CXO

Video: Speed up Windows Vista with these performance tweaks

Windows Vista has additional security features, new functionality, and a lot of cool graphics. But depending on how powerful your computer is, you might not be that impressed with its performance. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler gives you several performance-enhancing tips to speed up Windows Vista.

Windows Vista has additional security features, new functionality, and a lot of cool graphics. But depending on how powerful your computer is, you might not be that impressed with its performance. Even if you're running Vista on something less powerful than say--an $8000 Alienware Area 51 ALX (with three video cards), you can do some tweaking to make the operating system run a bit faster. In this IT Dojo video, I'll give you several performance-enhancing tips to speed up Windows Vista.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can go to the video player page for this IT Dojo episode and click "See Full Transcript," or you can also read Deb Shinder's original articles, "Know what to do when Check Disks malfunctions in Vista" and "Follow these tips to boost Vista performance" on which this video is based.

You can also sign up to receive the latest IT Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

41 comments
craig.networking
craig.networking

Bill Thanks for the tips. After statically assigning my paging file across multiple physical drives my performance increased tremendously without sacrificing any of the bling. Regards, Craig

ashepard
ashepard

Good post. Love the step by step. As Einstine said "No problem is solved using the thinking that created it". I almost, almost, feel safe enough to send to non-techie friends and family for the holidays. You have to know some non-techies to see how clever they are at messing up a two car funeral. We have still skipped Vista at work so please have one of these clips ready for Win version 7. Sigh. My IBM 3270 green screen gives all the same info but runs very fast though the thumbnails are better than icons. regards

takaharu
takaharu

This guy is great. "Speed up Windows Vista with these PERFORMANCE TWEAKS" --> install more RAM & a better graphics card. Since when was buying hardware a tweak? Realistically, if you want to improve the performance of your computer with tweaking, make sure you read the minimum specs first and, if you match the specs, turn off the gadgets and aero theme. Gotta love how they green screen a server room behind Bill. Is it supposed to make him look more important or something? A real server room like that, he'd have to yell at the camera from the noise of the AC and fans.

The Admiral
The Admiral

The best way to improve Visa performance is to format the drive and re-install Windows XP.

wim.jongman
wim.jongman

4 gigs of memory?? I have 4 gigs but windows can only address 3!!

vucliriel
vucliriel

I commend the author for at least presenting common workarounds for users, so that they may feel somewhat empowered and maybe even foget the real evil of this OS. But seriously, what an utter waste of time when so many hacks and tweaks are required to do what... Make a machine run ALMOST as well as one with XP, with the added user control aggravation still in place? Imagine, I had a friend of mine, a POWER USER, FORCED to actually BUY a copy of Vista. I was so flabbergasted that I let it be known in front of all the robots at the store. Until he whispered in my ear, "I have to, too many of my clients come to me with Vista issues, I have no choice but to bite the bullet and sacrifice one of my machines if I want to help them" The issue is, WHAT'S THE POINT even trying all this when in the end result, you STILL have to contend with inferior performance and much, much increased aggravation? It's OBVIOUS MS DOESN'T want the user to do the tweaks necessary to take control back and make his computer work the way it should, that would be going against its new 'security' features, but more deviously, it goes against what it's been trying to do for almost a decade now: force the user into a 'business model' where the user is FORCED to pay on a subscription basis in order to simply USE his machine!!! At the rate it is going, soon enough we'll learn that computers won't operate unless they are connected to Redmond who will decide whether you should be able to word process and do all the stuff you do now in complete freedom. Mark my words, some of my DVDs already won't play unless I get permission from the internet, it's just a matter of time until you'll have to connect, show credentials and eventually PAY in order to use Office! In other words, WHY EVEN BOTHER WITH VISTA AT ALL?! You call THAT an 'Improvement' worth 'tweaking'? It shouldn't even EXIST, it's totally wrong from its inception! Hasn't anyone of you read 1984 by Geeorge Orwell?! Hasn't anyone read Bill Gate's open Letter to Hobyists back in 1976 where he says that "there would be nothing that I would like more than to hire ten programmers and flood the market with my software"? Has anyone forgotten the MCP and the message in Tron? This movie's only 25 years old, for crying out loud! Sorry, but MS has seriously gone off the wall with this one and MUST be stopped. The little control remaining to users is gone and there's almost nothing left. The ONLY reason to 'upgrade' is that MS has FORCED many manufacturers into its fold and one is more often than not FORCED to use vista because of hardware drivers. The most evil is when they forced some motherboard manufacturers to implement features that would even PREVENT users to downgrade to XP! Fortunately, it has been a fairly limited issue so far and it is still possible to make Vista drivers work with XP (or even Win2K). Drivers is the ONLY reason to 'Upgrade' to this OS, and even that is questionable. As long as there will be bright minds with a passion for liberty, there will be ways to extract the actual functionality of these drivers and make them work with previous OSes so that your computer may the work the way it was intended to work, to EMPOWER THE USER instead of the megalomaniacs who would want nothing better than to "force my credo onto the world", to paraphrase Bill Gates' open Letter to the Hobbyists...

