Windows Vista Optimization Guide
Introduction: Getting a PC
Welcome to the Windows Vista PC Optimization Guide. Here you will find a comprehensive guide to optimization of any Vista computer for use as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
It is important that you read through this documentation as it covers several crucial optimization steps recommended when setting up your DAW. Because Vista is meant for an entire spectrum of users, by default, the user interface is designed to have a very nice GUI (Graphical User Interface), plenty of security, a pleasing set of sounds, and several other features. Some of these are not the ideal settings for dedicated DAW users, though. This guide is intended to step you through optimizing your machine in preparation for your new hardware and software to gain the most out of your system without experiencing the unnecessary heavy processor loads of poorly optimized machines.
Vista: Update or Fresh Install?
Generally speaking, a fresh install on a wiped (full-formatted or brand new) hard drive is the best insurance against potential problems; leftover registry items and other orphaned legacy files can lurk in your system for months, only to cause unanticipated conflicts with a newly-installed program or driver at a later date. A fresh install is recommended. However, as many programs still do not offer Vista compatibility yet, a dual-boot system may be called for. In this case, it is still better to install Vista on a newly formatted partition rather than as an overwrite or additional on an existing one.
Choosing an Edition
Windows Vista is not just one operating system. It is a collection of several editions, each designed for a specific function and user base. Complete side-by-side comparisons can be found on Microsoft's website, but for our purposes, the editions and major differences relevant to a DAW user are as follows.
Home Basic: 512 megabytes (MB) minimum required RAM; maximum 8 gigabytes (GB) RAM in 64-bit edition; Aero interface not supported.
Home Premium: max. 16 GB RAM in 64-bit.
Business: 128+ GB RAM support in 64-bit; Windows Complete PC Backup.
Ultimate: 128+ GB RAM support in 64-bit; Windows Complete PC Backup; BitLocker drive encryption.
Enterprise: 128+ GB RAM support in 64-bit; Windows Complete PC Backup; BitLocker drive encryption; simultaneous multi-language support.
While any of the editions will be sufficient for most DAW users, these difference may come into play when choosing an edition (especially the 64-bit editions). Keep in mind that DAW applications will be able to support all Vista editions, unless specifically stated otherwise in the system requirements.
Vista DAW System Requirements
All software should display minimum system requirements to give you an idea of what the application will consume. It!s important to realize that the minimum is never the recommended configuration for a DAW. Here are Vista's recommended requirements:
1 GHz processor (x64 if you are using a 64-bit edition of Vista)
1 GB RAM
40 GB hard drive with 15 GB free space
Graphics card with support for DirectX 9, 32 bites/pixel, Pixel Shader 2.0, and a WDDM driver
A DVD drive
Internet access (for activation)
Additional requirements for each edition of Vista can be found at www.microsoft.com/windows/products/
Note that most DAW applications have minimum requirements that are higher than these.
Here's what's additionally recommended to ensure smooth operation of your DAW:
2 GHz multi-core processor **
2 GB RAM
80 GB of available system drive hard disk space, separate physical system and audio drives, with drive speeds of 7200 RPM. It!s common to see configurations with an 80GB system drive and additional 200-400GB audio drives for storing samples and session data.
** Note that some Intel Core series processors have slower clock speeds, but achieve higher performance than older, "faster" processors. Most any "newer" (read: Pentium 4, D, and Core series; AMD Athlon 64) processor should be sufficient. To get an idea of how yours performs, see this chart: http://www23.tomshardware.com/
System Performance Tweaks â€“ Stuff to Do After Installing
A few conventions are used in the following sections:
This guide assumes that you are working off a fresh install of Vista. Therefore, if you have modified the way your windows are displayed, or otherwise customized the OS, some of the instructions may be slightly different.
Classic View is used in the Control Panel. There is a link on the left-hand pane in the Control Panel window to engage Classic View.
When navigating Vista, the ">" symbol is used to show the next step. For example, instead of seeing "double-click on Computer, then double-click on C:, then double-click on Program Files," you will see this: "Go to Computer > C: > Program Files."
It is assumed you can access the The Device Manager. Here are a number of ways:
Right-click on Computer > Manage > Device Manager.
Start > type in "Device Manager" and press "Enter."
Start . Control Panel > Device Manager.
These adjustments are some of the more sweeping optimizations in this guide. They address the visual aspects, processor handling, and DEP for the Vista OS. One of the most highly-touted aspects of Vista has been the new visual effects, or "eye candy." As impressive as they are, Aero effects do take a significant amount of system resources. These are valuable resources that can instead be devoted to your audio software. If you do have a powerful enough video card, then it will assume all video processing; in that case, it is more than OK to leave Aero enabled.
Processor scheduling determines which types of processing are given a higher priority by Vista. The default setting is to devote more to your programs. This seems good on the surface; however, audio drivers run in the background, and NOT as separate programs. In order to get the most performance from AUDIO gear, it is best to set your processor to handle background services first.
Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a set of hardware and software technologies that perform additional checks on memory to help prevent malicious code from running on a system. This is a technology originally developed in Windows XP that is now a part of Vista. While great in theory, DEP can sometimes see audio applications as "malicious code." Leaving it on to prevent attacks on essential Windows files is preferable.
To make these adjustments, right-click on Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings > Performance > Settings, and select:
Visual Effects > Adjust for best Performance (this disables all Aero effects).
Advanced > Processor Scheduling > Background Services.
Advanced > Data Execution Prevention > Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only. Press OK when done. This will disable the Windows Aeroâ„¢ theme. If you would like to enable it again, rightclick on the desktop and choose Personalize > Theme > Windows Vista. Resource usage from the Vista theme is negligible. See the section on Personalization for more details.
Windows allows for custom configuration of its power settings. This is useful for conserving energy when the computer is not in use. It works by automatically powering down or 'hibernating' one or more components of the computer system when the computer has been idle for a predetermined amount of time. This can pose a major problem for users who record long sessions, as the computer may power itself down in the middle of recording!
To optimize you power settings for audio performance, go to Start > Control Panel > Power Options > choose "High Performance." Click the "Change plan settings" button, and make sure both options are set to "Never."
User Account Control
The new User Account Control in Vista is among the more controversial features. It is beneficial for preventing unwanted changes to the system, and especially for protecting against unauthorized installations and file executions. However, the constant prompts asking to allow or deny access can interfere with overall workflow; all activity is suspended while the prompt waits for a reply. Furthermore, the user account monitoring uses extra CPU cycles (in fact, almost a negligible amount), so disabling the feature improves performance ever so slightly. All in all, the impediments in a DAW seem to outweigh the added security, especially if the system is kept off the internet. To disable UAC, go to Start > Control Panel > User Accounts (your account) > "Turn User Control on or off" > Uncheck "Use UAC" > OK > Restart.
