Windows expert Deb Shinder has been hearing a lot of concerns from users complaining about Vista's hoglike performance issues — and after she experienced it firsthand, she started looking for the bottlenecks:
Vista Ultimate runs great on my primary desktop computer, a fast Dell XPS with 4 GB of RAM. No noticeable performance problems there. So I expected the same when I bought a new laptop. I loved my little Sony TX model with XP, so I looked to replace it with an almost identical model running Vista Business Edition. It came with 1 GB of RAM (the XP machine has 512 MB), which I thought would be enough. However, I noticed from the beginning that the new computer took minutes to boot up instead of seconds, and running more than a couple of applications at a time slowed things down to an unacceptable level. Running Vista became the "hurry up and wait" experience that I'd heard about from other users.
I bought another 512 MB of RAM for it, maxing out its memory capacity, and got a 4GB USB drive optimized for ReadyBoost. All that helped some, but it was still significantly slower than its XP counterpart.
That's when I went looking for more ways to improve the performance of my laptop....
Her article "Tips for boosting Vista performance" offers a detailed look at some the tweaks she found effective in her quest to speed up various Vista components.
Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior features editor for Tech Pro Research.