How to Fix a Slow Windows XP

No matter how fast your shiny new PC may be when you boot it up for the first time, a year or two of use will slow down even the speediest of systems. As software is installed and removed, hardware replaced or upgraded, or you've just managed to download yourself some nasty malware along the way, your Windows XP installation begins to slow to a crawl. Take some simple steps to fix that.

  1. Clear Windows XP of Viruses and Malware

    • 1

      Launch your anti-virus software and have it perform a system scan. This could take awhile depending on the speed of your system and amount of programs you have installed, so it may be a good idea to start this process when you don't need to use the computer.

    • 2

      Allow your anti-virus software to remove any viruses it comes across. If you are given an option to "Quarantine" the file, pick that instead of deleting it. On rare occasions, your anti-virus software may flag a file that is not a virus, and quarantining it will ensure that it is still available if it turns out to be a false positive.

    • 3

      Run scans of your system from third party malware scanners such as Ad-Aware or Malwarebytes (see links in Resources). This can identify additional problems that your anti-virus software may have missed.

    Remove Software That Runs on Startup

    • 1

      Run the msconfig utility by clicking the "Start" button, then clicking on "Run". Type "msconfig" in the text box and click the "OK" button.

    • 2

      Click on the "Startup" tab. You'll be presented with a list of all the software that is running when your computer starts up. A lot of this software is completely unnecessary, and can slow down your system if you have too much of it taking up the resources of your computer.

    • 3

      Uncheck the software you don't want loading on startup. If you are unsure about a particular program, an Internet search can usually provide useful information. Otherwise, it's best to leave the software at its default setting. If you happen to stop a program that you later find you need to have loading, merely run the msconfig utility again and re-enable it.

    • 4

      Click the "OK" button and let msconfig restart your PC. This is one of the most important procedures you can do to speed up Windows XP and you should notice the difference as soon as your computer loads back into Windows.

    Defrag Your Hard Drive

    • 1

      Bring up "My Computer" by clicking the "Start" button and then double-clicking on "My Computer".

    • 2

      Right click on the "C" drive and click on "Properties" with the left mouse button. Click on the "Tools" tab under the Properties window.

    • 3

      Click on the "Defragment Now..." button and the Windows Defrag utility will launch. The program will analyze your hard drive to see if it needs defragmenting. If not, then close the program and you're all finished. If you are prompted to defrag your hard drive, go ahead and allow the utility to do so. This process can take a while, so make sure you can afford to be away from your PC before starting.

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