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Looks are expensive, and "Free" costs more than you think...
Unfortunately, you inadvertently pointed out the problem yourself: Vista is about looks. Every one of those effects, from the translucent windows to the pearlescent shine to the oversized icons, eats up processing power that would otherwise be spent on running applications.
Also, much of the new software that comes on a pre-built computer (i.e. the "free" antivirus, AIM, other mfg. programs) are also serious resource hogs. Norton's AV products have been getting worse and worse each year, to the point where they can cut the system's performance in half.
The best handful of "tweaks" you can make to your Vista system to speed it up are as follows:
(Note: You can access the first three of these options by going to Control Panel's Classic View, then clicking Performance Information and Tools.)
1) Change the Theme: By going into Adjust Visual Effects and unchecking things you can do without (you may want to play around to see how you like it), you can remove all of the resource-sucking features of Vista.
2) Disable Indexing: One of the not-so-new features of Vista is the Indexing Service, which quietly catalogs your computer in the background to make searching faster. Problem is, it uses a lot of resources for (IMHO) a not-so-useful function. Yeah, it helps speed up your searches, but it's not worth the performance sacrifice.
You can disable this by going into Adjust Indexing Options, clicking modify, (clicking Show All Locations if applicable) and unchecking everything.
3) Ditch the Bloatware: All that junk that your computer comes with slows it down. By going into Manage Startup Programs, you can stop them from starting with your computer. Leave all the Microsoft Stuff alone, and disable the others that you don't need. If something doesn't work right after reboot (i.e. no Sound or lousy Graphics), you probably disabled a driver. Just go back in and turn it back on. (Granted, this is a little more dangerous than the other options, so exercise common sense here. We don't want to make things worse.)
4) Scrap your Slow Security Software: If you're still using the "free" Antivirus / Security Suite that your computer came with, you might want to consider something else. While I realize I might get flamed for saying this, I recommend something like Windows OneCare or Webroot's Antivirus for their small performance footprint and "set-it-and-forget-it" ease of use. Plus, OneCare can be used on two other PCs, too.
5) Don't be a Packrat: This one is probably the hardest to stick to, but also the simplest solution. Don't install programs you don't need, keep your documents folder organized, and keep the desktop as clutter-free as possible.
Now click "Update my Score" and watch your performance ratings soar!
Launchpad_72 aka IAmTheDonut
Submitted by Launchpad_72
Speed Up Your Vista Computer
I really sympathize with you and it is not your imagination. Many consumer grade Windows Vista computers actually do perform routine tasks at a slower pace than machines of many years ago. It seems that every time the industry makes advances in hardware speed and performance, the software industry gobbles it up with bloated, inefficient software leading to a net effect of slower overall performance. Software providers keep added features many of us dont need or want and hardware vendors keep pre-installing more and more junkware that slows everything down. I dont know when the industry is going to realize that a large majority of users just want to read mail, surf the internet and write the occasional letter and they want to do it fast and without a lot of hassle. Right from the start Windows Vista, with all of its fancy graphics, requires a lot more horsepower than XP to just to run. If you add to that all the demo, trial and junk programs that many computer makers preload onto your computer and then top it off with security software that is needed to protect your computer, it is amazing the thing runs at all. Dont worry, not all is lost and you can definitely tweak your computer to gain some performance. Since we do not know the specifics about your exact computer model as well as your own personal computer needs, I will stick with the more general steps to improve performance.
1. General Maintenance - Even though your computer is only 5 months old, that is plenty of time for a computer to become infested with viruses and Spyware and clogged with temporary files. Make sure your Security software is active and up-to-date. Run full virus and Spyware scans just to make sure your computer is clean. It is a good idea to scan with at least 2 or more Spyware and adware scanners. Also check for dust clogged vents and fans. Run Diskclean or other temporary file cleaning program such as ATF or CCleaner to remove all your temporary junk and history files.
