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How to make my computer faster


Nerwin
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I know my uncle uses the F-secure suit on his laptop and it is **** slow.

Weird. I've always found F-Secure to be very easy on my resources, on three diferent computers so far. It also has been very good about staying out of the way until an *actual* problem (trojan downloaders, etc.). Maybe there were other factors involved?

no unneeded services (9 service allowed including dhcp all other service are disabled)

no apps based firewall ( use a rule based firewall with policies on port...

Could you provide some links to decent documentation to do this? Most of what I've seen out there is sh*te, so I'd very much appreciate some good guides. Thanks!

Edited by coyotewrw
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I use a pc with

no indexing service

no system restore ( i use acronis bootable cd instead)

no themes or visual candy options on

no unneeded services (9 service allowed including dhcp all other service are disabled)

no antivirus ( just use stict security on xp, firefox or opera 4 browser, and a rule based firewall)

no apps based firewall ( use a rule based firewall with policies on port, my choice is black ice defender

(rule based firewall use less system ressource )

No system restore - system restore can be useful at times. You changed a setting that you didn't like then? Just system restore it. It's much faster than loading an Acronis True Image CD and restoring the drive.

Themes - on a system like his, he probably won't notice the difference between themes on and off. Displaying a couple of simple BMPs here and there isn't going to bog down his system. A PIII or lower - fine, but that system, not a big deal.

What do you think "unneeded" services are? The services that I have set to automatic are listed:

Ati HotKey Poller
Automatic Updates
Computer Browser
Cryptographic Services
DCOM Server Process Launcher
DHCP Client
DirectUpdate engine
Diskeeper
Distributed Link Tracking Client
DNS Client
Error Reporting Service
Event Log
Hamachi Service
Help and Support
Logical Disk Manager
Network Connections
Network Location Awareness (NLA)
Notebook Hardware Control Service
Plug and Play
Print Spooler
Protected Storage
Remote Access Connection Manager
Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
Security Accounts Manager
Server
Shell Hardware Detection
System Restore Service
Task Scheduler
Telephony
Themes
Windows Audio
Windows Management Instrumentation
Windows Time
Wireless Zero Configuration
Workstation

All of these are "needed" by me, but might be unneeded by you. It's pretty hard to tell someone what services they need and don't need unless you know exactly how they use their computer. I'm also guessing that you don't have the DNS cache service running. Unless Black Ice does that for you (which I don't think it does), you're slowing down your internet browsing. Services don't do anything unless they're working. Windows Time just sits there and checks the servers every once in a while (is it once a day, or every three days...?). If the time is off, it fixes it.

No anti-virus - if you trust yourself and your system to not require an anti-virus, running without an anti-virus can help with some resources. On the other hand, an anti-virus like Avast or NOD32 doesn't use that much RAM and can help you stay out of sticky situations. Unless you're willing to take the fall and risk your system, I wouldn't run without an anti-virus.

Rule-based firewalls actually use more resources than application-based firewalls.

Simple Application-based firewall actions:

-What process is trying to connect?

-Oh, it's Internet Explorer. Is that allowed?

-Yes, it's allowed. OK, go ahead.

Simple Rules-based firewall actions:
-What process is trying to connect?

-Oh, it's Internet Explorer. Is that process in my list of known processes?

-Yes it is. What port is IE trying to connect on?

-Port 80... do I have a rule that allows access on port 80 for Internet Explorer?

-Yes, I do. OK, go ahead

There's more checking for a rules based firewall to do than an apps based firewall. ;)

look a a screenshot for system ressource:

<snip>

The screenshot is showing memory usage - not virtual memory usage. This has been discussed many, many times. You need to show the virtual memory usage to see how much actual memory each process uses. (Look at several of DigeratiPrime's posts for this)
Could you provide some links to decent documentation to do this? Most of what I've seen out there is s***e, so I'd very much appreciate some good guides. Thanks!
The best guide I can think of is guess-and-check. There is some information in the nLite forum on "what not to remove for ProgramX", but general system performance and various dependencies are really for you to find. If you want to find the "perfect install" using nLite, you're probably going to be spending a lot of time testing.
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I have similar setup like albator. 5 services running, no AV or updates needed.

My nLite config, my PC config (reg as well), startup memory, startup processes.

I have a rule based firewall with popups disabled, it is like a setting Deny Default.

Although, I would not recommend all my settings, just pick up sthg, what you need.

System restore should be renamed to Malware restore, just look on some HJT Forums.

DNS Client is vulnerable and if ISP provides fast and reliable DNS Servers, speed is OK.

Edited by TheTOM_SK
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@Zxian

1- Restoring my pc with acronis true image take me 40 sec. So For my it's faster than system restore. And it work 100 % of time, a bit to bit restore.

2- Quoting you:It's pretty hard to tell someone what services they need and don't need unless you know exactly how they use their computer.

I agree.

Maybe ,You could use 2 profil ( to choose at startup) one for max perfomance and another one for max compatibility

3- For the firewall, your answer is very theoric, may you give me an example of wich application based firewall you use ? many of them become slow with a large apps database....

4- On the topic of virus, I do use in doubt a standalone scanner (no installation and ressource normaly used). And i never had any virus since 4 years. How do catch virus ? Dont take it personnal, but i Think virus are 4 newbie.

If you stop risquy sevice, use fireforx or opera, have a good firewall, How could you catch virus ? You open email with file like pamelaandersonude.jpg.exe ?

:)

5 - about the RAm, at startup windows use 30 meg of cache

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1- Restoring my pc with acronis true image take me 40 sec. So For my it's faster than system restore. And it work 100 % of time, a bit to bit restore.
How often do you make a new image? Is that something that you have to do manually? If not, Acronis needs it's own scheduler running in the background (which eats up more resources than the System Restore service).

System Restore will automatically create a new restore point every day, and whenever you add or remove programs. I've got an 8GB system partition, so restoring it with Acronis would take about 8-10 mins to restore the drive itself. System restore adds another 45 seconds to the reboot cycle, so in my case (and most other peoples'), System Restore is faster. Not everyone has a crazy-nLited system like you do. ;)

System Restore only restores malware if you get malware in the first place. If you have been infected, clean your system and then clear all existing restore points to completely remove the infectious files. If you keep your system clean, it can be a godsend.

Oh... and the recovery CD for Acronis takes at least 30 seconds alone to load on my system (P-M 1.86GHz, 1GB DDR2-533).

3- For the firewall, your answer is very theoric, may you give me an example of wich application based firewall you use ? many of them become slow with a large apps database....
I've used Sygate and Kerio (both apps based) without any noticable slowdowns at all. I was running Sygate primarily on my laptop for a long long time until it got bought out by Symantec, and performance was great.

Your thinking is a little off though.... for a rules based firewall, the list of rules would have be larger than a list of applications, because for each application, there is now a list of rules associated with that process. By your reasoning, wouldn't that make the rules based slower than the apps based?

Do you have any facts to back up the statement about apps based firewalls slowing down with a larger applications base?

4- On the topic of virus, I do use in doubt a standalone scanner (no installation and ressource normaly used). And i never had any virus since 4 years. How do catch virus ? Dont take it personnal, but i Think virus are 4 newbie.

If you stop risquy sevice, use fireforx or opera, have a good firewall, How could you catch virus ? You open email with file like pamelaandersonude.jpg.exe ?

I don't take it personally, since I've only had one potential infection that came from my own mistake, but NOD32 picked that one up. Humans are people, and people are stupid (that includes me). We all make mistakes at some point or another. Good practice goes a long way, but that one night when you're really tired and aren't really thinking about what you're doing - that's when a good background AV program can help. :yes:

You still haven't come up with a list of what you consider "unneeded" or "risky" services. It'd be interesting to see your reasoning on why you disable so many services. The DNS cache isn't a vulnerable service, and yet that 1-2MB of RAM can help you surf the web quite a bit faster. :)

@TheTOM_SK - How does your network setup work? It'd have to be static IP assignment, since your DHCP Client service is off, but isn't the Network Connections service needed? You've got a pretty slimmed down system... :blink:

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How does your network setup work? It'd have to be static IP assignment, since your DHCP Client service is off, but isn't the Network Connections service needed?

Network Connections along with Remote Access Connection Manager and Telephony are needed, if I would like to get the network icon in taskbar and to be able to edit network settings. But once the settings are properly set up, there is nothing to change. I spared about 10 MB RAM by disabling them.

Well, my IP changes sometimes, so I have to enable mentioned services as well as DHCP.

I enable NetBIOS via WWDC (without it DHCP will not start), then I use my reg to enable it.

After restart I change set up to receive IP, I set IP up manually and restore my reg settings.

This procedure takes max 5 minutes & I do not have to do it often, so it is quite comfortable.

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@Zxian

I appreciate your point of view, so I will continue to talk with you.

1- I dont have acronis installed. I only use the boot cd, I sugest you try the safe version ( no usb or extenal drive support) it loaded in about 8-10 sec. I dont have to do a manual image since, my Image is perfect. It contain windows, all my drivers, all my tweak and setting, my program file dir is small, since I use many portable application.

I will after installing windows make a first image, backup 1.0, and then when I find out bug or missing thing( for example no divx codec installed, or torrent association no linked with un torrent), I will then log them to a txt file where my version progress are kept. Next free time, I have, I will restore the base image, update and reclone to a new version backup 1.1.

With this methodoly, you will have after the 1.5 backup version, a perfect image with all you want from you pc. You never need to reinstall software or configure them, no annoyance at all.

I will backup after every program options are set, started 2-3 times (for prefeching), my registry clean and optimize, and my C partition defragmented.

Also, I dont use the C for storing my data, So I dont need to backup anything from it before restoring with acronis.

2- Your ideas of rule-based firewall is false. The quote you said is false too. Rule based firewall (at least the one I use) work this Way. By default, rule = no. The rule are not linked to applications, my firewall have no ideas of wich applications use the web.

The port 80 is yes, for operausb, portable firefox, or even IE .

In you example, you said that it check 4 applications, that not an apps based firewall, it'S a rule based firewall!

Softperfect Personal Firewall, a good rule based freeware, only is only 927kb. (the installation file), many apps based firewall are like about 20 meg. That proof nothing, but it's a fair indicator about the program complexity.

3- About the DNS cache. I am quite confuse. I dont know. You seem to be convince of it. I will have to check.

:blushing: I though DNS cache was use by ISP :)

4-About services, I though we had agree that it depend on wich use of the pc ?

Your list is not so bad, But I would put :

-Ati HotKey Poller (disabled )

-Automatic Updates (disabled )

-Computer Browser (if you dont have a lan disabled)

-Cryptographic Services (manual, only needed to install directx, some KB and in your case for automatic update)

-Distributed Link Tracking Client ( what the hell are you using this 4 ?)

-Error Reporting Service (Disabled)

-Help and Support ( disabled)

-Network Location Awareness ( if you share internet with another pc on your lan, then of, if not disabled)

-Protected Storage (disabled, only need I know for this service is autocomplete in IE)

-Security Accounts Manager (disabled)

-Server ( again it depend on lan, if you have a 1 pc, you can disabled this, never had any problem setting my server without this service running)

-Shell Hardware Detection ( I dont use it, but I dont recommend other people doing like me :) From My experience it only affect autoplay for cd rom. My digital kodak and Ipod and other external items are not affected by this.)

-Task Scheduler ( if use by third party program like Norton, ok, but I disabled it)

-Wireless Zero Configuration ( you seem to have a laptop, I guess you need this )

-Workstation ( Ok, I know you will find me crazy, But I disabled this, it has a huge impact on load time, Never had any problem with any software or game even with this disabled.)

So that about it, But I am not using a laptop, using one should change my tweaking habits.

The services that I think a security risk are:

-Remote Registry

-Security Accounts Manager

-Telnet

-Universal Plug and Play Device Host

PS: Sorry about my english, I need to practice more.

Edited by albator
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@ Zxian, albator, TheTOM_SK : I'm really glad to see you guys are keeping this debate on a friendly level. It's rare behavior on forums and I'm learning a lot from all of you. I hope you'll keep discussing this, because you're all making very good points from different perspectives. :)

albator, it's only slightly apparent English isn't your first language; you're still doing better than most of us Americans! :P

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When you're a professional Computer technician (like I am) and you have to work on hundreds of different computers for many different kinds of people (which I do) then you learn real fast what it takes to make the average PC run like the hardware manufacturers designed it to run.

You have to rely on things that will work for the little ol' blue haired lady as well as the attorney or doctor.

Windows XP-Home or Pro, right out of the box is a dog,,,,, pure and simple.

It's doing good if it can run at 30% of the hardware capability.

I've spent the last ten years developing the Tune-Up process that I now use on all PC's that I work on, (with Windows XP). Some parts of it even work on Windows 2K.

I have a special procedure for Windows 98, 98/SE and ME.

For Windows XP, I have a package of registry tweaks that improve system performance considerably and a list of totally Redundant Services that can be shut down to relieve the burden on the CPU and RAM.

Then there's the junk on the hard drive that can be deleted and 'installed programs' that can be DE-Installed.

If I can improve the performance of a new PC from 30% to just 60%, then I've improved performance by 100%. (do the math)

If I can get the OS to operate at even 90% of hardware capability, then I've improved performance by 200%.

Are you still with me?

There's no guessing or supposition here, as I do this several times every week, and sometimes on weekends. :yes:

There's no such thing as "try this", or "try that". That's all been done, years ago.

Now it's just a matter of doing what needs to be done. I prefer to do everything on the side of Caution.

I tuned up a little laptop computer for a guy while sitting at a local bar one evening.

He came into the bar a few days later and remarked to the bartender, "I don't know what that guy did to my computer, but its never run that fast before!". The bartender told me the guy was quite elated with his "new" computer. :wub:

Cheers Maties!

Andromeda43 B)

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2- Your ideas of rule-based firewall is false. The quote you said is false too. Rule based firewall (at least the one I use) work this Way. By default, rule = no. The rule are not linked to applications, my firewall have no ideas of wich applications use the web.

The port 80 is yes, for operausb, portable firefox, or even IE .

In you example, you said that it check 4 applications, that not an apps based firewall, it'S a rule based firewall!

Softperfect Personal Firewall, a good rule based freeware, only is only 927kb. (the installation file), many apps based firewall are like about 20 meg. That proof nothing, but it's a fair indicator about the program complexity.

A pure rules based firewall like the one you've described would then be MUCH less secure than an application based firewall. You're basically saying that a piece of malware running on your system as "blah.exe" could do anything it wanted on port 80 (or whatever ports you've got open). A proper rules based firewall (like Outpost) does things the way I listed.

And installation size means absolutely nothing. Look at AutoPatcher. It's what... 300MB total download? Go and download the updates with WUD - they're about 150MB (including the "extras"). So where's the extra 100-150MB going to? They both do the same kind of thing, but one is much bigger than the other. So which is better? (to install the updates that you've downloaded with WUD, you need a very very short batch file)

Just because you've found one rules based firewall that is small, and one apps based that is large, you can't make generalizations. Kerio and Sygate are 7.44MB and 8.8MB installers, respectively. When they're running, both of them use very little resources.

