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volume 9 number 9 september 2004 TipSheet

Welcome to the September issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

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

This month we'll continue a series of tips on Windows XP.


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.

Tip 540   OUT WITH THE OLD Category:   WINDOWSXP

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.


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 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 from


If you have ever been annoyed by the built-in delay before a menu displays in Windows, 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.


Fast user switching, which lets users switch between accounts without shutting down programs and logging off, can be a very convenient feature under the right conditions. But it can also be a serious drain on system resources. Essentially, when more than one user is logged on, each user's settings remain active; even the programs each user has opened stay open.

If one user is working on a spreadsheet and another just needs to check e-mail quickly, fast user switching is the way to go. If, on the other hand, one user is playing a graphics-intensive game, that user will experience a noticeable performance hit if other users are logged on. If you want to disable the feature, see the previous tip "User Accounts".

Copyright 2004, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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