2. Uninstall Junk The very first thing to do with any computer is to remove or uninstall all the junk and trial software that the manufacturer so kindly decided that you needed installed on your computer. Carefully look through all the programs that are installed and remove any that you do not plan to use. Here a just a few examples of stuff you may not need:
GOOGLE DESKTOP Dont confuse Google Desktop with Regular Google. Some computers come with Google Desktop pre-installed or it may have been installed along with some other program. This program, which constantly indexes everything on your computer is wonderful for searching through your computer for stuff, but it can also slow things down. So if you do not have a real need for it, go ahead and uninstall it.
QUICKEN TRIAL If you dont plan to use Quicken, you can uninstall this.
MICROSOFT MONEY Many computers come with trial versions of Microsoft Money.
MUSIC PLAYERS Decide which music player you want and remove any 2nd or 3rd music player such as Music Match or iTunes.
MICROSOFT WORKS If you purchased Microsoft Office or some other Office Suite, you probably do not need Works, so you can remove it.
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS Some computers may come with AOL, Earthlink or NetZero pre-installed so if you dont have any plans to use any of these services, you should uninstall them.
3. Evaluate Internet Security Many Security programs such as Norton and McAfee have been known to really hog your computers resources. You might want to consider removing these and installing other less obtrusive software such as Nod32, AVG, PC-Cillin or Avast. Depending on your computer needs, you may not actually need all of the features of some full security package such as Antivirus, Antispyware, Firewall, Phishing Filters, Spam Filters, Popup Blockers, Parental Controls, Password Vaults, Backup, and Tuneup Routines. You may only need Antivirus and Antispyware protection. Many of these programs are known to start misbehaving, so it is sometimes a good exercise just to uninstall and re-install your security software just to make sure it is working correctly. Note: Make sure you keep the original CD and/or installation files and codes so that you will be able to reinstall your security software if needed.
4. Vista Gadgets The Gadget Bar on the right side of your screen that comes with Windows Vista can be an entertaining extra but is another possible source of slow down. Every Gadget you have installed is just another thing running in the background. Remove any unnecessary gadgets or just shut down the whole bar.
5. Vista Tweaks If you are still finding that Windows Vista is just not performing the way that you want, you can really dive in and tweak your system by removing services and some of the flashy extras and features that you may not want or care about. Extreme Tech has some great information if you really want to get down to the nitty gritty of tweaking http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2110606,00.asp .
If none of this helps and you are really desperate, you might consider removing Vista and installing Windows XP (if drivers are available for your model) or even switching to Linux. Of course, there is always the MAC option.
Submitted by waytron
Improve Vista's speed
There are several steps you can take to increase the speed of your Vista machine.
The best way to start improving your PC's performance is by disabling Vista's Aero interface and making a few performance tweaks.
First we need to get rid of the Aero interface, the first step of which is done by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Personalize. Then choose Windows Color and Appearance. Once inside the Appearance Settings dialog box switch the drop-down menu to Vista Basic.
Next we get rid of the extra visual crap. Naturally resources used to make your opperating system look good are going to take resources away from other things...like applications.
First open Control Panel, then select Performance Information and Tools. Then on the left side of the Performance Infromation and Tools dialog box, under Tasks, select Adjust Visual Effects. Choose the radio button that says Custom and uncheck all of the options you can live without. (I only have "Smooth edges of screen fonts" and "Use visual styles on windows and buttons" checked)
Other things that can increase speed include disabling various services (you can google search for a complete list of which services are safe to disable in Vista), limiting the number of programs that are launched on start up, and defragmenting you hard-drive often. You can use Vista's native defrag utility or download a third-party application. I prefer to use IOBIT's Smart Defrag.
Another freeware program that I would advise downloading is IOBIT's Advanced Windows Care.
Both the Smart Defrag and Advanced Windows Care utilities are available on CNET's Download.com.
Hope that helps.
Submitted by bbarta
Vista's can do better (no really!)
Honestly, it's true that Vista is tuned for the future systems (64 bit, 4+ gigs of RAM, etc.). However, it can run pretty darn well on other systems too. As for speeding things up, here are a few steps to take:
1) First thing to do is only if you bought the computer brand new. Bloatware; we all hate it, but we really need it. You see, thanks to the Google toolbar and McAffe trials about $300 of the price can get knocked off. Which means all you need to do is reformat and reinstall windows as soon as you get it and you're good. If you've already settled in, this can be a hard task (backing up everything, saving all your settings and downloaded softwarez, etc.). If it's not, by all means. If it is, just work on uninstalling all the crap you don't use.