Keep in mind that some programs may require UAC to be enabled to complete the installation. If this is the case, then follow the instructions of the manufacturer.
Windows Security Center
Another enhancement in Vista is the increased efficiency and centralized configuration of the Security Center. It is great for keeping out intruders, spyware, viruses, etc., but does so at the cost of CPU cycles. If you are online, it is best to leave the Security Center alone and active. Otherwise, you risk losing data, the integrity of your system drive, and even your identity. If you are not online with your Vista DAW, then disabling the Security Center features will free up some extra resources for you. The following instructions are for the offline user.
To access the Security Center, go to Start > Control Panel > Security Center. There are several adjustments to be made from the Security Center window:
Click on Windows Update on the left-hand pane > Change Settings > Never Check for Updates... > OK > close the update window.
Click on Windows Firewall > Change settings > Off > OK > close the Firewall window.
Click on Windows Defender > Tools > Options > uncheck "Automatically scan my computer" > Save> close the Defender window. You can manually scan at any time by pressing the "Scan" button from the main Defender window. Again, this is not an issue if you're offline.
Note that if you make these adjustments, Windows will continually remind you that your computer is at risk. To stop these reminders, go to "Change the way Security Center alerts me" > "Don't notify me and don't display the icon."
Bear in mind that in this state, you are at risk if you should choose to go online. Before doing so, it is highly recommended that you re-enable everything in the Security center, and also connect immediately to Windows Update for the latest security updates from Microsoft.
Antivirus software is another subcategory of Windows security. While not included as part of the Security Center, antivirus software is another near-necessity for everyday computing. For the online DAW user, it is best to disable antivirus software before using an audio applications. Since you will not be actively online, Windows Firewall and Defender (provided they are up to date) will be enough to monitor the background. For the offline DAW user, it's best to not install it in the first place.
In Vista Ultimate and Enterprise editions, another relevant security feature is BitLocker drive encryption. While it is a fantastic tool to prevent theft and piracy, the added encryption is not suitable for a high-performance DAW. It is best to leave BitLocker off on any drive that will actively be running DAW applications or streaming audio. However, for backup and non-DAW related drives, it id fine to leave it enabled. To adjust BitLocker on your drives, go to Start > Control Panel > Control Panel Home > Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption.
Virtual Memory and ReadyBoost
Virtual memory (or paging files) is a technique that involves using a dedicated section of the hard drive as though it were additional RAM. The downside is that hard drive invariably process data slower than RAM, so using paging files does decrease performance. This can be beneficial for low-performance, high-data applications, where lots of material is loaded into RAM, but does not process extremely quickly. With audio applications, this is not a good idea. As they are very demanding on system resources, using a lower-speed hard drive is not a viable solution. However, some applications may require the use of a paging file, for one reason or another. If this is the case, then make sure to set all of your buffer sizes in your audio application as high as possible to compensate for the hard drive's latency.
Right-click on "Computer" (either from desktop or Start button) > Properties > Advanced System Settings. This will bring you to the Advanced tab in the System Properties window. Under the Performance section, go to Settings tab and select Advanced, the press the "Change" button under Virtual memory. Uncheck "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives." For each drive listed, click on "No paging file" and "Set." You will be warned that a crash file may not be recorded if you have no paging file. Choose "Yes" to this message. Once all drives have been modified, choose "OK." Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
If you do need to enable a paging file, for whatever reason, it is usually best to use a multiple of 2 for the size. Examples would be 256 MB, 512 MB, 1024 MB, etc. There is no need to exceed the amount of physical RAM installed for a paging file. If you find yourself continually needing to increase the paging file size, it is probably time to upgrade your system RAM.
One alternative to paging files is a new Vista technology called ReadyBoost. It essentially uses a USB flash drive as a high-speed paging file. Not all flash drives will work, though. A device must have the following minimum specifications:
The device must be at least 64 MB
The device must be USB 2.0
It has to be able to read at 3.5 MB/s
It has to be able to write at 2.5 MB/s
To activate ReadyBoost on a USB flash drive, go to Computer > right-click on the drive > Properties > ReadyBoost > select "Use this Device" and choose the amount of space you wish to dedicate to ReadyBoost > "OK" when finished. As with paging files, it is best to stay with multiples of 2.
Hard Drive Performance
Vista has an option to boost the normal performance of ATA and SATA drives by enhancing write caching. One problem with this is that if power is interrupted to the hard drive, then the risk of data loss or corruption is greatly increased. However, if you use a battery backup or some other type of uninterruptible power, then you should not have anything to worry about. To speed up your dives, navigate to the Device Manager. Click on the "+" next to Disk Drives, then right-click on the drive you wish to change and choose Properties > Policies > check the box next to "Enable advanced performance."
There are several different ways in which data on a hard disk can be accessed. DMA is one of them. This format is the best and fastest method available, so it is recommended for audio. To make sure DMA is enabled on your hard drives, go to the Device Manager > IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers. You will see one or more ATA Channels. On each channel, right-click and choose Properties > Advanced Settings > make sure "Enable DMA" is checked > press "OK." There is another type of device beyond the ATA Controllers. In some cases, changing this listing (which varies according to the motherboard) to "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller" has been known to increase performance. Note, however, that this is not a required step to optimize your system. It is an optional step that MAY increase performance. If you choose to do this, then right-click on it and choose "Update Driver Software..." > "Browse my Computer..." > "Let me pick..." > "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller" > Next > Close. You do have to restart your computer for this change to take effect.
There are also two other drive properties to consider. These can be accessed by going to Computer and rightclicking on the drive in question, and:
Under the General tab, make sure "Compress this drive..." is unchecked.
Under the Quota tab, you have "Do not limit disk usage" selected, but nothing else.
Another feature in Vista is its ability to automatically index all the files in the Start Menu, user profile folders, and files setup for offline access. Too many files in these locations, especially when the files change often, causes the indexing service to add to the overall CPU load. While this change speed up your overall performance, it will also adversely affect your searching speed in those locations. However, with a good file management strategy, this will be irrelevant for the DAW user. To adjust your indexing options, go to Start > type in "indexing options" > press Enter > Modify. In the "Change selected locations" window, uncheck everything except for the Start menu, located in C: > ProgramData > Microsoft > Windows.
