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**Baddass' Guide to Windows Performance, Optimization, Security and Tweaking**

Discussion in 'Windows & Other Software' started by Baddass, 13 Feb 2004.

  1. Baddass


    Joined: 12 Jan 2003

    Posts: 20,019

    Location: UK

    Ok guys, I see I’ve got too much time on my hands again so I thought I’d write another guide to try and answer some of the FAQ’s on this forum about Windows XP, optimizations and tweaks, and fresh installing your PC for best performance. Seems there’s a lot of questions about “how do I improve Windows performance” and the likes, so here goes….hopefully then all the questions will be in one big thread. Any additions, email me (in my sig) and I can easily add them

    Much of the XP tweaking and Services info is thanks to: (the now closed, but still available in PDF) Blackviper.com .Screen shots of most of the processes described can be found at their website.

    A Fresh Install

    Ok, you’ve F-disked your HD, set up your partitions and you’re installing Windows, here’s the most common install order people use (inc me) on the forums:
    1. Install Windows
    2. Any Service Pack from Windows
    3. Motherboard / Chipset drivers
    4. Direct X update
    5. Graphics Card drivers
    6. Other Hardware drivers inc. sound, modem, LAN (etc)
    7. Critical Updates from Windows Update

    8. Install all your other programs and update them / set them up as you go
    8. Full Defrag

    If you have Antivirus and/or firewall software it is worth installing them early on, perhaps before you go online to get MS Critical updates. Do a Antivirus update early on too, to make sure u are fully protected.

    Perhaps throw in a defrag for good measures after stage 4 just to get things running nicely from the beginning, but it’s debatable whether it will make much difference, certainly doesn’t hurt though!


    Windows built in Defragmenter is pretty bog standard. Some good and much faster alternatives include Vopt XP and Diskeeper, try those for a good quality defrag. Before defragging it is always a good idea to delete all temporary files, temp internet files, empty your recycle bin (all in system tools > disk cleanup). There’s no need for Windows to be moving these files around, get rid of them. Also empty your windows\prefetch folder every time you want to defrag,.........emptying it will speed up your performance, and defragging with it empty helps move all your system files around without moving unnecessary files like these

    Pagefile Size and Location

    Ok, a very common one this…..generally it is considered that Windows is perfectly capable of organising you pagefile size so leave it to be ‘system managed’. If you really want to save on pagefile size, and have enough RAM (>512MB recommended) then u can decrease the size of your pagefile. It is generally not advised to totally disable the pagefile, but if you have 1GB of RAM some ppl say they can disable it with no adverse effects.
    The location of the pagefile is also a common question. The only real performance advantage is if you move the pagefile to a separate partition on a separate physical HD.

    To change your pagefile size and location with the default Category Control Panel:

    1. Head to Start
    2. Select Control Panel
    3. Select Performance and Maintenance
    4. Select System
    5. Select Advanced Tab
    6. Under Performance, select the Settings button
    7. Select Advanced Tab
    8. Under Virtual Memory, select the Change button
    9. Adjust as needed, or select "No paging File," then select the Set button
    10. Select the Ok button to apply the settings
    11. You must reboot for the changes to take effect
    [According to Blackviper.com:]
    From Fastest to Slowest, these are the configuration you can try:

    * No swap file at all. Some software may fail. You also need "much" memory to do this. Greater than 512 MB.
    * A static swap file on a separate hard drive (and preferably, controller) from Windows and frequently accessed data.
    * A dynamic swap file on a separate hard drive (and preferably, controller) from Windows and frequently accessed data.
    * A static swap file on a separate partition, but on the same physical hard drive as Windows.
    * A dynamic swap file on a separate partition, but on the same physical hard drive as Windows.
    * The Default: A dynamic swap file on the same partition and physical hard drive (usually C) as Windows.

    Microsofts own article about Pagefile



    Which Antivirus Program is the best?

    A common question which can be answered with a quick search. This info might be helpful to ppl trying to find out. Thread about it all: here

    This is a cut and paste from a different forum by a user called kobra.

