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10 Quick Tips to Optimize Your XP Netbook

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By Lizzy Vasilyeva* – Netbooks are becoming more and more popular and a lot of people start getting them as a replacement for larger laptops. Whereas sometimes it’s not a good idea, for some people, like students or travelers, Netbooks are a great compromise, especially if all you do is send emails, browse the Web, chat online, and do some basic MS Office tasks.

If your Netbook runs Windows XP, you can always improve it’s speed and performance. Here are 10 quick tips to optimize your XP Netbook:

1. My first tip is about productivity. If you have a Netbook with a 3 cell battery, it makes sense to get another battery, or even get a 6 cell one. I know that some Netbooks will look bulkier with a 6 cell battery, but trust me, a 3 cell one won’t last long and you don’t want to run around trying to charge it if you are on the go!

2. If you can add more RAM to your Netbook, do it. If your Netbook has 2GB of RAM, it will match some of the big laptops in that respect. Anyway, 2GB is more than enough for XP.

3. If your Netbook runs Vista, downgrade to XP. Vista is too heavy on resources – you don’t want your Netbook to be slow and freeze! If you got a Netbook with Vista Business, you should also have a downgrade CD. If not, I’m afraid you’ll have to purchase Windows XP.

4. Don’t overload your Netbook with applications you don’t really need. First of all, uninstall all try-and-buy software that come pre-installed, because most likely you will never use them anyway. If your Netbook has a trial version of Norton Internet Security, try finding a more lightweight anti-virus program.

5. Check and configure your startup list. There will be a lot of programs that don’t have be started when you boot your Netbook – you can always start them manually whenever you need to use them. To do that go to Start – Run – type in msconfig and hit Enter. Review your startup programs and disable the ones you don’t need. Be careful and don’t disable anything that Windows needs to function properly.

6. If you feel comfortable about it, you can disable services you don’t need. Again, you need to be careful and not disable anything required by Windows. You can find a good Windows services guide here. To disable services, click on Start, then go to Run, type in services.msc and hit Enter.

7. You can also optimize XP’s appearance settings to improve performance. There is no need to let all the graphical effects slow down your Netbook. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Go to Start – Settings – Control Panel
  2. Click System and go to the Advanced tab
  3. In the Performance Options window select Adjust for best performance
  4. Click OK

This will turn off all visual effects and give your Windows a pre-XP look. If you still want XP look like XP, leave the following boxes ticked:

8. Clean up and defragment the hard drive regularly, at least once a week. The built-in Windows cleanup and defrag tools can be found in Programs – Accessories – System Tools. You can always download third party cleanup and defragmentation programs, but remember – the more software you have installed, the slower your Netbook runs.

9. Use Google Chrome. It’s light and very fast. However, if you like Firefox, you can make it use small toolbar icons to save valuable screen space. To do that right-click on the toolbar – click Customize – a new window will open – check the Use Small Icons checkbox.

10. Another tip for Firefox and Chrome users – press F11 when you need more space. All toolbars and the status bar will disappear. You won’t have any problems if you want to access tabs – just put your cursor on top of the screen and your tabs will reappear. I found this quite handy when browsing through photos or looking at maps.

*Liz Vasileva is a technology writer. She loves everything that has to do with computers, classical music, opera, and travelling. She blogs at Auslogics Blog.

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