Most users are simply going to use their system as received regardless of who install it but there are a thousand and one things which they should become aware of. Most systems under a hundred years old without anything whatsoever done to it -- other than used -- will generally work well until it falls apart from old age. The environment it is used in is also important, just as it is for you. You start adding anything from software to hardware which includes Windows Updates and the sooner things begin to fall apart -- for one reason or another. A list of things to look at:
1. The article [Q320299] explains that when you shut down your Windows XP-based computer, your computer may restart instead of shutting down and it may also restart unexpectedly while you are using the computer to perform certain tasks, which may occur if Windows is by default set to automatically restart when Windows stops responding and is further explained in ''How To Configure System Failure and Recovery Options in Windows (Q307973).''
2. It is reported in the article [Q873161] that after you install Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and you are prompted to restart the computer, the computer starts, but before you can log on, the computer begins to continuously restart. This problem occurs if you had a UMAX scanner driver installed on your computer and the resolution is to start the computer in Safe Mode, remove the UMAX driver, remove Windows XP SP2, and then reinstall Windows XP SP2.
3. The article [Q316416] explains that when browsing the Internet, your computer may restart unexpectedly and can occur if both of the following conditions are true:
? A broadband cable modem or an asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) modem is installed on your system, and the modem is using drivers that cause a fatal system (STOP) error.
Note: Depending on your system configuration, the resulting blue-screen error message may not be displayed long enough for you to record the error information.
? The Automatically restart check box is selected under System failure in the Startup and Recovery dialog box (under System Properties).
4. The article [Q330181] explains the procedures for hopefully determining whether a hardware component is either damaged or is incompatible with WinXP.
1. The article ''Computer Speed and Performance May Decrease (Q310419)'' explains - among other things - that running services and programs started automatically when you start your computer typically run all the time and uses a portion of your computer's system resources that cannot be used for any other task. The more used the slower your computer gets -- makes sense.
2. Are unnecessary Counter Logs used? Are they really necessary?
a. Click Start, Programs, Administrative Tools and then click Performance.
b. Double click Performance Logs and Alerts, Counter Logs and note what is listed in the details pane. A green icon indicates that a log is running; a red icon indicates that a log has been stopped.
c. If desired, you may also right-click a blank area of the details pane and click New Log Settings, enter a name for a log to create in the Name box:, and then click OK. Click General, Add, and select the counters wanted too. If you want to change the default file and schedule information, make the changes on the Log Files and Schedule tabs.
d. To remove whatever you wish to circumvent running/logging simple highlight the name of the counter in the legend in the System Monitor details pane and press the Delete key.
3. After Internet Explorer and Internet Tools are installed, the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard can be run to use the wizard's AVS feature to obtain any updated or new components released by Microsoft that have become available since deploying Internet Explorer, which then becomes part of the everyday updated browser package. Do you want this running all the time? The update notification page notification can be turned off using the IEAK Profile Manager:
a. Click Start, Programs (in Windows XP, click All Programs), Microsoft IEAK 6, IEAK Profile Manager.
b. Click File, Open, and then open the .ins file for the custom browser package.
c. On the left side, under Policies and Restrictions, click Internet Settings, Advanced.
d. On the right side, clear the Automatically check for Internet Explorer updates check box.
e. Click File, Save as: and type a name for the file, keeping its .ins file extension.
Note: After disabling, it can still be turned on in the browser. To disable the page completely so it cannot be enable it in the browser, set the Update check interval to a value of zero.
4. Supplemental reading:
a. ''Disabling AutoUpdate Service in Control Panel Does Not Shut Down the Service (Q283151).''
b. ''Description of the Windows XP Logman.exe, Relog.exe, and Typeperf.exe Tools (Q303133).''
c. ''Failure Events Are Logged When the Welcome Screen Is Enabled (Q305822).''
d. ''HOW TO: Configure Recovery Techniques in Windows XP (Q307973)'', concerning severe errors (also called a fatal system error, or stop error)
e. ''HOW TO: Set Performance Options (Q308417).''
f. ''HOW TO: Use Computer Management in Windows XP (Q308423).''
g. ''HOW TO: View and Manage Event Logs in Event Viewer (Q308427).''
h. ''HOW TO: Set Up Administrative Alerts in Windows XP (Q310490).''
i. ''Windows XP May Slow Down If Users Are Logged On with Fast User Switching (Q31205.''
