Optimize 2000 - A Windows 2000 Optimization Guide

Optimize 2000 Optimize Windows 2000 to improve home, work and gaming performance safely.

Advisory Windows 2000 extended support ends July 13, 2010


Step 1 - Malware Removal

Malware infection is the #1 security issue facing Windows users.

Malware Removal Guide Malware Removal Guide - Clean Adware, Rootkits, Spyware, Trojans, Viruses and Worms. Malware is short for malicious software. It is a general term that refers to any software or program code designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent. This guide will show you how to remove these infections and protect yourself from future infections using free software.

FACT: 89% of consumer PCs are infected with spyware


Step 2 - Windows Update

WinUpdate Windows Update - Home Page
Install All of the updates. Not just the critical ones. This may have to be run multiple times. Run it over again until it says 0 updates available. Non-critical updates are essential for improved performance, compatibility and enhanced features. They are all very safe to install.

Notes - Windows Update requires the following services be enabled:

- Automatic Updates - Automatic
- Background Intelligent Transfer Service - Manual or Automatic

Driver Notes - If a Driver issue arises that Windows Update insists upon installing a Driver version older then one you have updated, do not install the one from Windows Update. Use the manufacturers latest version instead and just ignore that Windows Driver Update. With Drivers, the Hardware manufacturer is the one who is correct not Microsoft. Windows Update will sometimes show a Driver is outdated if it is not "Microsoft Certified". It is quite ok to use non-certified drivers. Official non-certified driver versions will have been thoroughly tested by the component manufacturer.

DirectX DirectX - Download - Home Page
Windows Update will install the latest version of DirectX. It is still a good idea to check what version you are running and make sure you have the latest version of DirectX installed prior to installing any Drivers. Got to "Start", "Run", type in "Dxdiag" and select "OK". Under the "System" tab, "DirectX Version" check that you have the latest version that is available for Windows 2000.


Step 3 - Drivers

Installing the latest Drivers improves system performance and application compatibility. Updated drivers include numerous bug fixes as well as system optimizations. It is recommended for optimal system stability to only use Official drivers and not Beta or Prerelease versions. Performance differences between driver versions including Beta or Prereleased drivers is negligible. The only time Beta or Prerelease drivers should be considered is when a serious application bug is fixed in the Beta or Prerelease version and the component manufacturer has not yet released the Official driver version that includes the bug fix.

Driver XP Driver XP - Home Page
A Windows Driver Guide that includes component links and instructions.

Notes - Windows Update will install very common driver updates, however these will not always be the latest versions and sometimes can even be an older version of one you have already updated, example: nVidia forceware drivers. It is perfectly safe to install the Windows Driver Updates but if you want the very best system performance you have to check for and install the latest drivers manually. If you are having trouble identifying your hardware use:

PC Wizard PC Wizard - Download - Home Page
An advanced system information utility designed for detection of hardware, analysis and benchmarking. Quickly identify components based on their model and manufacturer, allowing you to download and install the correct drivers.


Step 4 - Tweaks

Paging File 1. Optimize the Paging File
"Virtual Memory is the space on the hard disk Windows uses as RAM. The paging File (pagefile.sys) serves as temporary, virtual memory storage for code and data." - Source

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "System", "Advanced" tab, in the "Performance" section select "Settings", "Advanced" tab, in the "Virtual Memory" section select "Change". Change the values to:

- Initial size (MB): 1.5 x the amount of RAM in your system
- Maximum size (MB): 3.0 x the amount of RAM in your system (PF Size Limit = 4095 MB)

Then select "Set" and "OK" and reboot.

Notes - Windows 2000 by default is set to use a very small inefficient paging file size. A properly configured paging File will not resize (increase) so long as the Initial size is set large enough. Allowing the paging File to resize for rare unforeseen memory intensive situations will prevent "Out of Memory" error messages from occurring. Any resizing will reset to the default Initial size upon reboot and will not cause any permanent fragmentation of the paging File. If you experience frequent resizing of the paging File, a permanent solution is to add more RAM to your system. It is a good idea to have at least 1 GB to 2 GB of RAM in a PC today. A simple test to determine if you need more RAM is to use you PC for a whole day without rebooting, then look at the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Delete), Performance tab. If the "Commit Charge - Peak" is ever higher then the "Physical Memory - Total" your system could benefit from adding more RAM. When you change the amount of RAM in your system, you have to adjust the paging File size.

