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Author Topic: Windows Tune-Up Guide  (Read 20581 times)

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CBMatt

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Windows Tune-Up Guide
« on: December 17, 2008, 02:18:45 AM »
A brief guide created by unlovedwarrior and myself awhile back (he wrote the majority of it; I mostly did editing).  I know this isn't the first speed-up guide on here, but this currently isn't hosted online anymore and I want it around for my own reference/satisfaction.

Please note: This guide has been prepared as a general how-to which will aid the Windows computer user in tweaking and improving the overall performance of their computer. Use this guide at your own risk.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Beginner
III. Advanced
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 02:44:23 AM by CBMatt »
Quote
An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
—Robert A. Humphrey

CBMatt

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I. Introduction
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 02:20:54 AM »
I. Introduction
If you are reading this, then you are interested in making your computer run a bit smoother and faster. This tutorial is broken down into three parts: I. Introduction - which you are reading right now; II. Beginner - the instructions in this part are really simple and should be easy for anyone to follow; III. Advanced - where we start talking about ways to gain more space. The steps in this section might be a little harder to understand. Only perform the steps in this section if you know what you're doing. Some steps in this section might harm your computer if you're not careful. Well...now that we've got the Introduction out of the way, let's move on to the meat of this tutorial.
Quote
An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
—Robert A. Humphrey

CBMatt

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II. Beginner
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2008, 02:31:38 AM »
II. Beginner
1. Download CCleaner and run it. This program will scan for problems you may have with your registry...cleaning up unused files, browsing history and other areas of your computer...improving performance. Note: You may not want to install the Yahoo! Toolbar that comes with this download (be sure to check out the different builds). Also, make sure you just use the default settings of CCleaner...not the Advanced Settings...unless you know what you are doing or are directed to by one of our Malware Removal Specialists. For more information about CCleaner, click here.

Some people run the Analyze feature of the Cleaner scan first to see what is going to be removed; it's your choice. Before you actually run the Cleaner, you might want to take a look at the Cleaner Settings to make sure you won't be removing anything you may want to keep. Temporary Internet Files are typically removed, but you may want to keep your Cookies, History, Recently Typed URL's, or Autocomplete Form History. If you wish to keep any of these items, simply uncheck them. Keep in mind that CCleaner is set to empty the Recycle Bin, so...if there are any files in there you might want, you should uncheck it. The entire Advanced section should be unchecked if you're not fully confident in your knowledge of those items. Removing something such as Old Prefetch data can actually impede performance and the speed of applications, and you may want to keep many of the things included in the Advanced section, such as Hotfix uninstallers, which you will need in the case of having to remove a problematic hotfix. Advanced users may want to read this thread (taken from the official forum) to learn about adding more programs to be cleaned.

Run the Registry scan on the left-side menu, right under Cleaner. Save a copy of the registry entires when it asks you to, and make sure you save it somewhere safe, so you can find it later if you need to. This way, if CCleaner removes anything you wanted to keep, your registry will be backed up. It's suggested that you run the Issues scan a couple of times to properly clean up the registry. If you're familiar with the various programs installed on your computer, you can use the Tools feature to remove old programs, such as outdated versions of Java or expired trial software. Make note of any programs you don't recognize, so you can either research them yourself, or ask others for advice. By following all of these steps, you will free up some extra space and speed up your computer's performance a bit.

2. The next step is to clean up your Desktop. Create a new folder and put all of your pictures and documents in it. Also, make one for .exe files you might have, or for the icons you rarely...or never use. Organization is your friend!

3. Next, use the Windows Defragmenter to defragment your hard drive. To find it, just go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. Click on the disk you want to defrag (for this tutorial, we will assume it's drive C) and click Defragment. You can click Analyze and it will scan your drive and let you know whether you need to defrag or not. For this tutorial, I recommend that you do. Go here to learn how defragmenters work.

4. Go to Start > Run and when the Run window opens, type in msconfig and click OK. Go over to the Startup tab on the far right. Uncheck everything that doesn't need to start up when you load Windows. Examples are QuickTime, MSN Messenger, and RealPlayer. Just make sure you don't uncheck your security software! Click on Apply, then Close, and restart your computer.
Quote
An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
—Robert A. Humphrey

CBMatt

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III. Advanced
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2008, 02:42:03 AM »
III. Advanced
1. Okay, you got a taste of msconfig in the Beginner section. Now, we will go a little deeper into it. Follow Step 4 in the Beginner section to open msconfig. When it first opens, you'll notice you're in the General section, which lets you choose from three different startup modes. The first one you see is the Normal Startup, which loads everything from all of the other sections under their default settings whenever you boot up your computer. The next one is the Diagnostic Startup, which only loads the most basic devices and services that are required for your computer to work properly. This option is only recommended for figuring out a problematic program and is not recommend to be selected if you don't know what you are doing, or if you are going to surf the web because all of your protection programs will not load and you won't be protected. The last option is Selective Startup, which lets you fully customize which devices and services from the other sections will be allowed to load at startup. This option is also not recommended if you don't know what you are doing.

Clicking on the next tab takes you to the SYSTEM.INI section, which contains your system settings for your computer, like your keyboard and fonts. It's not recommended to make any changes here, unless you know exactly what you are doing and feel comfortable and are willing to take the responsibility for what may happen to your computer's stability if you choose to make changes in this section.

The next tab contains the WIN.INI section, where you can let certain things load, such as your wallpaper and other various settings. As with the other sections, you shouldn't make any changes unless you know what you're doing. The fourth section, called BOOT.INI, lets you modify not what will boot up, but how your computer will boot up. As usual, don't make any changes unless you absolutely know what you're doing.

The Services section lets you pick which services your computer will load when it boots. These include, but aren't limited to, the indexing service, computer browser, and other various services. Once again, you shouldn't make any changes unless you know what you're doing. Startup, the final section, is the one you will likely be using most often. In this section, you will determine which programs are allowed to startup with your operating system. Remember not to uncheck important programs like your anti-virus and firewall. Only uncheck things you know you can do without, safely. After you modify the msconfig to your liking, click on Apply and then Close. You will be prompted to restart. It is recommended that you do so...that way, the changes you made will take effect. Once your computer reboots, a window will pop up; read it, then check the box that says "Don't show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows starts." You are now done and ready to move on to the next step.

2. Now you can run the Check Disk program that is built into Windows. This program checks the information on your computer and deletes dead index files, which will help speed your computer up somewhat. To run this program, go to Start > Run and enter chkdsk /f (note the space between the chkdsk and the /f) and click OK. A black command prompt window will open and ask if you want this to run on your next restart. Type Y to answer "yes", then hit the Enter key. Restart and let the program run. Once it's done, Windows will start normally.

Now you are done with this tune-up tutorial. I recommend doing this at least monthly to keep your computer running smoothly.  If you have followed all of these steps and are still experiencing significant speed problems, then you should make a post somewhere in the forum, as it could be a hardware issue or a problem with conflicting software.  One of our helpers here will be happy to help get to the root of the problem.
Quote
An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
—Robert A. Humphrey