s the reason why your computer is slower now than when you first purchased it. Add to that a number of entries that are no longer valid (phone numbers that are disconnected) and you have what we experience a really slow Windows XP computer.
How to Make Windows XP Faster?
Below are 3 things you can do now, to make a difference to the speed of Windows XP.
- Change your Virtual Memory Pagefile Size: Right click on ‘My Computer’ and select ‘Properties’. At the bottom of the screen, take a note of how much RAM you have. Then click on the ‘Advanced’ tab at the top and click on ‘Settings’ under the Performance section. You’ll then need to click on the ‘Advanced’ tab and click on ‘Change’ under the Virtual Memory section. Here is where you’ll need to select the ‘Custom’ radio button and enter in both the ‘Initial Size’ & ‘Maximum Size’ boxes with the number that you get when you do this quick calculation. The amount of RAM that you noted above multiplied by 2. E.g. If you have 2,024MB (equal to 2GB) of RAM, then you would enter 4,048 into both boxes. Then click OK->OK->OK to apply the new settings. You will need to reboot for the changes to take effect.
- Disable Automatic Network Search: For this, you’ll need to open ‘My Computer’, select ‘Tools’ from the menu at the top of the Window and click on ‘Folder Options’. Select the ‘View’ tab and un-tick the box next to the line that says ‘Automatically search for network folders and printers’
- Run Disk Defragmenter: This can be found in the start menu’s Accessories->System Tools folder. My advice would be to leave this running over night because it may take a while for it to complete.
There you have it. 3 great ways to speed up your slow Windows XP PC.
Now that you have a better understanding of what makes Windows XP slow. You should be aware that these are great ways to help speed up your computer however, like I mentioned earlier, you’ll need to fix the Windows Registry eventually. This is what will make the most significant improvement. For that, you’re going to need some specialised software.
If you’re curious to know which one’s you can trust to let loose on your PC, have a peek at some reviews here: http://www.xpslow.org