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Speeding up the Computer

From: “Andre Vospette”
Subject: What can I do in my Windows folder to speed up my computer

Dear Dave: I’ve read your column ever since you published your book. I’m visiting my father-in-law in Wyoming, and his Presario 400 mhz is acting like a 486 –and not a fast one, either. I’ve done everything I feel confident doing, but the big step I want to take is rearranging the applet/applications in the Windows directory. I left my copy of your book at home, so I can’t remember which programs I can move to a c:windowsbackup folder. Can you help me out here? If I pull this off I’ll reach rockstar status in my in-laws’ eyes.


Andre Vospette BJ 91, University of Missouri (photojournalism sequence)

Hi Andre,

What you can move depends a bit. Certainly move *.txt, *.bak, *.old, *.grp, *.—, *.log, *.001, *.002, –that kind of stuff into a backups folder. I also move all the BMP and WAV files elsewhere. There are some programs you can move into C:WindowsCommand, like ping, telnet, tracert, welcome, ftp, route, arp… Don’t get too aggressive there; I’ve heard of rare occasions where moving all the files I listed can cause problems. Clearing that dead wood out should make a huge difference. Be sure to defrag later.

I hope that helps. And thanks for writing, it’s always good to hear from another Mizzou grad, especially a journalism grad.


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5 thoughts on “Speeding up the Computer”

  1. Andre, another thing you might look at – and I did this last night – is the Compaq’s video situation. I have a K6II-based Presario (350MHz) on my home network, acting as my W2K domain controller and my wife’s workstation (don’t ask). Its video is on-board, but (horrifically) maps 4 or 8MB of machine RAM to video.

    So I grabbed a cheap 8MB ATI card, disabled the on-board controller, and slid the card in. The whole machine moves faster (despite the Bigfoot drive), since the contention for slow SDRAM was removed. Boot time went from (sometimes) 10 minutes to a couple – remember, this is W2K Server. Internet browsing and even login/logout are night and day. Ask Dave (yes, he does exist); he was heckling me as I finished the job and proclaimed my joy. No, Dave, my mouse and printer don’t work any faster than they did before.

  2. But in spite of your mouse and printer not getting any better, I’ll bet your wife finds you more charming and your car gets better gas mileage now. Stupid SiS 530 video!

    And Steve makes a PC split time as a domain controller and as his wife’s workstation because he’s out of electrical outlets in his computer room. That and if he were to try to cram a fourth computer under that desk, there wouldn’t be any place for his dog to hide after he gets in trouble for running laps around the computer room every time I come over.

  3. Yikes. I had no idea the presario was cannibalizing so much RAM. Thanks for the warning, Steve.
    Thanks also to Dave for his suggestions. They brought the computer back into the industrial age but you know, the mouse still did act like it had neuralgia or something. I picked up simcity 3000 and was horrified to see the mouse creep along at such a palsied pace.
    Now I’m back from Wyoming (I live in Chicago) and that computer is no longer my problem. At least I left it better than I found it.

  4. Actually, the real reason the machine is a PDC and my wife’s workstation is that the P90 I had her on started getting flaky mouse and keyboard ports. And I think I can scrounge up one more outlet for the machine I’m building. No, Dave, my wife could never find me any more charming.

    I’ll refrain from speculating on why Dave and my dog get along so well. Suffice it say that Dave can run around in circles pretty well with those clogs on.

  5. Andre, if your mouse is still really slow, it sounds like it could very well be the video card. I’d never realized just how lousy the integrated video on the SiS 530 chipset (which is probably what your dad’s Presario is using) really is. Buying a $50 ATI-brand PCI video card brought it back to life. ATI’s PCI cards are hardly barn-burners, but it would appear that almost anything is better than SIS’s junk.

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