You want to speed up your system performance by turning off some of XP's special effects.
Using a graphical user interface
Under the Performance section, click Settings, then select the Visual Effects tab.
To turn off visual effects entirely, choose "Adjust for best performance." To use all visual effects, choose "Adjust for best appearance." To let XP determine which effects to use, select "Let Windows choose what's best for my computer." And to pick and choose individual effects yourself, choose Custom, then check the effects you want to use (and uncheck the ones you don't). You may have to experiment with different choices to see how they affect your system's performance.
When you've made your choice, click OK, and then OK again.
Windows XP's visual effects such as fading and sliding menus, background images for folders, and drop shadows for icon labels make it a visually pleasing operating system. But all those effects can take their toll on system performance, especially if you have an older computer.
Turning off some or all of these special effects is a simple way to speed up a sluggish PC. The fewer effects you use, the faster your PC will perform. So experiment turning some on and off, for the best balance between visual effects and system performance.
For more advice on using the Performance Options dialog box to improve system performance, and for other related performance-related tips, see the CNet article "Give Windows XP a performance tune-up" at http://cma.zdnet.com/texis/cdsamples/winxp_sample.html.