Instructions - Enter (part of) the name of the Spyware you are looking for. Use this as a reference for specific Spyware.
Under NO circumstances is it necessary to pay for AntiSpyware removal applications to remove Spyware.
The following steps will provide protection from future Spyware infection. Spybot's immunize feature should be run anytime the definitions are updated. SpywareBlaster should be updated Monthly. MSJVM removal will only have to be performed once. Check for Sun Java Updates every few Months.
Spybot - Search and Destroy - Home Page - Forums
Protect Yourself before threats find their way into your system.
Instructions - Select "Immunize" and then the "Immunize" button to block common Spyware programs from installing themselves in the future.
SpywareBlaster - Download - Home Page
Application to prevent the installation of Active-X based Spyware.
Instructions - Install, select "Updates", "Check for Updates". Then select "Protection" and finally "Enable All Protection".
Microsoft Java Virtual Machine v1.1.4 Removal Tool - Download + Registry Fix - Home Page
Auto-installing Spyware infections (CoolWebSearch) occurs due to exploits in Microsoft's discontinued Java Virtual Machine v1.1.4 (Build 5.0.3810). Infection occurs by simply browsing the wrong website. Java was originally licensed from Sun Microsystems but later modified by Microsoft. Microsoft's modifications to the Java code are the suspected reasons these exploits exist. There are no patches from Microsoft to fix this. To protect yourself uninstall MSJVM using this tool. Under NO circumstances should MSJVM be installed or used.
Instructions - Run the MSJVM Removal Tool, then the Registry Fix and finally install Sun's JVM.
Notes - The Registry Fix is necessary since the MSJVM Removal Tool does not delete a registry key that Windows uses to properly identify what version of Java is installed. Sun's JVM installer does not overwrite this key but will create it if it does not exist. Windows XP SP1a and SP2 will uninstall MSJVM. However, it will not hurt to do this since it is possible for an application or person to reinstall MSJVM on top of SP1a and SP2.
Sun Java Virtual Machine v5.x (1.5.x) - Download - Home Page - Test Page
Sun's JVM does not have these exploits as it was designed specifically not to allow code execution outside of the Java Virtual Machine. The Java Virtual Machine is only one aspect of Java software that is involved in web interaction. The Java Virtual Machine is built right into your Java software download, and helps the Sun JRE run Java applications. Windows XP SP1 and IE v5.5+, Mozilla v1.4+ or Firefox v1.0+ Required.
Instructions - Download, Install and then use the Test Page to confirm it is installed properly. If the test page does not work you may need to run the Registry fix. If the Registry Fix is run after Sun's JVM is already installed you will need to go to the "Control Panel", "Add or Remove Programs" and uninstall all instances of the J2SE Runtime Environment (Sun's JVM) and then reinstall Sun's JVM again.
3. Faire les mises à jour Microsoft Update
Install All of the updates. Not just the critical ones. This may have to be run multiple times. Run it over again until it says 0 updates available. Non-critical updates are essential for improved performance, compatibility and enhanced features. They are all very safe to install.
Notes - Windows Update Version 5 requires the following services be enabled:
- Automatic Updates - Automatic
- Background Intelligent Transfer Service - Manual or Automatic
Driver Notes - If a Driver issue arises that Windows Update insists upon installing a Driver version older then one you have updated, do not install the one from Windows Update. Use the manufacturers latest version instead and just ignore that Windows Driver Update. With Drivers, the Hardware manufacturer is the one who is correct not Microsoft. Windows Update will sometimes show a Driver is outdated if it is not "Microsoft Certified". It is quite ok to use non-certified drivers. Official non-certified driver versions will have been thoroughly tested by the component manufacturer.
Installing the latest Drivers improves system performance and application compatibility. Updated drivers include numerous bug fixes as well as system optimizations. It is recommended for optimal system stability to only use Official drivers and not Beta or Prerelease versions. Performance differences between driver versions including Beta or Prereleased drivers is negligible. The only time Beta or Prerelease drivers should be considered is when a serious application bug is fixed in the Beta or Prerelease version and the component manufacturer has not yet released the Official driver version that includes the bug fix.
