• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

System and Boot Optimization

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

raven

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2002
Location
Toronto
System and Boot Optimization



What brought about the idea of this forum? My guess would have to be the idea of overclocking.
David said:
And these three men looked upon Overclockers.com, and were happy, for it was good. And then, Skip, in his mighty wisdom deemed that all overclockers should be able to come to converse with each other upon an internet forum.And thus Overclockers Forums were created. And the three were happy, for it was good.
But what is overclocking exactly? In the most simplest of terms, it is making something run faster/better, and though this tends to refer to the increasing of CPU or GPU speed, many of us have taken it one step further and sometimes have even overclocked everything including the kitchen sink. It is my idea that overclocking is just the first step in a logical process of speeding up a computer. For those of us who crave to get the best performance, are not satisfied with our 100% overclocks, or for those of us who are a little strapped for ca$h, we might look into other ways of getting the most out of our system rather than just speeding up our hardware. The next step in this process so happens to be the optimization of one's system. Hardware components serve us by performing all of the tasks we ask them to do, but we often make our hardware perform many unnecessary things. The goal of the rest of this post will be to familiarize everyone with the different ways that we can optimize our system on the software level.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
My Story

I was once (and still am) just as curious about boot optimization as many members who frequent this forum are. I do not have much money that I would want to spend on upgrading computer components every year (as there are more pressing things on my list), so one day I decided to learn all that I could about optimizing my boot time and the core performance of my systems. But before I get to listing my exact steps, I will first tell you the story of how things progressed.

The first thing that got me interested were the processes that were all being loaded at boot. This first led me to a Windows XP program called msconfig which let me take a look at most of the items that were being started with Windows. After doing some googling, I came to the conclusion that I did not need many of those programs/processes to start, and so I disabled many of them. After that, I came across a forum which mentioned a program called Codestuff Starter. Back in the day, this program was designed to scan through the registry and through any startup folders on a system, and provide you with a list of items being started at boot (similar to msconfig, but it had a more extensive list). Disabling all of these unwanted programs did improve my boot time and system performance, but I was not ready to just call it a day. I then came across a post somewhere on these forums about services, and decided to look further into it. What I came across was a link to a website created by a person known as Black Viper who explained in detail what each service was for (btw, services can be disabled through msconfig, and now Codestuff Starter). He even gave recommendations of which services should and should not be disabled. Anyways, sufficed to say, I noticed from these services that Norton Systemworks and Norton Antivirus were one of my major culprits for slowing down my system. After having uninstalled Norton, my boot time was shaved by almost 20 seconds (going from 50 seconds to 30 seconds)! After I realized that Norton was a major resource hog, I went on and switched to a free antivirus program called Antivir, and my boot times only increased by a few seconds. Let me tell you that until Norton reworks itself, I will be staying away from it.

Anyways, things didn't stop there. Doing some further research yielded that boot time was also affected by Hard Drive and Registry fragmentation and clutter, filesystems, and installed program clutter. So, the only natural thing that I could do was to fix all of the above problems. This resulted me in getting a good Hard Drive defragmentation program (back then it was Diskeeper), installing RegscrubXP to clean up the registry, converting my filesystem to NTFS (The reason I had to convert was because my Laptop's default image was in Fat32), and uninstalling any and all unnecessary programs from Add/Remove Programs. Let me just say that after doing this, my system was performing almost as if it had just been reformatted. To this day, I try to keep track of everything that attempts to boot up with my system, and I am still looking into ways of speeding things up a bit more without having to compromise anything vital.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to Optimize System Performance and Boot Times

Ok, well now onto the good stuff. Below I have compiled a list of steps on how to optimize Boot times and system performance.


