Well, we run the same apps...so, naturally, I think that's a good start
To some extent, I think that "faster" is somewhat at odds with "safer" and I think "safer" is more important of the two.
Every program I install takes a little more away from system speed...although being the human that I am, I am unlikely to be able to perceive the slowness unless it's done via a comparison with very little and a comparison with a great number of programs installed.
Some persons who don't even install AV programs...cite this as their basis for decision...it slows the system down. To me, it should slow the system down...I've installed it to act as a cop for the system, which means that it needs to be vigilant. The more vigilant it is, I suspect that it, combined with other programs/services/functions...slow the machine from the fiery start we all experience with a clean install with no programs installed.
In fairness, I have to say that there are some who say that all services running by XP's initial command...do not need to be run...and these same clever persons say that system speed can be impacted by eliminating those services. Well, that's nice but is the impact a significant one?
I think it can be, in a couple of cases, but only a couple. I think System Restore is a service that I (and others) can do without because we do routine backups and troubleshoot our own systems...and are not dependent on SR for undoing what we might do to our systems or what the system might do to itself. I think that Indexing is a service that will certainly cause the system to labor more than it needs to, so I turn that off because I can feel the difference when it's gone
. Aside from those 2, I leave services alone, but I will pass this link along to you for reading: Black Viper's Web Site - http://www.blackviper.com/
And this one, Slow Computer Speed Up Your PC By Disabling Unnecessary Windows Services - Robin Good's Latest News - http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/2006/04...eed_up_your.htm
Bear in mind that I don't recommend believing or following anything that you might read at either, I give them to you as the other side of the coin expressing views which are not mine.
In any case, I've given you the best I can...my perspective, somewhat counterbalanced by the perspectives of others. I've never tried to make my systems the fastest or the slowest...I just try to keep them running and protected enough that I can enjoy them. My first system was a Pentium 166 and the systems available today are much faster...and I react accordingly.
Others may have comments which will likely be more in tune with what you are looking for...stay posted