Notes - Windows Update will install very common driver updates, however these will not always be the latest versions and sometimes can even be an older version of one you have already updated, example: nVidia forceware drivers. It is perfectly safe to install the Windows Driver Updates but if you want the very best system performance you have to check for and install the latest drivers manually. If you are having trouble identifying your hardware use:
PC Wizard - Download - Home Page
An advanced system information utility designed for detection of hardware, analysis and benchmarking. Quickly identify components based on their model and manufacturer, allowing you to download and install the correct drivers.
Use Driver XP - A Windows XP Driver Guide for more component links and instructions.
4. Mettre à jour ses pilotes 1. Improve Windows XP Performance
Default Windows XP visual settings may look nice but they slow down system responsiveness. Here is how to keep the "look" of Windows XP while losing the sluggish feel.
Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "System", "Advanced" tab, in the "Performance" section select "Settings". Leave only the following checked:
√ Show shadows under menus
√ Show shadows under mouse pointer
√ Show translucent selection rectangle
√ Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
√ Use visual styles on windows and buttons
Then select "Apply" and "OK".
2. Optimize the Page File
"Virtual Memory is the space on the hard disk Windows uses as RAM. The Page File (Pagefile.sys) serves as temporary, virtual memory storage for code and data." - Source
Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "System", "Advanced" tab, in the "Performance" section select "Settings", "Advanced" tab, in the "Virtual Memory" section select "Change". Change the values to:
- Initial size (MB): 1.5 x the amount of RAM in your system
- Maximum size (MB): 3.0 x the amount of RAM in your system (PF Size Limit = 4095 MB)
Then select "Set" and "OK" and reboot.
Notes - Windows XP by default is set to use only a Dynamic Page File that can resize during normal system operation, consuming resources and causing file fragmentation. A properly configured Page File will not resize (increase) so long as the Initial size is set large enough. Allowing the Page File to resize for rare unforeseen memory intensive situations will prevent "Out of Memory" error messages from occurring. Any resizing will reset to the default Initial size upon reboot and will not cause any permanent fragmentation of the Page File. If you experience frequent resizing of the Page File, a permanent solution is to add more RAM to your system. It is a good idea to have at least 1 GB to 2 GB of RAM in a PC today. A simple test to determine if you need more RAM is to use you PC for a whole day without rebooting, then look at the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Delete), Performance tab. If the "Commit Charge - Peak" is ever higher then the "Physical Memory - Total" your system could benefit from adding more RAM. When you change the amount of RAM in your system, you have to adjust the Page File size.
Advanced - "Moving the Page File to a separate physical Harddrive (not partition) from the boot partition will increase Page File performance. However, if you remove the paging file from the boot partition, Windows cannot create a dump file (Memory.dmp) in which to write debugging information in the event that a kernel mode Stop Error message occurs. The optimal solution is to create one paging file that is stored on the boot partition, and then create a second paging file on a separate physical Harddrive (not partition) Windows will use the pagefile on the less frequently used partition over the pagefile on the heavily used boot partition. Windows uses an internal algorithm to determine which page file to use for virtual memory management." - Source
3. Disable Indexing Service
The Indexing Service in Windows XP indexes your files presumably to shorten the time needed to search your hard drive if you are looking for a specific file or part of a phrase inside a file. However, the constant indexing of files actually slows down system performance and does not benefit search performance except for extreme complex searches. - Source
Instructions - To disable the Indexing Service go into "My Computer", right-click on all your hard drive partitions one at a time, left-click "Properties". Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching". Select "Apply changes to subfolders and files". If any files cannot be updated select "Ignore All".
4. Disable Windows XP Sounds
Having sound effects set for common Windows XP tasks slows your system down. This affects startup and shutdown speeds the most.