  • Lets start by flashing to a current BIOS, and going over every entry in there, turning off anything that isn't needed (Make sure you know what you are doing here. Reference your BIOS manual).
  • First thing to do when starting out fresh would be to partition your Hard Drive using the NTFS File System and making sure that you have other partitions to store any non-Windows and non-system files on.
  • If after a fresh install your partition is in FAT or FAT32 (If NTFS was not an option), then proceed to convert that partition to NTFS1.
  • After installing Windows, proceed to download and install any and all Windows Updates.
  • Download and install a Disk Defragmenter such as --Auslogics-- or one that you have at hand, and then proceed to defragment your drive.
  • Uninstall everything from Add/Remove Programs that you are not going to use and anything that is not needed. Then defragment.
  • Download, install, and update any and all of your main programs (ie Office, MSN, Firefox, Antivirus programs, etc). Then defragment.
  • Download a program called --Codestuff Starter-- and use it (in conjunction with msconfig2) to configure everything that starts up with your computer. Then Reboot.
  • After all of that, go to the services menu3 or under the services tab in Codestuff Starter, and carefully examine and cross reference every service that starts with your computer. You may use Google to cross reference those services, or you can go --Here-- and --Here-- and --Here-- for detailed lists of services explanations.
  • After you have installed everything, download and install --Bootvis-- and follow the instructions on how to use Bootvis4 (Similar instructions can be found --Here--).


1 Click on Start > Run > cmd then type in convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs (ie convert C: /fs:ntfs)
2 Click on Start > Run > msconfig
3 Click on Start > Run > services.msc
4 How to Use Bootvis
Code:
1)  Install and run Bootvis.
2)  Make sure that all of the tick boxes on the left are ticked.
3)  Go to Trace > Next Boot + Driver Delays
4)  Click OK and then Reboot Now. When your computer restarts, do not do anything until BootVis opens and closes (wait around 1 minute).
5)  When it has finished doing what it does, re-open BootVis.
6)  Go to Trace > Optimize System.
7)  Then it should prompt you to Reboot. When your computer restarts, do not do anything until BootVis opens and finishes doing it's thing. Bootvis is done once it closes.


Alternate Ways to Optimize System Performance and Boot Times

As you may have guessed, the above procedures are not the end all be all of optimizing a computer. I basically attempted to list a logical order of ways that most effectively optimize a system, but in all truth, there are many more ways to continue to optimize one's system. There are still many programs that one can use (some of which are listed below) which could help with system performance and boot times. The one thing that you should realize is that many individuals have their own ways and ideas of what should and should not be done to optimize a system. That is why we come across many different programs, all claiming to do something better than the other. One important aspect to a healthy system, though, is efficient code. No one likes bloated software, or inefficient programming, and therefor, if you are truly looking to to get the best out of your computer experience, you must take some time and do a little research of your own. No one knows your own computing habits better than you do, so who else is really qualified to tell you how your system would work best?

nLite - If you are more adventurous and have a stand alone copy of Windows XP (the actual Windows XP disk and not an image from Dell, HP, Acer, etc) then you would definitely want to look into this. Among other things, nLite lets you remove many pre-installed applications prior to the installation of Windows (ie Media Player, Internet Explorer, Outlook, MSN etc). Just by doing this alone, you free yourself of certain bloating software, which in turn results in a more streamlined install. Another cool feature with nLite is its ability to prepackage any and all updates that Microsoft has put out; So, go ahead and download services packs or individual fixes from --RyanVM-- and let nLite integrate them into your install. I would also recommend that you download and integrate any drivers that you may need as well, as this will most definitely save you time if you reformat often. You should also remember that nLite can create an unattended install so all you would have to do is pop the disk into the drive and start the process, and then you will be off to the races. Having slipstreamed my XP install, I can tell you that nLite sure does a great job in boosting system performance and responsiveness. You can download nLite --Here-- and follow its guide over --Here--.​



How to Maintain an Optimized System and Fast Boot Times

So now that you have your system optimized, what next? How do you keep it that way?
Below I have listed a few basic steps that you can take to keep things running smoothly.

  • Defragment often (preferably on a Weekly Basis)
  • Do not install or keep installed unnecessary software, as the more your Hard Drive gets cluttered, the slower things will become.
  • Every time you finish installing a new program, check Codestuff Starter to see if any new item is set to start up at boot.
  • Keep System Restore turned off5 as this will save you at least a few hundred megs of Hard Drive Space.
  • Keep your system clean from Viruses and Spyware as they can take up much of a computer's resources.
  • Use RegscrupXP and Acelogix Software on a regular basis to keep the registry in tip top shape.
  • Create a backup image of your computer once you first finish optimizing so that you can restore it if anything ever goes wrong or slows down.
  • Reformat on a regular basis if possible (once a year maybe) so to get rid of any junk that has accumulated since your last reformat.

