How To Shut Down Unnecessary Start Up Programs
The instructions below were originally written for Windows 9.x/ME, but much can be used for Windows XP as well:
Try this: Restart your computer. Wait for it to load completely then, right click on My Computer, choose "Properties", then the "Performance" tab. The System Resources should be at about 90% or more at startup.(Mine starts at 93%) Most new computers have all sorts of programs running that don't need to be. So let's fix it. Click on Start-Programs-Start Up. If there are any listings in the Start Up area, you need to delete as many as you can.(Right click the listing and choose "Delete")(Find Fast, if its there, is one you will probably never need) Please remember that these are just shortcuts to programs and not actual program files, so its safe to delete them. Don't get rid of some that you really like like Microsoft Shortcut Bar or any others that you really want on the screen when it starts.
Then click on Start-Run, in the typing area put "msconfig" (without the quotes), press Ok. When the System Configuration Utiltiy box opens, click on the Start Up tab. You will see a number of listings with boxes and check marks in them. These are programs that run at start up. You can safely uncheck many of the boxes. Don't uncheck System Tray, Scan Registry, or your Virus Scan startup programs. After youre done, click Apply, then 0K, and the computer will ask you to restart. Do it and then check your resources again. Hopefully they are much higher.(Don't worry too much, if you make a mistake you can always go back to this box and put a check back in any of the listings you want)
If you have any questions about which programs to UNCHECK in "msconfig", post back, or check for yourself at these sites: http://www.pacs-portal.co.uk/startup_content.php or heres the direct link to the list: http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php . At the first link, which is probably the most comprehensive, wait for the page to load completely, then scroll down to the "The Programs" section and click on the "Full List" link. You should be able to find most programs you have questions about.
On Windows 2000 and XP, it's also important to check for unnecessary "Services" that run at start up. Shut them down and the computer should run smoother. Check these links for the "How To":
Windows 2000 and XP
Hope this helps.