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Windows XP Optimization Guide

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Death Star, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Death Star

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    Link to my original guide: http://www.overclockstop.com/OCS_Fo...ystems/481-windows-xp-optimization-guide.html

    Unnecessary Services

    Windows XP comes with a wide range of services that perform various tasks and functions. When the computer starts, many of these services are started and consume CPU and system memory resources. Not all of these services are needed and quite a few can be disabled. Disabling unnecessary services can make your computer boot and run considerably faster. The following are a list of services that come standard with windows that can be disabled to help free up resources.

    *There are also other services that are added when certain software products are installed such as Adobe Acrobat, nVidia and ATI drivers, Creative Mediasource, etc.; most of which can be disabled with no noticable effect.


    To begin you will need to open the system configuration utility. Do this by going to Start>Run and type msconfig and click OK then click on the tab labeled Services. Or if you prefer, you may also use services.msc.




    [​IMG]






    Indexing Service

    The Indexing Service creates and maintains a list of files and their locations on both local and remote computers in order to provide faster file searching. Unless you use the search feature of windows regularly and have a dependency on it this service may be disabled. If you disable this service you will also want to turn off indexing on all hard drives and partitions. To do this you just go to My Computer>right click on the disk or partition that you want to disable indexing on>properties. When the new window opens there is a box at the bottom of the window that is labeled Allow indexing service to index this disk for fast file searching, Uncheck the box and click apply. A message box may appear, if this occurs just click Ignore all.






    [​IMG]







    Error Reporting Service


    When an application encounters a problem and closes, this is the service that generates the little box that asks you if you want to send an error report. This service is not necessary.


    Fast User Switching

    Manages applications that require assistance in multiple user environments. If you have no urgency to stay logged on to your current account when you switch users or if you only have one user account on your computer you may disable this service.


    Help and Support

    This service is responsible for the Help and SupportCenter. This service is also responsible for the annoying little pop-ups that appear in the lower left of the screen. If you rely on the Help and Support center do not disable this service.



    IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service
    This service handles windows CD burning with the built-in windows CD burning software. Disable this service if you use a 3rd party software package for burning or if you do not have a burner.



    Remote Desktop Session Manager
    Controls the Microsoft remote assistance. If you call for remote desktop support from Microsoft or other users this is the service that handles the connection. Unless you rely on others remote desktoping your computer you may disable this service.


    Remote Registry

    This service is along the same lines as the Remote Desktop
    Session Manager, but it allows others from remote locations to only modify your registry. Unless you rely on remote registry editing you may disable this service.


    Task Scheduler

    The task scheduler controls the scheduling of automated tasks by the user. It allows you to configure programs to run on a timely basis (every day, every other day, every week, etc.). If you don’t use it, disable it.


    Secondary Login

    Allows different processes to start for different users when the user logs on. This service is pointless if you only have one user account on your computer.



    Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
    Controls the windows firewall and internet connection sharing (ICS). If you don’t use the windows firewall or ICS you can disable this service.


    Print Spooler

    The print spooler loads print jobs into system memory to provide faster printing. You can disable this if you don’t have a printer or don’t care about print jobs starting slightly faster.


    System Restore Service

    Sets system restore points. If you don’t use system restore you can disable this service. You may also disable system restore by going to Control Panel>System>System Restore and checking the box labeled Turn off system restore on all drives. System restore uses up significant disk space.


    Telephony

    If you don’t have a modem or don’t make telephone calls with you computer then you can disable this service.



    Distributed Link Tracking Client
    Maintains links between NTFS files within a computer or across computers in a network domain.


    Windows Time

    Synchronizes the windows clock between networked computers so they all read the same time.


    Security
    Center
    This is that annoying little program that installs with service pack 2 that tells you that you don’t have antivirus protection, a firewall or if you don’t have automatic updates turned on. It doesn’t really help out at all.


    Wireless Zero Configuration

    This service automatically configures 802.11 devices. If you don’t have any wireless networking devices that fall under the 802.11 specification then you can disable this service.







    Registry Tweaking




    ***BAKUP YOUR REGISTRY BEFORE CHANGING ANY SETTINGS***







    To create a registry backup go to Start>Run>regedit and highlight My Computer in the left column on the top and then go to File>Export and then choose where you want to save your backup and the name for it. This may take several minutes depending on the speed of the computer and the file size may be 100+ MB.






    [​IMG]





    There are several registry tweaks you can do to help dramatically improve your system performance. Most of them have to do with how windows manages the memory subsystems in your computer. The following registry changes increased my 3dMark05 CPU score by almost 900 points over default registry settings with the system in my profile. I have noticed though that these changes affect the performance of Intel CPUs more than AMD CPUs, but there is still a noticeable increase for both.

