Windows Vista Performance

The performance of Microsoft Windows Vista can be tuned and improved by use of various hardware and software techniques. The purpose of document is to improve the performance of computers preloaded with Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, Microsoft Windows Vista Business, or Microsoft Windows Vista Home edition. These tips and hints may or may not apply to every single scenario or individual user's computing needs. The tips can be categorized into two phases:

Disclaimer: The information below is presented "AS IS" and can serve as a useful guide to enhancing system performance with the Windows Vista operating system. Individual results will vary and unexpected results or unpredictable application behavior may occur if an application component is removed or disabled by any of the means listed below. Each of the sections should be studied closely and undertaken with the full knowledge that system modification is the sole responsibility of the computer owner. If the computer in question is a corporate asset or is running a corporate version of Windows Vista, then DO NOT employ these methods. Corporate software preload images are created to work within a specific set of operating parameters, and making modifications to that software image could cause unexpected system behavior

Hardware tips
  • Computer system performance always benefit from additional RAM memory. Two gigabytes of RAM will work well with Windows Vista.
  • The addition of a SD card or USB flash drive, when added to a Windows Vista system can implement a new Windows Vista feature called ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost serves as a memory cache and since flash memory access is much faster than hard drive access, the overall system performance improves. ReadyBoost also works in conjunction with Windows SuperFetch. The Windows Vista feature of SuperFetch actually "learns" what applications are used the most and actively loads those application executable files into memory before use. The use of SuperFetch allows for faster application loading over a period of time.
  • Power management will have a significant effect on system performance. Mobile computers by their very nature require an internal power source. There are two extremes for power management, and those are maximum system performance or maximum battery life. Then there are a multitude of settings between those two extremes. Windows Vista offers several default power schemes, the maximum battery and maximum performance selections and a more balanced, middle of the road option. The balanced scheme tries to deliver acceptable system performance along with acceptable battery life. There is also a wizard that will assist in the creation of a new system user personalized power profile. This is available via the power icon in control panel.

Software tips
Windows Vista loads lots of services into memory upon booting, and it is possible some of these services are not needed. These services and features, when removed or kept from loading, will improve system performance, as fewer Windows Vista service drivers are loaded.
  1. Windows PC tablet components can be removed if the computer is not tablet based. These components are removed via Turn Windows Features on or off, which is accessible in the Programs and Features control panel applet.
  2. The Indexing Service can be removed here as well. Indexing Service is that Windows Vista feature that constantly monitors file activity on the hard drive so that when file searches will occur much faster. The drawback is that when first utilized the Indexing service takes quite a while to catalog all the files on the drive. There is constant file monitoring after initial cataloging.
  3. The Indexing Service can also be adjusted for better performance. Instead of the entire drive being searched, only specific folders can be searched. This partial drive search is faster than a total drive search. Open Indexing Options in control panel and click the modify button, and then Show all Locations. A directory tree listing of hard drive folders. This is where specific folders can be selected or deselected for searching. There are several folders that are suggested. The Users folder, or your user ID under C:\users. This will encompass the My Documents folder, My Pictures, My Music and other user or application created files. The types of files can also be adjusted by clicking on the advanced button and selecting or deselecting specific file types.
  4. The Windows Fax service can be turned off as well if faxing via modem is not required.
  5. Remote Differential Compression is a feature related to file access and movement across networks. A thought understanding of this feature should be undertaken before removing this feature.
  6. Windows Aero can be turned off or some of the features turned off to improve performance. This setting can be found in the system icon in control Panel. From there open the Performance link at the bottom left, then Adjust visual Effects. Here are several choices, let Windows decide what options to enable, adjusting for performance or appearance. The last option is custom where individual effects can be enabled. Selecting the best performance option will disable most if not all of the options, depending on the video subsystem.
  7. Windows Sidebar can be turned off or tailored to use those gadgets best suited to individual tastes and requirements.
  8. Those services associated with Windows Meeting Space can be removed. These include Meeting Space feature itself as well as the Remote Differential Compression.
  9. The automatic Windows defragging service can be stopped if manual hard drive defragging occurs. This application is very good at monitoring the fragmentation rate of the drive without considerable system overhead. DiskKeeper will launch the file defragmentation when the system is idle, and pauses when system activity is detected.

Hopefully making these changes and modifications to the way Windows Vista loads and operates will enhance system performance and allow for a more enjoyable and beneficial Windows Vista experience.