Aside from startup programs, services, and the Prefetch folder, there are a number of other startup procedures and issues you can modify to help Windows XP start faster. The following sections explore those tips and tricks.
Manual IP Addressing on Small Office/Home Networks
Windows XP is configured to help you take care of networking. It uses the TCP/IP protocol for networking in workgroups, or what you might call small office or home networks that do not use a dedicated server.
The problem is that automatic IP addressing can be slow. When your computer boots, it has to query the network to see what IP addresses are already in use and then assign itself one. If you want to speed up the boot time a bit, consider manually assigning IP addresses to all computers on the network. This way, the network computers do not have to worry about locating an automatic IP address. Because one is manually configured, the operating system doesn't have to spend time solving this problem.
This isn't a networking book, however, so I won't delve into the implications of using a manual IP address, but if you are using a computer that functions as a host computer to the Internet (using Internet Connection Sharing [ICS]), you can get into connectivity problems if you change the configuration of the IP address. However, you can still work around this problem by starting with the ICS host computer.
Select Start/Connect To/Show All Connections. Right-click your network adapter card and click Properties. On the General tab, select TCP/IP in the list of services and click the Properties button.
In the TCP/IP properties, you can see if you use an automatic or manual IP address. In the example, You have configured a manual IP address of 188.8.131.52 and a default subnet mask. The other computers on my office network each use a different IP address in the same class, such as 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, and so on. This way, each computer has a permanent IP address, which helps increase boot time. Note that if you change the IP addresses of your computers, they must all use the same subnet mask. A default subject mask of 255.255.255.0 will keep you in good shape.
Make sure you understand the implications of changing IP addresses on your network. If you have no networking experience at all, you may be wiser to leave the automatic IP addressing as is and try to gain some speed using the additional suggestions in this chapter.
Disabling Recent Documents History
Windows XP includes a feature that keeps track of all recent documents you have opened or used. The idea is that you can select Start/Recent Documents History and quickly reopen any document you have recently used. I use many documents each day and never use the feature myself. In my opinion, I can keep up with what I want to use without Windows XP doing it for me.
The bad thing about Recent Documents History is that Windows XP has to calculate what should be put there each time you boot Windows, which can slow things down. So, if you never use the Recent Documents History, it's a good idea to disable it. Here's how:
- Open the Registry Editor (select Start/Run, type regedit, and click OK).
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mcft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
- Create a NoRecentDocsHistory D_WORD key. Double-click the value to open it once it is created.
- Set the Data Value to 1 to enable the restriction.
- Click OK and close the Registry Editor. You'll need to restart the computer for the change to take effect.
Disabling the Boot Logo
You can remove the boot logo that appears when you start Windows XP. This little tweak probably shaves only a few seconds off your boot time but seconds count if you are serious about trying to get Windows XP up and running as quickly as possible. The only negative is that if you remove the boot logo, you will also not see any boot messages, such as check disk. (But if you are not having problems with your computer, this isn't such a big deal.)
To remove the boot logo, follow these steps:
- Select Start/Run, type msconfig, and click OK.
- In the System Configuration Utility, click the BOOT.INI tab.
- On the BOOT.INI tab, click the NOGUIBOOT check box option. Click OK.
Removing Unwanted Fonts
One trick that increases your boot time a bit is to lose any fonts in the Fonts folder in Control Panel that you never use. The more fonts you have, the more processing Windows XP has to do to prep all of those fonts for use. You must be a bit careful here to not remove fonts that you might want, but there is a good chance that you can live without many of them. For instance, you may have foreign language fonts and other symbol fonts (such as Wingdings) that you never use. To delete unneeded fonts, follow these steps:
- Open the Fonts folder in Control Panel.
- Select Edit/Select All and then Edit/Copy.
- Create a new folder on your desktop, open it, and select Edit/Paste.
- In this new folder, delete any of the fonts you do not want.
- Return to the Fonts folder in Control Panel. Right-click the selected fonts and click Delete.
- Go back to your new desktop folder and click Edit/Select All.
- Return to your Fonts folder and click Edit/Paste. You now have only the desired fonts in the Fonts folder.