www.BlackViper.com: Windows Me Super Tweaks

Black Viper's Top tweaks for a much faster PC.

The following is what I do directly after a clean install of Windows Me. This does not mean that everything I do will work for you. Keeping that in mind and ensure you are fully aware of the risks of tweaking your system before doing so.

Number One

If you are experiencing "random" slowdowns and "high" CPU usage for no reason, this service is THE most likely cause of the problem. This service is also a major cause of "missing" disk space. System Restore could be taking up 3 GB of space, just on its own.

System Restore creates system snap shots or restore points for returning to at a later time. Every time you install a program or new driver, plus on a schedule, this service creates a "restore point" to roll back to if a problem occurs. This service would have been nice in the Win95 days due to plenty of problems occurring (new DirectX version every 15 minutes) but not required for the "much" more stable WinMe. This is the FIRST thing that I get rid of on a clean installation. If you use this and enjoy it, good for you. I never will. I feel it is faster and less hassle to just install clean. A rather GOOD (and possibly the only) reason to use this "feature" is to roll back your OS after installing an unknown program or testing software. For example: BETA software of any kind. NOTE: If you disable this service, your previous "restore points" will be deleted. If, for what ever reason, you do not want this to happen, do not disable this service.

According to this knowledge base article:


You could have problems restoring a point created after September 8, 2001. Also, after applying the fix, you cannot restore a point BEFORE September 8, 2001. Have I convinced you of the reliability of this feature, yet?

Get rid of System Restore Service. Where do you find it?

Number Two

Turn off Automatic Updates.

Using default values, WinMe"Automatically" downloads the updates and asks to "install" them. A few reasons why you may think this is unacceptable in your situation:

  • You could have a dial-up connection. If WinMe feels like downloading whenever it wants, it just may not allow you to do what "you" want.
  • You may also:
    • Wish to know what, when and how an update installs BEFORE using any bandwidth.
    • Want to read about the update BEFORE downloading.
    • Want to know WHY you need it and WHAT it fixes.

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.

Where do you find it?

Number Three

While you are in the control panel, disable Task Scheduler Service:

Number Four

Adjust the Page File to a respectable level.

Can you get rid of the page file? Yes and no. If you have a boat load of memory (greater than 512 MB) you may be able to function just fine.. Some games REQUIRE a certain amount of swap space to be created to even run, no matter how much RAM is available. Also, under certain conditions, my sound card goes crazy (or does not function) in some games with no swap file (oddly enough, Age of Empires 2). If you decide to test your luck with no swap space or page file, you are on your own. :) Please do not E-Mail me with your war stories about no swap. Every system is different. I usually do not have one "unless something requires it that I am running that day."

If anything, create (preferably on a separate partition), a swap space of constant size. For example, select Custom Size and place 1000 in "Initial" and 1000 in "Maximum" Size boxes, then click Set Button. This will reduce the amount of work needed to dynamically resize the page file, usually when you need it most.

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.
Benchmark using Unreal Tournament 2003 "Benchmark.exe" and various swap configs:
System = P4 1.8 w/768 MB PC-133 Memory and a GF3
No Swap File System Managed Static (1150MB)
No Swap File System Managed Static (1150 MB)

As you can see, graphics card benchmarks are "not affected" by the status of a page file in this configuration. Only you can decide if it is worth it to you during game play and on your system.

If you have not already, reboot now.

Number Five

I also remove the desktop picture. Why? Usually, back in the old days, the desktop picture was a ".bmp" which is very uncompressed. Since I do not like a bit map taking up so much memory (from 1.2 to 3 MB per image) I make them go away. Small tiles or .jpg's are better if you just HAVE to have a desktop and not a blank color.

Number Six

Go to the "Add Remove Programs" and click the "Windows Setup Tab." Here, take out all the crap you do not need. Such as "Online Services" and such.

Number Seven

Download and install ALL updated drivers from the hardware manufacture sites. I cannot tell you what site you need to go to, but do your computer a favor and get updated drivers for everything.

Reboot again.

Number Eight

After updating all my drivers, I 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 uncheck "allow to run in background."

Also, Creatives "AudioHQ" running is REALLY not required.

ICQ's little "Net Detect" sucks up WAY too 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.

Number Nine

I run msconfig and get rid of any annoying startup programs that may be hiding from me. If you are not familiar with the operation and features of msconfig, I am not going to go into them here.

Number Ten

Defrag the hard drive. Even if WinMe tells you that it does not need to, do it anyway. It has much tolerance for what "needs" to be done and what should be done. After all, if it was really efficient, there would be no need for you to read this page.

Defrag again after installing your applications and games. After that, there should be little need to do it again for awhile unless you delete/uninstall/reinstall a lot of stuff.

This listing is by no means complete, but it does hit on the high points.