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have a theory that sludge builds up inside a computer over time,
much like an automobile engine. After a while, it doesn't start
up like when it was new, it stalls unexpectedly, and performance
is sluggish. Here's my special recipe to clean that icky goo
out of your computer's pipes, so Windows will start quicker,
run more reliably, and go faster on the information superhighway...
Benefits to Rebuilding: Your Computers SPEED will be Optimized
Usually a computer operator will install and uninstall various
software throughout a computer's lifetime. These constant readjustments
will alter the computer's configuration. As a result, the way
or the speed a computer boots up or starts will be indirectly
affected. Then while the computer is running, these defects
in the configuration will also inhibit the performance of your
processor in general.
Virus can be completely eradicated
from any computer by reformatting. Essentially you are wiping
the hard drive clean and rewriting all your information using
a fresh copy. No virus can withstand reformatting.
Programs can be restored
Over time programs may become faulty and inoperable for various
reasons. To remedy program errors, removal and reinstallation
will usually work, but not always. When a reinstall is unsuccessful,
it is usually because there are problems with the configuration
of the computer. Essentially this means your machine is no longer
able to set itself up to run properly and will have difficulty
using ANY software. Reformatting the computer will reset the
configuration back to its original state. After reformatting,
programs can be reinstalled successfully, thus eliminating your
of Disc Space
After your computer is reformatted it frees up your entire hard
You want more hard drive space because:
You will be able to install more software programs which are
the programs you actually use.
The computer will have more free space that can be applied to
its virtual memory which will increase the machine resources
making it more stable.
it will make your computer operate
the way it did when you first bought it, FAST.....
some instances we can even make your computer run faster by
removing extraneous software. If you never run certain software
that may have came with your machine, there is no reason to
have it installed or for that matter reinstall it.
most instances having too many programs on a computer will usually
bog it down pulling too hard on the processor. This will free
up processing and at the same time increase your drive space
so you can put more software on that you want.
a rebuild is also an opportune time to perform an upgrade. Since
you are rebuilding, why not a larger amount RAM or a high end
video card, which will make your machine even quicker then it
do not understand exactly how the Registry works or what it
is. The Registry is basically an encrypted database that Windows
reads to determine how to function and what to display and when
to display it. The Registry is what controls Windows. By adding
a few entries you can change the folder icons in the Windows
Explorer to any icon you want. By changing a single value in
the Registry you can remove the Shut Down label from the Start
Menu, or disable the ability to cut, copy and paste files. You
can also disable an entire program by removing a single key.
Remove Programs - Overtime a PC can accumulate a huge
list of different softwares that may no longer be running. By
Removing all the software that is no longer in use can have
a tremendous effect on processor speed and available resources.
This is especially true with any printers, digital cameras,
or scanners that no longer reside or are in use on this computer.
Remove all remnant of these devices and watch your pc come back
ANTI-VIRUS OR ANTI-SPYWARE - I hear from some readers
who run 2 or 3 anti-virus programs, and half a dozen anti-spyware
tools. Personally, I think that's overkill. Feuding "anti's"
can cause system lockups, and slow down your computer. You really
need to do is remove all redundant virus scanners and invest
in a single suite provided by a major antivirus provider. We
recommend any Trend, Symantec, or McAfee Security suite. If
you need it professionally and installed and configured, call
CONSOLE - Sometimes viruses, spyware or random cosmic
rays will attack your computer, leaving you unable to even start
Windows. In many cases, the Windows XP Recovery Console can
help you fix the problem.
Manually Configuring Your MSCONFIGFile Advanced Users Only!
("Microsoft System Configuration Utility") is useful
tool built into Windows®98®, Windows®98SE®,
Windows®ME® and Windows®XP®. Primarily a diagnostic
tool, it can be used to increase system resources, reduce boot
time, eliminate error messages, disable some forms of Adware/Spyware
and lessen the likelihood of system lockups.
To access MSCONFIG, click on the Windows® Start box found
in the left side of the Taskbar, select Run and type MSCONFIG
in the dialog box. Click OK. After the utility opens, click
on the far right tab, Startup, to view a list of programs that
load automatically when your computer starts up. (While MSCONFIG
looks a little different in Windows®XP®, it operates
the same as the utility on Windows® systems.) If you are
running Win2K Pro, an excellent, free utility is available here.
(Be sure to read the download instructions so that you save
it to the correct folder.) In MSCONFIG, a check in the box to
the left of a program name means that the program will load
when you start your computer.
Before using MSCONFIG
Before resorting to MSCONFIG, try to prevent a program from
automatically starting by:
Un-installing it, unless you need and use the program.
Looking for an option in the program (usually found in Preferences
or Settings) such as Start (name of program) when I start my
computer or similar option. If the option is found and is checked,
simply remove the check.
Removing the program from the Startup folder. The paths (assuming
that your boot drive is C):
XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs.
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu.
In addition, substitute the names of users on your computer
for the All Users folder and check the startup programs associated
with their profiles.
