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Old 2008-01-26, 10:15   Link #1
hobbes_fan
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Basic XP/Vista tweaks

Simple guide to help improve the performance of your PC. can make the difference between being able to play h264 or not, particularly useful for those who have borderline PC's. All software mentioned is free, available at download.com or at the link provided. PLEASE READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE SOFTWARE AT THE DEVELOPERS PAGE. I will not be giving a detailed explanation as this would end up being a 10,000 word essay.

(some things can be potentially harmful if not careful these will be highlighted red)

1. Find out what's using your PC resources
(use filemon www.tinyurl.com/ygmhqm )

2.Find out what programs are auto starting on boot up, these suck up valuable resources slowing down boot times, program start up times and cpu processing power

go to start ->all programs -> startup - remove the programs from that are uneccessary

Also see your task bar (bottom right hand of the screen next to the clock) all programs that boot up automatically are located there. I just tend to have my antivirus, firewall and email as the only startup programs

3. defrag your HDD's regularly (maybe once a month) - I use Auslogics disk defrag, but your Windows one should be fine

You can also defrag your prefetch file by clicking start -> run -> type "defrag C: -b" (C: can be changed to whatever the letter of the drive where you keep all your windows files)

What is a prefetch file?
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=2495
What Is Prefetch?

Taken From Microsoft Website:

Windows XP monitors the files that are used when the computer starts and when you start applications. By monitoring these files, Windows XP can prefetch them. Prefetching data is the process whereby data that is expected to be requested is read ahead into the cache. Prefetching boot files and applications decreases the time needed to start Windows XP and start applications.


What is defragmentation/fragmentation?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defragmentation

4. Turn off services.
Yo need to have some idea of what you use so TAKE CARE. Everyone's setup is different so you will need to figure out what is necessary and what is not. You will also need administrator privileges

Firstly see what services are running
start->all programs->Administrative tools and services
or Start->control panel -> administrative tools -> services
For a more detailed description of what services do see www.blackviper.com (listed by o/s)

I REPEAT TAKE CARE, ONLY TURN OFF STUFF THAT YOU ARE 100% SURE YOU DON'T NEED. BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER ALSO CREATE A SYSTEM RESTORE POINT START->ALL PROGRAMS->ACCESSORIES->SYSTEM TOOLS->SYSTEM RESTORE-> CREATE RESTORE POINT


disable the ones you don't need by right clicking the entry ->properties-> and changing the startup type to manual or disabled, best to go one by one and check system stability rather than turning off a dozen and then trying to figure out which one to turn back on. Again if you don't use them and they're running it's eating up resources.

5. Clean your registry
BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER ALSO CREATE A SYSTEM RESTORE POINT START->ALL PROGRAMS->ACCESSORIES->SYSTEM TOOLS->SYSTEM RESTORE-> CREATE RESTORE POINT


What is the registry?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry

I use a program called CCleaner, basically sometimes when you uninstall programs little bits of the program instruction are left in the registry. Note by default if you choose to use ccleaner, it will clear all the cookies from your browser and temporary internet files. Make sure you unselect the options to do so if you don't want to lose them

5. Prioritising you system resources

Set CPU and RAM Priority

xp
start-> control panel -> system -> advanced -> performance-> settings -> advanced

vista
start-> control panel -> system -> advanced system settings-> advanced-> performance-> settings ->

Processor scheduling and Memory usage (not available in vista) should be set to programs. leave virtual memory alone.

This makes all available resources are set to be used by the programs you are running. Not the stuff in the background

Also for Vista users if you're not using Readyboost and have a spare 1gig USB thumbdrive do so. Particlarly for systems using less than 2gigs of RAM, laptop users should see some additional benefits like improved battery life.

start-> control panel -> system -> advanced -> performance-> settings -> adjust for best performance.

the vista instructions are slightly different

start-> control panel -> system -> advanced system settings-> advanced-> performance-> settings -> visual effects -> adjust for best performance.

