Tag Archives: tweaks

A Recipe for Success: Six Ingredients for Maximizing Windows XP Mode Performance

Guest writer Tibor Schiemann, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of software developer TuneUp, (the TuneUp Utilities 2011 folks), walks you through Windows 7 XP Mode – what you’ll need, and how to maximize performance while running Windows XP virtualized.

imagePart of Windows 7, Windows XP Mode (also known as “Virtual Windows”) is designed to make the transition from Windows XP as smooth as possible. It runs a full copy of the former Microsoft operating system in the background, so that Windows 7 users can install and run applications that are not compatible with Microsoft’s latest operating system. However, there are some performance issues users can run into when using Windows XP Mode.

Prepping for Virtual Windows on Your PC

To run older applications under Windows XP Mode, you’ll first need Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate; it doesn’t matter if it’s the 32-bit or 64-bit architecture.

Then, in terms of hardware, I recommend using at least a Core 2 Duo 2 GHz processor and having 2 GB (or more) of main memory and 20 GB of free hard disk space for Windows XP Mode. Simulating Windows XP takes up a lot of resources because you are basically running two operating systems at the same time—your Windows 7 and the virtualized XP.

One bit of advice though—it is best to go with a processor that has a hardware virtualization feature, which allows Windows XP Mode to run nearly as fast as the true operating system. Without hardware virtualization, you will likely notice slower performance when working with older programs. To find out if your PC already supports this feature, download the Microsoft Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool.

Before getting started, you’ll need a few additional downloads. These include one for Windows XP Mode itself and another for the software for simulating Windows XP inside your Windows 7 system. For users without hardware virtualization on their PCs, an update is also required.

Fine-Tuning Windows XP Mode’s Performance

In its default setting, Windows XP Mode is not tuned for optimum performance, and not all of the important features are necessarily enabled. There are many resource-draining elements because these are needed for the “real” operating system but not for the virtualized one. Here are the six most essential steps for maximizing Windows XP Mode’s performance and functionality.

  1. Share an Internet connection. Running your older Windows XP application might require a working Internet connection. To see if Windows XP Mode is connected, launch Internet Explorer. If the browser’s default website does not appear, click on “Tools” in the Windows XP Mode window and then “Settings”. Go to “Networking” and select your network adapter rather than the default setting. Hit “OK”, wait and try it again.
  1. Use Windows Update to install the latest software settings. Once your virtual computer is connected to the Internet, download the latest updates by clicking on “Start” and going to “All Programs/Windows Update.” Install all of the pre-requisite updates, and once you’re finished, select all of the “High Priority” updates using the “Custom” view. Then, go to the optional software category and install the updates that are necessary for Windows XP Mode machine.
  1. Disable sounds. To do this, go to “Start” and then “Control Panel”, and click on “Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices”. Hit “Change the sound scheme”, select “No sounds”, and then click on “No” and on “OK”.
  1. Use Turbo Mode. This TuneUp Utilities feature is perfectly suited to a virtual environment. With one click, it disables many Windows XP Mode features that aren’t necessary and only consume memory as well as processor resources, such as automatic defragmentation, maintenance tasks and synchronization features. This stuff is important for actual Windows XP PCs but not for running older programs.
  1. Install your old programs. Insert the CD or DVD with your Windows XP program, go to “My Computer” and install it like normal. If it’s a program you downloaded, you’ll need to access the hard disk drive on your “real” computer. To do this, go to “My Computer” and look at the “Other” category. These physical drives are easily accessible for sharing files between your “real” PC and “Virtual Windows”. (Note: In some cases, running a setup installer from one of these shared drives might end up in an error message. If you encounter this, copy the file from your Windows 7 PC to the Windows XP Mode desktop and run it from there.)
  1. Run your old programs. Finished installing all of the legacy applications? Log off from Windows XP Mode and hit the “X” to close the virtual machine. All of the programs you installed will be available in your Windows 7 start menu. Moving forward, as soon as you launch one of these Windows XP Mode applications, “Virtual Windows” will run in the background—but the actual program feature will, in fact, appear as a regular program window under Windows 7.

With these Windows XP Mode tweaks, you’ll be able to squeeze as much performance and functionality as possible out of your virtualized machine.