An on-board device is any device built in to the computer. Examples include built-in wireless adapters, audio cards, web-cams, etc. Most of these are fairly benign, but some have the potential to interfere with digital audio software and hardware. Historically speaking, the most problematic devices are wireless internet cards and audio cards; we typically recommend disabling these, at least while using your software. On-board wireless internet cards periodically send and receive information when activated (even without an internet browser open), and these bursts of data transfer take CPU cycles, to the point of causing audible pops and clicks in DAW applications. On-board audio cards can cause driver conflict problems, and are not as high in quality as professional interfaces. Additionally, they are often selected as the default driver in most DAW applications, forcing you to manually select your primary interface instead.
In the Device Manager, you can right-click on any device and choose "Disable." This will essentially turn that device off, releasing its drivers and stopping any resources from being used to run it. Internet and other wireless cards are typically found under the "Network Adapters" category. On-board audio cards and webcams will be found under "Sound, video and game controllers."
Windows Sidebar's gadgets provide some very useful information. They also take up some very useful CPU cycles. For the serious DAW user, it's best to have Sidebar disabled, at least while working on audio. This will not only allow for extra CPU power, it will also clear the desktop to make room for applications to be seen. If Sidebar is active, double-click on the icon in the system tray and uncheck "Start Sidebar when Windows starts." Click "OK." It will be disabled the next time you reboot.
Like all previous version of Windows, Vista allows for a high level of customization, allowing users to configure the OS to look and sound almost any way they want. Unfortunately, some of the popular settings can interfere with DAW workflow. Under the Personalize window (which can be accessed by right-clicking on the desktop), here are some settings to look out for:
Screen Saver. When screen savers become active, DAW users lose all sense of what is happening in their system (for example, visually monitoring recording levels). For this reason, it is better to set your screen saver to "none."
Sounds. As certain events happen, Vista notifies you by playing a sound. This can be problematic while recording, since the sound may cause a driver problem by trying to access the driver currently in use. For this reason, it is usually best to set your sound scheme to "No sounds."
Using the Aeroâ„¢ theme usually does not cause any problems. Since Vista outsources visual processing to your video card, it will not take up any additional resources. If your video card is robust enough for Aero'sâ„¢ effects, then leaving the theme enabled will not cause any problems. If you do not have a dedicated video card, or have one that is underpowered, then it may be better to use the Windows Classic theme instead, but switching to the Vista theme should not use any more resources.
Startup Service and Applications
By default, recent versions of Windows pre-load applications and services from installed programs and deposits icons in the system tray. The goal is to both decrease load times and provide easy access to a variety of programs. While very helpful in theory, these partially launched applications are a major CPU drain. Disabling them helps Windows allocate more resources to running applications. Vista will also load faster, since it is not bogged down by pre-loading every application during startup. To disable these applications from loading on startup, do the following.
CAUTION: Make absolutely sure you follow the directions EXACTLY as printed below. Startup configuration is powerful stuff, and if used carelessly, can cause problems. Follow the directions, DO NOT treat this section lightly, and you will be fine:
Start > in the search box, type in "msconfig" > press "Enter."
in the Startup tab, choose "Disable All."
In the Service tab, check the box near the bottom of the screen to "Hide all Microsoft services." Then choose "Disable All."
Click "OK," then "Restart." Check the "OK" box on reboot.
When your PC boots back up, you will see a message on the screen regarding your use of the System Configuration utility. read through it, and decide if you would like to be reminded every time the PC boots. Check the box and press "OK" if you don't.
In case you accidentally disable something that you need to have enabled, don't worry; msconfig is always reversible. Simply check the items that you need in either section, or to fully reverse the process, choose the "Enable All" option in each tab.
Audio Streamlining and File Management - Things to Do to Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly
Now your computer is ready for the intense demands of audio processing. There are still a few things to remember so your system stays in optimal condition. These steps will allow you to work efficiently without having to reconfigure your computer.
Defragmenting your hard drives is recommended in all Windows OS!s, and particularly in systems running and editing large audio and multimedia files. As data begins to be physically written to the disk, it is placed by the drive on the first available empty location. Eventually, the file will run out of space by approaching the next file on the disk. At this point, the file is split, and the remainder of it is written elsewhere on the disk. Large files on often-used drives can end up with hundreds of these fragments. Defragmenting your disks places the data for files next to each other (rather than fragmented throughout the disk), which speeds up reading from and writing to the disk, and increases system stability. In Vista, you can defragment a disk by going to Start > Computer > right-click on the drive to defragment > Properties > Tools > Defragment now. Vista offers the option to automatically schedule a defrag. Think of this as a regularly scheduled oil change. It is preferable to schedule these automatic defrags for times when you know the PC will not be in use. Early in the morning or very late at night are preferable times. Defragmenting should be done about every 80-100 hours of studio use (or more, if you constantly record and delete new files).
Windows essentially utilizes three driver modes: WDM, and ASIO, and WaveRT. WDM is the oldest of the three, provides the widest range of compatibility (especially with consumer-level, built-in audio cards), and operates with the slowest response. ASIO is a third-party standard developed by Steinberg, and is more than adequate for a DAW user. WaveRT is a new driver mode developed specifically for Vista that provides a kernel-level data transfer, allowing for the most stability and least latency (delay) of the three. Some interfaces may not have WaveRT support, so in this case, ASIO is a necessity. This is fine, as ASIO has been the preferred standard for years for DAW use, and is still very widely used. However, if WaveRT is available, it is the preferred driver mode due to its speed and OS integration.
Plug-ins can take the form of inserts (reverb, compression, etc.) and virtual instruments (synths, rewire applications, etc.). Both types can consume large amounts of CPU resources when instantiated. It is a good idea to use as few instances of each plug-in as possible. Reverbs and hardware emulators, typically the most hungry kind of plugins, can be inserted to auxiliary tracks, and audio can be bussed to these tracks from multiple sources. Similarly, multiple MIDI tracks can send to a single virtual instrument. Both methods conserve resources by loading the plug-in, and thus the CPU load, only once. Additionally, analog emulation plugins can take up a large amount of CPU resources. Rather then inserting a modeled compressor on, say, 7 drum tracks, create a group channel for your drums and only insert it once. With this method, you still get the sound you want on the drums, but you save your CPU six instantiations of a plugin. Limiting the amount of active plug-ins has the added benefit of keeping your session smaller and more streamlined. To monitor how your computer is utilizing it's resources, right-click in an empty space on the task bar (somewhere between the Start button and the clock). Select Task Manager. The Performance tab will give you a fairly accurate idea of the average load put on your CPU. This meter takes into account everything that is running. Keep in mind that it can be a little jerky; what you are looking for is an average measurement over several seconds. Try to keep the processor (there will be more than 1 processor window on a multi-core CPU) at an upper limit of 70-75%. Higher loads than this are known to cause stuttering, dropouts, freezes, and crashes. If the load is too high, you can remove plugins or applications. If this still doesn't help, then the solution very well could be to increase the amount of RAM installed in your computer.