douglas.d.loyd
douglas.d.loyd

I was glad to see step 1 was ADD Ram, however, he blew it with the recommended amount. If all you are ever using is e-mail, browser, small spreadsheets, documents with little to no pictures and no GUI Bling, then 1G will be acceptable with Vista. Go outside that small list and Vista chokes and possibly pukes. It takes 2G before things work well. If you play any of the "Hot Games", you need 4G. My other major disappointment has nothing to do here. It is with the PC manufactures that so badly low-ball the ram in the machine. No wonder Vista has such a bad rap.

findlay
findlay

In South Africa the broadband is so slow that we need these in text as the Video stops and starts annoyingly

Carl Hall
Carl Hall

What would be the difference between using readyboost and augmenting the pagesys file onto an SD card if we leave the SD card in the system at all time.

suziethaller
suziethaller

Since I'm not a total computer geek, I found the information easy to understand and great instructions for each task. Thanks!

sfvortex
sfvortex

Waste of time, and I never found the text, which would have been immediately apparent as a waste of my time. This video blogging stuff can really slow things down, when it's used in such a haphazard manner. Think to yourself: If I had to click through to this pablum, would I be glad or mad at the tech info outlet that led me here? How long would I take the site seriously? How long would I allow them to send me email alerts just so I can read last year's news?

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In the following IT Dojo video, I discuss several performance-enhancing tips to speed up Windows Vista, including upgrading the RAM, turning off graphic options, reconfiguring the page file, and more. Original blog post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=195 Have you used any of these performance enhancement measures? In your experience, which method have you used most often? Take our Windows Vista performance tweaks poll and let us know: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=196.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I briefly mention installing more RAM at the beginning of the video before moving straight into the other tweaks--using ReadyBoost, changing the visual effects settings, reconfiguring processor scheduling, changing the paging file settings, and modifying the Indexing Options. As for the sever room background, I wanted to shoot in our office's actual server room, but you're right the fans are too noisy and there's a slight security issue.

co2mo
co2mo

I am running XP home, what are you running? My BIOS sees 4G but the system only sees 3

tmchristman
tmchristman

I have a Vista laptop with 4 GB and it addresses all of it.

ScriptDummy
ScriptDummy

I think you have your numbers wrong Here is the MS numberd from the MSDN Site. Version Limit in 32-bit 64-bit Ultimate 4 GB 128 GB Enterprise 4 GB 128 GB Business 4 GB 128 GB Home Premium 4 GB 16 GB Home Basic 4 GB 8 GB Starter 1 GB N/A

lorenzo
lorenzo

Evil? Deception? 1984? MS Must be stopped? That's quite a drama we have right here.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm sure many people will be able to improve the performance of their Vista systems thanks to your insightful discussion of the original topic.

vucliriel
vucliriel

... just go the main page and select 'see full transcript". There are also links to original articles, if there are any. When you click on "see full transcript" a window will appear with the content underneath. Although there is no text file per se, you can select the content and copy it for reding in a notepad window; this is how I do it.

vucliriel
vucliriel

... anybody else tried? Maybe a simple way to make Vista bearable on machines limited in RAM such as laptops...

vtassone
vtassone

Don't buy a cheap machine and expect it to run Vista. I just finished working on an HP that a customer bought. She was saying that it was running "slow". The short of it was 512 ram and Symantic antivirus. What company in their right mind would sell a machine with 512 ram AND Vista?