4-About services, I though we had agree that it depend on wich use of the pc ?
Exactly - You and TheTOM_SK run very customized systems, and I'm sure that you've put a lot of time into making them the way that works for you, but there comes a point where the return-on-interest falls off. For you, that's probably a lot lower than it is for me (i.e. I don't find it worth it to put in another week of testing to get another second off my boot time, but you might).

I took the time to give the reasons why I keep the services that you found unneeded. Hopefully, it'll give others some idea of the differences between highly tweaked setups, and not-so-tweaked ones.

  • Ati HotKey Poller - Needed for PowerPlay, which adds another hour and a half of battery life
  • Automatic Updates - Does what it says
  • Computer Browser - I do have a lan, and I store most of my files on my desktop server
  • Cryptographic Services - Needed for AU, like you said
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client - Keeps network links up to date. If a network share has been changed, it gets updated automatically
  • Error Reporting Service - Can help with finding fixes for software, or fixing rare bugs.
  • Help and Support - Useful when you're still learning how to use certain software (Office in particular)
  • Network Location Awareness - Needed to udpate the system tray of network status changes
  • Protected Storage - Also needed for network passwords. Without it, you need to re-enter a user account on a networked computer when accessing the shares.
  • Security Accounts Manager - Same reason as above
  • Server - Needed for cetwork shares
  • Shell Hardware Detection - Autoplay, and updating the status of disc drives in My Computer
  • Task Scheduler - Needed for prefetch, and yes, I have scheduled tasks. I backup the My Documents folder daily using SyncBackSE.
  • Wireless Zero Configuration - Needed for wireless
  • Workstation - Needed for network shares.

PS: Sorry about my english, I need to practice more.
Your english is fine. I've seen others with way worse language. :)

@Andromeda43 - Services that are running, but not doing anything don't use any CPU cycles! Sure, they might sit in RAM (unless Windows has paged them out), but they're not eating up tons of resources by not doing things.

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When you're a professional Computer technician (like I am) and you have to work on hundreds of different computers for many different kinds of people (which I do) then you learn real fast what it takes to make the average PC run like the hardware manufacturers designed it to run.

You have to rely on things that will work for the little ol' blue haired lady as well as the attorney or doctor.

Windows XP-Home or Pro, right out of the box is a dog,,,,, pure and simple.

It's doing good if it can run at 30% of the hardware capability.

I've spent the last ten years developing the Tune-Up process that I now use on all PC's that I work on, (with Windows XP). Some parts of it even work on Windows 2K.

I have a special procedure for Windows 98, 98/SE and ME.

For Windows XP, I have a package of registry tweaks that improve system performance considerably and a list of totally Redundant Services that can be shut down to relieve the burden on the CPU and RAM.

Then there's the junk on the hard drive that can be deleted and 'installed programs' that can be DE-Installed.

If I can improve the performance of a new PC from 30% to just 60%, then I've improved performance by 100%. (do the math)

If I can get the OS to operate at even 90% of hardware capability, then I've improved performance by 200%.

Are you still with me?

There's no guessing or supposition here, as I do this several times every week, and sometimes on weekends. :yes:

There's no such thing as "try this", or "try that". That's all been done, years ago.

Now it's just a matter of doing what needs to be done. I prefer to do everything on the side of Caution.

I tuned up a little laptop computer for a guy while sitting at a local bar one evening.

He came into the bar a few days later and remarked to the bartender, "I don't know what that guy did to my computer, but its never run that fast before!". The bartender told me the guy was quite elated with his "new" computer. :wub:

Cheers Maties!

Andromeda43 B)

Are you trying to get a government job? I'm just curious because everyone there beats around the bush, putts around the rough, doesn't explain what they do or mean, says vague statements claiming their prowess, and when confronted, decide to flame or insult the other person rather than being truthful, honest and civil. You remind me a lot of a politician. :P

Now, as for increasing performance on a computer, it's easy. But it takes time. Since you have a problem explaining your methods, I'll do the task for you.