Saving and File Management
The preferred setup for all audio computers makes use of at least two hard drives. One drive, the system or C: drive, will only have the OS and all applications installed on it. All data will be saved to other drives. This prevents the C: drive from becoming too full and/or fragmented, and allows for faster transfer rates for your audio files, thus increasing track counts. Full system drives run much slower than their clean counterparts because there is more data to search through when trying to find system or application files, and fewer open spaces to write files. It is strongly advised to save everything (sessions, downloads, documents, EVERYTHING) to a second (or third, fourth, etc.) hard drive. The general principle is that things you INSTALL go to the C: drive, while things you SAVE go to a different drive. External hard drives are becoming very popular because the data can be easily transported to a different computer. Whichever type of hard drive you opt for, make sure that it has a minimum speed of 7,200 RPM (revolutions per minute). Drives running at 10,000 RPM are ideal, especially when running large sessions (over 24 tracks). Slower drives may not be able to keep up with the demands of recording and streaming audio.
A word on saving: Often, when creating a new session, it is easy to choose the default name and location provided. Be careful NOT to do this! The default settings are usually to name the session "Untitled" and save it somewhere in the C: drive. You will soon get a full C: drive and too many "Untitled" sessions to tell which is which! Use the same amount of care with file management that you do when recording.
Even when taking care to save to multiple hard drives, you can still run short on space. This is especially true if there are many sessions (complete with audio files) and sample libraries on the same drive. A good idea is to archive these sessions. Archiving in this sense means either burning to a removable disk (CD or DVD), or transferring to a backup drive. DVD's are the preferred method of removable storage because they can hold over 5 times more data: 4.7 Gigabytes on a DVD versus 800 Megabytes on a CD. If you archive to a backup hard drive, make sure to access the drive frequently (every 6 months to ensure smooth operation). Also, keeping a hard drive in a freezer tends to extend hard drive life. Make sure to thaw it out prior to firing it up!
Another reason to archive is to prevent data loss. An entire drive full of sessions can be lost at any time due to a hard drive crash. Having all of your sessions backed up on removable media will allow you to maintain a copy that can then be copied back onto a new drive, if necessary. Removable media has the added bonus of being relatively impervious to data loss; unless you physically lose or damage the disk, your data will not be lost (translated = CD's and DVD's don't crash).
The Manual is Your Friend
All audio applications are complicated; it's the nature of the beast. However, they all include extensive help files, and in many cases, thorough tutorials. The vast majority of operational questions can be answered from the manual. We strongly advise that you read at least the introductory sections, if not the entire manual, before you attempt to use your software. This will allow you to understand where key tools and menus are, give you insights into what you can and can't do, walk you through HOW to do various tasks, and ultimately will increase efficiency and reduce stress when making music. If there's a section you don't understand, read it several times. Walk through the procedure step by step as you read it. Repeat this as many times as you need. Use the index and table of contents to find areas in which you need to brush. Never assume that will know every feature in any piece of hardware/software. Always read your manual.
Now that your system is optimized and you have the tools to keep it that way, there is nothing preventing you from getting the most out of your gear. If you do get stuck, do not hesitate to use all available support channels to get back up and running.
We hope this guide has been helpful.
- The Sweetwater PC Team
Sources: http://www.microsoft.com http://www.vistaultimate.com/tips.htm http://www.tweakvista.com http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1=432&model2=439&chart=171
Being that the same questions keep coming up, mostly about the same things, perhaps now would be a good time to consolidate a thread about performance and tweaks that actually work, rather than those silly tweak programs that are usually counter-productive in the end. Contrary to popular belief, short of disabling features that you do not use, there is no registry hack or tweak that will actually make your system any better.
Vista is a very different beast than XP. Vista is far more proactive in using your entire PC to stay one step ahead of you. So by default, it will use some more memory, and crunch the HD at completely random times for no obvious reason. It might appear that something is wrong, but it's quite the opposite. Performance tweaking in XP was mainly about disabling things that utilize resources, but you can not carry that thinking over to Vista, since you may end up disabling something that is beneficial in the big picture. Since the emphasis is on efficiency, features that may appear to be bloat may not be so. But don't get me wrong - there's still plenty of bloat.
In other words, this thread is as much about what to tweak as what NOT to tweak.
I'm assuming you're running on modern hardware (2ghz, 1gb+). There's little you can do to make an old machine new again, but skip to the end of the post for those with really low end machines. Iâ€™ve tested it myself on two different configs â€“ a 2.8ghz core2duo/2gb and a 3.0ghz p4/1gb. Vista ran great on both. For general applications, 1gb is perfectly fine for vista. For gaming, since vista uses a bit more memory than XP, it will be a bit rougher at 1gb, but for modern games, you really want 2gb nowadays anyway.
C O N T E N T S
2. User Interface
4. Unnecessary Apps and Services
5. Windows Security Center
7. File System
8. Application Compatibility
9. Power Settings
11. Task Scheduling
12. Optimizing for low end machines
Although not a tweak, this is definitely the first thing that needs to be mentioned about Vista in it's current state. As of right now (Early Feb), drivers for vista are generally immature, although it is hit or miss. The important thing to recognize is that many of the perceived flaws about Vista are not Vista problems, they are driver problems. I group these together because by and large, unless you're gaming, current drivers are stable, and good enough.