Instructions - To disable all Windows XP task sounds go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Sounds and Audio Devices", select the "Sounds" tab, under "Sound Scheme" select "No Sounds".
5. Uninstall Useless Windows Components
Windows XP installs some components by default that are not needed.
Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Add or Remove Programs", select "Add/Remove Windows Components", uncheck:
_ Indexing Service
_ MSN Explorer (If you use MSN as your ISP leave "MSN Explorer" checked)
Then select "Next" and "Finished".
6. Reduce Recycling Bin Drive Space Usage
In Windows XP the Maximum size of the Recycle Bin is set by default to 10% of your hard drive, when full, this can be a big waste of drive space. Reducing the Maximum size prevents excess space from being wasted. It is quite common to have hundreds of MBs of deleted files in the Recycling Bin and it is never emptied.
Instructions - To change the Recycling Bin Size, right-click on the "Recycle Bin", left-click on "Properties", select the "Global" tab, then "Use one setting for all drives". Move the slider to "3%".
7. Reduce System Restore Drive Space Usage
System Restore creates periodic snapshots of your critical system files (like the registry files, COM+ database, user profiles, and such) and stores them as a "restore point." In case something goes wrong with your system you can revert back to a previous working state. The default size that System Restore can take up can be quite large.
Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "System", "System Restore" tab, for each drive partition highlight it then select "Settings", under "Drive Space Usage" adjust the slider so System Restore is only using roughly 5% or a minimum of 1000 MB of disk space per partition and select "OK".
8. Increase the Mouse Pointer Speed
By default Windows sets the Mouse Pointer Speed to an average speed, which can slow down the time it takes to move the cursor around the screen. Increasing this will allow you use your computer quicker and more efficient with less mouse movement.
Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Mouse", "Pointer Options" tab, under "Motion" adjust the slider 1 to 5 steps closer to "Fast". Only 1 to 3 steps is recommended. Then check "Enhance pointer precision" and select "OK".
Notes - This is a personal preference and should be decided by the user. The tab that the Motion setting will be under can change with third party mouse drivers. Novice Windows users or users with Motion Disabilities will not want to adjust this much, if at all. Cheap and worn out mice can give poor responsiveness, it is recommended to be using a precision optical mouse. Microsoft Optical Mice are highly recommended.
9. Windows Prefetching
Is a new feature in Windows XP that dramatically improves application load times and Windows boot times automatically. By default this is enabled in Windows XP and already configured optimally. However there is a lot of misinformation regarding this feature on the internet that can disable prefetching and cripple your application load times. Find out more in XP Myths. To confirm that yours is enabled and working, make sure the following service is enabled:
- Task Scheduler - Automatic
Then use Windows Explorer and look in the C:WINDOWSPrefetch folder. You should see a file name for any application you have started three or more times. Never clean this folder or disable Windows Prefetching with any "tweaks" as you will cripple your application load times and Windows boot times by as much as 100%. The Prefetch folder and layout.ini files are self-cleaning when it reaches 128 entries or applications are uninstalled. No user intervention is ever necessary. Once you have confirmed it is running leave it alone.
10. AVI Registry Fix - Registry Fix
Opening a folder containing a large number of AVI file can open quite slowly because the OS has to open each AVI file and extract info from AVIs. If you have a large collection, you can speedup XP's folder access to blocking it from automatically extracting this info. This can also fix problems when trying to rename or move AVI files and you get an error message: "it is being used by another person or program. Close any programs that might be using the file and try again."
Instructions - Download and run the Registry Fix.
Notes - You will no longer have the second page of properties in windows explorer displaying the AVI file information such as width, height and bitrate. Other software such as GSpot can provide you with this information.
Autoruns - Download - Home Page
Utility to display and control startup applications. Disabling unnecessary startup applications improves boot up time and overall system performance.