Advanced - "Moving the paging File to a separate physical Harddrive (not partition) from the boot partition will increase paging file performance. However, if you remove the paging file from the boot partition, Windows cannot create a dump file (Memory.dmp) in which to write debugging information in the event that a kernel mode Stop Error message occurs. The optimal solution is to create one paging file that is stored on the boot partition, and then create a second paging file on a separate physical Harddrive (not partition) Windows will use the paging file on the less frequently used partition over the paging file on the heavily used boot partition. Windows uses an internal algorithm to determine which paging file to use for virtual memory management." - Source

Indexing 2. Disable Indexing Service
The Indexing Service in Windows 2000 indexes your files presumably to shorten the time needed to search your hard drive if you are looking for a specific file or part of a phrase inside a file. However, the constant indexing of files actually slows down system performance.

Instructions - To disable the Indexing Service go into "My Computer", right-click on all your hard drive partitions one at a time, left-click "Properties". Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching". Select "Apply changes to subfolders and files". If any files cannot be updated select "Ignore All".

No Sounds 2000 3. Disable Windows 2000 Sounds
Having sound effects set for common Windows 2000 tasks slows your system down. This affects startup and shutdown speeds the most.

Instructions - To disable all Windows 2000 task sounds go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Sounds and Multimedia", select the "Sounds" tab, under "Sound Scheme" select "No Sounds".

Recycling Bin 2000 4. Reduce Recycling Bin Drive Space Usage
In Windows 2000 the Maximum size of the Recycle Bin is set by default to 10% of your hard drive, when full, this can be a big waste of drive space. Reducing the Maximum size prevents excess space from being wasted. It is quite common to have hundreds of MBs of deleted files in the Recycling Bin and it is never emptied.

Instructions - To change the Recycling Bin Size, right-click on the "Recycle Bin", left-click on "Properties", select the "Global" tab, then "Use one setting for all drives". Move the slider to "3%".

Mouse 2000 5. Increase the Mouse Pointer Speed
By default Windows sets the Mouse Pointer Speed to an average speed, which can slow down the time it takes to move the cursor around the screen. Increasing this will allow you use your computer quicker and more efficient with less mouse movement.

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Mouse", "Motion" tab, under "Speed" adjust the slider 1 to 5 steps closer to "Fast" and select "OK". Only 1 to 3 steps is recommended.

Notes - This is a personal preference and should be decided by the user. The tab that the Motion setting will be under can change with third party mouse drivers. Novice Windows users or users with Motion Disabilities will not want to adjust this much, if at all. Cheap and worn out mice can give poor responsiveness, it is recommended to be using a precision optical mouse. Microsoft Optical Mice are highly recommended.


Step 5 - Utilities

Autoruns Autoruns - Download - Home Page
Utility to display and control startup applications. Disabling unnecessary startup applications improves boot up time and overall system performance.

Instructions - Unzip and launch Autoruns.exe, wait until it says "Ready" in the bottom left corner, then select the "Logon" Tab. Next select "Options", check "Hide Microsoft Entries" and press the refresh button or press the "F5" key. The remaining items are third party applications. Uncheck all that are not needed, this will disable them from loading at Windows startup. AntiVirus and Firewall applications are necessary applications that should be running on startup. If you are unsure of what something is, highlight it, select "Entry" then "Google" to launch a search for more information regarding the highlighted application. You can permanently remove items by deleting them. Do not "Delete" anything unless you are 100% positive you do not need it. Disabled (Unchecked) items can be activated again by rerunning Autoruns, checking the item and restarting Windows.

Notes - You can control the startup applications for separate user accounts by selecting "User" and the account you want to edit. This is a much more powerful tool then the built-in System Configuration Utility (msconfig).

Chkdsk Chkdsk - Home Page

Instructions - Go to "My Computer", right-click on the "C:" drive, left-click "Properties", select the "Tools" tab, click "Check Now...", check "Automatically Fix File System Errors", then click "Start", "Yes" and Reboot. Repeat this for any other hard drive partitions in your system. Only the drive partition with Windows installed will require a reboot.

