Registry Tweaks to Speed up Windows XP

There are many tools and utilities available today that you can use to tweak your Windows XP computer for better performance. However, whichever method you choose to use, edits are made in the Windows registry to bring about these changes. In this article, we are going to discuss a few simple tweaks that you can do by making a few changes in the registry.

Before proceeding, it is recommended that you make a backup of your registry. This way, if anything goes wrong with your edits, you may undo your changes by restoring the backup. To backup the registry, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Start menu, select Run, type regedit and then press Enter.
  2. In the Registry Editor, open File menu and then select the Export command.
  3. Browse to the folder where you want to save the backup file, enter a file name for it and then click Save.

If required, you can restore your previous system settings from this backup by double-clicking on the backup file you created.

After you have made the backup, you may proceed to implement the following tweaks to speed up your Windows XP. To enable the changes you will need to reboot your computer.

Improve the Menu Speed

Have you noticed a delay when trying to display the menu after clicking the Start button in Windows XP? This is because the default time to display the menu is set to a very high value in the registry. To reduce this time and to speed up the menu display, open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\MenuShowDelay

Double click on MenuShowDelay and then change its value to 0. If required, you may choose some other value depending on the speed you would prefer. Basically, you may set it to a value that will enable you to set a balance between usability and speed.

Change the Parameters of the Prefetch Feature

Prefetch is a feature that enables faster loading by reading system boot files into cache. Although this feature significantly impacts the system boot time, it is often neglected by users. To find out the files that your system prefetches at system startup, check the C:\Windows\Prefetch folder. Here C: represents the root drive on which your Windows Operating System is installed.

Now, to speed up the PC, open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:

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

Double-click on EnablePrefetcher in the right pane. Here, change the value of this key according to your needs. You may choose from the following values:

  • To disable prefetching, select 0.
  • To prefetch application launch files, select 1.
  • To prefetch boot files, select 2.
  • To prefetch as many files as possible, select 3.

On an NTFS Partition Disable 8.3 Name Creation

The performance of your NTFS volume deteriorates if you have files that use the 8.3 naming convention. Therefore, if you don’t actually use any applications that need to use 8.3 naming convention, you are better off disabling the feature. To do this, in the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following key:


Double-click on NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation in the right pane. Change the value of this key to 1.