Windows Vista is a rather heavy operating system with many neat features, but unfortunately they all come at a price. Right out of the box it requires a pretty hefty system to run (arguably).
Before you run out and buy a new computer just so you can run your base operating system, check out these 10 Simple Ways To Speedup Windows Vista tips to lighten the load. This is just the first in the series, so many of them may be very apparent to those experienced in tweaking.
1. Turn off UAC, or at least make it less annoying
Now, there’s a lot of talk about the new user account control policy in Vista, and all I can say is: as it is, it annoys the hell out of me and slows down my normal computer usage. Just why, oh why, does it have to flash my video card to a black screen, take 5 seconds and really just make itself a royal pain in the arse?
To turn it off, the easiest way is to go into the Control Panel and type in ‘UAC‘ into the search bar. It’ll bring up a search result of ‘Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off’. Just follow the prompts from there.
To keep some of the security of the UAC, let’s just turn off the crazy annoying blacking out screen bit. To do this:
- open group policy (start | run | gpedit.msc)
- then navigate to Computer Configuration | Windows Settings | Security Settings | Local Policies | Security Options
- Find the policy named ‘User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation’. Set this to disabled.
Much better, eh? You might say ‘but what’s that got to do with speed?’ Well, as I mentioned, it prompts me a couple times an hour at least and then takes several seconds to figure itself out. My productivity goes up, so it’s a speed enhancer
2. Disable Aero
I personally do not do this, as I am a fan of the graphical styles, but I realize it comes at a cost. It does tend to eat up both RAM and CPU usage (as well as video card usage). While it is turned off during gaming, you can still notice its effects during normal computer usage. When it is really cranking, it can use 15% of your CPU. Ouch. Vanity comes at a cost.
If you do like it, at least turn it down a couple notches. Some performance increases have nothing to do with strain on hardware, or amount of processing. Sometimes, things are designed to take longer than they should, though only maybe a fraction of a second, but the end result to the user is a faster machine. Minimizing and maximizing does an animation. Watch closely. Pretty quick eh? Still, it does slow you down, and, really, what does it add to your experience? I am all about vanity and aesthetics, but this feature has got to go.
Relish in the fact you will be increasing your productivity by 0.2 seconds per minimize/maximize.
- Open your start menu, go to run, and type in ‘systempropertiesperformance’
- From the Visual Effects tab, uncheck ‘Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing’
- While you are here, might as well check out the other goodies you can disable.
ReadyBoost is one of the more innovative features of Vista. The idea behind it is to use solid state memory as a secondary memory cache (before hard drive caching). It does require a certain level of speed from your USB (or other) flash drive. Do a quick search on google for just the fastest USB flash drive you can get your hands on (don’t worry they are cheap) and buy one.
To enable ReadyBoost, just plug in a fast flash drive, and AutoPlay should come up with a dialog stating that you can use it for readyboost. If you have disabled it, you can just go to the properties for the drive and select it under the readyboost tab. Easy as cake. It is no substitution for RAM, but one can get a several GB flash drive for very little. Some sites have stated that the improvements are not as much as MS says they are, but even a minor improvement for such a low investment makes this worth your while. Do find the best drive you can for random reads/writes (the drive speed is usually rated for sequential reads which won’t help you much).
- What speed drive do I need? 2.5MB/sec throughput for 4K random reads and 1.75MB/sec throughput for 512K random writes.
- What size drive do I need? 256MB to 4GB, where as best performance is gotten at around a 1:1 to a 2:1 flash to ram ratio. So really, you should never try this with a flash drive smaller than 1GB-2GB.
Continue on, and see the rest. I’ll get more complex as I go.