Defrag Disk Defragmenter - Home Page
Built-in Windows defragmenter, a lite version of Diskeeper. File system performance is maximized when files are contiguous on the disk. This means that all of the data in each file would be located consecutively on the Hard Drive. Instead of fragmented into separate parts all over the disk surface, causing the Hard Drive to work harder (slower) to read and write your files. While "Disk Defragmenter" is better then nothing it does not fully optimize your hard drive performance, runs 300-500% slower, cannot be scheduled without a third party application and includes no advanced features. Since the built-in "Disk Defragmenter" is very I/O intensive your system is not usable while it is running. There are no Free Defragmenters that do a better job, in which case you have to purchase a Commercial Defragmenter such as Diskeeper.

Instructions - Double-click "My Computer", right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, Example: Local Disk (C:), and then left-click "Properties". On the "Tools" tab, select "Defragment Now", then "Defragment". The following service needs to be enabled:

- DCOM Server Process Launcher - Automatic

Alternate - Go to "Start", "Run", type "Dfrg.msc". Select the volume that you want to defragment, then select "Defragment".

StartDefrag StartDefrag - Download - Home Page
Automates the scheduling of the built-in Disk Defragmenter to run at a set time everyday or once a week.

Instructions - Install and run. Select the "Configuration" tab, under "Scheduled Day" either select a specific day during the week or "Everyday". Then under "Scheduled Hour" select a time when you will not be on the computer but the computer will be on. This is important since the built-in Disk Defragmenter will consume most of the system's resources while running and will not be usable until it is finished. Finally select "Save Changes" and "Exit".

Notes - Do not use this with Diskeeper, which includes a much more advanced and efficient real-time scheduling option. If you install Diskeeper delete the StartDefrag scheduled task and uninstall StartDefrag. To delete the scheduled task, go to "Start", "Programs", "Accessories", "System Tools", "Scheduled Tasks" and delete the task. If it is the only scheduled task listed it will be called "AT1".

Diskeeper Diskeeper - Diskeeper Home - $29.95 / Diskeeper Pro - $59.95 / Diskeeper Pro Premier - $99.95 / Comparison Chart

Diskeeper Home
Diskeeper is the full, automatic version of the limited built-in "disk defragmenter". Now over seven generations newer, it includes enhanced features that Defragment your computer automatically, faster and more thoroughly. The High Speed Defragmentation Engine runs 300-500% faster than the built-in "disk defragmenter". Real-Time Defragmentation automatically handles fragmentation as it occurs with no drain on system resources. InvisiTasking technology allows Diskeeper to run invisibly, keeping your PC defragmented while you are using it - you will never even know Diskeeper is running. Power Management for laptops prolongs battery life by suspending background defragmentation while on battery power. Diskeeper offers the best performance of all commercial defragmenters. Hard Drives are the slowest component in your PC, do not let Disk Fragmentation slow it down even more.

"If you want increased disk performance and speed, install Diskeeper on all your systems."
- John Iasiuolo (Computer Outlook Radio Show) - Diskeeper Testimonials

This graph shows how fragmented your Harddrive can get after just two weeks of using only Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word.

Fragmentation Levels

PageDefrag PageDefrag - Download - Home Page
Defragment the paging file and the Registry. "One of the limitations of the Windows 2000/XP defragmentation interface is that it is not possible to defragment files that are open for exclusive access. Thus, standard defragmentation programs can neither show you how fragmented your paging files or Registry hives are, nor defragment them. Paging and Registry file fragmentation can be one of the leading causes of performance degradation related to file fragmentation in a system."

Instructions - Download, Run, Look at the "Fragments" column if any of the items is in more then one fragment select "Defrag at next Reboot", than "Ok" and Reboot.

Notes - If you readjust the paging file size, rerun PageDefrag, otherwise this only needs to be run once. On badly fragmented hard drives with a lot of files, PageDefrag may take a long time to run, be patient and let it finish.