5 Right click My Computer > Properties > System Restore

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Useful Optimization Programs


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Links to Different Useful Optimization Threads on these Forums



Links to Different Useful Optimization Pages outside these Forums


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lately, as I have been frequenting these forums, I have come across a few threads concerning improving boot times, and speeding up the system on a software level. To be honest, I have actually been looking forward to writing a guide such as this as I believe that it would sure benefit many individuals. As a result of my curiosity and some free time, this is what has come out of it. But as many of you know, this guide is far from the only advice available, but through it I had hoped to have linked to a few different sources which would help everyone understand that doing your own research will in the end benefit you most. In the mean time, I am more than welcome to any input on this post, along with any comments or suggestions that you might like to make. If there are any discrepancies that you wish discussed, other links that you feel should be added, or any other topic that you would like added/discussed, I am open to suggestions, and if there is anything that needs to be corrected, please kindly let me know.

And, as for the future of this thread, I am hoping to add to it on a regular basis, and look forward to any feedback that you may want to give in order to better the advice presented here (as we all know this is far from perfect).


Raven
 
Last edited:
OP
raven

raven

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2002
Location
Toronto
Thanks for the kind words imposter.

I was debating where to post this, and at the time thought that it would be found useful by Windows and non-Windows users alike. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this post is mostly geared towards Windows users, and so if a Mod would like to move it to Microsoft OS, then I'd be cool with that.
 

RollingThunder

Destroyer of Trolls & Spammers
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
raven said:
Thanks for the kind words imposter.

I was debating where to post this, and at the time thought that it would be found useful by Windows and non-Windows users alike. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this post is mostly geared towards Windows users, and so if a Mod would like to move it to Microsoft OS, then I'd be cool with that.

Raven,

A nice, clear understandable post and nicely done. I just did a reformat and install very similar to your recommendations except for Codestuff. I'm going to grab Codestuff and Auslogics you mentioned and give them a try.

Thank you very much. :thup:
 

lorax26

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
So much of our "slowness" of these space age fast machines is the software. I do a lot with VMWare and with Linux I can run double the amount of virtual machines that I can on the same box running Windows XP or Server 2003. DOUBLE!!!!

My Windows box is down right now but when it comes up I will be going over this. It really is cool that there are people like you wanting to share what you know to help others get better performance out of their machines.

Now, if you could only make these things easy for the mainstream, non-techincal users you could probably make yourself a pretty penny. Others have tried but all the products are so bloated and can really trash your system that I would never recommend them to my parents or others.

Know what I mean?
 

Super Nade

† SU(3) Moderator  †
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Very useful! Clear, conscise and well written. Stickied!
;)

Another performance booster would be to use special integrating software like nLite to get rid of the garbage that comes with XP. ;)
 

Scott9027

Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Location
NC
I'd really like to see a comprehensive guide to nLite at some point. I would be interested in stripping out my XP install, but I don't know what functionality I lose when I remove certain things.

Anyway, good post. Congratulations on the sticky! Keep up the good work!
 

roYal

Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
Good post. Only thing I don't like about it is you don't think my sticky post on system maintenance is useful. :(

raven said:
Links to Different Useful Optimization Threads on these Forums

* Does Windows rot over time? - A look at how and why Windows rots over time.
* Spyware/Malware & Security - A great guide on how to keep Spyware off of your computer.
* Tweaks-The Definitive Guide - Thanks goes to Maximus Nickus for this great list of Tweaks.
* Useful Programs for Everyone - A collection of links to programs that can help optimize your system.
* Windows Bootup Screen takes 12 passes to start up - Redduc900 discuses boot problems here.
* *Windows Tweaks - WarriorII's compilation of Windows Tweaks. Very Useful!
* Your Antivirus Solutions - A sticky which lists many Antivirus alternatives.
 