    Testbed consisted of 321 Viruses, Trojans and Worms, all for the Windows32 environment, and all reasonably new samples. I don't have any data on whether some of these are zoo, or ITW, but they are all real threats I feel someone is likely to encounter, since I got them off the internet (and i've verified they are real as each sample must be detected by at least 4 AV's for me to consider it). All scanners were installed on a clean system, without any traces of other anti-virus softwares - between each test the system and directories were cleaned, and the registry was sweeped. Each AV product was treated with a double-reboot, one before, and one after installation. Each scanner was set at its highest possible settings, and was triple checked for proper options and configuration. Most products were the full registered version when possible, others were fully functional unrestricted trials. All products were tested with the current version as of 6-14-04, and the latest definitions for that date. Each product was run through the test set a minimum of 3 times to establish proper settings and reliability, the only product to exhibit some variance on this was F-Secure, which had one scan come up less than the other two without any settings changes indicating a possible stability issue.

    The final standings:

    1) MKS-Vir
    1a) eXtendia AVK
    2) Kaspersky 5.0/4.5
    2a) McAfee VirusScan 8.0
    3) F-Secure
    4) GData AVK
    5) RAV + Norton (2 way tie)
    6) Dr.Web
    7) CommandAV + F-Prot + BitDefender (3 Way Tie)
    8) ETrust
    9) Trend
    10) Panda
    11) Avast! Pro
    12) KingSoft
    13) NOD32
    14) AVG Pro
    15) AntiVIR
    16) ClamWIN
    17) UNA
    18) Norman
    19) Solo
    20) Proland
    21) Sophos
    22) Hauri
    23) CAT Quickheal
    24) Ikarus

    Heuristics seemed to play some of a roll in this test, as no AV had every virus in my test in their definitions, and products with stronger heuristics were able to hold their position towards the top of the test. Double/Multi engined products put up strong showings as well, proving to me that the redundacy method works, and I think more AV companies should considering double-engines. The strongest heurisitical AV I noticed was F-Prot/Command, picking up only 247 samples with definitions but they were able to power through 67 additional hits on "Possible Virus" indicators - very strong! Norton with BloodHound activated had 30 Heuristical pickups, and DrWeb rounded up the pack with 20 heuristical pickups. eXtendia AVK grabs the number one slot with double engine scanning, anything the KAV engine missed, the RAV engine picked up with great redundancy on the double engine/definition system. McAfee actually missed only 2 samples with its definitions, but picked those 2 up as "Suspicious File", and therefore, scores nearly perfect as well.

    The biggest dissapointments for me were Norman and Nod32. Even with Advanced-Heuristics enabled, NOD32 failed to pick up a large portion of the samples. Norman, while finding some of the toughest samples, managed to completely miss a large portion of them! Showing that their sandbox-emulation system has great potetential, but its far from complete.

    Actual test numbers were:

    Total Samples/Found Samples (321 total possible) + Number Missed + Detection Percentage

    Discovered and tested MKS-Vir2004, from Poland. Surprisingly, this one with caught every sample perfectly on Medium Heuristics. Specifically, nearly 50 samples were picked up Heuristically giving it a perfect score of 321/321. However, when I increased Heuristics to "Super Deep", it picked up an addition 10 more suspicious files. Upon further investigation, it was found that it was picking up signatures of hacktool utilities left over in some of the archives and flagging those files. Indeed, this is impressive. MKS-Vir2004 exhibits the most advanced detection algorithms i've ever seen, clearly it only had signatures for 271 of my samples, but through code emulation, it was able to pick up all 321 samples!! It clearly labeled the Heuristically found ones as things as "Likely Win32 Trojan" or "Highly Suspicious Acting File". In addition, its scanning speed was incredibly quick, and its memory footprint was quite small. Impressive! Furthermore, this is a full featured and fairly polished product that appears to update at least once per day, and tech support responded to me within 5-15 minutes on my emails. Unfortunately, it appears to not be available in the US for purchase at this time.

