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Improve Windows Vista Performance

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Old 09-01-2009
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Improve Windows Vista Performance
  

Here's a couple of major performance boosts discovered, which improve overall operation of Vista. More to follow!

Disable Search Indexing
  • Here is the first important tip. Disable File Search Indexing (which includes processes - SearchProtocolHost, SearchFilterHost and SearchIndexer) in Windows Vista to substantially boost performance. This is a windows service which runs in background always accessing harddisk and network resources. If you disable this, windows search may not be accurate, but that is something I don’t care.

  • Disbling Windows Search Service is simple. Open up Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Service. Find a service named Windows Search. Stop this service and change its startup type to manual. If you want, you can manually run the service when you are not using your system.

  • Once I disabled this, I found that harddisk access reduced substantially and also my internet connection was running in top speed.


Reduce graphics and UI interface
  • Windows Vista by default has a pretty jazzy user interface. If you are a power user, you rarely bother about these UI features. Disabling these features will dramatically reduce load on your processor and memory. This is one method sure to speed up your experience on Windows Vista.

  • To optimize system configuration for maximum performance, go to control panel->performance information and tools->advanced tools (on the left menu)->adjust the appearance and performance of windows->Select Adjust for best performance radio button and press Apply.


Disable User Access Control (UAC)
  • This is one of the most annoying features. Whenever you click on anything which affects system configuration, a popup comes up asking whether you want the operation to be executed! Of course, I want that, that is why I clicked on it! For a power user this is the first thing to disable.

  • To disable user access control, go to control panel->user account->turn user account control off.


Lose what you don't need
  • If you installed Vista yourself and have experience installing previous Windows OSes, you surely noticed that Vista hardly asks any questions about your computer—and what you plan to do with it—than did prior OSes. Windows Vista makes all kinds of assumptions about your computing habits and the features you may or may not need, and it inevitably installs some overhead that you simply don't need. You can get rid of it. Windows XP had the Add/Remove Windows Features button in the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet, and Vista has something like it.

    1. Open Control Panel and click Uninstall a Program to launch Vista's Uninstall or Change a Program Window. In the Tasks pane on the left, click Turn Windows Features On or Off.

    2. Check the list of features. Each feature is preceded by a checkbox which, if filled, indicates the feature is installed. If you hover the mouse over a feature, a help tooltip appears to tell you what it is.

    3. Uncheck any feature you don't need. Some of the features are headings with a sub-list below them; just click the little + sign to expand.

  • Note that when you uncheck features, you're not removing these features from your system; you're simply turning them off so they don't sit in the background eating up resources. You can turn any of them back on by invoking this window and filling the checkboxes.

  • Next, it's time to flush any services that you don't want or need.

  • Click the Start button and type in services.msc and hit Enter. (The cursor jumps to the Search bar in the Start Menu when you click the Start button; you can usually just punch in whatever program or module you want to run right there).

  • The Services applet appears. Each service is basically a little nest of software support code for something the computer can monitor or do.

  • Well-written services include a description of what they do (note that lots of third-party services don't include a description, to which we say: shame). The Status column in the Services window shows whether or not the service has been started. Startup Type means how the service starts:

    • Automatic means the service starts when Windows starts.

    • Manual means the service starts when Windows detects that something needs it.

    • Disabled means the service doesn't start at all.

  • Most services are either set to Automatic or Manual. There's no need to change any manual services; they only start when it's necessary for them to do something. There are probably some automatic services you really don't need, though. You can find a full list of services at TweakHound, an excellent source of all kinds of tweaks.

  • To change how a service starts, right-click it and click Properties. If you don't want a service to load, first stop the service by clicking Stop. Then, pull down the Startup Type list and set the service to Manual or Disabled.

  • If you're not sure about a service, it's safer to set it to Manual; that way, if something calls it, it should start up. If you know you don't need a service, set it to Disabled.

  • The services you need depend on what you do with your PC. For instance, if you're not using ReadyBoost, you can disable that service; you can disable Windows Error Reporting if you don't want to report errors; you can disable Tablet PC Input Service if you don't want to use Tablet PC features; and so on.

  • You can almost certainly disable some services that start automatically by default:
    • Computer Browser
    • Distributed Link Tracking Client
    • IKE and AuthIP IP Keying Modules
    • Offline Files
    • Remote Registry
    • Tablet PC Input Service (unless you're using a tablet PC)
    • Windows Error Reporting

  • Some services that you absolutely should not disable include:
    • Multimedia Class Scheduler
    • Plug and Play
    • Superfetch
    • Task Scheduler
    • Windows Audio
    • Windows Driver Foundation

  • Feel free to experiment with services; just keep track of which services you tweak and, if something doesn't work, re-enable the last service you turned off. Streamline the system by shutting down as many services as you can, based on your own unique needs.



Use ReadyBoost

  • ReadyBoost is a Vista feature that uses a compatible USB flash device to enhance performance. Note that the oft-misunderstood feature isn't a replacement for a memory upgrade, and it doesn't affect game performance—you won't see higher frame rates by adding a keychain drive to your system.

  • ReadyBoost caches disk reads on the fly and can often speed up data access. Reads from a USB key or other ReadyBoost device are much faster than random reads from a platter on the hard drive. ReadyBoost data is encrypted, so if someone swipes the flash device he or she can't tell what you've been up to. It's secure, and it really does speed up access in certain instances.

  • To enable ReadyBoost, just plug in a flash device (Microsoft recommends one about the same size as your system's main memory. For instance, if you have 1GB of RAM, grab a 1GB ReadyBoost device). The system will automatically detect the drive and offer to use it either as an external drive or as a ReadyBoost drive.

  • You can change the amount of memory on the device is used for speed. Windows will recommend the amount it can use with the most efficiency. Click OK and you're done.

  • Adding a ReadyBoost drive isn't like doubling your system's memory, but the performance benefits are well worth the price of a USB flash device.

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