OP
raven

raven

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2002
Location
Toronto
roYal said:
Good post. Only thing I don't like about it is you don't think my sticky post on system maintenance is useful. :(
I don't know how I missed yours!! But thanks for the heads up! It is up there now. :)
There are just so many topics on these forums, that I was bound to miss a few.

And thanks S_N for the Sticky and the move. Hopefully it will help out more people in this neck of the ocforum woods. And as for the nLite portion, that will be added in due time. I will write something up on it once I get a chance to use it first hand after exams this month. In the mean time, I have put up a link to nLite at the top.

lorax26, I couldn't possibly agree with you more. One of the reasons why I took up writing this was because I have come across many people running their machines bloated to the max, and then finding them asking me for help to fix things which could have been avoided. They make it sound as if their computers are broken, and expect me to make them run like new, but without reformatting. What they do not realize though, is that there isn't a quick fix for an already bloated computer. Optimization starts from the very beginning, and once you, roughly, follow the steps that I have outlined, chances are you wouldn't be having as many problems today. As I stressed in my --Antivirus Sticky--, common sense is key when it comes to maintaining and upholding one's system. Carelessness and unwillingness to learn or read about what you do to your computer can, in the end, cause many headaches. And unfortunately, since things always change, it would be near impossible to develop a program which would do everything outlined above for you. Yes, --nLite-- and other programs do help a good deal, but to make sure you have the smoothest and most efficient running computer, one has to take the time to learn how it works. So in the end, I was hoping that this thread would become a starting place for people to learn how to keep their computers running smoothly.
 

Ascii2

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
raven said:
Links to Different Useful Optimization Threads on these Forums



Links to Different Useful Optimization Pages outside these Forums

The guide has some great flaws, especially when Windows 2000 is being used.

The formating is nice, less the quoted portion; drak blue does not look too readable against grey (or gray?).
 

mdcomp

Classic Administrator
Joined
Nov 23, 2001
Ascii2, if you have some suggestions for this guide please forward them along to the author. If the author is no longer around or doesn't get back to you for some reason feel free to contact me and we can work out a way to edit the guide and bring it up to date. Thanks for the feedback.

Matt
 

Ascii2

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
mdcomp said:
Ascii2, if you have some suggestions for this guide please forward them along to the author. If the author is no longer around or doesn't get back to you for some reason feel free to contact me and we can work out a way to edit the guide and bring it up to date. Thanks for the feedback.
Many inaccuracies for the procedures of the guide. For most computers, optimal (whether a maximization or minimization) performance would not be achieved. modifications a There are also some grammatical defects (not critical)

I later plan to submit to the threadstarter (and perhaps mdcomp) critical problems with the idea that positive changes may be made.
 

mdcomp

Classic Administrator
Joined
Nov 23, 2001
Ascii2 said:
I later plan to submit to the threadstarter (and perhaps mdcomp) critical problems with the idea that positive changes may be made.

Excellent. If you need me just drop me a private message. I'd be happy to help.
:)

Matt
 
OP
raven

raven

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2002
Location
Toronto
Ascii2 said:
The guide has some great flaws, especially when Windows 2000 is being used.

The formating is nice, less the quoted portion; drak blue does not look too readable against grey (or gray?).

Hey Ascii2,

I am pleased that you have taken the time to take a look at the guide and suggest alternatives, alterations and modifications. I would be pleased to address any of your concerns over PM, but let me start off by addressing the issues that you have presented here first.

I cannot say that I am an avid Windows 2000 user, as I only use it at work, and I will welcome any discussion and input that you or others would like to make as to improve this guide. This guide was mainly written in regards to Windows XP users, but in no way should be limited to them as my long term goal was to put together a reference for the majority of users who frequent or my stumble upon this forum.

