Vista tips for better performance

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Vista tips for better performance

Post by killerjv on 10.06.09 13:57

Vista Performance Boosting Tips

Now it's time to get to the meat of this article. The following tips deal with speeding up your Windows Vista experience by altering many of the default settings of the operating system. Happy tweaking!

1. Disable search indexing

The indexing service in Windows Vista is a lot better integrated into the operating system than it was with Windows XP, and a lot more useful, given the presence of the searchbar. It's still not essential though, and it still uses up hard disk and memory resources. Disabling the indexing service does not disable the search or search bar functions of Vista, but it will slow down the results a bit. Disabling it will speed the rest of your computer system up a bit, so the trade off is up to you.

To disable the Windows Vista Indexing service:

Open the 'start' menu and type 'services' in the searchbar. Hit Enter.

In the services window, scroll down until you reach the 'windows search' service. Right click it and hit 'properties'.

In the 'startup type' dropdown box, change the value to 'disabled', then click the 'stop' button below to stop the service immediately. Hit 'ok.'

2. Limit start menu search options

Once you've gotten used to it, The start menu search bar is an incredibly easy way to find and launch programs, files and other stuff. It can run into speed problems though, once the volume of data in your Windows Vista computer system increases. It can also give you a lot of extraneous results that you may not want, or want others to see. Let's look at some ways to customize the search bar to streamline and speed up searches.

To change start menu search bar options:

Right click on the 'start' button and select 'properties.'

Now click the 'customize' button.

Scroll down until you reach the 'search' entry.

The next five options control what the search bar will actually search for.

'Search' you are going to want to leave enabled unless you really dislike the search bar. You can
'Search communications' searches Windows Mail for contacts and emails. If you don't use Windows mail or don't plan to initiate emails from the start menu, you can disable this one.

'Search favourites and history' checks through Internet Explorer 7 for faves and recent web site visits. If you use Firefox or value your privacy, you might want to disable this one, though it does make navigating to a favourite page quick and easy.

'Search files' has three settings. By default it will search all files in your user directory, but not elsewhere on the computer. You can also set it to search all indexed files on your computer, or, for maximum search speed, disable file searching entirely.

'Search programs' enables and disables program searching, obviously. We'd recommend you leave this one alone, because it might make Microsoft developers cry if you disable it (also it's useful).

3. Remove remote differential compression

The remote differential compression feature of Vista was designed to streamline transfers of files to and from remote directories by keeping track of file changes and only transferring the changed parts of a file or document, rather than the whole thing. This is a great feature for offices that commonly store and access work on network drives, but not so much for home users, especially since the service can eat up system performance while it's working.

To disable remote differential compression:

Go to 'start/control panel/programs/uninstall a program'.

In the sidebar, click 'turn windows features on and off'.

Uncheck 'remote differential compression' and click 'ok.'

4. Boost external hard drive performance

If you use an external hard drive enclosure as secondary storage for your vista computer system, or if you regularly use a USB storage device for large amounts of file transfers, you will benefit from this tip. By changing the way Vista handles writing data to USB storage devices, we can considerably boost the access speed and data transfer rate of said device.

By default, Windows Vista does not use write caching on USB drives, meaning that all data you send to the drive is instantly transferred to the device. Write caching acts as a buffer between the slow mechanical hard drive and the fast system memory. In essence, your computer writes to the cache (another area of memory) which then transfers the data sequentially to the drive, freeing up the rest of your system to do other things.

By enabling write caching on USB drives, you can increase the apparent performance of your external hard disk greatly. Note that flash memory devices will see little to no performance increase with this tweak.

To enable Write Caching on an external drive:

With your external USB drive plugged in and connected, go to 'start\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\computer.'

Right click the external drive in the computer window and choose 'properties.'

Click on the 'hardware' tab.

Highlight your external drive in the list and click the 'properties' button.

Select the 'policies' tab.

Choose the second option marked 'optimize for performance.' Click ok.

Important:Note that in order to prevent data loss, you will now have to use the 'safely remove hardware' icon in the taskbar whenever you want to remove your external drive. This is not necessary when shutting down the computer system though.

5. Enable Readyboost on any flash memory device

If you've been paying attention, you'd have noticed that we have not included Readyboost as one of our performance tips. This is because PCSTATS tested this Vista feature extensively in a previous article and came to the conclusion that the performance gain it offers is minimal at best, unless you have very little memory available (512MB or less). Since DDR2 memory is so cheap, it invariably seems a better expense than buying and using the more expensive ReadyBoost certified flash devices.