    To make the changes to the registry you will need to open the registry editor. To do so go to Start>run and type regedit.


    Helping Windows detect your L2 cache

    Windows has a difficult time with detecting how much L2 cache your CPU has. Instead of letting windows try to detect it, it is best to set the amount manually. To do this go to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\
    Session Manager\Memory Management






    [​IMG]





    Find the registry key SecondLevelDataCache and double click it. A window opens which allows you to edit its value. The value you want to set is the amount of L2 cache your CPU has in kilobytes. Notice that the values are by default set to hexadecimal, you can change it to decimal by selecting the decimal radio button on the right portion of the window. Here are some decimal to hexadecimal conversions:

    Dec..........Hex
    128K L2 = 80
    256K L2 = 100
    512K L2 = 200
    1024K L2 = 400
    2048K L2 = 800


    Keep Windows operating data in RAM

    ***Do not change this setting if your computer has less than 256MB of RAM***

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\
    Session Manager\Memory Management






    [​IMG]





    Select the DWORD value DisablePagingExecutive and set its value to 1.

    This prevents windows from loading kernel and driver files into the page file. The page file is much slower than RAM and keeping the core files in RAM provides a nice performance gain.


    Create a large system cache

    ***Do not change this setting if your computer has less than 512MB of RAM***

    The system cache is the area of reserved system memory used for the core components of the operating system. This option increases the size of the system cache.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\
    Session Manager\Memory Management






    [​IMG]





    Select the DWORD value LargeSystemCache and set its value to 1.


    Disable DOS 8.3 naming convention

    Windows keeps two different names for every file on your system. The full name of the file is the one you will see in explorer and a command prompt, but there is a name for the file that complies with the 8.3 naming convention for use with MSDOS applications. If you do not use pre-windows 95 programs then you should change this setting.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\
    FileSystem






    [​IMG]





    Select the DWORD value NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation and set its value to 1.


    Disable NTFS last access update

    Each time a drive that is formatted with the NTFS file system is accessed, windows updates the time stamp on the directory and all of the sub directories. This can eat up significant amounts of system resources. If the registry key is not there, create a new DWORD value by right clicking and selecting new>DWORD Value and name it NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate.






    [​IMG]





    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\
    FileSystem






    [​IMG]





    Select the DWORD value NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set its value to 1.


    IRQ prioritizing

    You can give certain IRQs priority over others with this option. The most common IRQ to prioritize is IRQ8 which is for the system I/O and Real Time Clock. Another commonly prioritized IRQ is the video card IRQ (usually IRQ16).

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\
    PriorityControl


    [​IMG]



    Create a new DWORD value called IRQ8Priority (you can replace 8 with any IRQ number you wish to prioritize) and set its value to 1.


    Miscellaneous


    Disabling unwanted startup programs

    A lot of programs will automatically start up with your computer when it boots. These can slow down your system considerably. To choose which programs start with your computer go to Start>Run and type msconfig then go to the startup tab. Uncheck the boxes of the programs that you don’t want to have starting up with your computer.
    Also go to Start>All Programs>Startup and delete any shortcuts out of this menu for the programs that you don’t want starting with your computer. Adobe usually puts some startup shortcuts in this folder.


    [​IMG]




    Defragment regularly

    Defragmenting your hard drive on a regular basis is one of the easiest things you can to keep your computer performing well. When a file becomes fragmented, it is physically out of order on the disk. Defragmenting puts the file back in order so that it can be continuously read without the read/write head jumping all over the place. To access the windows defragmenting utility go to Start>all programs>accessories>system tools and click disk defragmenter.






    [​IMG]






    Run disk cleanup regularly

    Disk cleanup removes temporary files and other unnecessary files the are just wasting disk space. To access the disk cleanup utility go to Start>all programs>accessories>system tools and click disk cleanup.


    [​IMG]




    Turn off automatic updates

    Go to Control panel>system>automatic updates and select turn off automatic updates and click apply.


    [​IMG]




    Use a registry cleaner

    Use a registry cleaning utility to fix and remove bad registry entries. RegSupreme Pro is a handy program:



    Change the priority of your applications

    Press ctrl + alt + del to open up the task manager. Click on the process tab and right click on the process you wish to prioritize and go to set priority and select the priority level you wish.






    [​IMG]







    Use Anti-Spyware Software













    Spybot 1.4​


















     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2007
  2. PVTCaboose1337

    PVTCaboose1337 Graphical Hacker

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    The guide needs to be updated FYI, but otherwise good.
     
