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Windows XP - Change Performance Settings

Welcome to this Windows XP tutorial on how to change the performance settings. You may want to change the performance settings if your computer is low on resources, ram in particular in an attempt to speed it up.

Thinks To Note
  • Click the images to see a larger version
  • Yellow arrows or circles indicate where to look or click
  • Unless specified otherwise use the 'left' mouse button to click

Windows XP - Change Performance Settings

Desktop icons in windows xp

With Windows XP loaded to the desktop you should see the desktop icons.

With the mouse right click the My Computer icon and click properties from the menu that appears.

The system properties will be displayed.

The other way to access the system properties is via the 'System' utility in the control panel.

showing the system properties section in windows xp

You will see the System Properties load up and you will see several tabs along the top of this window.

We have tutorials to deal with each of these tabs individually otherwise this tutorial would be huge!

In this first tab 'General' you cannot make any changes although as you can see there is some useful information on this page.

Click the 'Advanced' tab.

advanced tab in windows xp

You will see three sections on the advanced tab. 'Performance', 'User Profiles','Startup and Recovery'.

Next to performance there is a 'Settings' button. Click this button.

performance options in system properties windows xp

You will be presented with a performance options window.

You will see below that you have some pre-defined settings available to you.

You can let windows choose what's best for your computer, or you have the option to adjust the settings for best appearance or best performance.

Below these pre-defined settings you have a 'custom' option which allows you to select which features you want from the list below 'custom'.

adjust for best performance windows xp

If you click the option to 'Adjust for best performance' you can see as in our example that all the features are unticked. This is because each of these features listed take up resource on the computer therefore slowing it down.

If you don't have a fast computer then set your option to adjust for best performance.

If you adjust for best appearance then everything is selected, which looks great so long as your computer is good enough.

The only problem with adjusting the performance settings to 'best performance' is that it changes the way the start button and menu looks which looks, well, pants!

custom performance settings windows xp

To have the best of both performance and appearance choose 'Adjust for best performance' which will blank all the features and then using the vertical slider bar scroll down to the bottom of the performance features.

Click to tick the three bottom features which are 'Use common tasks in folders', 'Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop' and 'Use visual styles on windows and buttons'.

By using these three options you still retain the look of Windows XP as we know it yet drop some of the other features therefore saving computer resources.

Once you have set the performance settings click the 'Ok' button at the bottom of the window. You can then click 'Ok' again to exit out of the system properties window.

Next tutorial - Change Virtual Memory in Windows XP

Return to Windows XP Tutorial List