This spring, you'll probably be getting rid of clutter that just gets in the way – and nowhere is this more important than on your PC with Vista. Many users who have switched to Vista, or have bought a machine with Vista pre-installed, find their computer frustratingly slow, especially when booting up. But don't despair: by turning off or getting rid of a few unwanted features, PC experts have shown you can say hasta la Vista to slowdown:
Vongo? Xaudio? You probably haven't heard of these junk programs, but more likely than not, your computer comes from the manufacturer full of gimmicky software that gets activated when you start up your computer. And each garbage program activated means it takes that much longer for your machine to get going.
To sweep out the clutter, and lower start up times, click on Start, and there type msconfig in the Search bar. Click on the msconfig app, go to the tab called Startup, and then un-check the boxes of all the programs you don't need. You can also use 3rd party program like My Faster PC to remove startup items that slow your PC.(Note: be sure not to deactivate essential Microsoft programs, your firewall or anti-virus software. Before making any changes, it's always good idea to make a system restore point in the System file – found on the Control Panel – in a feature called System protections. Once there, simply select the drive you want to make a restore point for, and hit Create.)
A huge memory sink is the "hibernate" feature – a kind of sleep function that saves power. It's useful if you have a laptop and you don't have many chances of plugging in your computer throughout the day. But hibernating has a serious drawback: it requires Vista to take a "snapshot" of your computer's state before hibernating, and this eats up massive amounts of memory. If you don't use hibernation – or if you have a desktop – disable it! To do so, click on Start and type cmd in the Search box. Right-click on the cmd application, and select, Run as administrator. In the old-school command prompt that pops up, type powercfg -h off, and press Enter. (To turn hibernate back on, simply type powercfg -h in the same command prompt window.)
Arguably, Vista's most hated new feature is "indexing." Windows indexes, or tags, virtually every file on your machine to make it easier to find during a search, but indexing can really slow down your computer, especially if you don't have a lot of RAM or you like to keep multiple programs open.
But you can still keep your search feature while making Vista run much faster by limiting what files Windows can index. Simply open the Control Panel, and look under Indexing Options. While there, uncheck the boxes of all the programs you seldom run searches on. (If you never use search or are really hankering for a speed boost, you can disable Windows Search altogether; to do so, simply just type Services in the Start Search bar, scroll down to and right-click on Windows Search. Under Properties, go to Startup, and switch it to Disabled.)
Like Thoreau said, "Simplfiy, simplify" – the basic rule for speeding up your computer is eliminating or disabling all the stuff you don't use. And surprisingly, one of the biggest memory guzzlers is – fonts! Vista only needs to recognize about 200 or so fonts for optimal performance, but many computers can recognize almost 500. For those who don't feel like erasing all those fonts by hand, computer expert Sue Fisher has designed a free program, The Font Thing, that can help you reduce your fonts to a manageable number.
RAM is your computer's "working memory." It's what your computer uses to keep track of all the active stuff it's doing, like the game you're playing or the document you're editing. Vista has a lot of bells and whistles, but all those little features come at a cost – Vista has a monstrous appetite for memory. Some budget computers come pre-installed with Vista despite only having 512 MB of RAM, well shy of the 1 GB recommended by Microsoft (some experts even think 2 GB is a more accurate minimum requirement). If you've tried all the above tips and still have a slow computer, you might want to consider splurging on a RAM upgrade.
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