Hack Your Registry For Speed and Stability

Designed for Windows XP computer hardware logoImage via Wikipedia

You Won’t Find That Here, You’ll Find Something Better

There are many ways to make your pc run faster without messing around in the registry. But sadly, there’s an abundance of sites out there that try to lead you to believe that some simple registry editing will make your pc run faster. I’ve adopted the contrary opinion. My love for Microsoft isn’t even close to passion, but if you’re running XP (and most of you are), I believe the registry is generally best left to them. I’ve put together several thoughts on the subject, and I present them below.

General Thoughts

1. Hacks that speed you up and make you more stable don’t exist. Nearly all of the registry hacks I’ve found online either don’t work, or make the system unstable, or Windows already does it better. In some cases they can actually make things worse.

2. I’m not talking about legitimate registry cleaners. If you’ve had your machine for awhile and installed and uninstalled lots of programs like some people have, there are probably lots of entries that are meaningless, and should be removed.

Free Speed “Hacks”

1. If you really want to keep it running fast, the first step is to keep it updated. This includes Windows and all the programs you normally use. Go to their sites and look for updates, or look in the program menus for an Update function.

2. Use a good AntiVirus program and a firewall. For most of us, the built-in XP firewall in SP2 should be sufficient. Any kind of malware will slow you down. System scan at least once a week.

3. Get rid of all the bling. Windows XP features a signature look and feel. Things are so colorful. They slide and fade. Turn that stuff off and use the classic style. Right click on MyComputer and select Properties. Click Advanced and then Performance Settings.Click the button for Best Performance and hit Apply. You’ll be amazed at how much of a performance boost you’ll get out of this one suggestion.

4. Clean temp files, uninstall files and recent documents. You can look here for a great post on how to do that.

5. Disable unused devices. Once again, right click on MyComputer and Properties, except this time select Hardware, and then Device Manager. One quick place to go is your modem, if you have one. Chances are really good you’re on a broadband connection, and aren’t using the modem ever. So right click on it and disable it. Do that for everything you see that you know you aren’t using.

Not So Free, But Worth Considering

1. Upgrade your RAM speed or size. Sometimes pc’s can handle a faster RAM than they were originally shipped with. You might be using PC2700 and you could be using PC3200. They run at speeds of 333Mhz and 400Mhz, respectively. The difference in speeds is noticeable. To see what RAM speeds your machine can handle, look it up at your manufacturer’s website.

2. Install a faster CPU. Again, chances are really good that your machine can handle a faster CPU. If you’re using a Celeron, or a Sempron, you can definitely see some results by upgrading to a Pentium or Athlon, respectively.

3. Go camping without the pc, read a book, listen to some music. Spend some time away from the busy-ness of technology. Watch a bird fly, look for something in the clouds. Take your time. When you come back your pc will seem faster. Sometimes it’s not the machine that has slowed down. It’s us that have sped up.

As an Aside

You’ve no doubt noticed the many SnapShots I’ve used in this post. Even though I have found no end to the uses of SnapShots, the guys over at Snap.com put together a little contest to see what bloggers would come up with if they had to use the 12 main SnapShots in an article, in list form. Since there were several cash prizes up for grabs, and seeing as how I kinda like SnapShots and the guys over at Snap.com, and considering that I like stuff like this anyway, I decided to use this piece as my entry.

I am Jon, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

If you like this article, and you want to help me win the contest, go over to the blog at Snap.com and make a comment there! Contest runs until around April 8th. Thanks.

This article was awarded one of the three prizes in the Snap.com contest. Thank you!

Thanks much to Adam, who left the comment below, unintentionally alerting me to the broken link in item #4 above. The link now works and takes you to a post about keeping your pc running smooth through easy, regular maintenance, called 5 Things You Can Do to Start Your PC Faster. Thanks again, Adam!


5 Replies to “Hack Your Registry For Speed and Stability”

  1. Sadly I have to say i completely disagree with you. Registry hacks can have a great affect on your system if you apply the correct ones. I wouldnt reccomend anyone tamper with their registry unless they have 1. a backup and 2. advanced knowledge of it. Tweaking TCP/IP settings using your registry can speed up your internet connection, sometimes by 100% just by configuring your computer for your correct connection Most computers don’t come within 50% of the speed they pay for. They are also useful because they allow for things like disabling popups on boot, balloon tips, and allowing those annoying “Ending Task” boxes from popping up when you shut down or restart your computer. They also help you remove the menu delay, help the hungout time delay and many other useful tips and tricks including auto login and many other completely useful things. Don’t buy into bogus claims that the registry destablizes your computer. Yes there are bogus tweaks, but there are also good ones. And you didnt mention defragging your computer, MSCONFIG run command, Spyware cleaner, etc. Very incomplete and useless article

  2. Thanks for stopping by.

    I agree with you that I wouldn’t recommend anyone tamper with their registry unless they meet the conditions you stated. Since this article was written specifically for folks who don’t meet item 2, I decided it was best not to even begin to tell anyone to jump in there.

    If you noticed from the examples I used in the article, I’m talking about actually speeding up the pc itself. The speed of an internet connection is not addressed within this post.

    Nevertheless, to address your points,I’ve played with the TCP/IP settings and seen it to work fine. I have not witnessed a 100% increase in apparent speed by doing so. Once again, this is a hack that should always be reserved for those who have a fair idea what they’re doing.

    As far as pop-ups on boot, sounds like you might have some spyware, or have not set up those programs to act the way you’d like. Balloon tips? I see no reason to disable them, actually. The only really annoying one is the “Explore Windows” balloon that disappears after the 5th restart, which is always during the setup. My customers never see it.

    The “Ending Task” windows only appear when using inferior software (like most Symantec products),or or if you’re running a system beyond its design limits, ie., unstable, or the system is otherwise unstable. Like I said before, my customers never see those.

    The default menu delay is nearly instantaneous when you click it. I can’t address ‘hungout time’ because I’m not certain what you mean. Auto login can be accomplished through the Control Panel.

    There is one thing you are right about, but not for the reason you think. But it is the reason I am very grateful to you for leaving a comment. Your criticism about the omission of several common tasks made me check the link above to that post, and it doesn’t work anymore!

    There is an entire post on that kind of maintenance, and the link above goes to nowhere. I will fix that within the day with the acknowledgement that you pointed it out to me.

    So even though I think most of your comments were a bit off the mark for this post, thank you for helping me keep Wordout a source of reliable and accurate information for those of us who are not quite so techie as yourself.

    (edit 8/1) Thanks to Adam, the link now works again! Thanks Adam!

  3. I did these things again this morning. My PC has become sooooooo sluggish lately! I did notice some improvement, but still not where I want it. Any more tweaks you can give us? 🙂

    BTW, any idea why I might not be able to leave comments on blogger.com blogs?? I have an account, and Open ID, but on blogger.com blogs – can’t leave any comments! Someone said it might be in the settings on my PC – any idea?

  4. Hi there Melinda!

    Did you try that link to the 5 things you can do to make your pc start faster? I think that would help you.

    Won’t help with blogger.com commenting. After looking around the web (like you did) and finding nothing to help –

    You’re probably trying to leave a comment using your blogger credentials. I’ve noticed that you sign in here using your OpenID credentials.

    Try one of the other sign in options at blogger.com and see how that works. Then please send me a message letting me know if you are still having the problem.

    You can do that by DM via twitter or through the CONTACT or ASKAWAY buttons up above.

Comments are closed.