  3. POGE

    POGE New Member

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    How does it need to be updated?
     
  4. PVTCaboose1337

    PVTCaboose1337 Graphical Hacker

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    Like a new version of AdAware came out etc.
     
  5. malware New Member

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    Nice guide, especially the registry entries. :toast:
     
  6. Alec§taar New Member

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    Here are two more sites you can try/use which I authored from 1997 onwards for public use/consumption!

    (Yes, Mine IS the oldest & ORIGINAL + MOST COMPREHENSIVE article for this type of performance boosting no less - all others just "bit off my style" including THIS guide, & even sites based on this type of work, to be blunt about it):

    APK Internet Security & Speed tuneups:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Goto:

    http://www.avatar.demon.nl

    and you see on top of the menu a
    Windows® flag? CLICK ON IT!

    OR here (direct link):

    http://www.avatar.demon.nl/page/index.html

    Another link to it.

    :)

    Both site pages are based off the original article #1 for this from NTCompatible.com which I authored years ago:

    http://www.blacksheepnetworks.com/security/resources/article1-2.shtml

    That's a cached copy someone else kept as to the orig. article that was @ NTCompatible.com from late 1997 iirc, & up to 2002 or so...

    Originally, circa 1997-1998 when I had this first there & afaik, it really is the oldest & original site with a page like those about Internet speed & security, as well as local system performance related tunings also!

    It is, afaik & have seen 12++ years online? The OLDEST one out there, there is & "the original article" for security & speed of a Windows NT-based OS.

    (These 2 sites expand HUGELY on the original & may contain things others do not, especially in the arena of security - things like, for example, port filtration & how simple + easy it is to implement for security).

    APK

    P.S.=> Nice as DeathStar's guide is (I am going to sound cocky, but any website doing it or others posting guides like these - just biting off my style, as I wrote the original article for this type of stuff)

    ?

    You'll find those FAR more comprehensive, for BOTH speed & security...

    The proof of my rather admittedly BOLD statement?

    OUR OWN TESTS HERE ON THE FORUMS IN SCIENCEMARK in Casheti & Canuto's results scores increasing here:

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=14736&page=63

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    &

    &

    You're welcome...

    WELL, as the "King of Ithaca", Odysseus, said to Achilles in the film, TROY:

    "You have your sword, I have my tricks... we both play with the toys the Gods give us!"

    :)

    * Try everything I wrote in that last post of mine up there... you'll go higher!

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To name JUST a few, only... from that thread, where performance? Is critical.

    Not just for benchmarks either, but for DAILY USE & BETTER PERFORMANCE...

    Fact is, I have had people from "the great arstechnica" & "XP Myths" websites (& yes, others) say what I put in my tuning guides is b.s.?

    Well, proof's in the pudding above as to who is spouting fables... lol! apk
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2006
  7. Urlyin

    Urlyin Senior Moderator

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    Thanks for taking the time to post the guide Death ... nicely done :toast:
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2006
  8. b1lk1

    b1lk1 New Member

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    Thank you, I just finished doing all these tweaks and I haven't benchmarked yet, but my system booted up about 10 seconds faster! Thank you!
     
  9. cjoyce1980 New Member

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    thanks
     
  10. gR3iF

    gR3iF New Member

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  11. Alec§taar New Member

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    Windows NT-based OS' Services you can change from LocalSystem Logon entity usage

    A little something I have been experimenting with, that aids in greater security of your machine, & @ the OS Services (like UNIX/Linux/MacOS X background daemon processes) level of operation, & you'll see it's undersecured & how to "harden/fortify" it:

    Lessing them from their default of LOCALSYSTEM entity logon persona (lessening them to lesser priveleged services, so they have less ability, & thus are more secured - especially when "bugs" related to security crop-up in them & they do).

    This is not like "disabling" them wholesale (or, using diff. hardware profiles to enable/disable them for diff. types of logins to your OS), this allows them to run, albeit more securely, @ least potentially. You may also wish to look @ secpol.msc as well, & check what services & users are able to do what, in conjunction with this listing too!

