Firewall protects your computer from intrusion by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic. It can be implemented as software or hardware. A hardware firewall is usually a box sitting next to your physical network connection (like DSL or cable modem) and local network computers are connected to it directly or though router or switch.
Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) that is built into Windows is software firewall. This means that it is a software application that runs on your computer and filters network traffic. First you need to enable it and set it up.
Windows operating system is using part of your hard drive as a virtual memory. When Windows runs out of physical memory it starts to swap out data to virtual memory, which is a file on hard disk (pagefile.sys). Hard disk is much slower than physical memory, so when Windows start using virtual memory everything slows down. Remember those moments when Windows stops responding and hard disk light is always on…
One solution is to add more physical memory; other is to optimize virtual memory.
Today’s digital cameras produce large images, on average 5-6 megapixels or 2-3 megabytes (MB) in size. These images are too big for sending by email or for publishing on web. If you are sending photos for example of your family to your relatives you should shrink those images to 1 megapixel or less (size up to 1024×768 pixels and file size around 100 KB). That is the appropriate size for email. You would not want to receive 10-20 MB of large photos in your mailbox, especially if you are not on broadband.
There is a simple free utility from Microsoft that will help you shrink digital photos with few mouse clicks.
You can burn CDs without buying expensive software. Windows XP has basic CD burning support. Everything you need is Windows Explorer. You can drag and drop files on CD/DVD burner’s icon; you can create folders and delete files. When you finish, you just click “Write these files to CD”. But first you need to enable Windows XP built-in burning support.
If you are using an old application with old look, you might want to change it’s appearance, and make it look like Windows XP applications. You might try to change Display properties -> Appearance but it will not work on all applications.
This tweak will refresh most of the old applications.
At some time you will find yourself with very little space available on your hard disk. Simplest thing to do is to empty your Recycle Bin. This will remove some of unwanted files. But there is much more clutter around your hard disk, like temporary Internet files, downloaded program files, office setup files, setup log files, temporary files, offline files, compressed old files….
Remove all that clutter with Disk Cleanup Tool (included with Windows XP) Continue reading →
Same as Internet Explorer, Firefox stores all visited pages with images and sounds in cache (temporary Internet files). You should clear cache from time to time to allow Firefox to function more efficiently. Of course, if you are concerned about your privacy you should delete from time to time cookies, history, forms data and passwords. If you are having trouble accessing some web site, clearing cache might help.
Temporary Internet files or cache is folder with copies of all web pages you visited, including images, sounds and cookies. Cache makes Internet browsing faster because browser can display files from cache instead of downloading them. If cache grows to big, it can have negative affect on browsing speed and can make IE act sluggish. If you are concerned about your privacy you should delete cookies, history, auto complete and passwords from time to time.
If you have lots of programs open at the same time you will like this tool. Standard Alt-Tab window shows only application icon. When you have multiple windows of the same application open, it can be hard to find correct one. Microsoft PowerToy Task Switch can replace standard Alt-Tab view with one that not only shows application icon, but also preview (screenshot) of an application window.
One of Windows XP features is error reporting when application or system crashes. It offers to send error report to Microsoft. You might want to disable this feature if you don’t want to have information about your system sent to Microsoft, or if your computer is not connected to the Internet. You can disable this feature, or you can limit it to Windows operating system errors or only to specific programs you choose.
While you are using your computer, files on your hard disk are becoming more and more fragmented. This happens because while saving files, system is trying to fill empty spaces. One file can bi split up in many parts around your hard drive. This slows down file access, system is starting up slower and everything becomes more sluggish.