Instructions - Unzip and launch Autoruns.exe, wait until it says "Ready" in the bottom left corner, then select the "Logon" tab. Next select "Options", check "Hide Microsoft Entries" and press the refresh button or press the "F5" key. The remaining items are third party applications. Uncheck all that are not needed, this will disable them from loading at Windows startup. AntiVirus and Firewall applications are necessary applications that should be running on startup. If you are unsure of what something is, highlight it, select "Entry" then "Google" to launch a search for more information regarding the highlighted application. You can permanently remove items by deleting them. Do not "Delete" anything unless you are 100% positive you do not need it. Disabled (Unchecked) items can be activated again by rerunning Autoruns, checking the item and restarting Windows.
Notes - You can control the startup applications for separate user accounts by selecting "User" and the account you want to edit. This is a much more powerful tool then the built-in System Configuration Utility (msconfig).
Cacheman v5.50 - Download - Home Page
Improves the performance of your computer by optimizing the disk cache, memory and a number of other settings.
Instructions - Go to "Show Wizard", "All" and run all the wizards by selecting "Next" or "Finished" until you are back to Cacheman. Use the defaults unless you know exactly what you are doing. Then under "Options" uncheck "Load Cacheman on Windows Startup", Exit and Save Cacheman, Restart Windows.
Notes - This version is free for home users, has no time limit and none of the features are disabled. CachemanXP is the newer shareware version that includes an updated real time memory recovery feature. No performance benefit has been noticed using this feature. All the necessary cache tweaks to improve system performance are in Cacheman v5.50.
Chkdsk - Home Page
Built-in Windows file system repair utility.
Instructions - Go to "Start", "My Computer", right-click on the "C:" drive, left-click "Properties", select the "Tools" tab, click "Check Now...", check "Automatically Fix File System Errors", then click "Start", "Yes" and Reboot. Repeat this for any other hard drive partitions in your system. Only the drive partition with Windows installed will require a reboot.
Disk Defragmenter - Home Page
Built-in Windows defragmenter, a lite version of Diskeeper. File system performance is maximized when files are contiguous on the disk. This means that all of the data in each file would be located consecutively on the Hard Drive. Instead of fragmented into separate parts all over the disk surface, causing the Hard Drive to work harder (slower) to read and write your files. While "Disk Defragmenter" is better then nothing it does not fully optimize your hard drive performance, runs 300-500% slower, cannot be scheduled without a third party application and includes no advanced features. Since the built-in "Disk Defragmenter" is very I/O intensive your system is not usable while it is running. There are no Free Defragmenters that do a better job, in which case you have to purchase a Commercial Defragmenter such as Diskeeper.
Instructions - Double-click "My Computer", right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, Example: Local Disk (C:), and then left-click "Properties". On the "Tools" tab, select "Defragment Now", then "Defragment". The following service needs to be enabled:
- DCOM Server Process Launcher - Automatic
Alternate - Go to "Start", "Run", type "Dfrg.msc". Select the volume that you want to defragment, then select "Defragment".
StartDefrag - Download - Home Page
Automates the scheduling of the built-in Disk Defragmenter to run at a set time everyday or once a week.
Instructions - Install and run. Select the "Configuration" tab, under "Scheduled Day" either select a specific day during the week or "Everyday". Then under "Scheduled Hour" select a time when you will not be on the computer but the computer will be on. This is important since the built-in Disk Defragmenter will consume most of the system's resources while running and will not be usable until it is finished. Finally select "Save Changes" and "Exit".
Notes - Do not use this with Diskeeper, which includes a much more advanced and efficient real-time scheduling option. If you install Diskeeper delete the StartDefrag scheduled task and uninstall StartDefrag. To delete the scheduled task, go to "Start", "Programs", "Accessories", "System Tools", "Scheduled Tasks" and delete the task. If it is the only scheduled task listed it will be called "AT1".