However, if you already have a flash memory device or two around the house and want to play at ReadyBoost, but Vista is telling you your toys aren't fast enough to join, this tip could be for you.

To enable ReadyBoost on a 'slow' USB drive or flash memory card:

Insert the device and ignore the autoplay Window.

Open 'start\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\computer'. Right click on the flash memory device and choose 'properties.'

Go to the 'readyboost' tab and place a check next to 'do not retest this device'. Hit 'ok'.

Unplug your USB device.

Open Regedit (open 'start' menu and type 'regedit.')

Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\SOFTWARE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Microsoft\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\WindowsNT\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\CurrentVersion\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\EMDMgmt'
In this folder, there should be a folder corresponding to each USB storage device you have ever had attached to your computer. Find the one corresponding to your USB drive and open it.

Double-click on the 'DeviceStatus' value and change it to '2'.

Now replug your USB device. It will now be recognized as ReadyBoost capable.

6. Speed up SATA hard drives in Vista

In a similar mode to Tip # 24, Vista can also be tweaked to improve the performance of internal SATA (Serial ATA) hard drives. Vista's write cache has two levels, the more basic of which is enabled by default. To really enhance the performance of your SATA hard disks you can enable the 'advanced disk performance' mode.

It should be noted that this tip, like a couple of others in the guide, has the potential to damage your Vista installation. By extending write caching (data held in memory to be written eventually to hard drive) you extend the risk of damaging your system files in the event of a crash or power outage. That being said, you will experience an increase in drive performance, so balance the pros with the cons.

To enable advanced performance on a SATA internal drive:

Go to 'start\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\computer.'

Right click the SATA drive in the computer window and choose 'properties.'

Click on the 'hardware' tab.

Highlight your SATA drive in the list and click the 'properties' button.

Select the 'policies' tab.

Select the 'enable enhanced performance' option. Note the warning. Click OK.

7. Assign specific CPUs to specific applications

Windows Vista allows you to easily assign an application to run only on a specific CPU, which Microsoft dubs processor affinity. If you have a dual or multi-core processor in your computer, this can be a good way of getting some use out of the secondary processors. Your mileage may vary, but it's an interesting tool to experiment with and a way of seeing your new multi-core chip at work.

To assign processor affinity settings to an application:

Start the desired application.

Press CTRL ALT DEL and choose the 'task manager' option.

In the 'applications' tab, locate the desired program and right click on it. Choose 'go to process'.

This will bring you to the 'processes' tab, with the process that drives your application highlighted. Right click on it and choose 'set affinity...'.

The processor affinity window opens. Using the checkboxes, select which processor(s) you want to be able to run that application.

Note that all settings will be reset to default when you restart the computer.

8. Assign priorities to applications

All recent Microsoft operating systems have contained the concept of priority, meaning in this case, which process gets the most attention from the CPU. In Vista, you can customize these priority settings so that your hardware is concentrating most on what you want it to.

Vista has a range of available settings ranging from 'low' to 'real time'. It should be noted here that any full screen application (including games) is automatically given high priority by Vista, so there are no frames per second increases to be had here. What you can do is tweak your commonly used windowed apps to get the desired level of performance vs. system resource consumption.

To assign custom priorities to applications:

Start the desired application.

Press CTRL ALT DEL and choose the 'task manager' option.

In the 'applications' tab, locate the desired program and right click on it. Choose 'go to process'.

This will bring you to the 'processes' tab, with the process that drives your application highlighted. Right click on it and choose 'set priority'. The priority list will open. Choose your desired level, but note that choosing 'realtime' is not a good idea if you want to run anything else at the same time.

Note that all settings will be reset to default when you restart the computer.

9. Create shortcuts for running applications with certain CPU/Priority settings

If you've tried out the above two tips for assigning specific CPUs to processes and assigning priorities, you've no doubt noticed that all your setting disappear after reboot. How to make these permanent? Well, there's no real easy way, but there is a workaround you can do by creating a custom shortcut to the app you want to run with specific CPU or priority settings. Let's look at how to do this.

To create a shortcut to run an application with specific CPU affinity or priority settings:

First you will need to know the location of the application you want to run. The best way to find this is with the searchbar in the start menu. Say you wanted to find the executable file for the Vista Sidebar. Open the start menu and type 'sidebar' in the search box.

The first entry you get will be the Windows Vista Sidebar executable file. Right click on it and choose 'properties'. Click the 'open file location' button at the bottom of the next Window.

Make a note of the file path in the navigation bar at the top of the screen. For Sidebar, it's 'c:\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\program files\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\windows sidebar\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\sidebar.exe'.

Now, drop back to the desktop and create a new shortcut by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting 'new/shortcut.'

When the shortcut wizard appears, enter the following into the text box:

C:\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\WINDOWS\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\system32\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\cmd.exe /c start "(the name of the application you want to start, quotes necessary).exe" /(LOW, HIGH or REALTIME priority) /AFFINITY (1 or 2) "(the path to the file you want to run, from the previous step, quotes necessary)"

The brackets should be removed from the above once you substitute your own items, but all other formatting should remain.

Save the shortcut, then use it to start your app with the desired custom settings.



10. Disable unnecessary services in Windows Vista

There are a few services that Vista runs by default which it is very unlikely that a home user will ever need. You may as well disable these in order to save the small portion of system resources that they consume. Note that this list was designed with a home user and a home networking environment in mind.

If your computer is part of a larger business network, or you use a server-oriented (meaning domain controller, etc.) network at home, please do not make any changes to your existing Vista services.

To disable unnecessary services:

open the 'start' menu and type 'services' in the searchbar. Hit Enter.

In the services window, scroll down until you reach the service you want to disable. Right click it and hit 'properties'.

In the 'startup type' dropdown box, change the value to 'disabled', then click the 'stop' button below to stop the service immediately. Hit 'ok.' Alternatively, if you're unsure of an existing program or application using one of the following services we're suggesting be disabled, change the startup type to 'manual' instead, and then click the 'stop' button below to stop the service immediately. By selecting 'manual', if a program calls for this service it will startup instead of generating an error.

Here is a list of Vista services that are safe to disable, with the caveats we mentioned above. Note that not all of these services are present on all versions of Vista, so if you can't find one, don't panic.

Application experience
Application management
Distributed link tracking client
Offline files
Webclient
Tablet PC input service
TCP/IP NETBIOS helper

Restarting a Service: If you find one of these services was needed by software you use everyday, and want to restart it, go back into the Services control panel. Double click on the service you disabled and change 'startup type' back to 'automatic', click ok. Next, right click on the same Service and click "start" to initialize it right away. By setting 'startup type' to automatic, you're telling Vista to automatically start that service the next time the computer starts. If the service is disabled and stopped however, you need to manually re-start it.
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Re: Vista tips for better performance

Post by killerjv on 10.06.09 13:58

11. De-automate Windows Defender

By default, Windows Defender will run it's anti-spyware scan daily (albeit at a fairly unsociable hour if possible). Though it runs in the background, this can impact computer system performance the same way any full system file scan will. You may prefer to disable the automatic scanning completely and perform only occasional manual system scans at your discretion.

To de-automate Windows Defender system scans:

Open the 'start' menu and type 'defender.'

Click the 'tools' icon at the top of the window, then the 'options' selection.

Uncheck 'automatically scan my computer'. Click 'save'.

12. Upgrade to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Beta (SP1-beta)

Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista is currently available as a pre-release version, and promises to provide a whole host of speed tweaks and fixes for some of the nagging issues that drag down Vista performance, especially on lower end computer systems.

While installing pre-release software is risky, the speed benefits that Microsoft outlines are probably worth it. Have a look at this PDF document on Microsoft.com and see what I mean. Historically, Windows Service Pack updates have provided major benefits (and occasional major headaches) for users, and this one should not be any different. Make sure you install it when it is officially released, if not before.

13. Disable superfetch for computers with less memory

The Vista Superfetch feature is an interesting one. In theory, your Vista PC will 'learn' your typical activities in terms of file and application access, then preconfigure the most commonly used apps in its memory on startup, making them much faster to access. In practice, this works very well on computers with 2GB or more of memory, but leads to a lot of disk thrashing and sluggishness on systems below the magic 2GB line. If you are not happy with the startup speed of your Vista machine, why not try disabling the Superfetch feature?

To stop and disable Vista Superfetch:

Go to the 'start' menu and type 'services' in the search bar. Hit Enter.

In the services window, scroll down until you reach the 'superfetch' service. Right click and choose 'properties.'

Change the 'startup type' dropdown box to 'disabled' and click the 'stop' button to stop the service.

Hit 'OK'.

14. Boot Vista with all available processors

While it takes good advantage of today's multiple core processors when it's loaded, Vista will still use only a single processor core when the OS itself is loading. Fortunately you can override this and force Vista to take advantage of all available processors when starting up.

To force Vista to use all processors during the startup process:

Right click on the 'start' menu and type 'msconfig.' Hit Enter.

Go to the 'boot' tab and click 'advanced options.'

Place a check next to the 'number of processors:' option and change the dropdown box to reflect the number of discrete processor cores in your computer.

Hit 'ok' to save. You will need to restart to take advantage of this tip, obviously.

15. Force 32-bit Windows Vista to use all your memory by enabling PAE

As we stated above, the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista will only recognize a maximum of a little more than 3GB of memory if you have 4GB of RAM physically installed. It is possible, however to gain access to the rest of your 4GB of memory by enabling Page Address Extension (PAE) mode within Vista.

This feature works with 64-bit Intel and AMD processors to add an extra memory address space over and above what is usually available to the operating system. This will not allow enough headroom to access much more than 4GB of physical memory, so you'll have to move to Vista 64 or Linux to go further, but for users who have 4GB and would like it all to be used by Vista, this tip is worth a try.

One caveat; the extra memory addresses added by PAE require some extra work by Vista in order to use them, so you need to balance the benefit of the extra memory compared to this extra overhead. When it comes to apps that are not really memory hungry, enabling PAE may only slow your computer down. Still, it's easy to enable and easy to remove again, so why not try?

To enable PAE mode in Windows Vista:

Open an administrative command prompt (see Tip #20 for instructions on doing this)

Type the following: 'bcdedit /set pae forceenable'. Restart the computer.

Vista should now see your full 4GB of memory.

If you find performance has not improved the way you would like, you can disable PAE again by opening the administrative command prompt and typing 'BCDedit /set PAE forcedisable' followed by a restart.

16. Used advanced disk cleanup tools to regain more space

The program behind Vista's disk cleanup tool is the 'cleanmgr.exe' file. If you access this file from the command prompt, you can enable several previously hidden options which give you more control in terms of what is removed from your computer when you run disk cleanup. Let's look at doing this.

To use the cleanmgr command to create custom drive cleaning options:

Open an administrative command prompt (open the start menu, type 'cmd' in the search box and press CTRL SHIFT ENTER).

Type 'cleanmgr /sagetset: 1' and hit Enter. This brings up a checklist of the items you can set diskcleanup to delete when it is run. You'll notice that there are several options here which are otherwise not available. Choose the options you prefer.

When you hit 'ok' you have saved a cleaning profile. To run that cleaning profile and remove the items you specified from all drives, just enter the following in the command prompt: 'cleanmgr /sagerun: 1'

17. Shut down operating system services faster, for a faster shutdown

When you shut down Windows Vista, all running services are shut down as part of the process (obviously). Now if one or more of these services are engaged in doing something or are hung, Windows will wait as long as 20 seconds before making the executive decision to close each of them down. One easy way to speed up your shutdown process is to shorten the amount of time that Windows will wait before putting the hammer down on errant processes.

To shorten the service shutdown grace period:

Open the 'start' menu, type 'regedit' and hit Enter.

Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control'

Double click the 'WaitToKillServiceTimeout' DWORD value to edit it. Give it a value between 5000 (5 seconds) and 12000 depending on how conservative you are feeling.

Your computer should now shutdown faster.

18. Disable the Vista sidebar

The Vista sidebar is one of the new features of the OS that has attracted wrath and praise in equal amounts. Whether or not you appreciate it's style, ease of use and array of handy gadgets, or hate it's space hogging, system clogging ways, it's impossible to deny that it eats up system resources, even when you are doing other things and not looking at it.

Disabling the Vista gadget sidebar will increase the performance and reduce the load time of your computer system slightly (which is, after all, the point of this PCSTATS Guide). If you do not want to take the drastic step of disabling the sidebar completely, some tips follow which will show you how to make more efficient use of the bar and its gadgets.

To disable the Windows sidebar:

Right click on a blank area of the sidebar and choose 'properties.'

Uncheck the 'Start sidebar when windows starts' option. Hit OK.

Right click on a blank area of the taskbar and choose 'close sidebar.'

19. Sidebar to low priority

So you like the Vista sidebar (and why not?) but you are worried about it consuming unnecessary resources while you are doing things with your computer that do not involve it? We have a solution for you.

What we are going to do is show you how to permanently set the sidebar to be a 'low priority' application for Vista, meaning that the operating system will not devote resources to sidebar apps when other full screen applications are demanding them.

To set the Windows Vista sidebar to low priority permanently:

First follow the steps in Tip #38 above to prevent the sidebar from starting when Vista starts.

Go to 'start/computer' and press 'ALT' to bring up the file menu taskbar.

Go to 'tools\\folder options' and select the 'view' tab.

Under the 'hidden files and folders' section, select the 'show hidden files and folders' option. Click 'ok'.

Navigate to 'start\\computer\\c:\\users\\(your username)\\appdata\\roaming\\microsoft\\windows\\start menu\\programs\\startup\\'

Right click on the empty directory and choose 'new\\shortcut.'

When the shortcut wizard appears, copy and paste the following:

C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\cmd.exe /c start "sidebar.exe" /LOW "C:\\Program Files\\windows sidebar\\sidebar.exe"

And click 'ok' to save the shortcut. Now every time you start Windows Vista, the sidebar will be started also, but at low priority only.

20. Kill the RSS feed sidebar gadget

Even if you don't tweak the sidebar in any other way, you should take our advice and remove the default RSS feed gadget Microsoft included on the bar. The trouble is that this particular gadget has a nasty habit of running very intensively every few minutes, regardless of what else you are doing on the system. This can cause brief performance stutters in games and other applications.

To remove the RSS feed gadget:

Highlight the feed gadget by mousing over it, then click the small 'x' that appears to the top right of the icon
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Re: Vista tips for better performance

Post by killerjv on 10.06.09 14:01

21. Disable automatic backup/system restore

Microsoft's system restore feature has always been of dubious use. As most technicians will tell you, once your Windows system is corrupted enough to require system restore, it's usually too far gone to be worth saving. Boot from safe mode or a live CD, get your data off and reinstall. Since system restore for Vista doesn't contain any major updates over its Windows XP predecessor, we'd recommend disabling to save on disk space and false hopes.

Note that in no way are we not recommending BACKUPS, as you should always have your crucial personal and work data backed up onto a separate physical storage device. It's just that history has proven that there is very little point in backing up your OS's system files. By default, system restore can expand to use up to 15% of each of your drives, so there's a good reason to turn it off.

To disable system restore:

Open the 'start' menu and type 'backup'. Hit Enter.

In the left hand pane, click 'create a restore point or change settings.'

Under the 'available disks' heading, uncheck all entries. Confirm and hit 'ok'.

22. Disable hibernate on desktops

If you've got a desktop that's on most of the time, doing large amounts of non-critical applications in the background (read downloading), you probably want to disable the hibernation and hybrid-sleep functions of Vista. Doing so will save you a chunk of disk space the size of your physical RAM.

To turn off hibernation in Windows Vista:

Open the 'start menu' and type 'cmd' in the search bar but do not press Enter. Right click on the 'cmd' shortcut where it appears in the search results and choose 'run as administrator'.

In the command prompt, type 'powercfg h off'.

23. Stop scheduled disk defragmentation

Microsoft has considerably simplified the disk defragmentation interface in Windows Vista, and made it an automatic process, figuring (probably accurately) that 99% of their user base does not know what disk defragmentation is and would not do it anyhow.

By default, Windows Vista will run a disk defragmentation process (essentially making sure that all the files on your drive occupy contiguous drive space and are not scattered all over the surface of the physical disk) every Wednesday morning at 1AM. If you happen to be up gaming at 1AM on Wednesday morning, this will play havoc with your frame rates. It's probably better to disable the automatic defragmentation process and do it manually once every 3-6 months.

To disable automatic disk defragmentation in Windows Vista:

Open the 'start' menu and type 'defrag' in the search bar. Hit 'Enter'.

Uncheck the 'run on a schedule' check box.

Click 'ok'.