This will turn off all the eyecandy. Why do this? everything on your screen has to be constantly drawn by your PC 60 times a sec (roughly). This takes a lot of resources. You want those resources to be freed up to run programs rather than looking pretty.

6. Clean your PC of Spyware/adware/malware/Viruses regularly. These are notorious for bringing systems to a grinding halt

some good free stuff
spybot Search and Destroy
Lavasoft Adaware
Avast Antivirus
AVG Antivirus

7. MAke sure you have the latest updates from MS. Service pack 3 is out but no-one should have any less than Service Pack2. Vista also has service pack1 in the works and is in testing.


These are the bare basics I can think of at the moment and if I think of anymore I'll add them. I'm recycling all my old pc mags and am going through the articles is any more intersting tweaks show up I will post them as well
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Last edited by hobbes_fan; 2008-01-26 at 10:32. Reason: comment on readyboost
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Old 2008-01-26, 13:58   Link #2
matt4212
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good guide. Though you should have put in the windows malicious sofware removal tool. I got a spyware that Adaware or McAfee didnt detect. So i and used it, and now the spyware is gone.
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Old 2008-01-26, 15:49   Link #3
tripperazn
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Thanks for the info guys, I'm scanning and defragging my computer now. Hopefully HD h264s won't be a problem anymore.
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Old 2008-01-26, 16:31   Link #4
hobbes_fan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt4212 View Post
good guide. Though you should have put in the windows malicious sofware removal tool. I got a spyware that Adaware or McAfee didnt detect. So i and used it, and now the spyware is gone.
I find that tool quite poor. MS updates the program once a month. Spybot, adaware are pretty much weekly. I use both Spybot S&D, HijackThis! (not for recommended for basic users, useful only for the really nasty malware) and Lavasoft for the sheer fact that in my experience Windows BitDefender and malware removal tools are unreliable. As long as you keep updating definitions weekly and scanning regularly there shouldn't be a problem. The listed software are suggestions only not a definitive list and what I use and have confidence in, see http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=36280 for more. Whatever you use just make sure to keep it updated. Most software auto updates but make sure you read the instructions.

I'd love to add use a firewall as well as the last line of defense, but unless you know what you're doing it's another thing that readers should take the time to learn about. It also strays off topic of performance tweaks.
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Before you ask "How do I convert fansubs to...." see the following
MP4 - http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=47693
Convert AVI/MKV/MP4 to DVD
http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=26308
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Old 2008-01-26, 17:35   Link #5
Sephi
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I haven't had use for my Lavasoft Adaware and Spybot since i used Firefox with the addons Cookiesafe and Adblock Plus. The results are always nothing if i scan with Lavasoft Adaware and Spybot.

As for registry cleaning, i would like to add the following.
I use NTREGOPT. It cleans up the register even more than CCleaner, though use CCleaner first, than NTREGOPT. I sometimes use Bootvis to to optimize the booting. Though err i'm not very convinced by that program

Also if you wonder about what each process does in your Task manager.
Download procexp. I'm running XP home myself. So i didn't had a way to check which svchost.exe was for which process. But with it i could see which was for which, making it easier to find the svchost that are fairly useless as well as tracking viruses which hide under the svchost.exe name.

Overall, i'm only running 25 processes at startup (XP Home). And i'm on a laptop (3 of them are needed for the laptop). Just to give a idea how little processes is needed to run XP. So if your using a well tweaked/stripped XP, i'm sure you can go under the 20 processes which helps the booting time a lot, as well as lowers the the resource needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripperazn View Post
Thanks for the info guys, I'm scanning and defragging my computer now. Hopefully HD h264s won't be a problem anymore.
As for that, i can only recommend you CoreAVC. my laptop (Meron T7200 C2D 2,0GHz) couldn't play a 1080p at 3500 Kbps without going offsync. But with CoreAVC it even plays 1080p at 7200 Kbps without going offsync.
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Old 2008-01-27, 01:40   Link #6
hobbes_fan
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It looks like I should do a write up on securing your PC as well. A lot of the comments so far are security related so I'll write one up in a day or so.
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Before you ask "How do I convert fansubs to...." see the following
MP4 - http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=47693
Convert AVI/MKV/MP4 to DVD
http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=26308
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Old 2008-01-27, 06:38   Link #7
Dxon
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Holland,Zuid-holland,Capelle aan den IJssel
Age: 21
Security is kinda easy. I recommend:

