put your swap file on a thumb drive, get a 2Gb one
and leave it plugged in all the time, will make it better.
take a look at what is loading up at system boot
Autoruns (from Sysinternals, MS bought them out)http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx
You can customize what is loading up to make your system lean.
you can also scan for 'not found', that can also slow you down,
it tries to look for stuff to load up but it is no longer there,
often from bad uninstalls and upgrades.
turn off disk indexing, that will make your system run like a snail,
it constantly checks the HD and updates the tables, not necessary for our use.
we've got over 100 desktops that stay on 24/7/365 unless they need a
reboot from windows updates or trendmicro updates,
everything from XP and all flavors of windows and android too.
Then there are the servers and we won't get into that stuff.
keep track of what you change and tweak so you can go back if necessary.