24. Move the Vista paging file for better performance

The page file is an area of hard disk space reserved by Windows for use as additional memory. By default, Windows manages and resizes this file dynamically to suit its needs. Vista does a very good job of optimizing the page file on its own, but there is one tweak you may be able to make which will considerably increase its performance. If you have more than one physical hard disk drive installed in your computer, you can move the page file onto the physical drive that does NOT have Windows Vista installed on it. Since most page file hits are related to Windows system operations, this will considerably reduce disk access on your OS drive, speeding everything up.

To move the Windows Vista Page file:

Click on the 'start' menu and right click on 'computer'. Choose 'properties'.

In the left-hand pane, choose 'advanced system settings'.

Click the 'advanced' tab, then under the 'performance' heading choose 'settings...'

Choose the 'advanced' tab again, then under the 'virtual memory' heading click 'change...'

Uncheck the 'automatically manage paging file size for all drives' checkbox.

In the window that shows the list of partitions (C:, D:, etc.) choose a partition that resides on the physical hard drive that does not have Windows installed and highlight it. Select the 'system managed size' option then click the 'set' button. This will create a paging file on the hard disk in question.

You will notice that the 'paging file size' for the highlighted drive now reads 'system managed'

Now highlight your C: partition (assuming that this is where Windows Vista is installed). Select the 'no paging file' option and click 'set'.

Your paging file has now been offloaded.

25. Set a fixed paging file size

If you want to optimize your Vista system's use of its page file as much as possible, consider setting up a static paging file. Normally, the operating system dynamically resizes the page file as it sees fit, but this resizing operation imposes an overhead on page file operations as well as being unpredictable in terms of the size it takes up on the disk. By setting a static file size, Vista is relieved of the need to manage the paging file which leads to more efficient operation.

To set a fixed paging file size:

Click on the 'start' menu and right click on 'computer'. Choose 'properties'.

In the left-hand pane, choose 'advanced system settings'.

Click the 'advanced' tab, then under the 'performance' heading choose 'settings...'

Choose the 'advanced' tab again, then under the 'virtual memory' heading click 'change...'

Uncheck 'automatically manage paging file size for all drives' at the top.

Highlight the drive that contains your paging file. Select the 'custom' size option below.

Now enter in an appropriate amount of space in the minimum and maximum boxes. A good guideline would be 1.5 x the amount of physical memory in your system, so set a 3GB page file for a system with 2GB of system memory.

Click 'set' and 'ok'.

26. Rebuild the paging file to optimize performance

If you have noticed that game performance has diminished or that applications are loading slower than they once did on your Vista system, you may want to give this tip a try. By default, Vista does not clear the contents of the paging file (the area of the hard disk Vista reserves to act as extra RAM memory). Over time it can become fragmented and less efficient. One solution is to reset this file every so often, ensuring a fresh start for your applications and games.

To reset the Windows Vista page file:

Click on the 'start' menu and right click on 'computer'. Choose 'properties'.

In the left-hand pane, choose 'advanced system settings'.

Click the 'advanced' tab, then under the 'performance' heading choose 'settings...'

Choose the 'advanced' tab again, then under the 'virtual memory' heading click 'change...'

Uncheck 'automatically manage paging file size for all drives' at the top.

Highlight the drive that contains your paging file. Select the 'custom' size option below.

Change the minimum and maximum page file size to '0' and click set.

Restart the computer.

Reopen the paging file properties window and highlight the drive that contained your page file. Choose the 'system managed size' option and click 'set'. Confirm the overwrite and click 'ok'.

27. Move search index to another physical drive

Much like the paging file in Tip #44, you can move the search index to a separate physical hard drive to save overhead on the system drive and boost performance. Note that this tip does require rebuilding the index file, so performance may slow initially until it reaches a useful size again.

To move the search index to another physical drive:

Open the 'start' menu and type 'index' in the search bar. Hit Enter.

Click the 'advanced' button.

Click 'select new' at the bottom of the page. Choose a new location on a different physical hard drive.

Hit 'ok'.

28. Disable the low disk space check

If you've got a second hard drive that is filling up, or a partition that's getting near its space limit, Vista will warn you... And warn you... And warn you, with little pop-up notifications appearing in the taskbar every little while. This can get annoying fast, especially when you see that the system is polling the disks every few minutes to bring you this important warning. It's quite easy to disable though, with a quick registry hack doing the job.

One caveat: Having a decent amount of free disk space IS important if the partition in question is your C: drive where Windows resides. If you want to disable this warning, pay occasional attention to the state of your file space please.

