Use windows 98
Im about to reload the system right now. Any advice?
Turn off USB boot and IDE autodetect in the BIOS.
Also turn off any unused peripherals (serial ports, parallel ports, NIC, etc.) in the BIOS.
Enable quick boot.
In Windows set your swapfile size to be static (I use a 768MB swapfile for any system with 512MB or more of RAM). If you have another physical drive to locate the swapfile, do it.
Once you get the system set the way you want it, set it up with no swapfile, defrag, then re-setup the swapfile. It's time-consuming and a royal pain in the ***, but it's the best way to defrag the drive without a third-party tool.
Get a list of Windows services and disable any you don't need or want.
Disable network addapters/network connections that you're not going to use. You can always enable the connection when you need to use it.
Disable all power management.