Diskeeper - Purchase - USD $29.95 Home / $49.95 Pro / $99.95 Premier / - Comparison Chart
Diskeeper does a much better job then the built-in "Disk Defragmenter". It includes enhanced features that Defragment your computer faster and more thoroughly such as a High Speed Defragmentation Engine that runs 300-500% faster than the built-in defragmenter, "Set it and Forget it" operation makes fragmentation-related problems simply go away, Intelligent Smart Scheduling actively schedules defragmentation as needed based on how you use your PC, Defragmenting in the Background with I/O Smart and never have your application performance interrupted, Pause and Resume Defragmentation, Screen Saver Mode Defragmentation and more features. Hard Drives are the slowest component in your PC, do not let Disk Fragmentation slow it down even more. You will notice improved performance after Defragmenting with Diskeeper over the built-in "Disk Defragmenter". - Diskeeper Testimonials
This graph shows how fragmented your Harddrive can get after just two weeks of using only Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word.
Instructions - Install and run. Go to "Set It and Forget It", select "Primary Defragmentation Job Properties". For each volume under "Job Schedule", check "Enable the Primary Defragmentation Job..", "Smart Scheduling", "Every Day" then "Apply". Under "Defragmentation Methods", Select "Recommended Defragmentation", check "Efficiently defragment large files" then "Apply". Under "Disk and CPU Priorities", check "Enable I/O Smart.." then "Apply" and "OK". Next go to "Analyze and Defragment Now" and for each volume select "Manually Defragment" one at a time. Look at the "Volume Map" tab to see the progress. Diskeeper will run until "Volume Map - File Performance" is optimized. Finally go to "Set It and Forget It", select "Boot-Time Defragmentation Job Properties". For each volume select "On Next Manual Reboot", "Put all folders together..", "Run Chkdsk..", "Defragment the paging file", "Defragment the MFT.." then "Apply" and "OK". Reboot, be patient and let it finish.
Notes - Manual defragmentation with Diskeeper is only needed to be run the first time, "Set It and Forget It" Smart Scheduler will take care of all the rest of your fragmentation problems automatically. Every few months you may want to run another Boot-Time Defragmentation Job. Disk Defragmenter's user interface is superseded by Diskeeper upon installation. Other Commercial Defragmenters leave it accessible, adding to the confusion and allowing for potential undoing of disk optimizations by running the inferior built-in "Disk Defragmenter" after the Commercial one.
PageDefrag - Download - Home Page
Defragment the Page File and the Registry. "One of the limitations of the Windows 2000/XP defragmentation interface is that it is not possible to defragment files that are open for exclusive access. Thus, standard defragmentation programs can neither show you how fragmented your paging files or Registry hives are, nor defragment them. Paging and Registry file fragmentation can be one of the leading causes of performance degradation related to file fragmentation in a system."
Instructions - Download, Run, Look at the "Fragments" column if any of the items is in more then one fragment select "Defrag at next Reboot", then "Ok" and Reboot.
Notes - If you readjust the Page File size, rerun PageDefrag, otherwise this only needs to be run once. On badly fragmented hard drives with a lot of files, PageDefrag may take a long time to run, be patient and let it finish.
IZArc - Download - Home Page
A 100% Free archive utility that supports many archive formats like: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BIN, BZ2, BZA, C2D, CAB, CDI, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, IMG, ISO, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MDF, MBF, MIM, NRG, PAK, PDI, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO. With a modern easy-to-use interface, IZArc provides support for most compressed and encoded files, as well as access to many powerful features and tools. It allows you to drag and drop files from and to Windows Explorer, create and extract archives directly in Windows Explorer, create multiple archives spanning disks, creating self-extracting archives, repair damaged zip archives, converting from one archive type to another, view and write comments and many more.
TweakUI - Download + Control Panel - Home Page
This Windows XP PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.
Instructions - Download, install, add to the Control Panel and run. Under "Mouse" slide "Menu Speed" to "Fast", under "Explorer" check "Use Classic Search in Explorer" (Gets rid of the Dog).
