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How to get your old xp laptop ready for school

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this is my guide to get your old pc ready for school ,because sometime you just dont have the money to buy a new laptop.
i use these tips every few months to speedup my pc .
my laptop is a 4 year old acer aspire that runs windows xp and a lot of free opensource software.
 most of the clean up steps and apps will also work in windows vista and windows 7
 
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Step 1: Speeding up windows part 1

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first thing to do is clean up of your system
 goto start > all programs > accessories > system tools > disk cleanup

select the c:\ drive > select al catagory's and press ok.

this wil free up system space and will make you laptop run faster ,because windows will not have to keep track of all those unneeded files

Step 2: Speeding up windows part 2

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cleaning up your  recent documents
 this is for the people that dont use my recent documents .

my recent documents is a feature of windows that loads the most recently  used files in to memory for if its needed later and if these files are large files the will take a lot of memory.
slowing down your pc . because i dont  use this feature a  lot i will show you how to clean the list and disable  it .

go to the startbar and right-click on a empty place of it  > go to click properties > click on the button "start menu" on the top > click on "customize"  > click on "advance" on the top > click on "clear list " > uncheck "list my most recently opened documents" > "ok" then "ok"

Step 3: Speeding up windows part 3

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defragmenting your harddrive

when you use windows ,windows  will constantly move bits and pieces of files from one place to a other on your harddrive and this causes the files to be scattered over the whole hardedrive after a while .
because of this, it will take the system a long time to retrieve and open a file.

what defragmentation those is the place the file in a way that it is easy for the system to find  and retrieve .

go to start > all programs > accessories > system tools > click disk defragmenter.

the program will open.
click on analyze .
this will analyze your drive to see if it is fragmented .
if it is fragmented  click on "defragment " .
it can take a some time if your drive very fragmented.
so leave it to finish .

Step 4: Usefull software to have on your laptop or pc

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i have a lot of free and opensource app on my pc .
it is because it often well kept and very up to date

for internet i use K-meleon web browser
it was made for developers but it pretty goed for normal use  i have been using it  now for a few years.
the link    http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/

why ?
i use it because it fast and lighter then firefox and  has a lot of feature's built-in that have to be installed in firefox
i use my cellphone as a modem to connect to the internet  so i need  it to react fast so i dont get bored .
only problems are that hotmail keeps thinking it a mobile browser and it sometimes screws up the layout  ,but the speed great.

multimedia

i use vlc media player  for audio - and video playback and encoding.
it has a lot of cool effects and supports a lot formats.
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/


audio editing

i use audacity for audio editing and mixing .
i had to dance once for school so i used audacity to make my music mix and everyone loved it.
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

beat creator

i  dont use lmms a lot  ,but it great for creating my own beats and house music.
http://lmms.sourceforge.net/


cd and dvd burning tool

for burning cd and dvd i use CDburnerxp it very usefull .
http://cdburnerxp.se/

pdf reader
for pdf files i use foxit reader , because its small and easy to use.
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/reader/

word processing
i normally use microsoft office ,but a good alternative is abiword or open office
for abiword http://www.abisource.com/
for open office http://www.openoffice.org/

image editing
 i use GIMP for editing my images and to modify almost al my foto's.
all the images in this instructable were created via "Ctrl+PrtSc" ,saved in paint and edited in GIMP.
http://www.gimp.org/

youtube saving

i use youtube downloader to download usefull video
.http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/

zip files

i use winrar to compress files and unzip zip files and many other formats.
(winrar is not free but can be use after the trail to unzip and, unrar files and many other formats ,only it compression is very low.)
http://www.rarlab.com/

Great i'ble... A lot of good info here. I would like to add...

I like CCleaner to cleanup registry and temp files. It does a much more complete job than "disk cleanup". You can download the latest version of CCleaner at www.filehippo.com.  File Hippo is a great source for a lot of the free and opensource files recommended here.

As an added bonus the add/remove programs tool in CCleaner gives you a lot more info on what programs are installed and where.

There is also a startup file editor that will help you to remove files from your startup that you don't use all the time. If you don't use it there is no reason for it to be running in the background eating up resources. When you do use the program it will take a few more seconds to open but big deal.

Some things like Java updates and Quicktime have to be disabled through their respective options/preferences. If you don't they will just reenter their startup files again. It really annoys me that they think there programs are so popular that they should be running in the background all the time. I do use the programs but maybe once a week. Hardly enough to require them to slow my computer down when I'm not using it.

Something else to consider for older computers running XP. Disable Automatic Updates. XP has been around long enough that most all of the security holes have been plugged. I am a network engineer, I have noticed a trend lately that I think is despicable. I think Microsoft is intentionally adding updates to the Automatic Updates to incrementally slow our older computers down. Namely, .net 2 and 3 service pacts, the optional Microsoft Live (all of the Live stuff) and the Windows Search 4. These programs don't slow down newer computers. If your computer isn't slower and annoying enough you will never upgrade to Win7. Well, not quick enough for M$ anyway. Don't get me wrong, Win7 is a great new OS. It is infinitely better than Vista. It is prettier and more efficient than XP. If you feel you need the updates, do yourself a favor and run them manually. Take a little time and research the updates offered and what other people have said about them. Not all of the updates do good things. Some even will remove functionality from your computer. Things you use to use are no longer available because an update disabled or un-installed it. (Sorry, I have no examples. This is off the top of my head) Sometimes it's due to copyright infringement.
gremlin (author)  mr.incredible4 years ago
Thanks for the tip but i did not put ccleaner , because it it very dangerous if you don't know what your doing and even if you told some people what to do ,there's always a chance that they would screw up there system.
I normally only use windows xp pro sp2 because its the most stable of all versions the services packs.
For the startup apps you can use the built-in MSconfig or de built-in regedit .
I disabled update and manually download my updates . windows newer apps are so slow because i thinks there made for the recommended specs of the newer systems and not for the minimium specs.
spamattakky4 years ago
Damn, I really thought you were going to instruct us to Delete XP altogether and add Linux, like Ubuntu, and use open source, like OpenOffice.com, and Gimp.com. I was wrong and can not vote for you, XP and Office Suite cost hundreds of dollars. Linux is Free. Sorry no vote for you.
gremlin (author)  spamattakky4 years ago
hi spamattakky , this is a very basic guide because i did not want to overload the user with things to do so i did the most simplest and quickest guide that have the quickest results , because if i had to write down al the tricks , programs and operating systems that i have used over the years it would this instructables would be a small book and i normally use microsoft office because it was installed on my laptop when i got it , but have used openoffice many times when my pc or laptop chrashed .