    1a) MKS_Vir 2004 - 321/321 0 Missed - 100%
    1b) eXtendia AVK - 321/321 0 Missed - 100%
    2a) Kaspersky 5.0 - 320/321 1 Missed - 99.70% (with Extended Database ON)
    2b) McAfee VirusScan 8.0 - 319/321 + 2 (2 found as joke programs - heuristically) - 99%
    3) F-Secure - 319/321 2 Missed - 99.37%
    4) GData AVK - 317/321 4 Missed - 98.75%
    5) RAV + Norton (2 way tie) - 315/321 6 Missed - 98.13%
    6) Dr.Web - 310/321 11 Missed - 96.57%
    7) CommandAV + F-Prot + BitDefender (3 Way Tie) - 309/321 12 Missed - 96.26%
    8) ETrust - 301/321 20 Missed - 93.76%
    9) Trend - 300/321 21 Missed - 93.45%
    10) Avast! Pro - 299/321 22 Missed - 93.14%
    11) Panda - 298/321 23 Missed - 92.83%
    12) Virus Buster - 290/321 31 Missed - 90.34%
    13) KingSoft - 288/321 33 Missed - 89.71%
    14) NOD32 - 285/321 36 Missed (results identical with or without advanced heuristics) - 88.78%
    15) AVG Pro - 275/321 46 Missed - 85.66%
    16) AntiVIR - 268/321 53 Missed - 83.48%
    17) Antidote - 252/321 69 Missed - 78.50%
    18) ClamWIN - 247/321 74 Missed - 76.94%
    19) UNA - 222/321 99 Missed - 69.15%
    20) Norman - 215/321 106 Missed - 66.97%
    21) Solo - 182/321 139 Missed - 56.69%
    22) Fire AV - 179/321 142 Missed - 55.76%
    23) V3 Pro - 109/321 212 Missed - 33.95%
    24) Per_AV - 75/321 - 246 Missed - 23.36%
    25) Proland - 73/321 248 Missed - 22.74%
    26) Sophos - 50/321 271 Missed - 15.57%
    27) Hauri - 49/321 272 Missed - 15.26%
    28) CAT Quickheal - 21/321 300 Missed - 6%
    29) Vir_iT - 10/321 311 Missed - 3%
    30) Ikarus - Crashed on first virus. - 0%

    Interesting also to note, is the detection level of the US AVK version with KAV+RAV engines was higher than the German version with KAV+BitDefender engines. Several vendors have free versions of their for purchase AV's, we didn't test the free versions, as it would serve no purpose for this test, but based on the results, none of the free versions would have been very impressive anyway. The term "Heuristics" seems like it should be taken very liberally, as some products that claim to be loaded with Heuristics scored miserably on items they clearly didn't have definitions for. Scanning speed was not measured, as it was totally irrelevant to my testing, and on-access scanners were not tested, as it would have been too time consuming, but considering most products have similar on-access engines as on-demand, and use the same database, results most likely, would be very similar.

    Cut through the hype, cut through the marketing schemes, this was a real test, with real samples, and none of these samples were provided to the antivirus software vendors in advance. This is real world, and these are likely badguys you'll encounter, since I got them in my real encounters, and all were aquired on the internet in daily activities which anyone out there might be involved in. (Installing shareware, filesharing, surfing, etc). Keep in mind that with ITW tests the AV vendors have full disclosure of what they will be tested on in advance, not so here, so heuristics and real detection algorithms will play a big part, as well as the depth and scope of their definition database.

    [Edit: After re-testing the Kaspersky products with Extended Database option turned ON, the moved up effectively scoring 100% considering the 1% margin of error]
    Last edited: 19 May 2005
  2. Baddass


    Joined: 12 Jan 2003

    Posts: 20,019

    Location: UK

    The Best XP Tweaks for improved Performance

    Two of the most resource hungry services on Windows XP can be disabled which will greatly improve performance.

    1. System Restore - If you don’t use it then disable it. Personally I turn it off on all my drives except my Windows partition. This saves some HD space but keeps my C drive monitored, but for max performance increase turn it off altogether. By default, System Restore Service uses a LARGE amount of disk space to store rollback points. On large hard drives, this could be well over 10 to 20 GB.

    Q. How do I turn off System Restore Process?:

    With the default Category Control Panel:

    1. Head to Start
    2. Select Control Panel
    3. Select Performance and Maintenance
    4. Select System
    5. Select System Restore Tab
    6. Check "Turn off System Restore"
    7. Select the Ok button to apply the settings

    After that, Disable and Stop the System Restore Service:
    Start > Run > services.msc > System Restore Service > Stop and Disable


    2. Indexing Service - It uses about 500 K to 2 MB in an idle state, not to mention the amount of memory and CPU resources it takes to INDEX the drives. I have it turned off altogether. Blackviper would always recommend getting rid of this!

