Performance Tuning Windows [Part 1]

So it goes without saying (well, almost) that a well tuned machine makes life less stressful. 

Sometimes I have to use other people’s computers and it amazes me how much punishment they abide by letting their system get so slow.

These next few posts will pertain to increasing the performance of your Windows XP or Vista machine without sacrificing a quality experience.

The first thing to do is determine what you’ll be using the computer for. 

If the graphical fun element is of no interest to you (you’re using a server product or if you prefer better performance over user interface candy), then the logical place to go to is in the System Properties. 

On Windows XP, just right click on "My Computer" and click on the "Advanced" tab, then click on the settings button in the Performance group box.

You can see from the Window below, on Windows XP you can override the settings which Windows determines for you and specify your own options.

For Windows XP, it is running on my Tablet PC (running with a display of 800 x 600), so I’ve selected the "Adjust for best performance" option.


You have the same options on Windows Vista, but it’s harder to get to.  I’ve opted for custom settings on Vista, which I’ll post here later today.

The graphical goodness is nice but comes at a cost some times.  With the settings changed I experienced a huge performance boost from my tablet. 

The decision to reduce UI features was easy to make on the basis that the physical display is so small, and the performance gains made it worthwhile to disable.

Next post will discuss Windows Services, processes and some other options you only get with Windows Vista.  Later in the series we will introduce (or reintroduce) you to the Performance Monitor and also explain what the "svchost" process is and why you should understand it better.

Lastly, we’ll look through the Windows registry to find nasties which could be affecting your enjoyment of the Windows platform.


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