Firewall: Zone Alarm (free/pro/{suite}) Url: http://www.zonealarm.com/
About suite. Suite sucks up a lot of your RAM and CPU. Think about it. It has the antivirus and spyware and some other goodies but you probably take an other anti virus and anti spyware programs with it anyway. The quality of the anti-virus and anti-spyware in the suite and only the anti-spyware in pro is low. I recommend pro for the extra stuff on managing the firewall and taking some extra anti- programs with it.

Anti-virus: AVG 7/8. Url: http://www.grisoft.com/
About AVG 8. This is the one I have currently. I got AVG 8 Enterprise. It takes up lots of RAM but is secure on ALL fronts!! Secure on Trojan/Rootkit/spyware/adware/internet spyware site/say another thing and it has it. ^_^
Other anti-virus are also welcome for your pc. But the norton series take up a lot of RAM.

Anti-spyware: Webroot Spysweeper, Spybot S&D. Urls: http://www.webroot.com/ http://www.safer-networking.org/
Not much to say about.

Anti-Adware: Ad-Aware Url: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/

If you have either one of those all then your secure. Remember to scan at least once a month.
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Old 2008-01-27, 07:10   Link #8
tripperazn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sephi View Post
As for that, i can only recommend you CoreAVC. my laptop (Meron T7200 C2D 2,0GHz) couldn't play a 1080p at 3500 Kbps without going offsync. But with CoreAVC it even plays 1080p at 7200 Kbps without going offsync.
Thanks, but I already got it a few days ago (CoreAVC Professional right?). The off-sync is still not alleviated with the same exact processor as yours. I can only speculate that it is some sort of deeper issue with my processor, since it has generally slowed. It never had problems with playback until a few days ago.
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Old 2008-01-27, 09:27   Link #9
Sephi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripperazn View Post
Thanks, but I already got it a few days ago (CoreAVC Professional right?). The off-sync is still not alleviated with the same exact processor as yours. I can only speculate that it is some sort of deeper issue with my processor, since it has generally slowed. It never had problems with playback until a few days ago.
Mmm quite strange than. Make sure it's CoreAVC 1.6.0 and not 1.2.0 or a older version. I notice a quite good performance boost from 1.2 to 1.6. As for the other, use procexp. To check which process belongs to which and disable it if it's not needed. As for Vista (iirc your using it) I can't help you much with that. It's a resource hog, that is known already, though no idea how much it effects your playback.
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Old 2008-02-03, 12:50   Link #10
hobbes_fan
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Another hint:

For those using AMD dual core (X2) processors don't forget to install the AMD dual core optimizer.

AMD Dual-Core Optimizer - The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows API for timing by directly using the RDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core's Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core processor systems, by periodically adjusting the core time-stamp-counters, so that they are synchronized.

http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/..._13118,00.html
__________________
Before you ask "How do I convert fansubs to...." see the following
MP4 - http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=47693
Convert AVI/MKV/MP4 to DVD
http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=26308
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Old 2008-02-03, 15:50   Link #11
Ending
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I usually optimize the machines with StartUp Tool and taking off the unnecessary tasks from services.msc. There are also interesting stuff in gpedit.msc, such as default wallpaper specs.
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Old 2008-02-03, 18:25   Link #12
Generic Asian Guy
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BlackViper.com has a good section on XP SP2 tweaks:

http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/supertweaks.htm
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