Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rescue Windows 98/2000/XP

Rescue Windows

With new viruses on the prowl and uncertainty about OS stability, creating a rescue startup disk for your system can prove to be a lifesaver. But how does one create a startup disk under various flavors of Windows?

Windows 98
Go to Start>Settings>Control Panel and select Add/Remove Programs. Select the startup disk tab and then press the Create disk button. When prompted for a floppy, insert one and click Ok’ This startup disk contains DOS utilities that let you scan your hard drive, copy system files, formatting your system and use the CD-ROM drive.

Windows 2000
The rescue disk here is known as ERD (Emergency Repair Disk). For creating an ERD, go to Start>Programs>Accessories>System tools>Backup. From the Tools menu, choose Create an Emergency Repair Disk option. When prompted, insert a formatted floppy disk into the drive and press the Ok button. You can also choose to backup registry files through this wizard but the registry files are saved in a folder called Repair in your system root directory instead of the floppy disk.

Windows XP
Here the rescue disk is called ASR (Automated System Recovery) disk. This disk can only be created when you take a back up of your system files. For the same, go to Start>Programs>Accessories>System tools>Backup. From the Tools menu, select the ASR wizard and take a back up of the files. You can create a disk for starting up the system in MS-DOS mode by right clicking on the floppy disk icon, selecting the format option and then checking Create a Disk to start in MS_DOS only option.

While using rescue disks, remember that if your system crashes, you will also need to have the Windows installation CD for complete recovery of your OS.

The default installation of Windows XP Prof/Home Edition starts many services in the background, which you could do without, as they eat up a significant amount of your system RAM. Depending upon your hardware, the default installation runs about 30 to 35 services in the background. If you want to optimize XP purely for gaming, then you just need to enable 7 of these services and disable the rest. In addition to this, you also need to do a few other things to optimize XP. Let’s look at them one by one.

Right click My Computer and select properties. Click on the Advanced tab, and from the performance option, click the settings button. This will open a performance window. Select the Adjust for best performance radio button and click OK.

Remove everything from the task bar, such as clock, sound, etc.
Disable all programs that automatically start when the system boots up, such as messenger, other system tools. To do this, run msconfig from Start Menu>Run. Select the Start Up tab to see which programs load during system startup. Uncheck all the check boxes here.