    You can disable the service from:
    Start > Run > services.msc > Indexing service > Stop it, then choose ‘disabled’ fro the startup option.

    You can remove the function via the "Add / Remove Programs" icon in the control panel (Windows Setup Programs) to get rid of it altogether

    Turn off Automatic Updates.

    If you want to be in charge of your updating and also know exactly what you’re installing (always a good idea!) then u can free some resources and disable automatic updating.

    [Note: It is very important that if you decide to disable the Automatic Updates Service, you check the Windows Update site often to ensure the latest critical updates and security patches are installed.]

    With the default Category Control Panel:

    1. Head to Start
    2. Select Control Panel
    3. Select Performance and Maintenance
    4. Select System
    5. Select Automatic Updates Tab
    6. Select "Turn off automatic updating."
    7. Select the Ok button to apply the settings

    After that go into Start > Run > services.msc > Automatic upadates > turn it off and disable it from statup

    Remove Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Sharing.…..unless you use them obviously!

    Take note: Remote Desktop Sharing is NOT available with Windows XP Home. You may request assistance from someone ONLY using Windows XP Pro.

    With the default Category Control Panel:

    1. Head to Start
    2. Select Control Panel
    3. Select Performance and Maintenance
    4. Select System
    5. Select Remote Tab
    6. Uncheck both "Remote Assistance and Desktop Sharing" options
    7. Select the Ok button to apply the settings
    Disable Windows XP Themes

    Used to display all those new XP themes and colors on your desktop. If memory conscious and does not care about the "new" XP look, disable this service to save RAM. I have observed between 4 MB to 12 MB of RAM used for the new themes.

    With the default Category Control Panel:

    1. Head to Start
    2. Select Control Panel
    3. Select Performance and Maintenance
    4. Select System
    5. Select Advanced Tab
    6. Under Performance, select the Settings button
    7. Select Visual Effects Tab
    8. Select "Adjust for best performance."
    9. Select the Ok button

    After that, Disable and Stop the Themes Service:
    Start > Run > services.msc > Themes Service > stop and disable it from startup

    Add/Remove any unused programs

    Go to the "Add Remove Programs" and click the "Windows components." Here, take out all the rubbish you do not need. Such as "MSN EXPLORER" and the likes

    After Removing the unused Windows components, ensure that you check back up on the services that you disabled. Some like to go back to Automatic after playing with the Windows components (namely COM+ and Help and Support).
    Clean your System Tray

    Remove any excess icons (all of them, basically) from the system tray (lower right). Contrary to popular belief, those little "quick access" icons take up a lot of room.

    For example, MS messenger takes up about 3.6 MB just sitting there... not even logged in... Bring it up, select tools, options, then uncheck "load at startup" and "allow to run in background."

    Also, Creatives "AudioHQ" running is REALLY not required. Uncheck "Load on Startup" and "Show icon on Taskbar" in AudioHQ's Options menu.

    ICQ's little "Net Detect" sucks up WAY to much memory. Make it go away.

    Various Quick Tweak icons and even EZCD creator's icon annoys the hell out of me. Make them all go away. If you just HAVE to have that quick access to those programs, place them in the "quick launch bar" (located in the lower left by default, where IE and "Show Desktop" buttons are). The icons will not clutter your desktop and you can easily hit them from any normal windows application. To top it all off, they do not take up memory or resources constantly running in the background. Another plus, this will reduce your boot up time.
    Use Regedit and check your startup activities

    Start > Run > Regedit

    Have a look in there and remove (delete) anything you don’t want loading up on startup. Be warned, messing around with the Reg without knowledge of it can cause you problems!! Quicktime task is one which always seems to appear in here, delete it (as it does nothing!) and then go into your program folder for Quicktime and delete qttask.exe from in there so it wont reappear in your registry later
    Use Msconfig

    I run msconfig and get rid of any annoying startup programs that may be hiding from me.
    Start > Run > msconfig > Startup (don’t disable services from in here, use services.msc in ‘run’ instead)
    Disable Hibernate Function

    To save on disk space is it a good idea to disable the hibernate feature from Windows. Do so in Control Panel > Power Options > Hibernate > Untick ‘Enable hibernate’

    Slow Shutdown Problems on XP

    Ok, weird one, try some of these they are other fixes for ppls problems with slow or hanging shutdown on XP……….taken from other threads:

    Specify the Response Time for Hung Applications (All Windows)

    This setting controls the amount of time to wait for a response from a hung application before the system task manager automatically terminates the task.

