Performance Tips

While these are likely not all the performance tips, they are the ones that have made significant differences on my system.
I’ve seen a lot out there that have not made much difference. These are a few I’ve seen actually help.

Cleaning the TEMP Directory
Increasing Memory
Get a Faster Hard Drive

Defrag the Hard Drive
File System Settings
No New Floppy Detect

Increasing Disk Performance



Removing Unnecessary Programs from Starting Automatically

Cleaning the TEMP Directory

One thing that is often overlooked, and can have a negative affect on your computer’s performance,
are all the files that are in the TEMP directory. I’ve had quite a few people ready to get new computers until this was cleaned.

These are easy to clean and slightly different in Win9x and Windows2000 or WindowsXP


  1. Open up a DOS prompt

  2. CD \windows\temp (make sure you are in that directory before running the next line.

  3. Run deltree /y *.*

  4. CD \windows

  5. Run del *.tmp (be very careful of the spelling)

Windows2000 / WindowsXP

  1. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\User_Name\Local Settings\Temp (where User_Name is replaced by the person who is logged in)

  2. Delete all the files

Increasing Memory


If you have Windows95 with only 16-32 megs of memory, you will see a significant increase in performance if you go to at least 64 megs.
Prices have gone down dramatically in the past few years. Your computer won’t be swapping to the hard drive nearly as much.

You also need to be aware of the memory requirements of the applications you are using. Office2000 requires a lot more memory than Office97 to get similar performance.

Also, the maximum useful memory for Windows95 is 64 megs. It doesn’t do well with memory over that and may actually reduce your performance. Windows98 has removed that bottleneck. .

For Windows2000 I recommend at least 256 megs of memory. I tried it with only 128 megs and noticed quite a difference between Win98 and Windows2000. I currently have 384 megs and am quite pleased with the performance.


Get a Faster Hard Drive


There are hard drives that spin at 7200 RPMs rather than the more common 5400 RPMs.
This means that you will get to your data reasonably faster. They are not that much more expensive and well worth the money.


Defrag the Hard Drive


I do this fairly frequently. Once a month or so. There are a few things I do first to make sure I don’t waste time defragging unnecessary files.

  1. First is to delete the Internet Explorer Temporary Files and History.

  2. Second is to delete TMP and BAK files.

  3. Third is delete any files and directories in the \TEMP and \WINDOWS\TEMP directories

  4. Defragment without the swapfile. The instructions for this can be found at Defragmenting the Swap File

  5. Windows98 has a built-in utility called Disk Cleanup. You can run it from either the Start / Programs / Accessories / System Tools / Disk Cleanup or directly run CLEANMGR.EXE


File System Settings


If you have 64 megs or more of memory you increase the performance of your system.

  1. Go to Control Panel / System Properties / Performance / File System.

  2. Change the typical role of this computer to Network Server.

If you have Win95 SR1, and you do not see a performance increase, occasionally the NameCache and PathCache values are written to the registry incorrectly for the Network Server. To fix the problem:

  1. Start Regedit

  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Server

  3. Make sure the following values are being used:

  • PathCache=40 00 00 00

  • NameCache=a9 0a 00 00


No New Floppy Detect


While you are in that section, click on the Floppy Disk tab and uncheck Search for new floppy disks…
This will speed up your boot time.


Increasing Disk Performance


  1. Go to Start \ Settings \ Control Panel \ System \ Performance \ File System \ Troubleshooting

  2. Check the box Disable synchronous buffer commits.




In the Device Manager, go to the settings your Hard Drives and CD ROMs. If any of them will allow a DMA box to be checked, you can try it. I’ve seen it decrease my CPU utilization.

For setting DMA in Windows2000 go to Windows2000 Tips




Make sure you don’t have any unnecessary device drivers or programs here. Windows95 has most you will need already built into the OS.


Removing Unnecessary Programs from Starting Automatically


Many programs add portions of themselves starting automatically on every login.
This can be either in the Startup Folder or the Registry.

One easy way to tell is by looking at how many icons are in your system tray. If you have a large number, perhaps unnecessary resources are being allocated them as well as increasing your boot time.

Typical examples are Microsoft Office, Office FindFast, Real Player, ATI Video setting etc.

You can remove them in one of three main ways:

  1. In the Start / Programs / Startup Folder

  2. In the Registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Run

  3. If you have Win98, WinME or Windows2000 you can use MSCONFIG to easily remove programs. This is my preference since it allows you to toggle them back on again in case you make a mistake

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