Today, most Ghost Recon gamers are using one of three different
Windows OS's to play games on. They are Win98/ME, Win2000
Pro, and WinXP Home/Pro.
What I'd like to do here is point out some simple, but effective
tweaks and settings that will improve your Windows performance;
hence also improving your Ghost Recon gaming and networking
performance for Single Player and Multi- Player.
The first one we'll talk about is WinXP, because this is
now the most prevalent of the Windows OS's and is, even as
we speak, replacing Win98/ME and Win2000Pro.
Basically, these two OS's are the same to the Ghost Recon
gamer and average user, which most gamers are. The only difference
between the two, to speak of, is that XP Pro has all the
administrative tools included for the power user and XP Home
does not. Other than that, they are the same OS, except Pro
is 100 dollars more. So unless you're a power user who wants
all his toys, don't waste your money.
Before doing the following things, just to be safe, go to
Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and choose System
Restore. Choose Create a Restore Point, and follow the prompts
until it's finished.
The first, simplest thing you can do with XP is go to Start,
Run , and type in msconfig . When you go into msconfig ,
you want to ignore all the tabs, except the Startup
Click on it and it will open up a box that has a list of
programs in it that are check marked. Uncheck all
of these items. Doing this does not uninstall the
program, merely keeps them from running at startup as TSR's
(Terminate and Stay Resident Programs), which load up your
memory on startup. If you have 256MB of System RAM or less,
this can be a real hindrance when it comes to gaming. You
can then run them when you choose to from the Programs' Menu.
WinXP typically by itself, depending on how tweaked or not
your OS is, can use as much as 147MB of System RAM, just
for itself before any other apps or games are loaded. Depending
on active mods, Ghost Recon requires up to 90 MB. As you
can see, on a machine with 256 MB of system RAM, this can
go fast and leave little leeway for workspace, especially
with messaging or email programs running. When you're done
un-checking everything here, choose apply , close ,
and choose Exit without Re-Start .
The next thing you will want to do is click Start ,
find My Computer , Right click on it, and choose Properties .
At the System Properties Window , click on the Advanced
Tab , and choose the Settings Button . Under Visual
Effects you can choose one of the 4 default options.
I personally run mine at Best Performance. It frees up a
lot of memory. It just depends on how much RAM you want to
sacrifice for useless visual effects. Choose to your liking.
Click apply, go back up, and click on the Advanced tab. Make
sure that Processor scheduling and Memory
are both set for Programs .
At the Virtual Memory section, click the Change
Button . Now this is important, especially if you are
multi-booting with another OS or have several Hard Disk Drives
(HDD's). In the box, your drives will be listed. By default,
Win XP assigns all remaining available HDD space on the Windows
drive, with a minimum of 768 Megabytes and a maximum of every
thing free space wise on the drive, to Virtual Memory. This
can actually slow performance down big time, especially on
large drives in use today. Windows will scatter all the files
it's using over that entire unused area of the drive, meaning
longer fetch times. Highlight the drive that Windows is installed
on, usually C, and choose the custom size option. In
both value boxes, enter 768 and click OK . This will limit
the Swap File to 768 MB instead of all the free space on
the Drive. Do NOT restart yet.
Another word on speeding up HDD access times. Double click
My Computer , then Right
click on the drive that has Windows installed on it, and choose properties .
At the bottom, make sure the Compress Drive box is
unchecked and Allow Indexing is checked. Click the
Disk Cleanup button and as soon as the menu box comes
up, uncheck everything except Temporary Internet Files. This
will keep the HDD from constantly searching for files to
delete and leave you the option to do it manually when you
are using your PC for important stuff like fragging in Ghost
Recon! ! - This tip provided by Snakebite1967.
The next thing we are going to do is disable all unnecessary
services that load up and use valuable resources, mainly
RAM. There are two ways you can view and disable Services
in XP Pro and one way in XP Home. The first way works in
Go to Start, Control panel,
and Administrative Tools .
On the Left hand side, at the bottom, you will see an entry
called Services . Double click it. This will
open up the Services Control Panel where you can view
and disable services. Go down the list and, before disabling
and stopping any service, review the description next to
it. Do NOT disable any Remote Procedure Call Services
or TCP/IP Services . Do disable the
Remote Access Services, The Messenger Service for security,
and the Messenger Service
to eliminate a lot of pop-ups . Other Services are at
your discretion, just read the descriptions and dependencies
very carefully. If you find you need something that you disabled,
go back in and set it to automatic again. You haven't hurt
The second way to get into the Services Control Panel only
works with XP Pro, because the Admin Snap-ins are only available
with the Pro version. Go to Start, Run , and type in
Once you have gone through here and completed your service
selection, close the Services Control panel . Do NOT
I CANNOT stress this point enough!
! Before starting any of these tweaks and changes; before
you make one registry
alteration; when you open regedit, go up to File, choose
Export, and export your Registry to a safe location, in case
of a mistake. If a mistake is made, it's not the end
of the world! ! You can then boot Windows to Safe
and restore the registry by double clicking on the exported
file you made, which will restore it, or by right clicking
on the exported file and choosing Restore option.
Also, remember that after you
alter the Registry, System Restore will NOT work again
until you create a new Restore
Point through Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and System
Restore . System Restore uses the Registry to Restore
and can't do so once it's been altered . So, once it's
been altered and you're sure everything is working to your
satisfaction, create a new Restore Point. Likewise, if you
have to restore your old Registry Backup file, you will also
need to create a new Restore Point.
Open Regedit by going to Start,
Run, and type in regedit .
Navigate to the following keys.
Version and navigate down until you see between 1 and
4 Run folders called Run, Run Once, Run Services,
and Run Services Once . NOTE: Your Windows setup
may not contain all of these folders . In the right hand pane,
delete any keys of programs you didn't leave in msconfig
to run on Windows start up. This doesn't harm
the program in any way , just keeps it from starting up when Windows
This should free up a great many system resources that will
help GR and all your apps run to their full potential and
load faster, as well.
The other thing that must be
done at least once a week for light users and 3 times a
week for power or heavy users
is Scandisk and Defrag. Windows XP is notorious, especially
with NTFS for fragmenting, especially during heavy use.
For those of you that are new to OS's and tweaking and the
ins and outs of the OS, this is what defragging does. When
Windows uses files or runs apps, it has a nasty habit of
just popping the info back on the drive wherever it wants
to, instead of with the rest of the program. So what defragging
does is to put the files back in a nice, continuous, orderly
fashion so that seek and fetch times are faster. In other
words, it groups program files back together as they should
That's about it for windows XP. Please tell me what you
all think. All feedback is welcome. If I can help anyone
who gets stuck or you have specific questions, my contact
info is listed. Just PM or email me to let me know you want
to add me to a messenger service, so I don't block you by
accident, and tell me who you are. If you don't, you'll get
blocked, because I get a ton of anonymous stuff and undesired
people trying to add me.
In the coming week, look for a similar tutorial on Windows
98/ME, since it is still very common. As well as one for
networking online MP and LAN party setup. If there is enough
demand for one, I will also put one together for Windows