As for the text readability, I was going for a contrasting effect so that the reader would be able to quickly realize that the portions in the light grey were links, instead of just text. It was my attempt at giving this thread a different look and ease of use than other stickys on this board. I personally took into consideration the readability of that post and spent time at trying to make it as visually pleasing as possible. I had tested out the text on quite a few different displays and came to the conclusion that it was giving me the effect that I wanted. The quotes in blue were never meant to be the main part of those sections, rather a slight heads up at what a reader would come across at those corresponding links. But, as I do realize everyone may perceive colour differently and might have trouble reading the text when wanting to, I will play around with the colour schema in the next few days to find something more accepted by everyone. Thank you for bringing this aspect to my attention.

As for other grammatical errors, I would be pleased to discuss them with you over PM, and then make any necessary corrections.


My goal for writing this guide was to help others in freeing up system resources, increasing boot times and system performance. It happened all too often that I came across threads or people asking me "Why is my computer taking so long to boot?" or "Why is your computer older yet much faster than mine!". The majority of those individuals never knew how to properly take care of their computers and always let them get to states where, as from the last person I helped, it took them an hour to boot into Windows. In the end, following the steps outlined here, many of those speed issues were resolved.

I realize that my advice is far from perfect and could use some revamping, and would welcome any discussion you or anyone else might want to have. I am open to talk to through PM, email, or even MSN (PM me for contact details). When all is said and done, lets try to make this a useful tool for anyone using a (Windows based) computer.
 

Neuromancer

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Location
Tau'ri
Sorry to be late to the party. I never notice stickies, because most of the titles do not stand out.

This has some serious flaws in it..

"If after a fresh install your partition is in FAT or FAT32, then proceed to convert that partition to NTFS1."

If after a fresh install you are not still using an NTfs partition... reinstall onto a ntfs partition. Conversion to NTFS creates more problems then its worth doing. Just like slipstreaming a service pack, it is much better "Optimized" (per the title of thread) to do it from the get go.

"After installing Windows, proceed to download and install any and all Windows Updates." This is debatable. If you are 'optimizing' for benchamrks.. then no... dont install updates.. .then again dont install any SPs either... naked xp is still the fastest :) For a general usage PC... always good to install updates, but check and make sure there are not any issues.

"Disk Defragemnter" you get what you pay for. I have not tried what was mentioned in the sticky. But basically the free version are not as effcent nor do they offer the options of a paid defragmenter. I will take O&O over any defrag softwre anyday.. I run stealth while I am using a PC... and access on schedule.


"Download a program called --Codestuff Starter-- and use it (in conjunction with msconfig2) to configure everything that starts up with your computer. Then Reboot." First of all any real geek knows that you do not use msconfig to control startup programs. Secondly... why install another program to help you trim down installed programs when the step before said uninstall all unused programs? Seems counter productive to me.



It mentions disabling "system restore" but mentions nothing of diabling Hibernate mode, which is a big ole waste of 2 GB of space on your Hdd. Do not disable system restore.. .because in a pinch it saves your butt so you can back up your data before reformatting. You can set how much space to save for Sys-restore as well as what drives in the advanced properties,


n-Lite is total crock IMHO. I have never seen a bench mark showing that nLite is faster. But I have seen a ton of problems with NLited OSes. In fact ... I manually made some slipstreamed CDs (when I used to frequent msfn) with no trouble yet have never made a successful nLited OS disk. They always ended up with problems (never right away though, the problems show up in a couple of weeks). but they always appear.

Just a heads up

op i agree with one thing, read black viper... although he posts a lot of crap too, still the stuff about servies (he even says its your discretion) and the other thing is hardware profles for benchmark runs ;) hoo rah
 
Last edited:
OP
raven

raven

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2002
Location
Toronto
Sorry to be late to the party. I never notice stickies, because most of the titles do not stand out.

This has some serious flaws in it..

"If after a fresh install your partition is in FAT or FAT32, then proceed to convert that partition to NTFS1."

If after a fresh install you are not still using an NTfs partition... reinstall onto a ntfs partition. Conversion to NTFS creates more problems then its worth doing. Just like slipstreaming a service pack, it is much better "Optimized" (per the title of thread) to do it from the get go.

"After installing Windows, proceed to download and install any and all Windows Updates." This is debatable. If you are 'optimizing' for benchamrks.. then no... dont install updates.. .then again dont install any SPs either... naked xp is still the fastest :) For a general usage PC... always good to install updates, but check and make sure there are not any issues.