2) Run MSCONFIG (Start> type 'msconfig'> Enter). Then go to "Services" tab and check "Hide all Microsoft services". Uncheck anything you don't recognize as good. Then do the same for the "Startup" tab. This will improve the Start up time (starting services and programs), general running speed (nothing in the background), and shut down (ending services and programs).
3) Adjust the visual settings (Control Panel> System and Maintenance> Performance Information and Tools> Adjust Visual Effects). If you really don't care about Aero (which if it's slow then you shouldn't) just turn it off. Sure it's nice to look at but until you have enough recourses to run it and seamlessly run your other tasks, it's your bane.
4) Finally, if you really wanna' turn your computer into a body builder, you need to trim those abs (and by "body builder" I mean fast computer, and by "abs" I mean Windows Services). You can adjust the Services built into windows from the Services Manager (Start> type "Services"> Enter). If the initial look of it scares you, then go no further. If you're not following a guide of what's what then you can really screw up your Windows. Google up a guide on how to adjust Services safely. This will help you speed in a small but noticeable amount (especially on older systems).
So seriously, Vista will be loved in the years to come as beefier hardware is available to the consumers. It's just like XP. People still stuck with 2000 for a while and for many people, XP slowed down their old systems. But eventually, XP became the standard. Windows 7 (Blackcomb) is gonna' be the same way. Just for some proof, I'm running Vista on a Quad Core Intel 2.66 GHz, Nvidia 8800 GTX 765 MB, 4 GB of RAM machine that used run fast with XP. With Vista, it screams (not to mention DirectX 10 is AMAZING!). But I also have Vista on my 5 year old Compaq laptop. It runs (just as well as XP did) so Vista is pretty versatile, just a bit new (which scares most people). At any rate, hope this helped and you enjoy Vista as much as I do.
Submitted by gascan555
Three ways to optimize Windows Vista for better performance
Darren here are three ways to improve the performance of your Windows Vista machine
Firstly go to Start Menu click on Control Panel, in Control Panel open Performance Information.
In the list on the left hand side of the Performance Information window open "Adjust visual effects".
In the Visual effects box check the button marked "Adjust for best performance".
This will turn off a lot of the visual enhancements in Vista, your computer should run faster without them.
Click OK to close that box.
Now go back to Control Panel and open Windows Defender.
In Windows Defender's Category box choose "Startup programs".
This will show you the programs set to start up with windows.
Scroll through the list of programs and remove any programs you don't need to have starting up with Windows.
This should make your computer boot up faster.
The third thing you can do to improve performance is take advantage of Windows Vista's ready boost feature.
To do this you need a USB flash memory stick, or if you have a smart card reader connected to your computer you can use a smart card instead.
They need to be fast flash memory for best results, its best to use a flash drive that is marketed as ready boost compatible this should mean it has passed Microsoft's read/write speed specifications.
When you connect one of these devices Windows Autoplay will give you the option to use it as a ready boost.
The ready boost setup will let you choose how much of your flash memory to use for ready boost, use at least enough to equal the amount of RAM on your computer, if you have enough flash memory on your device, you can use up to 3 times the RAM amount, to a maximum of 4 GB for optimum results.
Ready Boost should help to speed up your computer by making your most frequently used programs load faster.
Submitted by SouthernDeathcult
answer for Darren
Note: Only tweak your Windows registry if you know what you are doing. A simple mistake while tweaking it can render your OS useless. So backup your registry and be careful. Dont say I didnt warn you. Lee
1.Restrict number of start up programs ,ones you can start manually ,click internet defense manually before going on internet a pick ones you decide to start up like yahoo messenger add on ons ect.Run strong ultilities like win Patrol,tune up Ultilities as a rule of thumb..
2. Disable services which one may not require. For example, if your pc is a stand-alone one, there may be sevral services which you can disable or switch over to manual mode. Auto-starting and closing down of services takes time & resources. These can be saved. BlackViper's Vista Service Configurations is an excellent guide to follow.
