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volume 8 number 3 march 2003 TipSheet

Welcome to the March issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This month we'll start a series of tips on Optimization.


This piece of advice can speed up Windows more than any other tip. When Windows starts, it looks in several places for programs to run immediately on start-up. Some of these programs might run in the foreground, but most sit quietly in the background and eat up system resources.

Windows 98 SE and later versions have a feature called the System Configuration Utility. Type msconfig in the Run dialog or the Address bar (see "Customization" in this story) to invoke the System Configuration Utility, then choose the Startup tab. Here, you can disable items you think are unnecessary, such as media player launchers.

If you disable only nonessential programs, the only effect should be a speedier start-up. And because you're not removing these applications from the start-up�you're just disabling them�you can easily reenable them later.

Another easy way to deal with unwanted start-up items is to use the PC Magazine utility Startup Cop, which you can download for free from Of course, you should also look at the Startup group (on the Start menu) and remove any programs from there that you don't need to run automatically when you boot up your computer.

If you're absolutely sure you know what programs don't need to load on start-up, run Regedit, then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. There you'll find the rest of the items that launch when Windows starts.


Windows XP may be more attractive than previous versions, but its good looks come at a cost. Extras such as transparent mouse shadows, font smoothing, and menu effects add little more than aesthetic value while using up valuable system resources.

To disable the effects you can live without (an idea we especially recommend if you're running Windows XP on an older Pentium II system), go to the Control Panel, open the System applet, select the Advanced tab, and click on Settings in the Performance section. You can disable unnecessary items on the Visual Effects tab.


In any version of Windows, you should delete files from your temp and cache directories on a regular basis, because the clutter in these folders takes up useful space on your hard drive, can cause disk fragmentation, and may even slow down your Web-browsing experience.

To clean out these folders, click Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Cleanup. After you select a drive and click OK, a menu pops up that lets you choose the types of files to be removed.


If you have ever been annoyed by the built-in delay before a menu displays in Windows (2000 or XP), you can eliminate it. To do this, open Regedit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Desktop\MenuShowDelay. The default value is 400 (milliseconds); lowering the value will speed up how quickly menus display. This change will take effect after you reboot.


The Windows 9x Registry is quick to bloat, but it doesn't give up space after entries are removed. You can reclaim such space by dropping to DOS mode and using the following commands. First, type scanreg/backup to make a backup of the Registry, just in case something goes wrong. Then type scanreg/opt.

Copyright 2003, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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