"Disk Defragemnter" you get what you pay for. I have not tried what was mentioned in the sticky. But basically the free version are not as effcent nor do they offer the options of a paid defragmenter. I will take O&O over any defrag softwre anyday.. I run stealth while I am using a PC... and access on schedule.


"Download a program called --Codestuff Starter-- and use it (in conjunction with msconfig2) to configure everything that starts up with your computer. Then Reboot." First of all any real geek knows that you do not use msconfig to control startup programs. Secondly... why install another program to help you trim down installed programs when the step before said uninstall all unused programs? Seems counter productive to me.



It mentions disabling "system restore" but mentions nothing of diabling Hibernate mode, which is a big ole waste of 2 GB of space on your Hdd. Do not disable system restore.. .because in a pinch it saves your butt so you can back up your data before reformatting. You can set how much space to save for Sys-restore as well as what drives in the advanced properties,


n-Lite is total crock IMHO. I have never seen a bench mark showing that nLite is faster. But I have seen a ton of problems with NLited OSes. In fact ... I manually made some slipstreamed CDs (when I used to frequent msfn) with no trouble yet have never made a successful nLited OS disk. They always ended up with problems (never right away though, the problems show up in a couple of weeks). but they always appear.

Just a heads up

op i agree with one thing, read black viper... although he posts a lot of crap too, still the stuff about servies (he even says its your discretion) and the other thing is hardware profles for benchmark runs ;) hoo rah

Hey Neur0mancer, thanks for taking the time to post all of that. If you don't mind, I would just like to go through every point you made one at a time.

One of the reasons why I put together this thread was because I was looking to improve not only the performance of my Desktop computer (which I have a retail version of XP for) but also for my laptop which had only come with a restore CD. This restore CD unfortunately only allowed you to restore an image onto a Fat32 file system and it was because of this why I put in the 'convert from Fat32 to NTFS' line in my instructions. From personal experience, I can say that converting to NTFS right after a reimaging to Fat32 saves many headaches down the line as well as makes things snappier to work with. And so, when one is not able to automatically install onto an NTFS partition, this little tip comes in handy. Though, as you have made it clear, my point isn't as clear as it could be and so I will proceed to add an adendum and mention that the Converting from Fat32 to NTFS should only be used when not able to install directly to NTFS.

I do agree with you in the fact that a 'naked' XP is still the fastest , but the good majority of XP installs are not used to only 'benchmark'. The information in my first post is geared towards users who use their XP installs on a daily basis and want the best out of their machines with the latest security updates and patches from Microsoft. For those of us who cannot afford the latest and greatest every few months, or for the individuals who want a snappy feeling OS, installing any and all necessary patches prior to anything else does help in acheiving this. Thought I do understand that this forum is geared towards overclocking, and overclocking does mean runing benchmarks from on a regular basis, I will slightly change the wording of my statement.

I have no qualms over which disk-defragmenter one uses, as that is really a personal decision. Some of us can afford better defragmenting programs, but this isn't a thread to debate which defragmenting program is best; though, --This one is--. I do acknoledge that defragmenters such as O&O or Diskeeper do go more indepth and have more advanced algorythms than the typical freeware defragmenter, but for the purpose of this thread all I did was state an example (one that I personally use) to give readers the knowledge that there are alternatives to Windows Defragmenter. I will though include a link to --This thread-- in my first post so that whoever comes across this in the future will know where to look for information on disk defragmenters.