    LOCAL SERVICE startable list (vs. LocalSystem Logon Default):
    -----------------------------------------------------------------


    Virtual Disk Service
    Windows UserMode Driver Framework
    Remote Registry
    UserProfile Hive Cleanup Service
    Telnet
    SmartCard
    WinHTTP Proxy AutoDiscovery Service
    Windows Image Acquisition
    Indexing Service
    Volume Shadowing Service
    Tcp/IP NetBIOS Helper
    COM+ System Application
    Alerter (needs Workstation Service Running)
    Office Source Engine

    3rd PARTY SERVICES that work as LOCAL SERVICE logon type:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------


    Nvidia Display Driver Service
    O&O Clever Cache
    Sandra Service
    Sandra Data Service

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NETWORK SERVICE startable list (vs. LocalSystem Logon Default):
    -----------------------------------------------------------------


    Remote Desktop Help Session Manager Service
    Remote Packet Capture Protocol v.0 (experimental MS service)
    Resultant Set of Policies Provider
    Merger
    Application Layer Gateway
    NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing Service
    Network DDE
    Network DDE DSDM
    Clipbook (needs Network DDE & Network DDE DSDM)
    DNS Client
    DHCP Client
    Machine Debug Manager
    ASP.NET State Service
    Performance Logs & Alerts
    Error Reporting
    Visual Studio 2005 Remote Debug

    3rd PARTY SERVICES that work as NETWORK SERVICE logon type:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------


    FileZilla Server
    PDEngine (Raxco PerfectDisk)
    Executive Software Undelete

    =======================================================================

    * Each service uses a BLANK password when reassigning their logon entity (when you change it from the default of LocalSystem Account), because they use SID's afaik, not std. passwords - don't worry, even if they are blank passwords as you alter their logon entity, the system assigns them one via the SID for the user-entity you assign for their logon.

    IMPORTANT TO KNOW:

    If while you are "experimenting" on your home systems, something goes wrong & you cannot bootup again?

    (Which is what I ran into by making RPC a "network service" logon type (rather than its default of LocalSystem logon), & hence, the edit/revision of the list done below 2x now partially, & other reason is because my first post had many overlap onto the same line & I was unable to edit it w/in 1 hr. because the DB was down (Wed. scheduled one)).

    TO RECOVER:

    Just boot to "Safe Mode", & reset the ones you changed to LocalSystem once more & try again...

    It's how I did it in fact, because I screwed up on several in fact... I found you could change them to LocalService OR NetworkService in lieu of LocalSystem for the service's logon entity while in Windows, stop the service & start it again... & they worked JUST FINE!

    However, on reboot? NOT SO FINE!

    Apparently, some services NEED to act as "LocalSystem" during boottime, & once in Windows, can act either way (meaning can change logon entity & appear to run fine).

    The TRUE WAY to test this is rebooting by the way... it will tell you when & where you 'screwed up' changing these... in fact, I think it is the ONLY way really!

    Anyhow - I am hoping some of you guys come up w/ diff. services than I listed here (which is possible, if you think about programs from 3rd party OEM/software publishing houses such as Diskeeper &/or O & O Defrag for instance)

    (ENJOY IT, and if you find others? Add 'em on!)

    ALSO - This patch update from MS should help as well (in conjunction with the lists above & what they do (assign less priveleged users than LocalSystem (OS user entity) such as Network Service OR Local Service to Service's logon users entities they require)):

    Patch which fixes Permissive Windows Services std. DACLs Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (914798)

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms06-011.mspx

    :)

    * Enjoy, & be sure to apply that patch folks...

    APK

    Alexander Peter Kowalski
    apk4776239@hotmail.com
    apk

    P.S.=> If you find any difficulties with the setup/starting points I list above, please do let me know via private message here, &/or email (my email addy is above a few lines)... +, also, if you find others that fit here & work for you? Let us ALL know, TIA! apk
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2006
  12. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    Not a bad guide Death Star but for people on these forums I strongly recommend that you use services.msc rather than msconfig when disabling services to ensure that you don't disable the vital RPC. This site has a brilliant PDF tweak guide but it is quite long so just try to find the tweaks!
     
  13. mikechinym

    mikechinym New Member

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    there is also some tuning by software
    right now i am using 2 tuning software.
    1---->gamexp
    2---->tunexp
    i think someone try already
    just for share:)
     
  14. CUSACKOTG New Member

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    Thanks Death Star!

    took off at least 8-9 seconds on my boot up with the changes i made in my registry that you recommended. Was pleasantly surprised

    got any other tricks?


    cheers

    cusackotg
     
  15. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    If anyone wants faster boot times Google an M$ program called Bootvis and give it a go. Here's the best way to use it:

    1. Install it (obvious!)
    2. Load Bootvis and click on "Trace >Next Boot + Driver Delays" (this is required so Bootvis can work out how to best optimize your system) and click "Ok" or whatever comes up
    3. When it restarts bootvis should reload go "Trace >Optimize System"
    4. After it reboots, leave it for 5 minutes to do it's job (or until the window disappears)
    5. Enjoy 30 second or better boot times (not guaranteed!!!)
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2007
  16. Alec§taar New Member

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    USING /PREFETCH:1 SWITCH & what BootVis does (which your system will do anyhow)

    That program DOES work, but ONLY on Windows XP! I've tried to get it to run on Windows 2000 &/or Windows Server 2003, but NO DICE!

