Follow these tips to get your computer running faster than ever in no time.
Tame visual performance
The huge visual leap Microsoft made between the XP and Vista operating systems — the attractive see-through taskbar and translucent window frames — means PCs with a slow video card will struggle to deliver the same speed you may be used to. Turn off the fancy graphics for improved performance on entry-level or older machines. Right click the desktop, select Personalize -> Windows Color and Appearance and turn off transparency. Plain, but faster.
Moderate your Sidebar
The Sidebar looks great but as with the new visual features in Vista, it will chew your CPU and take processing time away from the programs you use frequently. Disable the Sidebar by right-clicking it, select Properties -> Clear Sidebar. If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of the sidebar altogether, just remove the applications you don’t use.
Disable search index
The auto-complete feature in your search tool is a handy add-on, but you may not use search enough to warrant the processing power it uses. You can turn it off by following Start -> Computer, right click the C: hard drive icon and clear the Index This Drive checkbox.
Disable startup programs
Every PC has a host of programs that open automatically when you boot up. Most of them are important, but some of them you don’t need right away when you start the computer. Open Windows Defender and select Tools -> Software Explorer to reveal the programs Windows opens automatically at start up. Those you’re sure you don’t need to open overtime, click and select Disable.
An extra 800MB
If you’ve updated Vista with Service Pack 1, you’re happy with SP1’s performance and you won’t need to remove it in future, you can use Microsoft’s tool to remove the uninstall files, that take 800MB of space on your PC. Go to Start -> Search and enter vsp1cln.exe into the search box. This command will automatically remove the files from your computer, giving you an extra bit of performance.
Tell Vista what programs get the red carpet
If you notice long delays to open a program, it’s possible you have a previously opened app running on an endless loop, not shutting down. This eats up all your processing power without you realizing. To fix this, open Task Manager, right click on the program and select Set Priority -> Below Normal. This gives your other programs priority for your PC’s processing resources.
You can return your PC to a previous point in time you’ve set with System Restore. This feature will also set its own time points, for example, when you install an important program like antivirus, or every time you turn your PC on. Run System Restore at Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > System > System Protection > System Restore. You can also find out more about System Restore here.
or Turn off System Restore
Vista’s method of setting restore points is great to wipe your disk clean of any bugs you may have picked up in the past week or so, that may be slowing your PC down. System Restore takes up a lot of space to keep the disk drive state in memory. If you backup regularly to hard drive or CD, you can turn off System Restore by following the same path above and selecting the checkbox ‘Turn off System Restore’.
Check your firewall
It’s possible a slow PC is the victim of a malicious program or virus, sometimes called ‘malware’ or ‘spyware’. Spyware keeps tabs on the information on your computer and may transmit it to thieves to use your credit card data or similar personal information. Check now if your firewall is turned on. Follow Start – Control Panel – Network and Internet Connections – Windows Firewall.
Spyware will slow your PC down significantly and if you’ve got it, you should get rid of it immediately with an antivirus program. Click here for recommendations.
Clear your registry
The registry is like your computer’s library that stores your programs. With time, as some programs are added and removed, and everyday programs opened more frequently than others, your registry ends up disorganized with files scattered everywhere. An old or cluttered registry will cause crashes and blue screen lags. Download this tool to perform a free scan on your PC.