babznme
babznme

Hi there, I actually apreciate the videos. I like the voice better than reading. And I can pause it or go back and listen to something I missed. As for your comment about 'pablum', I make a good amount of money undercutting techs like you by helping seniors and the disabled to learn more about their computer and keep it running well. I can charge way less than you and I keep my clients! I use these sites to learn and to pass on to my clients so they can better understand how not to screw up their sometimes lifeline to the world. Yes, they are newbies and you should be nice about it. Clients don't like to be talked down to or be made to feel inferior. The videos are very respectful of that. Next, If you really don't like scrolling through a blog or getting emails from sites like this one then why are you even reading it and posting. Obviously this was a waste of time for you. Lastly....Newbies do not know which startup programs they can stop from running. Every Windows version has been the same. Stop the startup programs from starting up in the first place and every computer will run faster and be more responsive. I would like a list of the programs we need for startup so I can shut down all the unnecessary ones and it will boot faster. Otherwise, after using Vista for almost a year. Its not bad at all. Just some older programs won't run on it is all. Have a better day! Smile more!

kevin.carrell
kevin.carrell

I think content like this is invaluable for the less techy support person who maybe isnt as financially stable as they would like to be and cannot afford to pay for training or the certification tests, that wants to go further in IT that just answering a phone to pass calls onto other Depts. Its stuff like this that helped me move into a corporate HQ IT Desktop Apps Network support role. You had to learn the basics from somewhere There was a time when you wouldn't of known as well! So why give the newbies a hard time? They are just as entitled to learn if they choose

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

sfvortex, While I appreciate your feedback, I think both your criticisms are unfounded. First, the blog post contains links to the two HTML articles on which this video is based. There is also a link to this IT Dojo episode's video player page--from which you can get a full transcript. Here are the links again, in case you missed them: http://video.techrepublic.com.com/2422-14075_11-254479.html http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/10things/?p=200 http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/2415-10877_11-91600.html We realize many TechRepublic members prefer text to video or audio, and we provide the text on which our videos are based. Second, I'm glad you "knew all this stuff back in 2007" but, I reminded you that not everyone has the same level of Vista expertise. In fact, this video was a direct response to a TechRepublic member's request. You can read that request in the discussion thread of our earlier IT Dojo video on Windows XP performance tweaks - http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=185. Or use this link: http://techrepublic.com.com/http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-13625-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=276723&messageID=2621747

neilmccleane
neilmccleane

Have to agree with the above response. Video is great if you need to follow something on screen but text so much easier on a run through. The info given applies to XP and before versions. A for vista it's a dog and these tips do little for any serious user. The best thing anyone can do (bar using XP OS X, or Linux)is place it on a soild state disk. These are getting cheaper and really do help performance (like by 2 times). Vista just loves doing stupid things in the background all at the cost of your performance. I have a SSD, 4GB, 3GHz dual core machine with 32 bit Vista and still it can at times stop performing basic features like copy and paste. Think you'll be clever and go 64bit - good luck with drive and even some of MS application compatibility. I have worked with MS products all my career (14yrs) and it pains me when anyone asks me about this product.

dsessions
dsessions

Bill, Thanks for the all the info. Not all of us are familiar with Vista. I finally got a Vista Business computer at work to play with, 2gb memory, wide screen monitor, Vista pre installed. To be added to W2K3 Domain, 25 workstations WinXP Pro( some Point of Sale ). Was going to be my system monitor and control workstation. Tried for a week and got feed up with it. Sometimes it would see the network other times not. Did what any IT would do. Wiped the disk and installed XP. About a month ago, just before putting this computer into production, decided to try Vista again. Wiped disk and installed from recovery dvd. I don't know what the difference was, but it worked great. No problems with Domain. Now in full time use and I just need to learn where everything is in Vista. So keep the tips coming

pherbear2
pherbear2

Bill, I have a question. Per the Performance Information, my laptop has a Graphics score of 3.4 and Gaming Graphics of 3.0. According to the computer specs, I have a NVIDIA GeForce Go 7150M Graphics Card with up to 799MB Shared Video Memory. Should the score be better? Is there a way to improve the score without changing out the card?

kurekd
kurekd

Bill - I enjoyed your video and think it's well done. While it may be true that most (all?) of the tweaks go back to Windows 9x and XP, it's still useful to be reminded of some of the 'back to basics' tweaks. There are lots of non-tech users who do not want or need to become a power user or tech - they just want to know how to get their system to work as good as it can. There are also plenty of newcomer techs and power users in the making who can benefit from this video. Often times it falls to the more knowledgeable and experienced techs to show them how. Thanks for the good work!

zredhot
zredhot

Thanks Bill. That IT Dojo was very helpful. Your right not everyone knows what some others might already know about Windows Vista. In fact it's safe to say that most office workers don't really know all that much about the computers they are working on. I see that every day. That's way I work in IT. The simplest tips to me are alien to them. That's why I like my job so much. I can teach what I know to others and it's a good feeling. I like these IT Dojos very much.