A vast improvement over MSCONFIG
If you want more flexibility than MSCONFIG provides, including
the ability to remove values from registry keys where many Adware/Spyware
programs hide, download and install Starter v22.214.171.124 by Code
Stuff, an excellent freeware startup manager for Windows 95/98/2000/XP.
Find out more about the program and get it here.
Essential startup items
Some startup items are necessary for trouble-free operation
of your computer. Make certain that there is check preceding
the following items:
LoadPowerProfile. (If you are using a power saving scheme, leave
Antivirus applications, such as Norton AutoProtect or McAfeeWEbScanX.
Don't fret if one of these items, especially LoadPowerProfile,
fails to appear in MSCONFIG. One instance of LoadPowerProfile
controls power saving before logging onto Windows and the other
controls power saving after logging on to Windows. If you are
not using the power saving feature, you don't need it.
Non-essential startup items
Many programs installed from disk, programs downloaded from
the Web, printer software and Microsoft applications contain
computer code that inserts the programs into the startup menu.
This is done, we suspect, so that the program icon will appear
in the System Tray (right side of taskbar near time display),
an inexpensive method of promoting the program. Non-essential
programs in the startup menu gobble up system resources. New
machines from major manufacturers are replete with programs
of dubious value that consume disk space and system resources.
In quite a few cases, we have seen system resources reduced
considerably on account of the large number of programs that
load when the system starts. To improve system performance and
to reduce the time that it takes for your computer to boot,
look at the startup items and remove the check from programs
that you recognize. One program that you might not recognize
is LOADQM.EXE (MSN Explorer Query Manager). While there is much
speculation as to the precise purpose of this program (Does
it check for updates to the MSN browser or does it monitor browsing
habits?). For the record, Microsoft claims that the program,
"loads the MSN Queue Manager component which manages queuing
for the background file-transfer mechanism that is known as
the drizzling service." Now, you understand precisely what
the program does, right? If it appears in the startup items,
remove the check in the box preceding the program. Another item
in the startup group that you might not recognize is run=hpfsched.
This program generates a periodic reminder to clean the cartridges
in your HP DeskJet printer. Remove the check in the box preceding
this item. If you are in doubt about a program, don't touch
Check the path
Take care to check the full path of an entry in MSCONFIG. After
un-installing Norton Antivirus 5 and installing Norton Antivirus
2002, we received the always delightful missing dll message.
In this case the absent dll was defannty.dll. While later versions
of Norton Antivirus place items in the startup menu, such as
ccApp and ccRegVfy, that should not be removed, the un-install
of Norton Antivirus 5 left behind an entry in the startup menu,
the mysterious, missing defannty.dll. A close examination of
the paths for defannty.dll and ccApp and ccRegVfy disclosed
that the dll was used by the earlier version. It was de-selected
and upon re-boot, the missing dll message vanished.
Strange, but true
Adware/Spyware programs downloaded from the Web can wreak havoc
with Internet connectivity. In one case, we had to remove a
program from the startup items to restore an Internet connection.
In another case, we removed a suspicious program from the startup
items and could not thereafter connect to the Internet. Only
after placing a check in the box preceding the program were
we able to connect to the Internet.
Blank entry in MSCONFIG
If you have a blank entry in MSCONFIG it is likely to be as
a result of one of two things:
A program install/uninstall has not completed properly and therefore
not updated the registry "Run" keys. Looking at these
registry keys may in some cases reveal an entry with a Name
but no Data, others may have neither:
Check these keys and see if there's an entry under Name and
it may give a clue. As no program isn't being loaded in the
Data column then the registry entry can safely be deleted. Author's
second note: Back up the registry before making any changes.
Also, in XP®, set a System Restore point.
A virus or other maliscious piece of software has compromised
the system. Many virusses modify various registry keys, including
the "Run" keys.
Making the changes stick
After you make changes to the startup items, click Apply and
OK. When prompted to restart the computer, click Yes. When Windows®XP®
restarts, a dialog box will appear advising you that the system
has started in diagnostic or selective startup mode. Click OK.
If you make no changes, be sure to click Cancel or you will
be prompted to re-start your computer.
If you remove a startup item and experience problems, just run
MSCONFIG again and place a check in the box preceding the item
that you removed. If after removing an item, your computer does
not boot normally, re-boot in Safe Mode (depress F8 key or <Ctrl>
key repeatedly as the computer begins to boot and select Safe
Additional notes about XP
Most, if not all, XP machines purchased off the rack from discounters
or via the Web from major manufacturers feature a a plethora
of pre-installed programs - programs that in the main you won't
ever use. In earlier versions of Windows, you would notice a
large number of icons for these programs on the right side of
the Taskbar. In XP, which regularly conceals unused icons, you
probably won't notice them. Since many of these programs are
coded to run as startup items, they will collectively consume
a considerable chunk of memory. Putting aside the Win.ini file
where some legacy programs may add commands, the programs will
run either from a startup folder or from the registry. Use Starter
v126.96.36.199 by CodeStuff, an excellent freeware startup manager
to prevent these programs from loading.