1. Startup entries, make sure you know what's running in the background.

2. Services, make sure you have ones you don't need disabled or at least set to Manual.

3. Set your page file to 1.5 times the amount of RAM you have and have the initial and maximum value set the same as to reduce excessive fragmentation (since file thrashing will occur between your page file and RAM).

4. The size of your harddrive also bootlenecks your system performance overall.

5. Defragment your harddrive with a good defragmenter (PerfectDisk/Diskeeper/O&O.

6. Use a freeware program such as CCleaner to remove junk files/temp/cache/etc.

7. Clean your registry often with a good registry cleaner, I personally recommend jv16 PowerTools' Registry Cleaner. It received weekly cache updates from the site which make it safer and more effective. Out of the 30+ reg cleaners I've tested, jv16 is the best.

8. Be secure, malware/viruses can affect system performance as well.

9. Use nLite to remove components from Windows you are certain you do not need, users beware however.

10. Hardware wise, make sure you have a good cable/wire arrangement as to allow maximum airflow, get good fans (trade-off between noise level and fan strength), a good heatsink and video card cooler so things don't overheat. Take your case outside once or twice a month to remove dust with a can of compressed air.

11. Also, turn off the heavier Visual Effects.

That's probably the 20th time I've spilled all that onto this forum, I probably should have gone and dug up an old thread. :P

Edited by Jeremy
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Andromeda43: Could you post some specifics, maybe as an attachment? It sounds like you have a "general template" of performance tweaks; I'd like to read it. :)

Jeremy: I agree with everything you've said, with two caveats:

3. Set your page file to 1.5 times the amount of RAM you have and have the initial and maximum value set the same as to reduce excessive fragmentation (since file thrashing will occur between your page file and RAM).

That shouldn't be a "set in stone" tweak. I've noticed in the past that changing Windows' default methodology for memory management can cause stability problems; "memory defraggers" are especially prone to cause this. I've had good and bad results from manually setting the cache, depending on what programs and hardware are installed. Some can take the change better than others, so if you try this tweak, watch your system closely or a few days to see if stability problems occur. Play some games and use some memory-intensive apps like Photoshop, Sound Forge, video converters, etc. to see how it goes.

4. The size of your harddrive also bootlenecks your system performance overall.

In addition to that and defragging, keep all drives at least 20% empty to decrease the workload on each particular drive. Also keep your personal data (music, videos, docs) on a separate DRIVE (not partition on the same drive) to decrease the workload on your system drive. (Also safer in the event of a hd crash.)

I don't have any facts or figures to back this up. It's just been my personal experience from working with hundreds of different compters over ten+ years. Your results, of course, may vary. :)

It's also VERY important to realize that "faster" doesn't always translate to "better". You need to strike a balance between speed and overall stability. That's my personal definition of "good performance".

Edited by coyotewrw
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Quoting: 'You're basically saying that a piece of malware running on your system as "blah.exe" could do anything it wanted on port 80 (or whatever ports you've got open). A proper rules based firewall (like Outpost) does things the way I listed.'

Yes you are right. But i dont get malware. My choice of firewall is based more on perfomance than on pure security.

about task scheduler Needed for prefetch, where do you head that ? I dont have task scheduler running and my prefecth work well.

Now, that I know that you have a laptop and not as much free time/interest in tweaking. I guess your choice are good 4 you. Nice discussion.

:hello:

@Andromeda43

your so modest. :)

I challenge you anytime on tweaking perfomance.

If your are as good as your claim, Why dont you share with us ?

Aslo by you math claim are like marketing to my ears. :)

@coyotewrw

your rigth about the risk of setting page file manualy. Anyway if leave to windows, it seem to be good to take care of cache. When my system, with no program running, take about 30 meg of 1.5 gig of cache that windows may use.

Edited by albator
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