There is a common perception that new OSes run games slower than older ones. This was certainly the case with the move to Win2000 for a while. But unlike the move to 2k, Vista is built with gaming in mind, and there are a lot of under the hood improvements that should lead to *faster* gaming....once the drivers are sorted out. Like every other new OS that has came before, there will be some growing pains until they become more mature. If gaming is important to you, you may want to consider holding off on the upgrade for the time being.
o nvidia - As of early Feb, they are still technically in beta, and still pretty terrible. You will be practically guaranteed a 10-20% reduction in framerates vs. XP. Games do generally run fine, albeit slower. They are also missing many previously available options, such as the setup wizard, and decent color controls. This should change over time, the sooner the better. OpenGL support is in there, but it's not too great either. If you own an nVidia card, and gaming is your priority, consider dual booting XP or holding off on Vista for the time being.
o ati - Compared to nVidia's drivers, aTi's are quite excellent. You can expect to see a 10-15% boost in frame rates in some games, and a small, mostly imperceptible drop in others. I am unaware of any serious bugs in them, and the ati control panel is also quite a bit better than nvidia's. And there's no reason not to expect more future improvements. If you're running aTi, you've got nothing to lose, and something to gain with Vista. To my understand, ati's openGL support is even worse than nvidia's, so forget about Doom engine games on Vista for now.
o X-fi - Regarding the X-fi, now that the audio stack is completely rewritten to be largely software, many features have ceased to work. Due to that, the *vast majority* of games will not have 3d audio.
With the latest driver, CMSS surround appears to work, but it does so in software, at a 5% CPU hit on a 3ghz P4. SPDIF out is also completely broken. I had many, many problems with my X-fi in Vista, including but not limited to *frequent* sound dropouts which slowed my entire system down until I switched modes.
Until drivers for it are mature, unless you are literally married to it, I suggest leaving the X-fi out of your Vista system for the time being.
I have not tried Audigy series drivers, but I can't imagine them being in better shape than X-Fi's. And live! cards are completely unsupported.
o Motherboard- I can only speak personally for intel based boards - they work perfectly, with the default drivers. I can't find any flaw in them - everything is great.
Regarding nvidia boards, it's my understanding that nforce 2 boards will not be fully supported. And if their video drivers are any indication, I wouldnt put too much faith in current nforce drivers.
o Aero Glass - Although you might be tempted to turn it off, believing it is bloat, the new 3d GUI is generally faster and more efficient than the old GDI+ one, since it utilizes a previously untapped resource - your GPU. On a dual monitor, 2560x1024 setup, the desktop window manager service uses <1% CPU. Dropping down to vista basic shaved about 50mb of ram, however, so if youâ€™re really hard up for RAM, (512mb/1gb gamer) you might want to consider switching to Vista Basic.
Donâ€™t bother manually turning it off before gaming, if you believe it might case a drop in frame rates; it wonâ€™t. Thereâ€™s zero performance hit. http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/windows_vista_aero_glass_performance/
Glass is automatically disabled when a game runs in DirectX exclusive mode, even on dual monitors â€“ so if you have a system powerful enough for todayâ€™s games, thereâ€™s no reason not to use aero glass.
o Window Animation â€“ The new minimize/close animations are cool, but get old quick. The animation is far too slow IMO, and I recommend disabling them â€“ the system feels snappier without them. The animations don't drag on actual performance per se, they just subjectively make the system feel less responsive. AFAIK, thereâ€™s no way to speed them up.
In advanced system options under the system CP applet, uncheck â€œanimate windows while min/maxingâ€. And while youâ€™re at it, you might as well uncheck the fading and sliding, effects which have not changed since Win2000, IMO have never looked good and again, only serve to subjectively slow you down.
o Explorer â€“ Switching to â€œclassic foldersâ€ does not significantly free up any resources, but the only functionality you lose by doing so is the preview pane and new status bar. The most useful changes- the navigation bar , the breadcrumb bar, the thumbnails, etc are all still available in classic folders, so unless you really want the preview pane, you might as well switch it off.
Movies and Pictures load as thumbnails and do take up memory, as well as CPU while being initially decoded, so you can disable that in folder options â€“ â€œAlways show icons, never thumbnailsâ€. Thumbnails are stored in a hidden file in each folder called thumbs.db - once they are made, they can be reloaded very quickly.
o Sidebar â€“ The sidebar eats up a good 10-30mb depending on your gadgets, so if you hate the entire idea, no reason to keep the sidebar on, and disable it from starting up in the properties tab of the tray icon. You can turn off the actual â€œbarâ€ by right clicking and choosing close sidebar â€“ any gadgets you pulled off onto the desktop will remain.
I highly recommend against using the included CPU meter, or any others you find online in the gallery â€“ they use WMI and eat up a decent amount of CPU time themselves â€“ there are better alternatives out there.
The included RSS feed headlines is also pretty terrible â€“ it spikes 50-100% CPU usage every few minutes. And if youâ€™re going to use the clock, turn off the seconds hand, which drops CPU usage down from 1% or so to near nothing.
Of the included gadgets, the weather, clock (without seconds) and calendar ones are pretty useful and harmless towards performance. On the downloads side, look up â€œexpress calculatorâ€, â€œnotesâ€ and â€œoutlook appointmentsâ€ and â€œoutlook tasksâ€ for some useful, lightweight gadgets.
At any rate, if youâ€™re concerned about the gadgets slowing you down, you can set sidebar.exe to low priority in task manager.
o User folders â€“ Vista doesnâ€™t hide your user folder like XP, itâ€™s easy to find in C:\Users\Username. If you want to keep your documents elsewhere (which I highly suggest), you can change the location of any particular user folder (music, movies etc) by right clicking the folder, properties, and changing it in the location tab. I prefer to keep my data on a separate partition from my OS, and by changing it here, you can do so while maintaining transparency to the user subsystem. If you change the location of a user folder that already contains data, it will also move all the files to their new location.
Unfortunately, this has to be done on a folder to folder basis â€“ you canâ€™t move the entire user directory to another partition.
o Start menu- Thereâ€™s little to tweak here performance wise â€“ you might consider turning off the window previews if they annoy you (they annoy me), but that didnâ€™t save me any memory.
And you can no longer pull off toolbars into the desktop like XP â€“ that quick launch is stuck there, although it does handle a double sized taskbar a bit better than XP, and you can keep the quick launch below the tasks tabs â€“ the start â€œorbâ€ gets larger and doesnâ€™t look out of place like the XP button did.
Iâ€™m hoping for a vista tweakUI powertoy in the future similar to XP's, to tweak such things, but it is not available at the moment.
o Autoplay â€“ Something Iâ€™ve always hated since it invariably gets in the way, and causes unnecessary lag, you can completely disable it for everything in the autoplay CP applet.
o Boot/Startup config
You can easily tweak startup programs (start menu and registry) by using the system configuration utility under administrative tools.
The networking applet is much improved. I suggest turning off â€œmedia sharingâ€ and â€œpublic sharingâ€ unless you actually use them. If you only have one PC on your network, you can safely disable â€œnetwork discoveryâ€. I havenâ€™t noticed a performance difference either way, but generally, the less open your system is, the better. Likewise, if you never use it, disable â€œoffline filesâ€ from itâ€™s own applet.
o Flow Control- In the device manager, for your network adapter, there is an advanced option called â€œflow controlâ€ which is disabled by default. If you're running a server with heavy networking I/O you may want to enable it, but for most general users, it's just overhead and is best left disabled.
Forget about the old MTU/TCP window tweaking tricks â€“ vista optimizes it automatically.
5. Unncessary Windows Apps and Services
I used to be a big fan of disable â€œunnecessary servicesâ€, only to find out they were quite necessary later. In general, the included services use fractions of fractions of fractions of percent CPU time, and little memory. And if they are truly unnecessary, when you need their RAM, they will be swapped, so donâ€™t lose any sleep over it. In general, if you donâ€™t know what it does, leave it alone!
Under programs and features, you can disable plenty of included but unnecessary apps under â€œturn windows features on or offâ€ â€“ such as tablet PC components, meeting space, fax and scan etc. Uncheck anything you're *SURE* donâ€™t need, and if youâ€™re not sure â€“ leave it alone.
6. Security Center
I'm a believer that the main line of security is and always will be the user. Unless you consistently expose yourself to risks, much of this is excessive and overbearing IMO. That being said, if security is critical to you, or you are a bit of a noob, leave everything on and youâ€™ll be much safer for it.
This is a guide about performance, not security, if you're looking for more info about security, see Schadenfroh's guides here: http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview...atid=33&threadid=2000598&enterthread=y http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview...atid=33&threadid=1658987&enterthread=y
o Turning off that shield â€“ If you donâ€™t set up exactly how MS desires, you will be subjected to that annoying warning icon in your tray. In the security center, under â€œchange the way security center alerts meâ€, you can disable it.
o Windows firewall - It can be configured here.
o UAC â€“ I canâ€™t stand it. Itâ€™s excessive, and cries wolf 99.999% of the time. If you'd rather take your chances than be constantly bugged by it all the time â€“ you can turn it off here.
If maximum security is your ultimate goal however, you should definitely leave UAC on, and log in as a standard user.
o Automatic updating â€“ It has a really annoying tendency to reboot your computer overnight without warning you, which can be a serious problem if you have unsaved data open. Therefore I *highly* suggest setting it to download but not automatically install updates.
o Antivirus â€“ Although itâ€™s not free, NOD32 is the most reliable, fastest, and lowest performance hit of any antivirus, and works great with vista.
o Defender - MS's built in anti-spyware, which is actually quite good.
o DEP - By default, windows only turns on Data Execution Prevention for "essential" windows programs and services. You can set it to all programs, and blacklist incompatible apps. I've read about a rare app that can have issues with it, however I don't believe there is any significant performance hit. Being that its under "performance options" in the system applet, I might be wrong.
o System Restore â€“ Iâ€™ve never been a big fan of it, since Iâ€™ve always felt itâ€™s a drain on disk space and performance, and a poor substitute for a backup. The Vista version is much improved â€“ it creates restore points much faster, and it is the underlying system behind the â€œprevious versionsâ€ feature, so Iâ€™m leaving it on for the time being.
But unlike the indexer, which runs only while idle, system restore can cause random disk access at inopportune times, even while you're actively using the PC, so you may consider disabling it. It also uses up to 15% disk space of your OS partition as well.
You can disable it under â€œsystem protectionâ€ in the system applet.
The entire audio stack in Vista is rewritten to be largely in software, for stability reasons. Yes, this sucks, and I'm really irritated about it. There are now only two direct hardware paths - ASIO (for music creation) and OpenAL (3d gaming sound). If youâ€™re wondering how to get 3d audio to work in most games â€“ the short answer is that you canâ€™t. Directsound3d support has been ripped out of vista and itâ€™s *NEVER* coming back.
DS3D and OpenAL control the *positioning* of sound. EAX, which runs on top of either of them, provides the advanced reverb and other effects.
The only hope for legacy DS3D games providing any sort of 3d audio, is a wrapper coming soon from creative for the X-fi that will translate DS3D calls into OpenAL. Considering that the creative has never had good drivers, and that currently, the X-fi and Vista go together like oil and water, Iâ€™m not all too excited about that option.
So you might be thinking "Great! Now creative no longer has a monopoly on 3d sound, since OpenAL is *open*!" Think again. OpenAL is "open" in only the most basic sense, guess who had a large part in creating it? Creative still has a monopoly on 3d gaming audio. They own all the patents for anything but the most basic positioning, and EAX v3 and up is proprietary. It's a closed system, and their monopoly is complete and uncontested. It will be a cold day in hell before there is another manufacturer that can make a card that supports advanced 3d audio.
Future games will certainly use OpenAL, but on a non-creative card, they will never be able to take advantage of anything more than basic EAX 2. And in my experience, the vast majority of non-creative cards do a particularly terrible job of *any* type of EAX.
So for the time being, due to bad drivers and the new stack, 3d audio is Vista essentially broken, and considering creative's track record, this will likely be the case for some time to come.
But 2d audio is perfectly fine, so you will have sound in games - just not the quality that you may have come to expect.
o HD Audio - You may have heard of some new, very cool audio features in vista. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060907-7682.html
However, if you have an X-fi, any other PCI card, or older onboard audio, you canâ€™t use them. They only work with onboard â€œAzalia HD Audioâ€. You can access them in the properties tab of your speakers in the sound CP applet. If you have a good mic, or are running a HT system, I suggest playing around with the room correction and bass management options.
8. File system
A common old trick was to disable the NTFS last access stamp for supposed improved disk performance. DO NOT DO THIS! You will screw up the indexer, the smart defrag, superfetch etc, since they rely on that very information - you will essentially be defeating most of the important performance boosts for an imperceptible one.
o Indexing â€“ The first day running vista, it will need to create the initial index. It may be crunching away at it for a while, and this might give you the impression that itâ€™s a resource hog that will always be active in the background, and therefore needs to be disabled ASAP. But once the initial run is completely, you will barely ever notice it again, so give it the benefit of the doubt for a day or two.
Files are actively indexed generally only while you are idle, at a low priority I/O thread. Unless you ALWAYS turn off your PC immediately when you're done using it, you should rarely see it actively indexing.