    Create a new String value, or modify the existing value, called "HungAppTimeout" and set it according to the value data below.

    User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
    System Key: [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop]
    Value Name: HungAppTimeout
    Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
    Value Data: Time in milliseconds (1000 = 1 second)
    Stop Windows from Clearing Pagefile

    start>run>gpedit.msc>computer configuration>windows settings>security settings>local policies>security options>"Shutdown: clear virtual memory pagefile" CHANGE this to disable. Reboot. (It won't stop it from clearing the page file first time you reboot, straight after you have changed this setting.)

    what graphics card you running? if it's nvidia, try this:

    go to "run" in start menu, type "services.msc" look for "NVIDIA Display Driver Service" and stop and disable it. this service isn't needed and is commonly the cause of slow shut downs with nvidia drivers.

    also go to "run" in stat menu, type "regedit" then go to the following key:


    then just delete and key that relates to software you know you don't need starting up, but remember to back up your registry before doing this in case you balls up

    If you run the Logitech iTouch software for a keyboard this can sometimes cause some problems, so try uninstalling it
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2004
  3. Baddass


    Joined: 12 Jan 2003

    Posts: 20,019

    Location: UK

    Services Tweaking in XP

    Do NOT adjust your service configurations using msconfig. Use Start > Run > services.msc

    See Blackviper for the full list of services and what they do. Here’s a list of some common ones that it is worth considering disabling:

    Error Reporting
    Messenger (this is NOT MSN messenger, it’s the annoying popups!)
    NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing]
    Network DDE
    Network DDE DSDM
    Performance Logs and Alerts
    Portable Media Serial Number
    Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
    Remote Registry Service
    Smart Card
    Smart Card Helper
    System Restore Service
    Uninteruptible Power Supply
    Upload Manager
    Windows Time
    WMI Performance Adapter

    Check out Blackviper.com for the full list and descriptions about what they all do

    Registry Tweaks

    Some useful sites are:

    Windows 9x and ME Reg Tweaks: http://www.speedguide.net/read_articles.php?id=119
    Windows 2000 and XP Reg Tweaks: http://www.speedguide.net/read_articles.php?id=157
    Win XP Tweaking: http://www.xptuneup.com/

    You can find all kinds of registry tweaks and changes there to improve your system performance.

    Here’s a few of the best ones:

    Clear the Page File at System Shutdown (Windows NT/2000/XP)
    Windows does not normally clear or recreate the page file. On a heavily used system this can be both a security threat and performance drop. Enabling this setting will cause Windows to clear the page file whenever the system is shutdown.

    Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, called "ClearPageFileAtShutdown" and set it according to the value data below.

    System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\
    Memory Management]
    Value Name: ClearPageFileAtShutdown
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (0 = disabled, 1 = enabled)

    Specify the Response Time for Hung Applications (All Windows)
    This setting controls the amount of time to wait for a response from a hung application before the system task manager automatically terminates the task.

    Create a new String value, or modify the existing value, called "HungAppTimeout" and set it according to the value data below.

    User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
    System Key: [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop]
    Value Name: HungAppTimeout
    Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
    Value Data: Time in milliseconds (1000 = 1 second)

    Disable CD Burning (Windows XP)
    This restriction is used to disable the use of the inbuilt CD recording functions of Windows.

    Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, called "NoCDBurning" and set it according to the value data below.

    User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    Value Name: NoCDBurning
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (0 = Allow CDR, 1 = Disable CDR)

    Search in all files

    Provided by Borris: Another quick tweak - useful for searching for strings in files:


    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xyz\PersistentHandler = {098f2470-bae0-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb}

    Add this key to your registry (copy and paste to notepad, as many times as required, save as .reg), where .xyz is the extension of the file in which you wish to search.

    Windows only allows you to search in a few files by default (.txt, .doc etc...) but now you can search in all of them.

    Prefetcher tweak

    This is a unique technique for XP, which could improve the performance significantly by tweaking the prefetcher (which is a cache folder).