For more background information on Windows XP Mode, a step-by-step guide on setting it up and common “Virtual Windows” FAQs, visit the TuneUp Blog about Windows.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Geek Software and Tools, Operating Systems, TuneUp Utilities, Virtualization, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows XP

Windows 7 and Vista Ultimate Windows Tweaker –

Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a freeware utility for tweaking and optimizing Windows Vista, and now Windows 7 –  both 32-bit, and 64-bit versions.

This small (235KB), program has a clean, easy to understand interface that gives you access to over 150 system settings, some of which are hidden, and others that are just hard to find. The interface is organized for easy navigation, and it is complete with detailed descriptions for easy reference.

The major benefit in using this type of tweaking application is the ease with which you can make changes to your system – without the drudgery of having to go through menu after menu, or manually editing the Registry to get the results you want.

However, as with any application that makes changes to your system, use caution and be sure to have a verified backup. Fortunately, Ultimate Windows Tweaker allows you to create a system-restore point before you make any changes.

The following screen captures should give you a good idea of what you can accomplish using Ultimate Windows Tweaker.

Personalization Tweaks. Click on any graphic to expand.

image

System Performance Tweaks.

image

Network Tweaks.

image

Additional Tweaks.

image

System Requirements: Windows 7, Vista – 32 and 64 Bit.

Bonus: Ultimate Windows Tweaker can easily be copied to a USB flash drive for portability.

Download at: The Windows Club

While this application is designed for advanced users, I see no reason why careful average users should have any problem tweaking their system using Ultimate Windows Tweaker.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Portable Applications, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, USB, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista

Tweak and Optimize Windows Settings with Free Fresh UI

Freshdevices’ Fresh UI is a powerful tool that allows you to configure and optimize your version of Windows – from Windows 95 (hard to believe this OS is still in use), through to Windows XP.

With Fresh UI’s simple interface you have the means to access literally hundreds of system settings – settings that you might otherwise have a hard time getting at.

Navigating through this application is easy since the interface is organized similar to Windows Explorer, complete with detailed descriptions for easy reference.

I have heard from some users that in their view, it was not always clear what outcome they could expect with some of the selections. On the other hand, most users seem to agree that the help file is fairly extensive, and easy to understand for those who have a reasonable knowledge of their operating system.

The major benefit in using this type of tweaking application is the ease with which you can make changes to your system, without the drudgery of having to go through menu after menu, or manually editing the Registry, to get the results you want.

However, as with any application that makes changes to your system, use caution, and be sure to have a verified backup.

FreshUI 2

Quick facts:

Customizing Windows User Interface (UI)

Optimizing system settings

Optimizing hardware settings

Customizing Windows application settings

Control user environment

System requirements: Windows XP/2000/NT/ 98/95/

Note: Free registration is required which will extend usage past 11 days. Fresh Devices will email you once or twice monthly with various offers regarding their other freeware. If you consider such activity as Spam, do not download this application.

Last updated: October 10, 2009

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Freeware, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Fix Disk Errors And More With Free Disk Heal

image So you’ve finally managed to get rid of that nasty piece of malware that’s been causing you all sorts of grief – your anti-malware application has come to the rescue.

But now you’re left with another problem; a problem which can be equally as aggravating.

We’ve all heard the horror stories where the user was left to deal with the following problems after successfully removing an infection.

Drive inaccessibility

Task Manager inaccessibility

Folder Options inaccessibility

Registry Editor inaccessibility

Scary stuff to be sure, but you don’t have to be a Techno Geek to deal with these types of problems. Even though, for the casual or new user, a manual solution may be outside their technical abilities, there is a great newbie tool which offers a free solution.

Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive, after it has been being infected by a virus.

image

Disk Heal is a great free tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks, The simple interface makes it easy to access these additional functions, with with just one click.

Quick facts:

Fixes disk problems

Fixes task manager inaccessibility

Fixes folder options inaccessibility

Fixes registry editor inaccessibility

Recovers hidden files and folders

Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition

Security and system tweaks

As you’re building your toolbox of system utilities, this is a good application to add. None of us are immune to a virus infection, and at some point you’ll be glad you had this little tool ready to go.