So turning the indexer off completely may free up some memory, depending on the size of your index. But it won't impact general system performance. However, under power options, of all places, there is an option to choose how often you wish the index to be updated, if you must tweak.
By default, windows indexes *everything* in your user folder. Thatâ€™s a bit over the top for me, so you can modify the exact folders which it indexes in the index properties â€“ since I cant imagine ever needing to quick search for anything else, Iâ€™ve limited it to documents, music, pictures and email folders. Whatever you do, don't get overzealous and index *everything* on your system - too much of a good thing is a bad thing. You can still search your entire system without an index.
Since it may have previously indexed many unnecessary files, you should consider entirely rebuilding the index, so it will thereafter contain only those files you specify.
This is just a quick rundown - I posted another guide that goes into far more detail about Readyboost and Superfetch, that would be far too long to put here. http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview...atid=34&threadid=2000877&enterthread=y
o Superfetch â€“ Superfetch is IMO the reason to get Vista. It is the most obvious example of Vista being proactive towards utilizing your entire PC for make benefit of glorious user. Rather than mindlessly caching in RAM the last accessed data like XP, it analyzes the programs you actually use, when you use them, and preloads them into RAM. It also prevents I/O that shouldnâ€™t be cached from being cached â€“ virus scanners etc. I find that with Vista I rarely if ever end up loading an app from the hard drive anymore.
As far as tweaking, the only option you have is to turn it off by disabling the service. But I *highly* recommend against it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The cached data is viewed by the OS as available memory, so if a program actually needs more RAM, itâ€™ll dump the cache for the time being.
If youâ€™re wondering why after you boot, there is random disk I/O for a minute or two, itâ€™s the superfetch precaching everything, not some inexplicable windows bloat that just wonâ€™t go away. Free memory = wasted memory!
What does this actually mean to you from a performance perspective? For desktop apps that you use with any frequency, they will likely start up MUCH faster, directly out of ram. For a game which you play frequently, level loads will be MUCH faster. Vista doesnt care who or where the files it caches come from - it just makes sure the ones you use, whether its desktop apps or game files, are ready and waiting for you, especially if you do certain tasks at certain times. If you code during the day, and game during the night or weekend, you can expect those particular files to be ready for you when its time.
o Readyboost â€“ Readyboost is by far the most misunderstood new feature. Itâ€™s a disk cache, itâ€™s a substitute for RAM, its good and itâ€™s bad. For a very good FAQ on it, read here: http://blogs.msdn.com/tomarcher/archive/2006/06/02/615199.aspx
Iâ€™ve found that it does indeed help when you are strapped for memory, even with a slow stick. If you have a slow stick and youâ€™re rarely strapped for memory, Iâ€™d leave it out for now.
THG did a few *valid* benchmarks of it, as most I have seen to this point have completely missed the point and did not test it under a scenario where it will actually benefit. It generally shows an across the board improvement, even with 2gb. The difference is quite minimal at 2gb, since most important data is easily cached in main memory, but it's still something. http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/01/31/...sta-superfetch-and-readyboostanalyzed/
It will work with some CF/SD cards in USB 2.0 media readers, but in order to do so, you must first change the policy of the device to â€œoptimize for performanceâ€. Either choose the device in device mananger or right click drive, properties, choose the device in question, properties again, policies tab.
Microsoft has a readyboost kit with some documentation/tweaks available, which I would love to link to, but it refuses to link properly. Google "Readyboostkit".
In case you want to find out the actual performance of your USB stick by which readyboost capability is being judged, in a command line type in
winsat disk â€“read â€“ran â€“ransize 4096 â€“drive U (â€œUâ€ being the actual drive letter of your stick)
winsat disk â€“write â€“ran â€“ransize 524288 â€“drive U (â€œUâ€ being the actual drive letter of your stick)
And before you go out and buy the â€œfastestâ€ stick you can find, keep in mind that sequential I/O speed is not equivalent to random I/O speed, in fact, they are often inversely correlated. Two particular sticks that I know are excellent performers for readyboost is the â€œApacer Handy Stenoâ€ and the â€œCorsair Turboflashâ€. If you want to know which stick to buy specifically for readyboost, buy exactly this one, it's the best, and it's damn cheap. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820233043
Iâ€™ve found that formatting the drive as NTFS, 4kb block size, with the windows suggested amount of usage space to be the ideal settings. Using the full capacity rather than the recommended seems to drag it down a bit.
You might have found a tweak on the net that allows you to force it enabled on slow drives that fail the test â€“ donâ€™t bother. Itâ€™s disabled for a reason, and youâ€™d be doing more harm than good.
If youâ€™re never going to use it, you can disable the service altogether in the services applet.
o Defrag â€“ The included degfragger is stripped â€“ no progress bar, no block diagram etc. Fragmentation does not make as big a difference as many believe, and with superfetch, it's even less of an issue. By default, Vista will defrag in the background every three days when the PC is idle, so just forget defrag ever existed, and let vista do itâ€™s thing.
o Swap file â€“ There is one, and only one, useful swap file tweak. Put it on a separate *physical* drive from your OS, apps, and/or games. Preferably in itâ€™s own partition at the beginning of the disk, to keep it as fast as possible.
When the swap file is on another disk, a single hard drive head does not have to constantly swing back and forth between the swap file, the program itâ€™s trying to load, writing pages out, reading in etc. The front of the drive is also the spot with the lowest access times. I dedicate the first 2gb of my secondary drive to it, and label it S:.
Putting it on a separate partition in the same physical drive is also a bad idea â€“ it lengthens the physical distance the head has to swing, between the files causing the swapping and the swapping itself, not to mention creates an I/O clogging nightmare.
Changing the size will not affect performance, more is not better, and less can be worse.
o Hard drive advanced performance â€“ Under the policies tab for your individual hard disks, there is a new option for â€œadvanced performanceâ€. My understanding is that by enabling this, the data can be written to the hard driveâ€™s cache, but the physical writing to disk can be delayed to prevent I/O backups. I have noticed a bit of a boost in general I/O performance.
If you lose power though, that data may never be written, and worst case scenario, a system file can get trashed and you canâ€™t boot.
Iâ€™ve run with it on for weeks, and never had a problem. My system has crashed many times over the past few weeks due to incompatible drivers and programs, I *believe* this is a function of the hard drive itself â€“ the OS can crash completely and data will be saved to the drive â€“ you need only worry about a complete power loss.