    1. run "regedit";
    2. goto [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher];
    3. Set the value to either 0-Disable, 1-App launch prefetch, 2-Boot Prefetch, 3-Both ("3" is recommended).
    4. reboot.

    It should decrease the boot time and the time it takes to load programs.


    Unload .dll's to Free Memory

    Windows Explorer caches DLLs (Dynamic-Link Libraries) in memory for a period of time after the application using them has been closed. This can be an inefficient use of memory.

    1. Find the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer].
    2. Create a new sub-key named 'AlwaysUnloadDLL' and set the default value to equal '1' to disable Windows caching the DLL in memory.
    3. Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

    I tried this after running a intense program, then watched the task manager; memory recovered it self.

    Enable or disable boot defrag

    A great new feature in Microsoft Windows XP is the ability to do a boot defragment. This places all boot files next to each other on the disk to allow for faster booting. By default this option in enables but on some builds it is not so below is how to turn it on.

    1. Start Regedit. If you are unfamiliar with regedit please refer to our FAQ on how to get started.
    2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction
    3. Select Enable from the list on the right.
    4. Right on it and select Modify.
    5. Change the value to Y to enable and N to disable.
    6. Reboot your computer.

    Speed up boot by disabling unused ports

    This is done by disabling your unused devices in Device Manager.

    for example, if you don't have input devices that are connected to one of your USBs or COM ports, disabling them will give you an extra performance boost in booting.

    Yes i've tried this. I've disabled every devices that currently has no use for my pc and it worked great. My booting time is much faster than before.

    Go to Control Panel -> System -> Hardware tab -> device manager

    Disable devices that you don't use for your PC and then restart. Good luck!


    Speed Up Network Access on XP

    I had a lot of problems with WinXP being very slow while trying to browse shared folders and sometimes it would take several minutes to open a shared resource. After a LOT of searching i found the following fixes, i did them all and now it works fine :)

    1. Stop your Pc checking for scheduled tasks on the network
    which can delay the time it takes to load network places considerably. Go to regedit and find:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace.

    3. Find a key named {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}.
    4. Right click on it and delete it.

    2. Delete stored network passwords

    1. Click Control Panel | User Accounts.
    2. Click your user name.
    3. Click Manage my network passwords.
    4. Click each entry and click Remove.

    3. Disable the WebClient (WebNav) Service

    This might speed up network browsing, but it will prevent access to web-resident network places, such as free disk storage from your ISP.

    1. Right click My Computer and select Manage.
    2. Double click Services and Applications.
    3. Double click Services.
    4. Scroll down the list of services and double click WebClient.
    5. Click the Stop button.
    6. Set the Startup type to Disabled.
    7. Click Apply and OK.

    4. Change the NetBIOS Over TCP/IP registry entries

    Open this registry key:



    and modify these values as shown:

    * "BcastNameQueryCount"=dword:00000001
    * "BcastQueryTimeout"=dword:00000020
    * "NameSrvQueryCount"=dword:00000001
    * "NameSrvQueryTimeout"=dword:00000020

    Programs you just shouldn’t do with out

    Link provided for each one :)

    1. Ad-aware: Get the latest version, do an online update and do a good scan of your system for spy and ad ware. Very good for keeping your system clean and at optimal performance.
    2. Spybot Search and Destroy: Picks up some stuff ad-aware doesn’t.
    3. RegSeeker: Scans the registry for invalid entries. Good for a cleanup and optimisation of your registry.
    4. Tweak XP: Full of all kinds of good and useful tweaks and changes to Windows. Very cool little app, handy to have.
    5. Tune XP: Some good tune up tweaks including a good one for reorganising boot files to save some time. Link includes a review of the program

    Iver's Guide to Security

    I do not like the idea of people or compainies gaterhing infomation about what I do online, or what files i have on my pc. At the end of the day its none of their god damn business. The fact they will then use my bandwidth to collect this information just adds insult to injury!.
    On another note I do not want script kiddies gaining access to it either. Im sure some of you feel the same way so im going to list a few ways you can keep your pc exactly that....... a Personal Computer.