XP-AntiSpy - Download - Home Page
Disables all the known 'Suspicious' Functions in Windows XP.
Instructions - Install and run. Go to "Profiles", select "Neutral", then check most of the boxes and select "Apply". Leave the following unchecked:
_ Do not acquire licenses automatically - This prevents Windows Media Player from downloading any necessary licenses.
_ No automatic updates - This prevents Windows Media Player from automatically updating.
_ Disable automatic codec downloads - This prevents Windows Media Player from downloading required codecs.
_ Don't get meta data from the internet - This prevents Windows Media Player from getting CD/DVD information.
_ Clear pagefile at shutdown - This will cause Windows XP to take much longer to shutdown but increases security for the paranoid.
_ Disable integrated Firewall - This will disable the Windows XP firewall.
_ Hide Computer in Network - This prevents your Computer from showing up in Network Neighborhood.
_ Deny starting regedit.exe - This prevents future use of the very useful regedit tool.
_ Deactivate Scripting Host - This will cause features to stop working in web browsers and e-mail.
_ Always show *.lnk suffixes - This adds .lnk to desktop shortcuts.
_ Always show *.url suffixes - This adds .url to web browser bookmarks.
_ Don't autostart CD's - This prevents CD's from running automatically when put in the CD/DVD drive.
[Internet Explorer 6]
_ Disable automatic updates - This prevents Windows Update from checking for and downloading updates.
_ Disable scheduled updates - This prevents Windows Update from installing updates.
_ Disable ActiveX Controls - This will cause some web pages to lose their menus or functionality completely.
_ Clean website cache on shutdown - This will cause Windows XP to take longer to shutdown but is a good idea for security.
_ Disable auto-updates service - This prevents Windows Update from running Automatically.
_ Disable task-scheduler service - The Windows Prefetcher, BootVis and Norton AV require this service to be running.
_ Disable firewall/connection sharing service - This will disable the Windows XP firewall.
_ Disable Security Center - This prevents necessary security warnings.
_ Uninstall completely - If you use or plan on using Microsoft's Instant Messenger leave this unchecked.
_ licdll.dll - Only select this if Windows is already activated.
_ Disable ZIP Functionality - Only select if you have another .Zip program installed such as WinZip.
Windows XP has extra services running by default that most people will never use. By disabling these services you will improve system performance such as boot times.
Shoot The Messenger - Download - Home Page
Disables Windows Messaging service. This will prevent online spammers from abusing this and causing message Pop-ups during normal system operation.
Notes - Installing SP2 will disable the messenger service for you.
Unplug n' Pray - Download - Home Page - Details
Disables Windows potentially dangerous and exploitable Universal Plug and Play networking capability.
BlackViper's Windows XP Services Guide - Home Page - Mirror - PDF File (Acrobat Reader Required)
Using this guide will increase performance. Run XP-AntiSpy, Shoot The Messenger and Unplug n' Pray first before going through this guide since those utilities will disable some of these Services for you. Use the Guide in combination with the following list. If you are not 100% sure about a service leave it on its default state. The goal is not to turn off as many services as possible but rather to disable only unneeded services.
Instruction - Go to Start, Run, type "services.msc" and press enter. Left-click on the status bar twice to filter all the started service to the top. Double left-click on the Service Name you wish to change. Change the "Startup Type" to either Manual or Automatic, then select "Apply" and "OK", repeat for all of the following:
The following is a list of Services that you can Disable on most systems for increased performance:
Distributed Link Tracking Client
Help and Support - (If you use Windows Help and Support leave this enabled)
Messenger - (Shoot the Messenger and installing SP2 will disable this)
Portable Media Serial Number
Remote Registry Service
SSDP Discovery Service - (Unplug n' Pray will disable this)
Wireless Zero Configuration - (If you are on a wireless network leave this enabled)
The following is a list of Services that should always be set to Automatic:
Automatic Updates - (Required by Windows Updates)
Background Intelligent Transfer Service - (Required by Windows Updates)
COM+ Event System - (Required by BootVis and other Applications)
Cryptographic Services - (Required to confirm the signature of Windows system files, Protected Root Services and Key Services)
DCOM Server Process Launcher - (Required by Disk Defragmenter)
DHCP Client - (Required for Cable/DSL connections and Routers)
DNS Client - (Improves Internet Performance)
Event Log - (Required by Windows and cannot be Stopped)
Logical Disk Manager - (Required to manage and update your Harddrives)
Network Connections - (Required by Network Connections)
Plug and Play - (Required by your System Hardware, Never Disable This!)