3. Reducing visual effects (eye candy). Right-click on My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Performance-Settings > Visual Effects > Adjust for best performance > Apply > OK.
To allow the themes and the glass effects, you may have to check on the boxes : enable transperant glass and use visual styles; this way atleast the spirit of Vista will be preserved- else be prepared for a really bland Vista ! Use your discretion. I know disabling all can actually negate the purpose of 'eye-friendly' Vista.
4. Ensure that boot defragmentation is enabled, so that files used during start-up are clubbed together.
Start Regedit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction . Select Enable from the list on the right.
Right Click on it and select Modify. Change the value to Y to enable and N to disable. Reboot.
5. Disable : "clear page file on shutdown" option. Cleaning the page-file on every shutdown means overwriting the data by zeros, and it takes time.
To clear/not clear page file you can apply this reg tweak. Back up registry before trying this.
Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Session Manager\Memory Management
Modify (if not present, rt click in open space and create) the Value Data Type/s and Value Name/s :
Data Type: REG_DWORD [Dword Value]
Value Name: ClearPageFileAtShutdown
Setting for Value Data: [0 = Clear Page File Disabled / 1 = Clear Page File Enabled]
Exit Registry and Reboot.
6. Defragment your System Disk & Fine Tune your Registry. If you find the Vista's in-built defragger slow, you can try SysInternals Power Defragmenter which works on Vista too ! Use the freeware CCleaner to clear up your PC Junk and clean up the Registry. Compacting the Registry occasionally is a good idea too !
7. Generally people also recommend emptying the Prefetch directory once in a while. But Windows uses this directory to speed up launching
applications. It analyzes the files you use during startup and the applications you launch, and it creates an index to where those files and applications are located on your hard disk. Using this index, Windows can launch files and applications faster. Nevertheless clearing the Prefetcher say once a month is what I do !
8. Go to BIOS settings, by pressing del key during boot-up, and disable 'seek floppy drive' option. This saves time for those who do not use floppy drives. There are also some BIOS hacks like Enabling Quick Post, Disabling Boot Daly, etc but best to refrain from these.
9. Change Boot-Order Sequence : Normally, the bios is set to boot from floppy first, then CD and then Hard Disk. Changing the Boot-Order to be: Hard Disk first, then maybe CD/Floppy, could possibly "shave" a second, I guess !
10. Disable windows startup/shutdown/logon/logoff sounds. Go to control panel, sounds & audio devices, sound tab, in program events select 'no sound' for these events.
11. Disable the ScreenSaver if you dont need it. Rt-Click desktop>ScreenSaver>None>OK.
12. Fonts take time to load. Removing some can save on resources. But one must be careful in deciding which fonts to remove. If you delete some system fonts, you may b in for trouble. Tweak VI Pro is a good shareware to manage fonts. It uninstalls fonts without physically removing them. Open its help file. It lists down the system fonts which must not be deleted ! use the list; and then decide what to delete and what to keep.
13. To REALLY reduce your shutdown time.
Start Regedit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control.
Click on the "Control" Folder. Select "WaitToKillServiceTimeout"
Right click on it and select Modify. the default value is ( i think) 12000.
Setting it to a lower 4 digit value,( say 1000) will make your PC shutdown faster, but you could end up losing data, so use this tweak judiciously.
14. Get rid of all the extra programs Windows Vista installs. You may not be using some like WLM, Calculator, Games, Meeting Space, Fax, etc. Go To Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features > Turn windows On or Off and do the needful.
15. Go To Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Performance Information and Tools. On the LHS you will see options to Adjust Indexing options, visual effexts, power Settings, etc. These all help directly and indirectly.
Do remember that your Vista-based machine will tend to run a little faster, after the first few weeks after it's installed, thanks to its new feature called "SuperFetch" ; which basically studies the programs that use a lot and remembers them and puts the data into memory.Always run strong anti virus ,anti spyware and anti spam .Delete those temp files daily and go 100 miles faster.......
Submitted by djmatt6899