madmalc567
madmalc567

The only answer is to get enough ram (2gb)and decent graphics. For gamers, get a velociraptor for your swap file - 10000rpm works a treat.

crazymacguy
crazymacguy

For a 32-bit system of Vista over "Basic" the addressing limit of RAM is 4GB, and the paradox of this is the 4GB includes any allocated Video RAM (for either an integrated card such as a Intel x1300 or a dedicated ATI or NVIDIA card). So, if you have 4GB of installed RAM, but there is 512MB of the RAM allocated for Video RAM, your system will only have 3.5GB of RAM to actually use. This also applies if you have 4GB of RAM and a independent video card with 512MB of RAM on it, your system will only be able to use 3.5GB of RAM. This is a limitation of the memory addresses available in a 32-bit system. In a 64-bit system, there are more addresses to use because of the more complex 64-bit programing at the heart of the OS. RAM is available to a maximum 128GB in a 64-bit system. Your statement where you have a Vista laptop where it displays that you have 4GB of RAM available in the system control panel could be because of two reasons. One, you have a 64-bit operating system. Two, Micro$oft released a patch back in the day for Vista to tweak the OS to display the actual "installed" RAM, not the amount of ram that is available to use by the OS. This was put in place mostly at the request of system builders like Dell and HP who wanted to sell systems with 4GB of ram and a 32-bit OS and wanted to minimize the number of calls from customers who were complaining that they paid for 4GB but can only use 3GB or 3.5GB and they felt they were being ripped off. That is the second possibility. Gotta love capitalism...

dbeethe
dbeethe

Are you running VISTA 32 or VISTA 64? I've read several places that 32 can only address 3G, while 64 addresses more, don't remember max.

blackmonoffive
blackmonoffive

I enjoyed the 10 best/favorite gadgets and have tried some gadgets that wasn't as good as the ones listed. I am a networking student in college and like seeing the system information live,now that I know what they mean, with out a active window to switch to plus the weather gadget, note pad, Wikipedia and Google search engines readily available are nice. My question is thus, Is the sidebar the resource hog or is it the gadget? I have a new Sony Vaio with more than I need for everyday usage but needed the 512 bit G-force Video Card for my digital photography. I don't let it start up with the system anymore either that tip ,in a earlier episode or white pages, was on the money. My confusion is once I am up and running the doesn't seam to be any slow down unless I have a lot of weird/fun gadgets going that require the internet for requested data. My confirmation is when I am not on the internet these gadgets looking for the network/internet slow the system down until I close them. I believe anything can work for someone. We just need the right attitude.

TrekGeek
TrekGeek

I have several home laptops with Vista and am looking at keeping them running smooth, quick and safe (as is reasonably possible). I found your video very informative!

vucliriel
vucliriel

Just wondering about issues like constant writes with SSDs - as you know flash memory has a limited number of write and erase cycles, wouldn't it be the same with SSDs? Could you enlighten us a bit on this technology? TIA...

PaperworkDan
PaperworkDan

I don't know what planet you're on but I've been running it and supporting it since it went RTM. Vista on a properly spec'd machine runs like lightning, and application load times are hugely reduced compared to using XP. You give MS techs a bad name if you can't even get a year old OS installed and running properly. I really don't know what you're doing running a solid state drive as your system drive though if you're after performance - it's a little early for them despite whatever benchmarks might "say". As for 64bit you musn't have tried this since RTM because I now run 64bit on all my work and home boxes, and so does every member of the systems and infrastructure team, we have absolutely 0 problems with application compatability or drivers. It angers me that anyone in IT could be so completely un-knowledgeable.

iain
iain

I can only agree with what's already been said - this video says nothing that anyone who's used XP won't already know. "Turn off the eye-candy, remove start-up programs and set 'maximum performance' to get better performance" - Really?!? The brief flash of hope at the possibility of being able to eke a little more performance out of my Vista machines that was engendered by the blog title was utterly dashed by watching this video.

madwhitehatter
madwhitehatter

I agree whole-heartedly. I have been running Vista at home since its release on a few different systems. They can all handle it and one of them is seven years old, running an AMD 1700 chip. The only problems I have are getting other companies like Adobe to run Flash on a 64-bit Internet Explorer, so I just run the 32-bit when I need to. I like Vista no matter how much everyone else seems to hate it. It has a lot of power for those of you who would like to study.

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