Top Tips




Here are a couple of quick tips that could reclaim a few seconds from boot time; again they are for intermediate and advanced users who know their way around their PC’s BIOS program (the small program that tests and configures your PC hardware prior to loading Windows). Most BIOS’s have a facility called ‘Allow Quick Boot’ or ‘Fast Boot’ and this should be enabled. The Boot Order should be set to start on the main C:\ drive and you should disable any unused IDE and external drive channels.




If your PC is starting to get a bit sluggish and files seem to take longer to open, you may be able to pep up its performance with a few simple changes. Open the Control Panel and click on the System icon. Select the Performance tab and click on the File System button. On the Hard disc tab you will see a box marked Typical Role of this machine. Change the selection to Network Server. While you're there, make sure the slider marked Read Ahead Optimisation is fully turned up. Click on Apply and re-start your PC. 




Does your Windows 9x desktop PC seem to be taking longer and longer to boot up? Here's a totally safe way to claw back several valuable seconds, and it's only seven mouse clicks away! Go to the Start menu and proceed thus: Settings > Control Panel > System, select the Performance tab, then the File System button and the Floppy Disc tab and deselect the item 'Search for new floppy disc drives each time your system starts'. The facility is meant for laptop machines, which use detachable external floppy drives. Since the drive on your desktop PC is permanently attached there is no need for Windows to look for a new one; this pointless activity wastes three or four seconds of boot-up time on some machines. Don't scoff, three seconds a day, say, 250 days a year comes to twelve and a half minutes a year, in only four and a bit years this simple tweak will have saved you almost one hour - use this time wisely!




The following tip may be of interest if you are using a Windows 98 PC with more than 64Mb of RAM.  It's all to do with the way Windows manages your PC’s RAM and 'virtual' memory, which is space that is set aside on the hard-disc. Anyway, this tip might just make your PC do some things a bit quicker. Open Windows Notepad (Start > Programs > Accessories) and use Open on the File menu to show System.ini, which is in the Windows folder. You may have to change the 'Files of Type' line in the Open dialogue box to 'All Files'. When System.ini appears scroll down the file until you get to the section headed '[386Enh]' and at the end add the following entry: 'ConservativeSwapfileUseage=1' (without the quotes of course) click Save and re-boot. Try it for a few days, you may be pleasantly surprised




If your hard disc is nearly full and you quickly want to free up some space you can quickly claw back at least 4.5 megabytes by deleting unused tutorial animations in Windows Help. Open Windows Explorer, then the Windows folder and double click on Help. Scroll down the list looking for camcorder icons with names like Paste, Scroll, Sizewin, Taskswch and Whatson, they should be listed as Video Clips. Highlight each one in turn and press the delete key (or right click the mouse button and select delete). Initially they’ll be sent to the Recycle Bin, so the space won’t become available until the Bin is emptied.




If you have just bought a new application or peripheral it is tempting to rip off the packaging and load or install it straight away but before you do, just ask yourself when was it made, and how long has that box been sitting around in warehouses or on dealer’s shelves? The chances are whatever it is will be at least several months old and in the time between it being manufactured and you loading it into your PC all sorts of problems may have come to light, and you could end up spending the rest of the holidays trying to get hold of help line support. Save yourself the inevitable headaches by visiting the manufacturer’s web site first, and make sure there are no compatibility issues or bugs or updates needed that you should know about… 




If you’re a real speed freak and know your way around Windows 9x here’s a way to shave a few more seconds off the time it takes to boot. Open Windows Explorer, right-click on the file ‘Msdos.sys’, which you’ll find in the root of the C:\ drive, uncheck the ‘Read Only’ attribute then double-click the file icon and open it with Notepad. At then end of the section labelled [Options] add the following two lines:





Save and re-boot. These commands disable a 2-second delay during boot up and disable the Windows ‘splash screen’. The delay allows time to press F8, to get to the Safe Mode start. You still can, but now you’ve got to be quick (Win 95), or hold down the Ctrl key at boot up (Win 98).



Copyright (c) 2006 Rick Maybury Ltd.