This is a reformatted and updated version of TweakHound’s Super XP Tweaking Guide – SP3 Final (previously here)
TweakHound’s Super XP Tweaking Guide – SP3 Final
A guide to Tweak & Optimize XP.
Last updated: June, 2009
optimize– get the most out of, make optimal, modify to achieve maximum efficiency in storage capacity or time or cost
This was the first comprehensive, step-by-step XP tweaking guide on the net. It’s over 7 years old (first version in 2002) and has continued to evolve. I started working with XP during its RC1 stage. After a time I began looking for ways to tweak it. I haven’t “invented” any of these tweaks. They were scattered all over the web, a couple at one site, a few more at another. Some were good and as I discovered over time, some were bad. What I have done here is to investigate/test them, try and organize them in a coherent manner, and present them in a step-by-step guide. This was also the first guide to debunk several myths regarding popular tweaks.
This will be the final version of this guide. That means there will be no further updates. XP is a good operating system and is still a good choice for older computers but it is time to move on as far as guides go (I will keep XP on my P4 computer until it dies). XP was released in 2001 and although it will receive security updates until 2014 no new features will be added. That means there is nothing more to add to this guide.
This guide wouldn’t be here without the input I’ve received from others and the hundreds of thousands of people who have stopped by. To all of you, THANK YOU!
PLEASE SEE – eXPired – The Last Windows XP Guide You’ll Ever Need
Most guides just provide the tweaks and leave you on your own to figure out which to use. For every step in this guide I provide my recommendation on who should use that particular tweak. I do this by assigning a “level #” to the tweak. Again, these are just recommendations. I’ve tried to provide a good explanation as to what every tweak does so that you can decide for yourself what you do/don’t want to do. The levels provided in this guide are as follows:
*All Levels – Safe for everyone. The safest settings but not tweaked much.
Level 1 – It keeps XP pretty, but faster and a little more secure. Full functionality is maintained.
Level 2 – Faster still and a tad more secure. Not quite Level 3. Still pretty. Keeps the useful features around.
Level 3 – Very close to the settings I use. Tweaked hard. All the pretty and annoying stuff is gone. It’s much faster and much more secure. Aimed at those who want to run Windows their way.
Level 4 – For Gamers only. Level 3 with a few more tweaks aimed at gamers.
Tweaking is best done on a new installation of XP. See, The Right Way To Install Windows XP.