5. After enabling the Run logon scripts synchronously policy setting, Windows directs the system to wait for the logon scripts to finish running before it starts the interface program and creates the desktop and these ''Scripts May Not Run Before Windows Explorer Starts Even Though the ''Run Logon Scripts Synchronously'' Setting is Enabled (Q304970)'' and occurs because a logon performance enhancement is enabled by default. This enhancement causes the computer to not wait for Group Policy processing before an environment is initialized.
6. '' Services'' (click to see an example screenshot) are programs that run when the computer is booted and continue to run as they aid system functionality. You will find many services loaded and are simply not needed which take up memory space and CPU time. Circumventing those unneeded services will free up system resources and speed up overall computer operation.
a. Click Start, Run type services.msc and then press Enter.
b. The Services applet will load listing services currently in session/use. What you have to consider/decide is which service(s) is/are not right for you -- good luck.
c. Please review the topics:
(1) The article ''HOW TO: Perform Advanced Clean-Boot Troubleshooting in Windows XP (Q316434)'' provides a partial list of core operating system services that load and varies according to the services that are installed and the version of Windows XP used. If automatic events and services constantly run and eat up system resources, perhaps eliminating those consider extraneous and unnecessary could help improve system performance. Remember, they can always be reinstated.
(2) ''Default settings for services.''
(3) ''A Description of Svchost.exe in Windows XP (Q314056).''
d. To configure how a service is started:
(1) Open Services and right-click the service to configure, and then click Properties.
(2) On the General tab, in the Startup type box, click either Automatic, Manual, or Disabled.
(3) To specify the user account that the service can use to log on, click the Log On tab, and then do one of the following:
(a) To specify that the service use the LocalSystem account, click Local System account.
(b) To specify that the service use the LocalService account, click This account, and then type NT AUTHORITY\LocalService.
(c) To specify that the service use the NetworkService account, click This account, and then type NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService.
(d) To specify another account, click This account, click Browse, and then specify a user account in the Select User dialog box. When you are finished, click OK.
(e) Type the password for the user account in the Password box and in the Confirm password box, and then click OK.
e. Interesting reading:
? ''System Services for the Windows Server 2003 Family and Windows XP Operating Systems.'' Read the topic ''Workstations'' specifically, and if it is not needed, disable.
? ''Black Viper's Windows XP Services Configurations.''
? ''Windows XP Tweaking Guide - VIA/Arena.''
f. Please note, that if a service runs for catalog indexing such as Cidaemon.exe that is discussed in the Win2k article [Q156756], further discussed in [Q308202] for both Win2k and WinXP, it is suggested that some testing be conducted to perhaps check whether certain services are necessary and used only after you read the article, ''HOW TO: Use Computer Management in Windows XP (Q308423).''
7. If you have thousands of files on your computer, you may speed up your searches by turning on the ''Indexing Service'' to run in the background (the equivalent of FastFind previously used on older Windows systems which everybody learned to do without). If you don't have thousands of documents to search through, you're unlikely to benefit much from indexing. Please note that if the number of documents is large, insufficient memory will seriously affect performance. You can also improve performance by adding more memory and increasing the amount of memory dedicated to mapping the property cache. A faster CPU and hard drive improves the performance of indexing and the speed of processing queries as well.
a. From My Computer, right-click the hard drive and select Properties.
b. Note the entry at the bottom labeled ''Allow indexing service to index this disk for faster searches''.
c. Uncheck the box and then click OK.
d. An applet will pop-up prompting whether to apply this option to all folders and subfolders.
8. A ''memory leak occurs'' when a memory pool allocates some of its memory to a process and the process does not return the memory. When this happens repeatedly, the memory pool is depleted, [Q130926]. Are there any on your system which create this anomaly?
9. The ''System Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG.EXE) (Q310560) can be used to prevent unnecessary items from loading when a system is started (Click here to see an example screenshot).
Note: If you change any startup setting by using System Configuration Utility, the following message appears the next time you log on to the system:
? You have used the System Configuration Utility to change the way Windows starts.
? The System Configuration Utility is currently in Diagnostic or Selective Startup mode, causing this message to be displayed and the utility to run every time Windows starts.
? Choose the Normal Startup mode on the General tab to start Windows normally and undo the changes you made using the System Configuration Utility.
10. Hint: It is not necessary for a user to log off the computer since a user's account is always logged on and the user can switch quickly between all open accounts. For example, Dad comes home and starts using his machine. He opens Microsoft PowerPoint