To disable the low disk space check/notification:

Open the 'start' menu, type 'regedit' and hit Enter.

Navigate to 'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Policies'

If you have a registry key named 'Explorer' at this location, click on it to open it. If not, create one by right clicking on the right hand pane and selecting 'new/key.' Call the new key 'Explorer.'

Navigate to Explorer and create a new DWORD value named 'NoLowDiskSpaceChecks' and give it a value of '1'.

Disk checks will now be disabled.

29. Disable 8.3 name creation for files

The 8.3 namespace is a method of naming files used in DOS and Windows 3.1 (for example myfile83.exe). This naming standard has not been necessary since Windows 95 hit stores some 12 years ago. To maintain some illusion of backward compatibility the feature has been kept, and if you do happen to use a DOS-based 16-bit application that can only recognize 8.3 character file names, you will need it. Otherwise, as Microsoft itself says:

"The creation of 8.3 filenames and directories for all long filenames and directories on NTFS partitions may decrease directory enumeration performance."

...In other words, it's slowing you down.

To disable 8.3 name creation in Windows Vista:

Open the 'start' menu, type 'regedit' and hit Enter.

Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\FileSystem'

Change the value of the 'NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation' DWORD to '1'.

30. Disable last access file update

By default, any Windows installation that is using the NTFS file system (that is, almost any installation of Windows 2000 or later) updates each file with a date stamp every time it is accessed. If you don't think this feature is useful, save yourself some unnecessary disk access by disabling it. Note that this is not the same feature as the 'file last modified on:' information that appears when you bring up the properties of a file in Explorer, so disabling last access update will not disable that information.

To disable last access file updating:

Open the 'start' menu, type 'regedit' and hit Enter.

Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\FileSystem'

Change the value of the 'NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate' DWORD to '1'.

31. Disable unneeded hardware

Do you use firewire? How about your wired Ethernet connection? If the answer to these questions is no, you might want to consider disabling the unnecessary hardware to free up system resources. This is a simple process and can be reversed with a few clicks of the mouse, so you don't need to worry about the consequences later on.

To disable unnecessary hardware in Windows Vista:

Open the 'start' menu and right-click on 'computer'. Select 'properties'.

Click 'device manager' in the left-hand pane.

When device manager opens, mouse down to the hardware you want to disable. Firewire would be under 'ieee1394', while all network connection hardware is stored in the 'network adapters' section.

To disable a device, right click on it and choose 'disable'. If you think you've made a mistake, return to device manager, right click on the device and choose 'enable' to return it to its previous state.

32. Check bootup and shutdown times with the Windows Vista Event viewer

The Windows Vista Event Viewer is not a tool most Vista users will find themselves checking often, but it has a few handy uses. One thing you can do with the event viewer is check your bootup and shutdown times and compare them to your system's previous times. If starting your computer has recently become painfully slow, this is the way to track when the rot started.

To check Vista's boot and shutdown times:

Open the 'start' menu and type 'event' in the search bar. Hit Enter.

Navigate to the following path: 'application and service log\\microsoft\\diagnostics-performance\\' and double click the 'operational' log.

The interface is a little less-than-obvious at first, but here's the key; log entries numbered from 100-199 deal with startups and startup events. 200-299 are shutdown related, and 400-499 are system performance entries.

Click on a '100' item, go to the 'details' tab and select 'friendly view' .

Here you are shown the time (measured in ms) to complete the boot process, as well as the various steps along the way. You can compare this to previous '100' items on the log to check whether your boot time has sped up or slowed down with the changes you have made to your system. The same can be done for '200' shutdown events.

33. Check your computer system's health in 60 seconds or less

Another feature Microsoft added to Vista as part of the performance and reliability monitor upgrade is the system health report generator. This will analyze your system using the various hardware and software monitoring tools available to the OS and give you a one page breakdown of your systems current health, with links to more additional information than you could ever want. The system health report will give you a quick idea on what, if anything is causing problems with your system's performance.

To run the System Health Report Generator:

Oen the 'start' menu and type 'perform info' in the search bar and hit Enter.

Now click 'advanced tools' in the left-hand pane.

At the bottom of this window, click 'generate a system health report' to run the report generator.

You now have a snapshot of what Vista thinks of your computer and its own configuration. Read and enjoy!

Sorry for the 3 post, this tips are too long for just 1 post.

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