First of all, Codestuff Starter isn't a program which helps you trim down on installed programs. If you would have taken a look at screenshots of Codestuff, or have downloated the program yourself, you would have noticed that Codestuff Starter helps you prevent certain instances in Windows from starting up (ie running) at boot. There are programs out there which we use on a regular basis that install unnecessary 'sub-programs' (for instance, PowerDVD came preinstalled on my laptop and it had a sub-program for a remote control running at boot which I never used. Or Nero always puts in a startup module that many can do without and might not even know about.) which in the end just take up resources and contribute to boot times and system slowdowns. It is not as if there are instances in Add/Remove programs which allow you to just 'uninstall' these startup entries because they come pre-packaged with whatever program they came with. Many of these 'sub-programs' have run commands inputted into the startup section of the registry and with programs such as Codestuff Starter, or even What's Running, it is as easy as unchecking a box to prevent them from starting. The problem is though, I have encountered instances in the past were all of these startup programs aren't listed by one program; it is similar to how not one antivirus can catch every virus. This is why I also suggest that one takes a look at msconfig, because I have found entries that msconfig shows but other programs don't (and vise versa).
Also, I am just curious.. How does a 'real geek' control startup programs? Would you mind sharing with everyone so that we all can benefit from this?

As far as the usefulness of system restore goes, that has been debated. I have read reports that show the virii and other malware can store themselves in these restore points (--Here--) , but I have also read instances where system restore has saved vital files for users who need to revert to an older state due to any number of reasons (bad driver installs, corrupt files, etc). Even though there are alternatives to system restore (--Arconis--, --Norton Save & Restore--) I understand that it can be considered a vital part of the Windows eXPerence and that is why I didn't put much emphasis on it (as I never listed it in the initial steps on 'How to Optimize System Performance and Boot Times' and only included it in 'How to Maintain an Optimized System and Fast Boot Times'). Though one of the main reasons why I did include the step of shutting down System Restore is because it has a tendancy (according to Windows Defragmenter) to write restore points where ever there is free space on the drive/partition. After turning off System Restore (and then defragmenting) on many machines that I have cleaned up, the systems showed a good increase in boot time and improved handling, and following the theme of my post, I decided that it would be prudent to include that information. Due to the possible given benefits of keeping system restore, I will not put emphasis on it being shut off for good, but do to the opposite being true as well, I cannot completely disregard this optimization point. I will though put a disclaimer up about disabling system restore.

I would like to thank you Neur0mancer for bringing up the disabling of Hibernate mode to increase system performance. Though I have started to do this myself, I had completely forgotten to put it into the steps in my first post. Disabling the Hibernate function does free up an amount of space equal to the amount of RAM you have in your system (say you have 1GB of RAM, disabling the Hibernate mode will free up 1GB of hard drive space) and give you the oportunity to pack more of your system files closer together. This also helps with boot times and system performance. Though say someone does utilize Hibernation, would you or anyone else know of a way to point the hiberfil.sys file to a different partition or drive?

First of all, you do not need a benchmark to show that nLite is faster than a standard install; you get first hand experience once you use it. If used properly, nLite can help you get rid of many unnecessary features and files from your typical Windows XP install. I am comparing apples to apples here because I have done clean system installs with updates installed afterwards, and compared them to installs of XP with many languages, unused drivers and programs striped out and gutted, and updates and other programs slipstramed in. The difference is like night and day! This step is one of the biggest contributors to having an optimized system and boot times with snappy performance. I personally have never encountered any problems with nLite on any of the machines that I have used it on, and one of my personal, multifunctional (used for many different tasks) computers has been running problem free for a year now with an nLited OS. Thought no program is without it's flaws, nLite sure is useful when you take the time to learn how to use it. I will make a point though that there are different, and sometime more prefered methods of sliptreaming an OS (--RyanVM's Integrator-- being one of the more popular), but I haven't had the time to completely read through the vast amounts of information available on this topic. Although, if anyone would care to share what they have learnt, please feel free to do so!

Also, just out of personal curiosity, why would you say that Black Viper posts a lot of crap? Have any of his suggestions messed anything up for you? I can't see any possible reason why Black Viper would go to all of the trouble of creating a website as in depth as it is, just for it to be misleading. Personally, I think that even though some people say that some of his tweaks do not work for them (one or two service tweaks haven't worked for me either), they still must have some basis in reality. I haven't gone through his website in a while, but if you could point out a few things for me to stay away from, I would definitely like to look into them.


Thanks Neur0mancer for taking the time to bring up your concerns, and I hope I found a way to address them all for you, but if you still feel strongly about any of your points, please feel free to reply or PM me so that we may discuss them further.
 
Last edited: