There’s a multifold of ways to enhance the performance on a Windows Vista machine. Some expensive third party software promise more than they can make happen, so I wouldn’t bother too much about those. Many a time, Windows’ built-in toolkit can do the trick just fine. Throughout the posts that follow, I’ll discuss some easy, built-in methods to speed up Windows Vista.
(many of the procedures will require Administrator Privileges, a shield-icon will alert you of this)
Turn unnecessary Windows features off
Similar to Windows XP’s facility, Vista also has a ‘Add/Remove Windows Features’ dialog. Only now it’s accessible directly from the control panel. Note: This doesn’t actually remove the feature. It merely turns it off so it doesn’t sit in the background idling yet still consuming resources.
Things you might want to ditch:
- Tablet PC Optional Components: As the name suggests, this includes Tablet-related tools like handwriting-recognition, the Windows Journal and the Snipping tool (which, frankly, I find very useful for taking localized screenshots). Remove this unless you own a Tablet PC or have become keen on using the Snipping tool, like I have.
- Windows Meeting Space: Leave this alone if your corporation uses this thing.
- Games: If you’re not interested in Chess or Hearts, kill it. (Hearts is nice though!)
Business versions don’t include games. No way to add them in afterwards, either.
Note: this dialog is a purged version of the Services-window, which I’ll discuss now. If you desire more control, skip this and read the next section.
Purge automatically starting services
Even though the number has gone down somewhat, there are still services starting up automatically in the background. The effect is a familiar one: long boot-up times. Fire up the Services-window by launching the Start-menu and typing ‘services’ in the search-box.
The ‘Startup Type’-column defines how the service will act. There are 4 choices to make:
- Automatic (Delayed Start)
There’s an important distinction to make between Manual and Disabled. When you set a service to Manual, it will still be callable, though when you set it to Disabled it will unreachable by applications and will cause trouble. You should by no means disable one of the following services (for the obvious sake of dependency):
- Multimedia Class Scheduler
- Plug and Play
- Task Scheduler
- Windows Audio
- Windows Driver Foundation
You can safely set the following services to Manual (or even Disabled):
- Computer Browser
- Distributed Link Tracking Client
- IKE and AuthIP IP Keying Modules
- Remote Registry
- Tablet PC Input Service (leave this Automatic if you’re using a Tablet PC)
- Windows Error Reporting
- ReadyBoost (leave this Automatic if you use ReadyBoost)
You can safely go ahead and experiment and tailor the services dialog to your own preference and needs.
Clear out your try
Check your tray for crap. The more icons, the more crap. I beseech you, take a minute or five and liberate your PC from all this background-clutter. Also, when installing new software, make it a good habit of disabling tray icons. Windows Defender, which is included by default, handles this issue pretty well. It has a nice interface to manipulate which tray icons appear at boot-up. Flick through this list and eliminate all but the essentials.
Get to the Start-menu and type ‘defender’ to launch Windows Defender. Click the Tools-menu button and select the Software Explorer.
The pane on the far left side holds the startup-programs for the current user. Just select and tap the Disable button on the right to prevent it from initiating at boot-time. This will not remove the application. You needn’t be overly precarious when sifting through this list, though you may want to be cautious about disabling necessary apps (like device drivers or other system software). The right pane displays some interesting info which are worth looking at.
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