Speeding up slow XP laptop

So, I've been given an old(ish) laptop running Windows XP to speed up becuase it's really slow apparently. It has a 1.6Ghz processor (single core) and 512MB DDR2 RAM, so it's getting on a bit.

I've done / am doing the following:
- Clear out temporary files (with CCleaner)
- Run anti-spyware check (with Spybot)
- Run anti-virus (with AVG)
- Use msconfig/regedit to remove a lot of the useless startup entries
- Defragment (with Defraggler) - never used this program before but saw it when downloading CCleaner. It's developed by the same people so thought i'd be worth a shot, as CCleaner is such a good app.
- Uninstall a few programs (can't do many though as I don't know what the owner uses/doesn't use)
- Increased virtual memory to 768MB initial size and 1024MB maximum size (from ~380MB initial)

Can anyone think of anything else I can do to give the laptop a speed boost? Upgrading RAM isn't an option atm, may be if the laptop still "runs" so slow.

6 Comments

Format and start again.

Or buy the RAM.

try dropping avg and using avast and upping ram to 1gb. Use avast to do a boot scan I find AVG misses things quite often, avast will pick up more things and is far less cpu/ram consuming

Search for a list of services that can be disabled in XP. I can't list them now as I don't have much time. Also, change the desktop theme to Windows Classic and under System Properties / Advanced / Performance, change visual effects to 'Ajust for Best Performance'.

Original Poster

Babbabooey;6246300

Format and start againOr buy the RAM.


Will have a look into how much RAM is going to be. As it's an old laptop, might be able to pick a stick up on ebay for a few quid..

bfjem;6246358

try dropping avg and using avast and upping ram to 1gb. Use avast to do a … try dropping avg and using avast and upping ram to 1gb. Use avast to do a boot scan I find AVG misses things quite often, avast will pick up more things and is far less cpu/ram consuming


Will give avast a go. I have it on my netbook and the performance is great!

4leafed;6246408

Search for a list of services that can be disabled in XP. I can't list … Search for a list of services that can be disabled in XP. I can't list them now as I don't have much time. Also, change the desktop theme to Windows Classic and under System Properties / Advanced / Performance, change visual effects to 'Ajust for Best Performance'.


I've got rid of a few services. just trying to work out which ones are essential and which ones aren't.
thanks for the tip re: visual effects - i've kept the default 'blue' windows theme but gotten rid of all the other effects and that seems to have helped!

Thanks to all of you, will leave rep shortly... :thumbsup:

I would format & do a fresh install too. Just be sure you have all the ingredients to do so before attempting though: OS install disk, original product key (if not on the COA sticker) & motherboard drivers (especially the LAN/wireless ones to begin with so you can easily download the rest).

Limited amount of free space might be causing problems too. What percentage of the drive is free? My friend's slow laptop had ~10% free out of which 20Gb were junk accumulated over the years. I formatted, partitioned the drive into 2 (one for the OS only), reinstalled afresh & increased the RAM. Apparently it now runs better than when it was new - & why wouldn't it!

actually making the swap file bigger was a huge mistake, if its a few years old it may have a hdd spinning as low as 3400,
disable the swap file altogether and then defrag, leave it disabled to increase performance re-enable to allow machine to do more
avast is good but its no performer, the fastest freebie at the mo has got to be avira
if u really want the swap file on consider a re-doing of the partition layout with a small FAT (NOT FAT32) partition of 2GB on the start of the drive and use the rest to make a system partition
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