Tweaking Out Performance Before Vista SP1

If you are running on a under spec'd machine or you just want to squeeze out that list little bit of performance from Windows Vista, there are some simple Vista GUI settings you can change. My buddy Ross turned me on to these in one of his blog posts about improving Vista performance .

Vista has a number of user interface enhancements that also put more demands on your system, both graphics hardware and CPU. Select Properties by right-clicking on your desktop Computer icon, select Advanced Settings and click Settings under the Performance under the Performance section.

If you want to take draconian measures and turn your Vista experience into a Windows 2000 / Server user experience, you can disable the UI enhancements by clicking Adjust for best performance.

My recommendations are to only enable the following options:

  • Show thumbnails instead of icons - This is one of the Vista UI enhancements I really like and it saves you from opening image files to see what's inside.
  • Smooth edges of screen fonts - Unless you like bad looking edgy fonts, you'll want to enable this option.
  • Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop - If you use background image, this option will let you read the icon text names in areas where the background color fades out the text.
  • Use visual styles on windows and button - This option gives you a lot of the Vista look-and-feel without all the Aero do-dads.

Enable other settings to find what you like best for both performance and ease of use. Another side benefit of disabling a lot of the Aero features of Vista is that the video processor on my laptop runs cooler.

On the other hand, if you have a rockin' piece of hardware you won't have to worry about disabling any of these settings.

Next -- Vista SP1.

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