Posted by : Just An Otaku
1. Remove system restore
Turn off System Restore: Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools >System Restore > System Restore Settings.
2. Reduce virtual memory
Right-click My Computer and choose Properties. Go to Advanced > Performance > Settings. On the Advanced tab, click Change.
3. Cut back visual effects
Go to the Settings dialogue, just as you did in Step 2. Choose "Adjust for best performance" and click Apply.
4. Custom shortcut keys
Right-click a shortcut icon, choose Properties. Choose a key to make [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [letter] launch the shortcut.
5. Shorten start menu delay
Open regedit and browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Lower the MenuShowDelay value.
6. Remove disc autorun
Modify HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdrom. Alter AutoRun Dword value to zero.
7. Error reporting
Always report errors when Windows asks; you might get the solution straight away. For software problems, you see the prompt immediately if you're online when the problem happens, or the next time you go online; for STOP errors, you get it when you restart Windows.
8. Track unsolved errors
If you have a STOP error or other crash that Windows can't find an explanation for after error reporting, track it on the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis site. That way, if enough people report the same problem and a fix is found, you'll get a link to the update or instructions on what to do.
9. System Restore
Windows takes a system restore point every time you boot or once a day; make sure this isn't disabled (System Properties > System Restore) as rolling back to the state before your system became unstable is the simplest solution.
10. Safe mode
If you can't start Windows without crashing, turn your PC off then on and press [F8] as soon as it finishes checking through memory. You get only the most basic drivers: mouse, keyboard, hard drive, 640 x 480 graphics, minimal system services, no network connections, unless you choose 'Safe Mode with Networking', and very few 32-bit device drivers, so peripherals such as TV cards won't work. The less that's running, the more likely it is that you're not loading whatever is causing the problem. Use Safe mode to disable startup software, run System Restore, uninstall problem software or upgrade drivers. And because Safe mode bypasses the Run and Run Once registry keys, you can remove spyware and other software that runs automatically.
11. When Safe mode won't start
If you can't get into Safe mode, you can pick 'Safe Mode with command prompt' and type in 'CD \WINDOWS' and then 'SYSTEM32\RESTORE\RSTRUI.EXE' to start System Restore without having to run the Windows interface. Or try 'Last Known Good' to restore the last set of drivers, services and settings that worked. If you get the same STOP error in Safe mode, either there's a hardware fault or your system files are corrupt and you need to reinstall Windows.
12. Boot logging
To track startup problems, turn on boot logging: choose Start > Run MSCONFIG and tick the /BOOTLOG checkbox on the BOOT.INI tab. This starts Windows normally but keeps a log of everything that happens in the C:\WINDOWS\NTBTLOG.TXT file. You can open it in Notepad. And if you can't get Windows to boot completely, press [F8] to select boot options, then choose 'Enable Boot Logging' from the menu. Let Windows get as far as it can, then restart in Safe mode and look at the log; the last entry is likely to be the problem.
13. Eliminating suspects
Track down problem applications or devices by eliminating ones that don't cause trouble. Remove as much hardware as possible by unplugging, turning off or disabling it in Device Manager. Rule out software that isn't running when you crash, by using the System Configuration Utility (Start > Run > MSCONFIG) to stop as many applications and services as possible from starting.
14. Diagnose DirectX
Problems with graphics, sound, video or gaming could mean some DirectX files or settings are corrupted. Choose Start > Run > DXDIAG.EXE. Click through the different tabs to check that the latest files are installed and test DirectDraw, Direct3D, DirectSound, DirectMusic and DirectPlay. On the DirectX Files tab, look for files marked Beta, Debug, Outdated or Unsigned; they need replacing. The More Help tab links to troubleshooters to help diagnose DirectX and sound problems, or to override the refresh rate for games. Click 'Save All Information' to copy details from all the tabs to a text file.
15. Compatibility Mode
If an older application crashes, try running it in Compatibility mode by right-clicking on it and choosing Properties > Compatibility. Pick the version of Windows the program was written for from the 'Run this program in compatibility mode for' list or set the screen resolution and colour depth and turn off themes.
16. Missing kernel
NTOSKRNL is the file that's at the heart of Windows, talking directly to the system and hardware, and working out what device drivers to load in what order, based on what's in the registry. If you see an error saying it's missing or corrupt, you need to boot from the Windows XP CD and choose R for the Recovery Console, pick your Windows installation from the list, then change to the CD drive. Type 'CD \i386' to get to the right directory, then type 'EXPAND NTKRNLMP.EX_ %SYSTEMROOT%\ SYSTEM32\NTOSKRNL.EXE'. Take the CD out and type 'EXIT' to restart your computer normally.
