Give XP the performance tools of Vista

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

Windows Vista has an all-in-one window for monitoring the health of your system and tweaking its performance — but what if you use XP, not Vista?

With just a couple of downloads and a few drags and drops, you can add a Vista-like performance center to Windows XP.

Vista has a one-stop tune-up tool

Who doesn’t want a faster, healthier computer? Using diagnostic and maintenance tools can keep your system revved for maximum performance, but in many cases these tools are spread out all over your Start menu or hidden entirely.

Vista provides a partial solution by adding a Control Panel icon that’s chock full of system utilities. To access this icon in the Vista Control Panel, click the System and Maintenance category, and then launch the Performance Information and Tools icon. The resulting window provides links to a number of system-measurement and performance-tweaking utilities that provide one-stop tune-ups.

But what of XP? Fortunately, with just a little effort, you can create your own hive of performance tools in Windows XP — and even Windows 2000. Here’s what you do.

Assemble tool shortcuts in a new folder

Start by creating a folder that will hold your performance-tool shortcuts. If you want this folder to appear as a menu on the Start menu, right-click the Start button and choose Start, Open or Start, Open All Users. Navigate to the location you want for this folder, and then right-click a blank area and click New, Folder. Enter a name and press Enter.

In this folder, you’ll add shortcuts to tools that are the same as or equivalent to the utilities found in Vista’s Performance Information and Tools window. In some cases, doing this is a simple matter of using the right-mouse button to drag icons from the Start menu, drop them into your new folder window, and choosing Create Shortcuts Here.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-01-10: