You have a 6 month old PC, its still a high spec, it runs XP on a gig of Ram and it still performs like a bag of poop.
Why? Because your putting a load of rubbish software on it that is bloated, sits resident in memory for no reason and gobbles up a whole load of resources that it doesn't need.
Its all too easy these days to rebuild your machine, and within a fortnight its running just as crap as before.
This is a quick guide, pointing you to software alternatives which run just as well as what your used to, sometimes even better without taking up valuable memory, and in a lot of cases, taking up much less harddisk space.
OK, before we get started, where is your swap file? Did you know that one of the main reasons your PC starts to slow down is because you've never set this up properly?
Right click on My Computer and go to properties. Click on Advanced, and click on Settings under Performance. Go on, do it now.
Click on Advanced, and then on Change under Virtual Memory.
What does it say? NOW, bear in mind, that your virtual memory paging file should be 1.5x larger than the amount of physical ram in your machine. So, if you have 1gb (1024mb), it should have 1.5gb (1512mb ish) virtual memory. But, more important than that, your paging file should NOT be configured on the same PHYSICAL drive as your operating system, if it can be helped. So, if you have more than 1 HDD in your machine, the paging file should always be configured to that drive. So go sort this out.
If you set your Task Manager Processes to view Page Faults (under the view pull down menu, and you are getting billions and billions, this is down to lousy Page File configuration. You can let Windows manage the specifics if you like, but I certainly recommend that you move it from the drive your OS is on.
OK, now you've checked that, lets look into the software you probably use regularly, and what you could be using.
Using: Internet Explorer
Should use: Firefox
OK, IE comes with XP, so its easy, but I really pity people who still use it. Its slow and clunky, not to mention its not secure, by running IE you are leaving yourself open to loads of spyware, your getting popups all the time, and your making things very difficult for yourself.
Download and install Firefox. Set it as your default browser and remove all IE shortcuts. Your life just got 100% easier. Firefox has some fantastic features that MS are quickly ripping off for there newer, bulker version of IE—but firefox has these now, all in a 4.7mb install. That's tiny! Internet Explorer is, like 10 times bigger! Ok, so you can't easily go and uninstall IE, but you can stop using it. The benefits of firefox are huge, tabbed browsing is the first most noticeable difference, but there are many more, and you can get literally hundreds of plug-ins from their website, including ad blockers, etc.
Oh, and whilst I'm on the subject of firefox, check this out. In Firefox you have an integrated search. But this isn't like the usual crappy spyware tool-bar that most IE users are familiar with, this is completely customizable. By clicking on the Add engines option at the bottom, you are able to pick from, Oooh, about a billion different searches.. So, you wanna check ebay.co.uk for something, type it in there, pick ebay from the dropdown, and go—there you have it. Maybe you need to find out who invented the steam train? Stick Steamtrain in there, point it to Wikipedia, and your off! On top of your usual search engines, this is a wicked feature!
So, go get firefox. These links will help you!
Using: Norton Security or any Pay-to-use Firewall/AV solution
Should be: Avast Anti-Virus and Sygate Personal Firewall Pro
I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here, but if you are paying for your firewall and anti-virus software, your stupid. If your paying for Norton you are REALLY stupid. This is the worst piece of bloated turd in the world. Go immediately and download Avast and Sygate. They are fantastic, they're small installs, they're easy to configure, they automatically update and they're free for personal use.
You can get Avast from http://www.avast.com/ (choose Avast Home Edition) you still need to register to use it, but it is totally free. It updates daily to protect you against the latest threats, and the download is just under 10mb.
You can get Sygate Personal Firewall from www.sygate.com Symantec have recently aquired Sygate, so they may not offer the free solution for much longer (or worse, turn it into a piece of bloated turd). The site is a bit ambiguous, you can currently get directly to the download page here [url]http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf_standard.htm [/url]
OK, so now your browsing happy. By using firefox with Sygate you should now be stopping about 95% of pop-ups and spyware.
Using: Windows Media Player and a thousand different codecs
Should be: VLC Player
Windows Media Player is another piece of bloated Microsoft crap.Version 10 sits at about 15mb. OK, so you'll probably still need this for vatching video over the net or streaming music and that, BUT, what about all those bloody codecs you have to install in order to watch anything? What a joke, you have to install about 500 of the bastards in a certain order or everythings green. You think its sorted, yjen you go and download the latest episode of Eastenders or whatever, hit play.. and… Bong, incorrect codec is installed. You could get media player to contact the MS website to download the correct one, but I bet it wont work.
So go and get VLC media Player instead. The Windows version is here http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html its about 7mb, but you'll never need another codec. And remember, when your installing Codecs, theres probably a bunch of spyware in there too.
Using: Realplayer and Quicktime
Should be: Realplayer and Quicktime Alternatives
When you install Realplayer and Quicktime, they like to think they can take over your whole machine, stick a bunch of bloated apps in your system tray, install iTunes for a laugh, Oh, and Yahoo Search, if your not paying attention. Utilities like this should just act like a plug-in, sit in the background and do nothing until you call for them—but these pair like to think they're full blown applications. Don't let them! You can download cut-down alternatives here http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Real_Alternative.htm (realplayer) and here http://www.free-codecs.com/download/QuickTime_Alternative.htm (Quicktime).
Should be: CD Burner XP Pro
Nero used to be nice, we all used to love it. But now its rubbish. Its turned into some resource hungry fat wife of an application. And if you don't like it you have to download even shittier Nero Express. Remove it now and download this instead: http://www.cdburnerxp.se/ It does everything Nero does, in an 11mb install. Everything that is, apart from install a bunch of useless tools you never use, and slow your PC down to a standstill as soon as you launch it.
Newer is not necessarily better!! Just because there is a new version out, this doesn't always make things faster or less buggy 2 prime examples are ICQ and Winamp. I don't use ICQ 5, I use ICQ 2001b, it has all the functionality I need with none of the crap. And Winamp. I still use v5.7 for the same reason. You can get older versions of all kinds of software from here: http://www.oldversion.com/