Print Spooler - (Required by Printers)
Protected Storage - (Required to protected sensitive data and to prevent access by unauthorized services, processes, or users.)
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) - (Required by Windows, Never Disable This!)
Security Accounts Manager - (Required to store security information for local user accounts)
Security Center - (Notifies you of you Firewall and AntiVirus Status)
Shell Hardware Detection - (Required by the AutoPlay feature)
System Event Notification - (Required by various Applications)
System Restore Service - (Required by the System Restore feature)
Task Scheduler - (Required by the Windows Prefetcher, BootVis and Norton AV, Never Disable This!)
Themes - (Required by the new look of Windows XP)
Windows Audio - (Required for Sound)
Windows Management Instrumentation - (Required by Windows, Never Disable This!)
Notes - Windows Updates can enable services that you have previously disabled. Check which services are running after a future Windows Update is completed. If applications stop working after using this guide it is usually due to being to aggressive with disabling services. Enable the services you disabled one at a time until the application works. In the future leave this service on automatic. If you run into any problems set all services back to their Defaults and start over.
TCP/IP Optimizer - Download - Home Page - Speakeasy Speed Test
Application to optimize your Internet connection.
Instructions - Download and run. Under the "General Settings" tab select your Connection Speed (Kbps), which is your Maximum Download Speed. If you do not know what it is, contact your ISP and ask them. Make sure the value you get is in Kbps. (Exact capitalization is important, uppercase K, lowercase b ect...) Otherwise use the Speed Test and select the Closest City to get a rough idea of what it should be, then round this value (Download Speed) up to the closest size in TCP/IP Optimizer. Under "Network Adapter" choose the Network interface you use to connect to the Internet, select "Optimal settings", then "Apply changes" and "Yes" to Reboot.
Notes - Setting the Connection Speed higher then your Maximum ISP Download Speed will NOT improve performance and may actually hurt performance. Whatever your ISP claims is your Maximum Download Speed should always be used regardless of what the Speed Test shows. Maximum Download Speeds are theoretical and not always attainable for various reasons. It is normal for them to fluctuate. However, drastic differences in what your ISP claims you should get and what you are actually getting should be brought up with your ISP. It is your money after all and I would want to get what I paid for.
SP2 TCP/IP Slowdown Fix (Event ID 4226 Patcher) - Download - Mirror - Home Page - Forums
Windows XP SP2 limits the number of simultaneous incomplete outbound TCP connection attempts per second to 10 from an "unlimited" number (16777214) in SP1. With the new implementation, if a P2P or some other network program attempts to connect to 100 sites at once, it would only be able to connect to 10 per second, so it would take it 10 seconds to reach all 100. In addition, even though the setting was registry editable in SP1, it is now only possible to edit by changing it directly in the system file tcpip.sys. Keep in mind this is a cap only on simultaneous incomplete outbound connect attempts per second, not total connections. Servers and P2P programs can definitely be affected by this new limitation. The purpose of this is an attempt to limit the speed at which Viruses and Worms spread. However this does absolutely nothing to improve YOUR security. It merely attempts to slow the spread of a Viruses and Worms from your computer to others AFTER you have been infected. Remember it is a limit on OUTBOUND not Inbound connections. I recommend installing this patch for optimal network and Internet performance.
