Category Archives: Tweaks and Tips

Adjust Visual Effects for Better PC Performance

You can increase your computer’s performance by adjusting the visual effects. The visual effects can take up your PC’s CPU and slow it down, often leading to more annoying problems. This tweak should work on all Windows Vista machines.

These options for changing your visual effects are totally optional, you can edit which ones you like and keep the ones you want. But I can assure you that these system settings only change the ‘pretty’ look of your computer and nothing important.

To get started adjusting your visual effects settings just;

  • Open control panel
  • Click system and maintenance
  • Open system
  • In the left pane click advanced system settings
  • Open the advanced tab
  • Under performance click settings
  • Go to the visual effects tab
  • Here uncheck all of these options
    • Animate controls and elements inside windows
    • Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
    • Enable desktop composition
    • Enable transparent glass
    • Fade or slide menus into view
    • Fade or slide ToolTips into view
    • Fade out menu items after clicking
    • Show preview and filters in folder
    • Show shadows under menus
    • Show shadows under mouse pointer
    • Show thumbnails instead of icons
    • Show translucent selection rectangle
    • Show window contents while dragging
    • Slide open combo boxes
    • Slide taskbar buttons
    • Smooth edges of screen fonts
    • Smooth-scroll list boxes
    • Use a background image for each folder type
    • Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop
    • Use visual styles on windows and buttons
  • Click apply and OK

Repair Disk Errors

One simple way you can improve the speed of your PC is to scan your hard drive for errors such as bad sectors. These errors will slow down your hard disk performance and make your computer run slower.

To run a scan and repair any problematic sectors in your hard drive just follow these points;

  • You must close down any files
  • Click start
  • Click computer
  • Right click on the hard disk you want to scan and select properties
  • Click the tools tab
  • Click check now
  • In the check disk box select scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
  • Click start

Speed Up Windows XP Shutdown With Paging Files

The paging files in Windows XP are there to basically store your temporary files and data, and in XP these files are cleared everytime you shut down. So whenever you shutdown XP it takes time first to clear the paging files, and this can take time.

If you have information that is secure or you don’t want anyone else to see then I recommend you keep XP clearing the paging files, but if you don’t really care then you can get faster shutdown speeds by stopping XP from clearing the paging files.

To stop XP from clearing the paging files you need to do this registry edit;

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

  • Now you need to find this – ClearPageFileAtShutdown
  • Double click on it
  • Set the value data to 0
  • Restart your PC

Disable Notification Balloons in Windows XP

Notification balloons are those annoying things popping up in a balloon that tells you basic stuff about the OS, so unless you are one of the few that actually enjoys the balloons you may want to get rid of them.

  • Open regedit
  • Navigate to this location
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  • In the right pane right click and select new DWORD
  • Set the name as EnableBalloonTips
  • Keep the value data set at 0
  • Done
  • You will need to restart your PC to see it take effect

Add a URL Address to the Taskbar

Here is a cool tweak you can do to your PC so that an address bar will open up in your taskbar (the bar at the bottom of your screen), this means you can type a quick URL in your taskbar and the webpage will open.

Some people may find that it just clutters up their taskbar and is useless, while others may prefer to use it rather than using their browser. This tweak can be done in both Windows XP and Vista;

  • Right click on your taskbar
  • Click toolbars
  • Check address
  • Done
  • Type in a URL and the page will open up in your default browser

Disable Last Access Timestamp in Windows XP

In Windows XP whenever your PC reads a file it marks that file with times and dates when you accessed it last. Now if you often check back at these data for any reason than you should keep Last Access Timestamp enabled, but if you don’t then you can disable it.

By disabling it you will stop XP from marking everyfile with a timestamp and cluttering things up, I have given two options here to which disable your Last Access Timestamp.

Command Prompt

  • Open your cmd
  • Enter the following command
    • FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 1
  • Reboot your computer
  • To turn Last Access Timestamp back on just put this command back into your cmd
    • FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 0

Registry Edit

  • Open your registry editor
  • Navigate to this location
    • SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
  • Add a new DWORD
    • NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate
  • Set the value to 1
  • Set the value to 0 if you want to enable it again

Mouse Sonar

For some reason I have never heard of this cool feature before (as we all know there are thousands of unknown features in windows!), it allows you to basically ‘find’ your mouse pointer if you have lost it.

It can be useful for people with impaired vision of other problems locating their mouse pointer, and it is so simple to activate.

  • Open your control panel
  • Navigate to mouse section
    • XP is just control panel/mouse
    • Vista is control panel/hardware and sound/mouse
  • Click the pointer options tab
  • Check show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key
  • Apply and OK
  • You will find now that when you press the CTRL button a big circle shows around your mouse pointer making it simple to find.

Recover Data From Your iPod

Like millions of people all over the world I own an iPod, it is only an iPod shuffle but it works great and is perfect for myself.

But one thing that annoys me and many other people out there is what do I do when I lose data (or data gets lost by itself) and cannot recover that data.

I found this great software that you should try that will recover missing, corrupted and deleted data from any version of iPod’s. The software is so simple to use and I even recovered a song I forgot was even on there!

To get started using the software all you need to do is to click the link below and to download the software, it is as easy as that! The software will then take you through step-by-step on what you have to do to recover your iPod data.

Recover songs and data from any iPod – Click Here

Install a Font in Windows XP

I have received a few emails from frustrated uses that are having trouble installing fonts on their Windows XP computers, well I can say font installation is quite simple and should take only a minute or two.

Just follow these points to install a font on Windows XP;

  • Download your new font (usually in a true type or open type format)
  • Now open your fonts section from your control panel
  • Select install new font from your file menu
  • Find the font you have installed in the add fonts box
  • Click OK, done

Speed up your PC and remove errors – Free Download Here

Delete Startup Programs From MSCONFIG

I have just recieved an email from one of our readers on deleting programs on startup, it goes;

‘Jim, I am trying to delete programs that try to start on the bootup process, I was told to go to control panel – all programs – startup and to delete unwanted program. But I did all that and I am still having massive problems at bootup with many programs like skype trying to start up, and my boot takes around 5 mins. Any help will be appreciated, thanks.’

Well Nicole you have done half the process for deleting programs starting up on your boot (you are not deleting the actual program), all you need now to do is to delete them through msconfig.

To access msconfig do the following;

  • Type run in your start search
  • Type msconfig in the run area
  • Click on the startup tab
  • Uncheck the programs you don’t want at startup
  • Click apply and you are done

I hope that helps out with your bootup Nicole, for any more questions please swing an email.