XP Computers: Checklist and Upgrades for Improving PC Speeds

by Rod Dunne on December 2, 2010

in Articles, Performance

XP Computers | Tips for getting the most out of old XP laptops and desktop PCs.
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Windows XP computers are still a popular choice for many PC owners thanks to the security and stability of this operating system. The only problem with using older XP laptops and desktops is that they may struggle to handle some of the more modern software applications (with greater system requirements). Here, we’ll look at the upgrades and computer maintenance program utilities worth using to help retain XP desktop and laptop performance.

Suggested Tools: XP Repair Pro Registry & system optimization for Windows 7, Vista & XP.

Why Windows XP computers are still being used
Many people chose to hang onto their XP home or XP pro computers due to a number of reasons:

  • Vista was a very poor upgrade so users are not bothered to update the OS.
  • Service packs for XP laptops have been widely available and made the operating system secure and stable.
  • Computer hardware from this time period (2000 to 2005) performed quite well at running the majority of home applications, so there was no need to upgrade due to hardware performance issues.

Getting the most from your XP desktop/laptop

In spite of the hardware and software being quite good, you should still do some simple upgrades or maintenance in order to get the most from these old PCs for years to come. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add more RAM: Many older PCs could get away with having 256 MB of RAM when running some of the older software programs. However, it is worth having at least one gigabyte of RAM installed in order to handle many of the newer applications and browsers.
  • Install the latest service pack: Each Windows service Pack has improved upon the stability of XP home/XP pro computers. At the very least, you should have service pack two installed as many new programs insist upon this. You should also note that Microsoft is starting to phase-out support of some of the earlier service packs.
  • Maintain free space on the disk: Aging XP computers are more prone to running out of disk space due to the amount of applications and files that build up over the years. If the disk goes over 90% full capacity then there is a good chance of virtual memory size being restricted (which slows down the OS). Clear out some space by using utilities to automate the process (e.g. Winclear), removing old applications and moving large files such as music/photos to an external storage device.
  • Repair the registry: Another danger of aging PCs is the continual changes to the Windows registry file (a system configuration file used to store data about all applications on Windows XP computers). You should not manually modify this file as you could cause more damage if registry key settings are shared amongst applications. Instead, use a registry cleaner (e.g.Registry Easy) or computer maintenance program (e.g. XP Repair Pro) to fix and optimize key settings for you.

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