Instructions - Download, unzip and run. To change it back to "unlimited" Type "C", then "16777214", press Enter, type "Y" and finally Enter again. A "Windows File Protection" window will come up, ignore this by selecting "Cancel" then "Yes" and Reboot. This warning is normal since you are editing a protected system file.
Update - Windows Update (2/14/05) resets the TCP limit, if you installed this update, you will need to run the SP2 TCP/IP Slowdown Fix (Event ID 4226 Patcher) again.
Avant Browser - Download - Home Page
A custom Internet Explorer based browser. It has a Built-in Pop-up Blocker, Flash Animation Filter, Tabbed Browsing, Built-in Search Engine, Built-in RSS/ATOM Reader, Safe Recovery Feature, User Friendly Interface and Full 100% IE Compatibility.
Instructions - Install and run. Go to "Tools", "Avant Browser Options...", "Search Engine", "Standard Search" tab and select "www.google.com" from the drop down list then "Apply" and "OK".
Notes - Any web page that loads in IE will load in Avant Browser. You will now have less Pop-ups and more control over your settings. Avant Browser is updated regularly with new features and bug fixes so make sure you have the latest version.
Firefox - Firefox Myths
An Open Source web browser, funded through the Mozilla Foundation setup by AOL and actively developed by engineers from IBM and Sun Microsystems. The volunteer community generally provide testing.
Notes - Firefox is not being recommended here for the following reasons. Firefox is not 100% Internet Explorer and ActiveX compatible. Web sites that depend on ActiveX or were only tested in Internet Explorer (which there are many) will only render and work properly in Internet Explorer based browsers. Web site features such as Menus, Web forms or other content may not function or behave differently then intended. Currently 10-15% of web sites aren't completely compatible with Firefox. If you choose to use or recommend Firefox please understand and explain its limitations.
Update - People are recommending Firefox over Internet Explorer as a solution to Spyware infections. This is simply not true. Internet Explorer with Service Pack 2 installed provide the same level of Spyware security. SP2 includes a built-in Pop-up blocker, a Download warning system and removes MSJVM from the system. This eliminates all the known security exploits some Spyware applications used to auto install themselves.
Google Toolbar - Download - Home Page
An IE Toolbar that adds a Google Search button and Pop-up blocking to standard IE.
Notes - Helps prevent Pop-ups in standard IE without a standalone Pop-up stopper running in memory.
The final optimization you should make with Windows XP is for the boot process. Everything needs to be installed and updated before you proceed for optimal results.
Time to display list of operating systems
Setting used to adjust the time the boot menu is shown if you have multiple operating systems installed.
Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "System", "Advanced" tab, in the "Startup and Recovery" section select "Settings", in the "System Startup" section uncheck "Time to display list of operating systems". (If you do have multiple operating systems installed leave this enabled)
BootVis - Download
BootVis is a boot performance trace visualization and optimization tool. This tool invokes the built-in Windows XP boot time optimization process when you run it, instead of waiting for it to be scheduled at some unknown time (roughly every three days) by Windows. You will notice immediate improvement in boot performance for this reason.
Instructions - Download and Run. In the menu go to "Trace", select "Next Boot and Driver Delays". A "Trace Repetitions" screen will appear, select "Ok" and Reboot. Upon reboot, BootVis will automatically start, analyze and log your system's boot process. When it's done, in the menu go to "Trace" and select "Optimize System" and Reboot. This time when your system comes up, wait until you see the "Optimizing System" box appear, continue to wait until the process is complete.
Notes - BootVis requires the following services be enabled and the system rebooted before using the "Optimize System" function:
- Task Scheduler - Automatic
- COM+ Event System - Automatic
If you are running a performance trace on a Pentium 4 system with Hyper-Threading enabled you need to have SP2 installed (821581). Unfortunately this program is not publicly supported by Microsoft anymore. If you experience any issues relating to it, no support is available.
Now that your PC is optimized use Secure XP - A Windows XP Security Guide to secure it!