System requirements: Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista

Download at: Download.com

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under computer repair, Freeware, Hard Drive Problems, New Computer User Software Tools, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Tweak Vista To The Max – Ultimate Windows Tweaker Free

Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a freeware utility for tweaking and optimizing Windows Vista, 32-bit & 64-bit specifically.

This small (235KB), program has a clean, easy to understand interface that gives you access to over 150 system settings, some of which are hidden, and others that are just hard to find. The interface is organized for easy navigation, and it is complete with detailed descriptions for easy reference.

The major benefit in using this type of tweaking application is the ease with which you can make changes to your system, without the drudgery of having to go through menu after menu, or manually editing the Registry to get the results you want.

However, as with any application that makes changes to your system, use caution and be sure to have a verified backup. Fortunately, Ultimate Windows Tweaker allows you to create a system-restore point before you make any changes.

ultimate-windows-tweaker-1

Quick facts:

Personalization

User Accounts & UAC

System & Performance

Security

Internet Explorer (IE7 / IE8)

Network Optimization

Additional Options

System Requirements:

Windows – Vista 32 and 64 Bit.

Minimum system configuration:

Microsoft Windows Vista

800×600 screen resolution with 256 colors

5 MB free disk space

Internet Explorer 7 or higher

Recommended system configuration:

Microsoft Windows Vista

1024×768 screen resolution with 32-bit colors

10 MB free disk space

Internet Explorer 7 or higher

Bonus:

Ultimate Windows Tweaker can easily be copied to a USB flash drive for portability.

Download at: Major Geeks

For those operating on versions of Windows other than Vista checkout, “Tweak Windows to the Max with Fresh UI Free”, on this site.

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Filed under Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Portable Applications, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Tweak Windows to the Max with Fresh UI Free!

Fresh UI 1 Has Fresh UI (User Interface), been around forever, or does it just seem that way? One of the oldest and most well established free Windows tweaking applications, Freshdevices’ Fresh UI is a powerful tool that allows you to configure and optimize your version of Windows.

This small (1.48 MB) program has a clean, easy to understand interface that gives you access to hundreds of system settings, some of which are hidden, and others that are just hard to find. The interface is organized by section for easy navigation, and it is complete with detailed descriptions for easy reference.

I have heard from some users that in their view, it was not always clear what outcome they could expect with some of the selections. On the other hand, most users seem to agree that the help file is fairly extensive, and easy to understand for those who have a reasonable knowledge of their operating system.

The major benefit in using this type of tweaking application is the ease with which you can make changes to your system, without the drudgery of having to go through menu after menu, or manually editing the Registry to get the results you want.

However, as with any application that makes changes to your system, use caution and be sure to have a verified backup.

FreshUI 2

Quick facts:

Customizing Windows User Interface (UI)

Optimizing system settings

Optimizing hardware settings

Customizing Windows application settings

Control user environment

System requirements: Windows Vista/XP/2000/NT/ 98/95/ – runs great on Windows 7!

Note: Free registration required, which will lead to one or two emails monthly.

Download at: Download.com

3 Comments

Filed under Computer Maintenance, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Slow Computer, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Repair Drives, Files, Folders with Free Disk Heal

While it’s true that most anti-malware applications will remove an executable malware file from your system, depending on the infection, it is not uncommon that it will be unable to reverse the damage already done.

In many cases the user will be left to deal with the following problems.

Drive inaccessibility

Task Manager inaccessibility

Folder Options inaccessibility

Registry Editor inaccessibility

It’s not necessary to be a Techno Geek to deal with these types of problems; there are a number of manual methods to resolve these issues. But for the casual or new computer user, the solution may be outside their technical abilities. Fortunately, there is a free solution that is new user friendly.

Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive, after it has been being infected by a virus.

This free application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

Quick facts:

Fixes disk problems

Fixes task manager inaccessibility

Fixes folder options inaccessibility

Fixes registry editor inaccessibility

Recovers hidden files and folders

Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition

Security and system tweaks

As you’re building your toolbox of system utilities, this is a good application to add. None of us are immune to a virus infection, and at some point you’ll be glad you had this little tool ready to go.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Disk Cleaners, Freeware, Hard Drive Problems, Slow Computer, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Virus Repair Tools, Windows Tips and Tools