How to Speed Up Windows Vista

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More Ways to Accelerate Vista

Dis-Service yourself: Don't let unneeded software components waste memory or put a ball-and-chain on your Windows startup. Click Start, type msconfig, and press Enter. Confirm if prompted by User Account Control. But be careful! Click the Services tab, and uncheck only the services you're certain you don't need. To be safe, uncheck one, reboot, and see if everything still works fine before moving on to another. Do your homework via Online help or a Web search before experimenting!

Here are some services that you might be able to do without: If you don't work interactively with a remote computer, don't run programs from a server, and don't need Remote Desktop, uncheck Terminal Services. If you can live without Windows diagnostic and troubleshooting services, uncheck Diagnostic Policy Service, Diagnostic Service Host, and Diagnostic System Host. If you don't want Windows to index your files for searching, uncheck Windows Search. Other Services options to consider disabling include 'Fax', 'Offline Files', 'Smart Card', 'Smart Card Removal Policy', 'Themes', and 'Windows Error Reporting Service'.

Keep your disk in shape: The same advice you've heard for years is true for Vista, too: Delete the useless clutter on your hard disk and defragment it. To do the former, click Start, type Cleanup, and press Enter. Specify the drive and files to clean and click OK. You may need to repeat the steps for multiple drives. To defrag your drives, click Start, type Defragmenter, and press Enter. Use this dialog box to set up a time to defrag your disk regularly at a time when you are away from your system. Vista has an automatic defragmenting feature that may kick in at inopportune times; scheduling your defrags will help ensure that these operations don't occur while you're working.

More energy means faster computing. To kick things up a notch, use the 'High performance' choice in the Power Options control panel.
Be a power pig: If you don't mind spending more, you can boost your system's performance by adjusting its power options. In the Control Panel, launch Power Options in the 'System and Maintenance' category. Select High Performance, close the dialog box (see the screen shot at left), and prepare yourself for a higher electric bill.

Keep on tweaking: For still more performance tweaks, check out my article, "Shift Any Version of Windows Into High Gear."

Want to squeeze even more out of Vista? We can help you out with 20 great downloads that make Vista work better, tips on how to stream video and music from your Vista PC to your HDTV and solutions to Vista's defrag mysteries. Meanwhile, Contributing Editor Steve Bass has assembled a treasure trove of Windows tips of his own. And in case reading isn't your thing, we have videos, too: Learn how to speed up Vista's boot-up time, improve Vista's performance, or install Vista from scratch. Or just watch a bunch of PC World editors complain about Vista.

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