    Keep Windows updated via Windows update! This is one of the most important steps in this article to keep your system secure.
    There is also a number of suspect services in XP, as well as known ones that report back to Microsoft about what your upto. First port of call is XP Antispy . This free program disables a lot of nonsence that you certinally dont benifit from via a tick list that you have full control over. Each option is fully explained & reversible. Next go through BlackViper list of services (A great list that the chap explains very well so even the biggest n00b will understand) and disable ones you dont need. At the very least this will free up resources...... win win situation:)

    Internet browser
    More and more browser exploits are being discovered and abused at an ever increasing rate.
    I've seen posts on this very forum praising other browsers and even tried a few, but always ended up going back to IE. That was untill I discovered Mozilla firefox
    Faster, more customizable and safer.
    As a side note Microsoft has vastly improved IE since the release of SP2 in my opinion & with firefox enjoying huge popularity it is now a bigger target than before.

    Get your self a firewall damnit! This will block unauthorised access to and from your PC. The most popular software firewalls at the moment are (and with good reason) Sygate & Windows XP SP2 built in

    With windows vunrabilities being found and exploited all the time like the recent Remote Procedure Call hole that msblaster took advantage of.. In my opinion you would be mentally unsound to not use some sort of firewall.
    If you are new to software firewalls dont be alarmed if you notice a few alerts per day..... theres lots of port scanning and simular going on all the time, your firewall will alert you of this. Alerts of this nature are not necessarly someone trying to hack your PC, and can usually be toned down or turned off so you dont see them.

    I would personally reccommend Sygate persional firewall after trying many software firewalls. Windows SP2 firewall is also very good.

    Anti Virus
    A Trojan Horse virus is like giving an evil script kiddie your mouse. Not only will they be able to access files on your PC, they can use your PC to hack other peoples effectively covering their tracks. Get an AntiVirus package, keep them updated and run them regulary. This will stop trojans and a shed load of other nastys.
    Some of the best Anti-Virus software:
    NOD32 Excellent protection and very low resource usage.
    Kaperspy Widely excepted as the best protection.
    AVG Free!

    Audio CD's
    Yes Audio CD's!! Is nothing sacred these days!
    Sony it has recently been revealed, has taken some rather extreme anti piracy measures in its latest Audio Cd's. They silently install a 'rootkit' via the Autoplay feature. (Rootkits hide files & Registry keys from view and security software. They are usually used by malware attempting to keep their existance hidden)
    At no time are you asked or warned this software will be installed, and its incredibly difficult to remove it.
    The rootkit also introduces several security holes into the system that could be exploited by others, such as hiding any executable file that starts with '$sys$'. This has huge implications, for example enabling game cheater's to go completely undetected by the likes of punk buster.
    The scenario's for this piece of software (I could think of another word beginning with 'S' to use there!) to be misused are endless.
    I for one will not be buying and Sony DRM protected disks. Shame on you Sony.

    Temp files & general rubbish
    Its a good idea to keep your computer clear of tempoary install files, old cookies & temp internet files etc... These can sometimes cause problems and pose a security risk. Most of all they just make a mess of things and are not needed.
    You can use the windows built in app Disk Cleanup or a thrid party application like CCleaner . Crap Cleaner is a very good freeware proggie as it does pretty much everything in one hit, with the added bonus it cleans the very suspicious 'Index.dat' files. Index.dat files seem to do nothing but store your visited websites, the main worry being you can not delete or modify them yourself.
    (You may need to download the Visual Basic Runtime files from microsoft to get this app working)

    Cookies and Spyware
    Just visiting a website can place a spyware cookie on your PC which will gather up infomation about you and report back to who ever. Installing shoddy software worsens the problem with other (usually nastier) spyware files and\or programs. This isnt nice for 3 reasons:

    1) Mind your own business.
    2) It will eat your bandwidth that you pay for!
    3) You dont know what info they are taking, could be websites you browse upto personal infomation stored on your HDD, Who knows what they take.

    Solution: download SpyBot. or MS Anti Spyware. These programs search for and kill spyware from cookies to .exe's.
    The use of SpyBot and cleaning out your cookies\temp internet files\histroy regulary should keep you spyware free.
    HiJack This Is another great Malware Identifier\remover.

    File sharing software
    Something related to the above point of spyware. Lots of popular p2p programs contain spyware, Kaaza for example is notorious for it.

    Does my p2p program contain spyware?