But with that being said, Iâ€™m not positive about that, so if youâ€™re testing an overclock, or doing anything else that will invariably lead to crashing, Iâ€™d leave it off until your system is stable.
9. Application Compatibility
Many programs have a bit of difficulty with Vista, but by right clicking the shortcut, you have a few options. First try running in â€œXP SP2 Compatibility modeâ€ â€“ this fixes many apps outright. If it has issue with the aero glass, you can check â€œdisable desktop compositionâ€, but this will turn glass off for ALL apps while the incompatible app is running. Iâ€™ve found only one obscure app that needed this option to run.
o CD/DVD Burning - The only *free* CD burning program Iâ€™ve used that actually works in vista is Deepburner. Other programs write discs, but the files are unreadable. The included vista cd burning is an abomination, but works, so use that as a last resort only.
10. Power Settings
Being that aero glass uses the 3d hardware, youâ€™d naturally assume it would lead to increased battery drain, and Iâ€™d naturally agree, but those who have tested it have found otherwise: http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/01/29/xp-vs-vista/page11.html
So donâ€™t fret about that.
In the power options, you have a few new options, dealing with Hybrid hard drives, USB, PCI-E etc, min/max processor speeds and media sharing. Iâ€™d suggest going over them to make sure theyâ€™re all in right order for your system.
The new â€œsleepâ€ mode in vista is a hybrid standby/hibernate. It enters your standby state, while simultaneously writing to disk in case of a power failure. This is a good thing for those with laptops. Desktops donâ€™t have the problem of a constantly draining battery, so you can disable hibernate. This will free up a chunk of hard drive space as big as the size of your system memory, and speed up the standby process.
o To turn off hibernate- type in â€œpowercfg â€“H offâ€ in a run dialog.
Regarding standby in general, there are two types S1(POS) and S3(STR). It is set in the bios. Sometimes, you will have problems booting into windows if you change it after an install, but it worked for me, so if you want to change it, give it a shot, changing it back will boot you fine.
S1(POS) is the old style standby, which leaves your fans running etc. It still saves a decent amount of power. Flicking your mouse will turn it back on.
S3(STR Suspend to RAM) is newer, and basically powers down everything but your RAM. It uses very, very little power, and is much recommended. I actually have to press the â€œSleepâ€ button or power button to turn it back on, which I like.
o Windows won't stay asleep- Check the system event log. The "power-troubleshooter" source will tell you what woke it up out of sleep. If it says "Wake Source: Unknown" as mine did when I was having problems, go to the advanced properties of your network adapter, and set "wake up capabilites" to none. Even though I had disabled wake-on lan in the bios, and unchecked the box to allow the nic to bring wake windows up, it still insisted on waking itself up in 30 seconds until I changed this.
Vista has a few new, much improved options for backup, but theyâ€™re not perfect.
First you have the standard incremental backup, which will work well for most. Much easier to use, and can browse files, it can be scheduled etc.
The complete PC, disk imaging, Ghost-style backup is also pretty good, but Iâ€™ve yet to find a way to selectively browse and restore particular files from the image, which limits itâ€™s usefulness. Itâ€™s still a good idea to have a full image of your system in case of total catastrophe.
Although not exclusive to vista (there is an XP version), Microsoft released a utility called â€œsynctoyâ€ which is fantastic. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/deta...-4814-9649-CCE41AF06EB7&displaylang=en
Rather than creating obscure backup file formats, it can synchronize two folders in many different ways. I use it nightly to backup my documents, music and pictures to a file server. It copies the files directly without compression, but pictures and music are already compressed as much as they will ever be, and documents are generally small enough for me not to care. The advantage is being able to access the files directly rather than through an intermediary app. Itâ€™s a fantastic little utility, check it out.
12. Task scheduler
The new task scheduler is vastly improved over XP's, and allows you to set up tasks much easier, as well as chain them in sequence. This can enable you to make a nightly maintenance task to take care of things while you sleep, without having to worry about the utility apps all conflicting, trying to run at the same time.
I just set the computer into standby, when 2AM strikes, it wakes up, runs the tasks, then goes back into standby. Due to superfetch, when I wake back up, I donâ€™t have to worry about the system being sluggish in the morning either.
Being that such maintenance is now a set it and forget it option, even though it may seem excessive to do this nightly, there's no good reason *not* to.
o My personal config:
2AM every day
"C:\Program Files\SyncToy\SyncToy.exe" â€“r (Sync/Backup files)
"C:\Program Files\CCleaner\ccleaner.exe" /Auto (Runs CCleaner, deletes temp files, general cleanup, great utility)
"c:\program files\windows defender\MpCmdRun.exe" Scan â€“RestrictPrivileges (Defender scan, refuses to chain properly. It only takes about 4-5 minutes or so to complete, so it will run side by side with the vscan, which is normally a bad thing, but you'll be asleep so it won't matter.)
"c:\program files\eset\nod32.exe" (Virus Scan)
"C:\Windows\System32\defrag.exe" â€“c â€“w (Defrag all disks)
%windir%\system32\rundll32.exe srrstr.dll,ExecuteScheduledSPPCreation (create restore point)
rundll32 powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState (set back to sleep)
Be sure to specify to wake the computer if you use standby. Iâ€™d post the file so you could all import it directly, but you canâ€™t upload anything here.
Be sure to disable the internal automatic system restore, defrag and defender scans if you choose to run this config.
13. Optimizing for low end machines
By low end, I mean 512mb, 1.5ghz Celeron type machines. For these systems, I wouldn't pay for the upgrade, but if you can get it for free, you certainly should consider it.
o Use a good readyboost stick (corsair turboflash 1gb - $20!)
o Drop down to Aero Basic, or classic if you're REALLY low end.
o Choose "adjust for best performance" in advanced system settings. (unchecks everything)
o Use classic view in explorer, disable thumbnails
o Turn off sidebar, gadgets, and all audio enhancements.
o Consider turning off indexing, system restore, and UAC.
o Use Opera instead of IE/FF, Media Player Classic instead of WMP11. (Everyone should do this anyway, regardless of spec. )
With this config you will almost definitely be running a bit to a lot faster than XP depending on your usage, and while many of the new features are disabled, you still derive much of the benefits of the underlying changes in the new OS.
edit: 2/1 Added a bit about DEP, a few new links, and edited for clarity.
edit: 2/2 Reorganized a bit, added info about current state of drivers, fleshed out audio support.
Edited: 02/02/2007 at 06:37 PM by BD2003