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Top Tips for Windows Vista
Speed up and Optimize Windows Vista
The following is a list of tips & easy tweaks you can do to optimize, speed up the performance of, and get the most out of your PC running Windows Vista.
Quick Jump: Performance & Speed | Security | Misc. Tips
Tips for Improving Vista’s Speed & Performance
ReadyBoost – Additional RAM is generally the easiest way to improve almost any computer’s performance. Windows Vista takes advantage of this with ReadyBoost, which allows you to use a removable flash memory USB drive to boost system memory. This is a very cool feature, so if you aren’t already using it, check it out.
To enable ReadyBoost, just plug in a flash device about the same size as your system’s main memory. Vista will automatically detect the drive and ask to use it as either an external drive or a ReadyBoost drive. Choose ReadyBoost and you are set to go.
Minimize Graphic Effects – Style vs. Speed. Disabling some of Vista’s visual effects can dramatically improve performance, especially for older computers. You will have to find your own balance between looks and speed, but here are some suggestions:
Disable the Sidebar: If you don’t use it, get rid of it — it’s just eating system resources. Right-click the Sidebar > Properties > uncheck Start Sidebar When Windows Starts > OK. Then, right-click the Sidebar > close Sidebar. If you want it back, click Start > type “sidebar” and press Enter.
Disable transparency: Right-click the desktop > Personalize > Windows Color and Appearance. Uncheck Enable Transparency > OK.
Disable some visual effects: Open Control Panel > Performance and System Tools > Adjust Visual Effects.
Driver Updates – Being a newer operating system, it is important to check for driver updates as many hardware manufacturers are still catching up with optimizing their products for Vista.
Get Rid of Un-needed Programs & Features – As with any version of Windows — less is more. The less “stuff” running and taking up space the more efficient your machine will be.
To Clean out unused programs: Works much the same as in previous versions of Windows, but here is a tutorial if you don’t already know how to uninstall programs.
To Turn off Windows Features: Windows Vista loads a variety of “stuff” on your PC, that you probably don’t need. You can safely turn off many of these features. Read this to learn how.
Stop Programs & Services That Auto-start On Startup – You likely have some programs & services that unnecessarily start automatically when you turn on your computer. These programs slow how fast Vista can load, as well as use up system resources as they constantly run in the background.
To turn off Services: Click Start > type services.msc and press Enter. One example: You can turn off the common program “Quicktime” auto start feature. It’s unneeded to be running in the background and just taking up system processes.
To understand what these services are, and which one’s are safe to disable, see this Windows Vista’ Services Guide.
Vista Security Tips
AntiVirus – Windows Vista doesn’t include an antivirus program. A good free Antivirus program is AVG Free. I’ve used this freeware for over 6 years, and it’s never failed me. Highly recommended.
Parental Controls – This is a useful set of tools to help protect and monitor your children’s computer usage. Protecting your kids from internet dangers is good, but also consider that Vista’s parental controls can help protect your computer.
Vista Security Updates – If you don’t have your Vista set-up to automatically download security updates (or don’t know what this means), then check out this tutorial from Microsoft.
System Health Check – Have a look at this, especially if you are experiencing problems or errors with Vista: Open control panel > System Maintenance > Performance Information and Tools > Click Advanced Tools and then “Generate a System Health Report“.
Misc Vista Tips
Blinking Curser is too small – From the control panel in the search box type “optimize visual display” then click the shortcut to see the dialog box. Changing the size of the cursor from 1 to 2 makes an improved difference for most users.
Adjusting the Text Size – In the control panel’s search box type “Adjust Font Size“. Here you can change the DPI value to suit your preference.
Get to the Desktop Faster – To minimize all open Windows press the Windows key and “M” at the same time.
Additional Clocks Feature – In Windows Vista, you can configure and add additional clocks to the system tray — this is a very cool feature. Click the clock > Date and Time Settings > Click the Additional Clocks tab.
Hope you found at least a few helpful pieces of information in this article.
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