17. Replace CONFIG
The SYSTEM and SOFTWARE files in C:\ WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\ CONFIG are the records of your Windows installation. The files can get corrupted, and making changes such as overclocking can make them out of date. To restore them without using System Restore or Last Known Good Configuration (which also restore the registry), boot from the Windows XP CD into the Recovery Console and type these commands to replace the files with the backups that Windows takes automatically. CD \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG REN SOFTWARE SOFTWARE. BAD REN SYSTEM SYSTEM.BADCOPY \WINDOWS\REPAIR\SYSTEM COPY \WINDOWS\REPAIR\SOFTWARE
18. 16-bit errors
Windows doesn't useCONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT itself any more, but you still have equivalent files for running older applications (or new applications with old-style installers). The CONFIG.NT and AUTOEXEC.NT files in the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder can get deleted during some software installations; copy the backups from the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\REPAIR folder.
19. Change drivers
Often, updating to the latest version of a driver is the way to deal with crashes, but if it's a new driver that's causing the problem, use the 'Roll Back Driver' button in Device Manager. And if there isn't a new driver to install, uninstalling and reinstalling the driver you have might fix a corrupted file. If your graphics driver is so problematic you can't run Windows, try starting in VGA mode; as with Safe mode, you press [F8] after your PC checks the installed RAM and choose 'Enable VGA Mode' from the menu to get the most basic display (640 x 480 at 16 colours). Choosing 'Last Known Good Configuration' gives you the last set of drivers that loaded successfully. You can also remove the suspect device; if you don't have the problem without it, either there's a hardware problem or it is the driver at fault.
20. Driver conflicts
If a new device doesn't work, right-click it in Device Manager and choose Remove, then reboot. If the hardware-specific settings were wrong, Windows recreates them correctly when it reinstalls the driver.
21. Test your memory
Hardware problems are responsible for a lot of crashes, and memory is often the culprit. Physically damaged memory, or having the wrong kind of memory, or having two sticks of RAM that aren't exactly matched can cause problems. If you've just put new memory in, take it out; if you have more than one stick of RAM, take out all but one and alternate them to find the faulty one. Download the Windows Memory Diagnostic from h ttp://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp, burn it to CD and run the extended test. If you get the error with all the memory you try, the motherboard itself may be damaged. Don't forget to check how much disk space is available for virtual memory and how much memory is being used by programs and services; you may be low on resources.
22. Check the temperature
If your CPU overheats, you'll find you keep crashing. Check that the case fans and the processor fan are working and not clogged with dust and see if cards are blocking the air path. You can check the case and processor temperature from the BIOS but that means rebooting, so install a utility such as Motherboard Monitor (http://mbm.livewiredev.com/) that alerts you if the temperature rises too far. You can replace your case fan with a more powerful one or get several fans mounted on a PCI card that swivel to point the air where it will cool the CPU.
23. Check the power supply
If you have a lot of internal devices, extra fans or a demanding graphics card, or lots of USB peripherals, you can be using more power than your power supply can deliver consistently. Standard power supplies can just be underpowered Ã or you might have a faulty power supply. Replace it with a 350W or 400W supply.
24. Automated System Recovery
If you're running Windows XP Professional Edition, you can create an ASR floppy disk with Windows Backup to store your system configuration. You still need a backup of your data, and restoring from an ASR disk means reinstalling your applications; it formats your hard drive, re-installs Windows and puts your settings back. The floppy disk only stores the setup information; the rest of the information is too big for a CD so it needs to go on a DVD or removable hard drive. To restore from an ASR disk, boot from a Windows XP CD (you may need to set the BIOS to boot from CD first), then press [F2] to run Automated System Recovery.
25. Configure Dr Watson
The Error Reporting dialogue that you see when an application crashes uploads a report generated by the Dr Watson utility. You can change the settings; choose Start > Run and type Ã”DRWTSN32' and you can change where the log and dump files are stored, how many instructions and errors it saves, and what notifications you get when an error is detected.
26. Pick the right slot
Plan ahead when installing PCI cards. Try not to put your soundcard next to an AGP video card (it's best in slot 2, which is assigned IR 5, the standard IRQ for sound). If you have a built-in network adapter or other devices on the motherboard, check in the manual to see if they're using the IRQs that would be used for slots 4 and 5. If you can, space cards out to get airflow between them, especially for the graphics card.
27. Speed up Explorer
Create the DWORD value NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to equal 1.
28. Speed up menus
Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\UserPreferenceMask.
Edit Value Data and change the digit 3E to 28.
29. Speed up the start menu
Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\MenuShowDelay
Double-click on MenuShowDelay and look at the Value Data. Set it to 100.
30. Improve System stability
Create a new DWORD value called AlwaysUnloadDll and set its value to 1.