    (Something to be aware of - but, I'd wager most folks here @ least run Windows XP!)

    Eventually, boot-time optimization (present in XP/Server 2003) will do this job for you anyhow... but, it requires steady use of your PC & reboots (and iirc, the "task scheduler" services has to be operating too, and imo, also NOT disabling FileAccess stamps (a reg hack to this area of the registry for filesystem speeds (don't disable it for a month of use of your system or so @ least, the apply it, so that boottime optimizations DO take):

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem]
    "DisableLastAccessUpdate"=dword:00000001
    "NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate"=dword:00000001

    * That would ONLY be after several reboots & running your system as-per-usual (so that it can check what programs you run & how often, then raising those programs' placement on your disk up to the front/outermost-fastest tracks of your hdd platters) & MOSTLY that technique (which requires patience) would help not only your system's bootup reordering for its own libs/modules and programs, but also ones you use that are 3rd party or external to the OS itself.

    BootVis tends to save time for BOOTUP programs (the OS' programs/drivers, startup groups, & registry RUN areas programs, etc.) right-off-the-bat though, & forces it to occur for that group of programs, should you use it.

    * Another technique to try/use is the "/prefetch:1" switch on your shortcut commandlines, so you can force programs you use a lot to do this as well, so they too, load faster!

    APK

    P.S.=> I.E. - Want to make PARTICULAR programs you use "automagically" be faster, due to boot-time reordering on disk?

    Add /prefetch:1 to their shortcuts TARGET line @ the end of them... this works as well!

    E.G.-> C:\GAMES\Quake 4\Quake4.exe /prefetch:1

    apk
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2006
  17. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    I should have mentioned it's only for XP (and if you have hyperthreading or dual core it has to be SP2). I've read XP is supposed to do this eventually but I've never found it actually does it as well as Bootvis.

    Another fact for you guys: if you disable the task scheduler service this will disable prefetching and slow down your load times for everything dramatically... so don't disable it!
     
  18. Alec§taar New Member

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    Not as fast, takes reboots, & if you're not one to reboot often? Well, hence the delay, @least for bootup system files.

    (Does it run on ALL revisions of XP? Such as SP's?? I don't & haven't run XP in ages, years really... so need to ask).

    I wonder if the "Process Idle System Tasks" command will trigger it though? That's another one I was wondering about...

    APK

    P.S.=> RunDLL32.EXE %WinDir%\system32\advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks

    Don't forget this either, it works with this stuff, same stuff as BootVis (but, not only for OS files):

    start /high C:\GAMES\Quake 4\Quake4.exe /prefetch:1

    (The PREFETCH switch for your favorite programs in their shortcut target (commandline I use for Quake4SMP is above, via a cmdfile it is in (StartHighQ4.cmd)))

    apk
     
  19. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    I think it should run on all versions of XP, unless you have hyperthreading or possibly dual core in which case you need to have SP2 installed otherwise it just won't work in most cases. As for the processing idle tasks command, I'm not sure if that would do it but I know lots of people are under the impession they should run that before playing games, which is totally wrong because it takes up to 15mins to complete so it actually runs while your playing rather than when you're idle. I might try that prefetch command when I get time, I've been quite busy and will be for the next couple of weeks but after that I'll be doing some tweaking on my new XP istall. And learning to use ubuntu :confused:
     
  20. laszlo

    laszlo

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  21. gR3iF

    gR3iF New Member

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    may we do an windows version with nlite?
    wizzard says if we have one good image he would upload it
     
  22. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    Problem with nLite is different people like and need different things. I might try and make a universal nLite image sometime if I can, one problem I've found with nLite is that it doesn't integrate ATI drivers correctly, it misses the smartgart part of it. Perhaps it would be better if someone just wrote a good nLite guide?
     
  23. Migons New Member

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    Afaik, the L2 cache registry tweak is useless, because Win2k/XP recognizes size of L2 automatically.
     
  24. POGE

    POGE New Member

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    Indeed. The tweak makes it so windows doesnt have to spend time recognizing it. :)
     
  25. Migons New Member

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    ...to spend time, which is propably measured in milliseconds :)
     

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