Thursday, April 03, 2008

A quick Windows optimization

I got a question on the gunthing forum, and I think some of my readers would find it valuable.

How do you stop all that useless crap that vendors load on your systems from loading at startup?

Well, it's reasonably easy (and don't say "yeah, buy a mac/use linux. I already do. This is for everyone who can't or doesn't want to).

The real problem is figuring out what you actually NEED to be running, vs. what's crap you can stop.

Recognizing them is tricky, because every computer has different requirements. Your virus scan, your sound control panel etc...

Generally speaking, you can google the executable names and figure out what they are; and then decide from there if you need them running or not.

Telling the ones you don't want not to start is easy though. There are several utilities which will do it for you (I recommend winpatrol from BillP, it's free, and better than the built in msconfig), or you can edit the registry and a couple of files and directories.

the procedure for editing the registry is as follows:

1. Run regedit
2. Edit the following keys to remove entries you don't want to run:
Hkey Local Machine>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>Run>
Hkey current user>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>Run>
Hkey users>{specific user ID number}> Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>Run>

3. close regedit and reboot

You can then remove entries from the "startup" directory by right clicking on the "start" button, and choosing "explore" the go to programs>startup, and remove entries you don't want to start on login.

Do that one more time, except left click and select "explore all users".

Finally, go into the services manager from the management console, or from start>programs?> administrative tools> services> and either set to manual, or disable any unnecessary or dangerous services (you can find lists online).

Oh... one more thing. Once you've done all that, go into your control panel, and uninstall all the crapware that your system vendor put in there when you bought the thing; then reboot. Then once you're done, let the machine defrag overnight (you all remember defrag dontcha? Well it's still there, and you still need to do it every once in a while).

Trust me, you'll notice and appreciate the difference.