General cleanup or full reformat/reinstall?

  Pineman100 15:51 01 Nov 2008

My 6-yr-old XP computer has got increasingly slow as time has passed, so I think it's time for a good cleanup.

But a full reformat and reinstall will involve a lot of complication over several user accounts, several email accounts, a fair bit of software plus a lot of user data. Even if I do reformat/reinstall, I'll still have to reload/recreate all of this, so the computer will still be carrying the same software and data load.

So, instead of a full reinstall, would it be just as effective if I run something like Ccleaner to repair the registry and generally clean out all of the redundant muck?

If this cleanup approach would be effective, is Ccleaner the best freeware to use?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:54 01 Nov 2008

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporay files and folders -- use Crap Cleaner click here

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :-
Superantispyware click here
Malware removal tool click here

Free Antivirus software
Avast4 click here
AVG antivirus click here

c) Clean the registry -- Free Registry cleaners :-
RegscrubVistaXp click here
Regseeker click here
TweakNow RegCleaner 1.3.2 click here
Easycleaner click here ( Use with care, It advises you to back up the registry first, this is a good idea as it cleans rather aggressively. )

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Rght click MY Computer - select propeties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a differnt drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok.
If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at startup -- Start - Run type msconfig - startup tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:55 01 Nov 2008

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives / IDE Channels:

i) Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO.
Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the + ) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab -
If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at click here to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP or Vista, it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS:
Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage'
From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.'
Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information.
Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd'
To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs'
So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Divers
Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware
This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory
Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial .com click here will guide you through the process of slecting the correct memory. click here for a guide to fitting memory.

  Pineman100 16:19 01 Nov 2008

That's a brilliant "to do" list.

Could I ask a couple of supplementary questions?

1. My 180GB hard drive (formatted NTFS) is only one-third used, so I presume I don't need to worry about the page file?

2. I have 1GB of memory. Is that OK for XP, or should I still consider adding more?

3. I've always been a bit nervous of registry cleaners, because I'm a complete dummy when it comes to the registry and I wouldn't know what to allow them to clean. Which of the above cleaners is the safest, please? (Clearly not Easycleaner!)

Many thanks again for your help.

  sunnystaines 17:24 01 Nov 2008

for XP I used to

run chkdsk.
empty deleted emails
run reg cleaners [winaso & eusing]
geneneral optimise program [iobit asw3]
reg defrag [austlogics]
cc leaner

hdd defrag [jkdefrag]
then clone a copy of hdd.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:28 01 Nov 2008

Most likely causes of slow downs are malware and virus followed by too many programs being allowed to run at start up.

1)set the virtual memory to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted

2) My XP runs reasonably well on 1G of memory but 2 is ideal do everything else before considering adding more memory, a good clearout will make alot of difference.

3)Use the registry section in CCleaner and scan for issues on its default settings , fix anything it finds and you should be OK CCleaner's registry cleaner is very safe I've never had a problem in the hundreds of times I've used it.

  canarieslover 17:37 01 Nov 2008

My PC is approximately the same age as yours and had shown signs of slowing. Having gone through all the process of running all the cleaners etc. I still hadn't noticed any real improvement. For £30 I purchased a new drive and worked for the last week with that perched on a couple of books, the side off my PC, and I just swap the leads over as I have time to work on the new drive. With a complete re-install of Windows and programs it is noticibly much faster. I am in the fortunate position of no children or pets so I can leave the side off the case for several days and not worry about it. Health and Safety eat your heart out!!

  Pineman100 17:56 01 Nov 2008

I think I'm definitely going with your cleanup recommendations, rather than a full reinstall. Should be quicker and easier.

I'm very grateful for your advice.

  alexartox 05:50 01 May 2009

You may want to try the tunexp, it's free and nice:

>> click here <<

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