IZArc IZArc - Download - Home Page
A 100% Free archive utility that supports many archive formats like: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BIN, BZ2, BZA, C2D, CAB, CDI, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, IMG, ISO, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MDF, MBF, MIM, NRG, PAK, PDI, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO. With a modern easy-to-use interface, IZArc provides support for most compressed and encoded files, as well as access to many powerful features and tools. It allows you to drag and drop files from and to Windows Explorer, create and extract archives directly in Windows Explorer, create multiple archives spanning disks, creating self-extracting archives, repair damaged zip archives, converting from one archive type to another, view and write comments and many more.

TweakUI v1.33 TweakUI v1.33 - Download - Home Page
This Windows 2000 PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows 2000 default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.

Instructions - To install, right-click the tweakui.inf file and left-click "Install". Under "Mouse" slide "Menu speed" to "Fast". Under "General" leave only the following checked:
√ Beep on errors
√ Cursor shadows
√ Smooth scrolling
Then select "Apply" and "OK".


Step 6 - Services

Windows 2000 has extra services running by default that most people will never use. By disabling these services you will improve system performance such as boot times.

GRC Shoot The Messenger - Download - Home Page
Disables Windows Messaging service. This will prevent online spammers from abusing this and causing message Pop-ups during normal system operation.

GRC BlackViper's Windows 2000 Services Guide - Home Page - Mirror - PDF File (Acrobat Reader Required)
Using this guide will increase performance. Run Shoot The Messenger first before going through this guide since it will disable the Messenger Service for you. If you are not 100% sure about a service leave it on its default state. The goal is not to turn off as many services as possible but rather to disable only unneeded services.

Notes - Windows Updates can enable services that you have previously disabled. Check which services are running after a future Windows Update is completed. If applications stop working after using this guide it is usually due to being to aggressive with disabling services. Enable the services you disabled one at a time until the application works. In the future leave this service on automatic. If you run into any problems set all services back to their Defaults and start over.


Step 7 - Internet

TCPOptimizer TCP/IP Optimizer - Download - Home Page - Speakeasy Speed Test
Application to optimize your Internet connection.

Instructions - Download and run. Under the "General Settings" tab select your Connection Speed (Kbps), which is your Maximum Download Speed. If you do not know what it is, contact your ISP and ask them. Make sure the value you get is in Kbps. (Exact capitalization is important, uppercase K, lowercase b ect...) Otherwise use the Speed Test and select the Closest City to get a rough idea of what it should be, then round this value (Download Speed) up to the closest size in TCP/IP Optimizer. Under "Network Adapter" choose the Network interface you use to connect to the Internet, select "Optimal settings", then "Apply changes" and "Yes" to Reboot.

Notes - Setting the Connection Speed higher then your Maximum ISP Download Speed will NOT improve performance and may actually hurt performance. Whatever your ISP claims is your Maximum Download Speed should always be used regardless of what the Speed Test shows. Maximum Download Speeds are theoretical and not always attainable for various reasons. It is normal for them to fluctuate. However, drastic differences in what your ISP claims you should get and what you are actually getting should be brought up with your ISP. It is your money after all and I would want to get what I paid for.

Despite all the online hype, the far majority of users are best served using Internet Explorer 6 for maximum webpage compatibility. Advanced users may want to try out Opera for maximum performance.

Opera Opera 9 - Home Page - Features - Download - Betas - Customize
Opera invented Tabbed like browsing and was the first web browser to include an Integrated Search feature and Pop-up Blocking. Other unique features include an integrated BitTorrent Client and Voice control. Opera is the Fastest, most Secure and most Compliant (Acid2) Graphical Web Browser for Windows. An excellent choice for advanced users.

Notes - Opera is not compatible with all webpages.

Firefox Myths Firefox Myths - Firefox Myths
Firefox is not being recommended here for many reasons. Some of those reasons are that it is slower than Internet Explorer, insecure and not completely compatible with 10-15% of all web sites. Get the facts.


Step 8 - Boot

Optimizing Windows 2000 boot performance requires relying on Autoruns, PageDefrag and Diskeeper Pro. No other Boot time optimizations are available. Significantly improved boot performance is one of the new features in Windows XP.



This guide is under constant revision as new optimizations are uncovered and evaluated. Feel free to submit suggestions or comments to OptimizeXP@comcast.net. Do not send Technical Support Questions.

Legal Notice - Reproduction of this guide in whole or in part is strictly forbidden. This guide and ALL versions thereof are protected by copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Feel free to link to this Guide.