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10 Tweaks for Better Vista Performance

written by: Jesma•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 8/16/2009

Numbers 1-5 of the top 10 best modifications to make to Windows Vista. You can tweak Vista to look, feel, and perform worlds better. These Vista tweaks are easy to do, even for people with limited technical experience. Make Vista as fast and easy as XP.

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    Why Tweak Vista?

    10 Tweaks to Improve Windows Vista In many homes and IT departments around the world, the conversion from Windows XP to Windows Vista has been met with remarkable opposition. However, the “choice” of which of the two operating system to choose is swiftly being taken out of the users hands. As the software development process goes, more and more crucial applications will cease to be supported on XP, while all the “latest and greatest” will be optimized for Vista. Why the resistance to the switch?

    For many, the conversion to Vista has been synonymous with performance degradation and annoyance. Vista uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that may look brilliant, but makes the user pay a high price for its beauty. It uses up the system resources that are desperately needed for other things. In addition to this, Vista's new security features not only take up resources but also can be incredibly annoying. Here are a few tips and tricks for those who need to make the switch from XP to Vista and want it to be as painless as possible.

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    Turn Off the Eye Candy

    While disabling Vista's high-tech visual appearance will make it look a lot more dull, it is the number one way to improve performance. To do this:

    • Right-click on the Computer icon on your Desktop or in your Start Menu and select "Properties".
    • Click "Advanced System Settings".
    • Select the "Advanced" tab.
    • Under the "Performance" section, click on "Settings".
    • Select "Adjust for Best Performance" and click "OK".

    This will revert Windows Vista's graphics back to something much more reminiscent of Windows XP.

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    Manage Startup Programs

    Many programs you install auto-configure themselves to start up at the same time your computer does. This results in it taking much longer for your computer to boot up and for windows to load. To speed this process up, you must remove the non-essential programs that are taking up your valuable time. Programs like Office software, messengers, photo viewers, and movie players are non-essential to your computers function and should only be started when needed. Remove them from your Start-Up list. Be sure that you do NOT remove Virus/Malware protection as this needs to run constantly to keep you protected. To do this:

    • Click "Start" and go to "Control Panel".
    • Find and double click "Performance Information and Tools".
    • In the left menu, select "Manage Startup Programs".
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    Processor Allocation

    Vista processor allocation optimized for Programs 

    Adjusting this will help to improve the performance of some programs. To do this:

    • Follow above directions to access the "Performance Information and Tools".
    • In the left menu, select "Adjust Visual Effects". This brings up the "Performance Options" window.
    • Click the "Advanced" tab.
    • Under "Adjust for best performance of:" select "Programs".
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    The Paging File

    Change the size of the paging file to improve Vista performance 

    Adjusting this may help increase performance when you have low RAM. As a general rule, the paging file should be about 1.5x the size of your physical memory (RAM). To do this:

    • Follow above directions to access the "Performance Options" window.
    • Click the "Advanced" tab.
    • Under "Virtual Memory" click "Change".
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    If you have an unused portable flash drive then you can use it to mimic a memory stick. This does not replace a RAM upgrade but may help in situations where you have low RAM. To do this:

    • Plug it in
    • Go to "Computer"
    • Right-Click the device and select "Properties".
    • Go to the "Readyboost" tab
    • Select "Use this Device" then use the slider to select how much of it to use.
    • Click "OK".

10 Tweaks for Better Vista Performance

The 10 best modifications to make Vista perform and feel better
  1. 10 Tweaks for Better Vista Performance
  2. 10 Tweaks for Better Vista Performance - Continued