    Most people that use file sharing programs share illegal software, 'tis a fact. From .mp3's to gamez appz...........you get the idea. People have been prosicuited for sharing such files using programs like kazza etc... There are various agencies that can and do browse your shares, ranging from the FBI to music compinies. To stop this get Peerguardian 2 . Yet another free piece of software this one blocks the IP's of known Piracy related enforcement groups/Snoops from gaining access to your share while you use your p2p software.

    Another side note. At the time of orginally typing this article, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) were to my knoledge the only group seeking out and suing file sharers. Being the RIA*A* it was only Americans going to court, with the rest of us just getting nasty emails from our ISP's. Now the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) That up untill now remained in the background, has started following in the RIAA's footsteps taking action against us Brits. Be warned.

    Update & Use Regulary
    Keep windows updated regulary using Windows Update, this will make sure all the security exploits microsoft know about are fixed..... Its a microsoft product remember:p there will be lots.
    Update Your anti virus and firewall regulary, to keep protected against an increasing amount of threats, same goes for SpyBot etc....

    Theres no point in using such software if it isnt kept upto date and used regulary!!!!!!!!!!
  4. Eugene


    Joined: 29 Sep 2003

    Posts: 174

    Baddass, m8... this has been all posted before. :(
  5. Baddass


    Joined: 12 Jan 2003

    Posts: 20,019

    Location: UK

    yeah i know that, but its not around any more really, and brings it all 2gether in one thread at least.........seems theres always the same kinda questions popping up, just trying to make things easier for ppl to find info.........but hey
    Last edited: 13 Feb 2004
  6. 1337_KR3W


    Joined: 24 Jan 2003

    Posts: 2,560

    Location: Cornwall

    nice thread mate, maybe turn the adaware etc names at the bottom to links to save ppl searching for them
  7. Baddass


    Joined: 12 Jan 2003

    Posts: 20,019

    Location: UK

    thanks! added the links now :)
  8. afraser2k


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 7,515

    Location: Glasgow

    For the page file section I found an article on the MS site here that contains their opinions on optimized page files. :)

    I'd also recommend a link to an unattended site like the one at MSFN since we're getting (or were getting) a few questions about that topic.
  9. Ali-Longden

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 1 Dec 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Lincs

    yeah over 2 years
  10. Baddass


    Joined: 12 Jan 2003

    Posts: 20,019

    Location: UK

    u mean it was posted over 2 years ago? or all the time? i hadnt really seen this info much, only responses repeatedly to all the same questions.........plus thought id summarise it into one thread instead of ppl having to browse thru loads of sites for it all :)
  11. Ali-Longden

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 1 Dec 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Lincs

    I mean spread over a long time :)
  12. funkdoobiest


    Joined: 17 Oct 2003

    Posts: 739

    Location: Huddersfield

    Useful post, condenses a lot of good information into one handy thread. :)

    To have typed all this out with good intentions at heart, and for someone to simply post "It's all been posted before m8 :(" I would have torn their head off.
  13. Ali-Longden

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 1 Dec 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Lincs

    HERE HERE :mad:
  14. Vietnow

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Dec 2002

    Posts: 1,751

    Great thread man!

    Anyone saying its all been posted before - lol, yeah over about 3000 threads!

    Cheers :)
  15. Baddass


    Joined: 12 Jan 2003

    Posts: 20,019

    Location: UK

    thanks guys!! appreciate it, knew it had all been posted b4 in parts, but noone ever bothers searching or reading thru thousands of threads so thought it would be worth putting it together. Glad some ppl found it useful :D
  16. Ali-Longden

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 1 Dec 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Lincs

    I have already done about 5 things i didnt know how to do! ;)
  17. Memphis


    Joined: 13 Jan 2004

    Posts: 12,204

    Location: Inverness

    Great post m8. I've taken a hard copy for my files! :)
  18. milney


    Joined: 29 Jan 2004

    Posts: 254

    Location: gosport

    Thanx badass gr8 stuff for a newbie tweaker like me:D
  19. Ali-Longden

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 1 Dec 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Lincs

    You need to tweak you sig! See the rules!
  20. James_N


    Joined: 25 Jan 2003

    Posts: 9,469

    ive just followed the tweaks all the way through :D

    hopefully i should run much faster now :D

    thanks man! [​IMG]

    although in msn messenger, i dont see the option to allow msn to run in the background and not the tray :confused: