Windows Error Reporting Service
Every time Windows experiences an error--either with its own processes or with a third-party program--it offers to report the problem to Microsoft. In theory, doing so can help the company locate problems with its OS (and heaven knows that would be a good thing). But more than likely, your report will either go unresolved or just end up in a big ol' pile of other people's reports on the same problem. Either way, you're wasting your system's precious resources on a feature that isn't doing you any good.
To disable this unhelpful service, open the Services window: Click Start, type services, and press Enter. Find and double-click Windows Error Reporting Service. In the 'Startup type' drop-down menu, select Disabled, and then click OK.
UAC: Boon or Bloat?
One of Windows Vista's most controversial new features is User Account Control (UAC), which attempts to protect your system from malware by forcing you to authorize certain system-altering actions by clicking through a dialog box from time to time. To some people, this feature is an unwanted annoyance that must be eliminated. Other users appreciate the added security. While I wouldn't go so far as to lump UAC in with the other wasteful features in this article, I can certainly understand why some folks would like to turn it off--or at least minimize its intrusive behavior. For tips on taming UAC, see Scott Dunn's excellent article "Annoyance Buster: Make Vista's User Account Control Work for You."