Optimizing Windows

Task Manager – It gives listing of all currently running processes in process tab, application softwares in application tab, performance of CPU and memory in performance tab and networking performance in networking tab. It is opened by right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager or press Ctrl+Alt+Del and select Task Manager or in Run dialog box type taskmgr.

Msconfig – Microsoft System Configuration Utility can disable programs and services that run with PC start up. To open it type msconfig in Run dialog box. To disable programs from starting, click on the Startup tab and uncheck mark for desired program and it also gives different boot options and to start or stop services. Win.ini and boot.ini files can also be edited in it.

Virtual Memory – It makes a program think that it has continuous and large memory but in reality, it is fragmented and less. Many processes need lots of memory to run along but OS moves pages of information to the PC’s hard disk, freeing RAM for other uses. It is also called paging file or pagefile.sys in root drive. Its size can be modified in System Properties window, click the Advanced tab. Next, click Settings button in Performance box; which opens Performance Options window. Now, click the Advanced tab, and click Change in the Virtual memory box. It should be 1.5 times of installed RAM

Services – They control specific functions in Windows like printing, wireless networking, etc. and run in background by windows To stop or start or enable or disable a service, it is done by service manager which is opened by click Services in services and applications in computer management console window or type services.msc in run dialog box. Right click desired service and choose to start or stop or disable or enable (manual or automatic start).

Power Management – It is for managing power wisely and is configured from control panel click power options. Standby means PC goes into a low power mode. Hibernate shuts down PC temporarily and can be powered up quickly but had caused various issues in OS

Registry – It is a database to store settings for OS. It has hardware and software information, and user settings. To change settings, use Registry Editor by typing regedit in Run dialog box. It is divided into several sections called hives that begin with the letters HKEY and which are

Registry HiveDescription of Registry Hives in Windows
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTHas information about applications’ file associations
HKEY_CURRENT_USERHave settings of currently logged on user.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINEHave hardware and software settings of PC.
HKEY_USERSHas data or all users.
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIGHas data gathered every time PC starts up.

Hives have other keys and subkeys like folders and subfolders It is possible to back up registry.

Remote Desktop – It enables a user to see, and control, the GUI of a remote computer usually to repair remote computers and it need establishing a remote desktop session by sending invitation to remote computer after whose confirmation we can access the remote computer. It is accessed by Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications. It uses the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

Boot Files – After the BIOS is done, MBR and boot sector of the hard drive have been located and accessed, a loader file is accessed on the hard drive and it is NTLDR. To start OS files needed are

  • NTLDR: It is loader program to load OS (if there is more than one).
  • ini: Gives menu of operating systems to select and options for booting Windows.
  • com: Detects hardware installed on PC.

Disk Management – It manages disks, create or delete or change partition and assign a partition as active.

Mount Point – A mounted drive is mapped to an empty folder in NTFS partition so use drive paths instead of drive letters and is helpful to attach more than 26 drives.

Service Pack – It is group of updates, bug fixes, updated drivers, and security fixes which are given by Microsoft as one package. They are numbered, like SP1, SP2, etc. To check installed service pack, in System Properties window, on General tab see OS details and versions or by msinfo32.exe.

Windows Update – OS should be updated regularly and XP has a update service for it and we can configure it Start > All Programs > Windows Update or in control panel click on Automatic Update

System Restore Point – System Restore fixes problems from hardware or software by reverting back to an earlier time. Registry changes made are reversed so PC work the way it did previously. They can be created manually or automatically by OS before new installation of software or hardware. Steps to create manually are

  • Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.
  • Click Create a Restore Point and then click Next.
  • Enter a name for the restore point and click Create.

Automatic creation – This is done from System Restore tab of System Properties Window and amount of disk space to use can also be changed.

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