Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adapting to Windows Vista’s Growing Pains

The amount of time between Windows XP and Windows Vista was HUGE, and never before has a Windows client OS felt the pains of such a long release cycle as Windows XP to Windows Vista. You may also find that a lot of your hardware that ran Windows XP, might not run Windows Vista as well. There are a few tweaks and steps to try and ease the pains felt when upgrading to Vista on hardware that was built for Windows XP.

RAM

Probably the most important issue here, is the ram, 512MB was pushing it for XP, 1GB is comfortable for most people. However due to Windows Vista’s new features, like Super Fetch, 1GB might not be enough. Upgrading to 2GB is probably the best solution, and for the best bang for your buck, upgrade in sets of twos, for instance, 2GB to 4GB to 6GB, will ensure that your PC take advantage of what’s called Dual Channel Ram. Please take note that due to architecture limitations, you will not be able to upgrade past 3GB of ram on PC Hardware that isn’t 32-bit, fortunately, most modern processors support 64-bit operating systems.

Windows Search

This feature is in place to make searching for files faster and easier, however if you do not want to take advantage of this feature, it can be disabled for a minor performance boost. You can do this by holding down your Windows key on your keyboard, pressing R while holding that Windows key down and typing in. services.msc, navigate down the menu until you find Windows Search, and double click it. You’ll be presented with a window called “Windows Search Properties”. Look for Startup Type, and change that menu next to it to Disabled. Then, if you look lower, you’ll notice that Service Status is set to Started, click stop and then apply.

Windows Super-Fetch

Here is where things get a bit more complicated, disabling this requires you to dip into the Windows Registry. If you’re uncomfortable doing this, then you best not attempt this, but if you do exactly what is instructed here, you run little risk of messing up your Windows Vista installation.

Hold down your Windows key on your keyboard again and hit R to bring up the Run dialog. Next, type in regedit, and hit enter. You’ll be presented with a window called Registry Editor, with a navigation tree on the left, and the main window on the right.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, SYSTEM, CurrentControlSet, Control, Session Manager, Memory Management, PrefetchParameters.

You’ll notice on the right hand side a set of keys labeled, BaseTime, BootId, EnableBootTrace, Enable Prefetcher, EnableSuperFetch, VideoInitTime. Do not touch anything but EnableSuperFetch, and set it to any of the values below.

0 to disable Superfetch
1 to enable prefetching when program is launched
2 to enable boot prefetching
3 to enable prefectching of everything

After you disable SuperFetch, you will need to go to Windows Services, as stated above, bring up the Run dialog and type services.msc, and navigate down until you see SuperFetch, double click it, set Startup type to Disabled, and set Service Status to Stopped.

What SuperFetch does is it uses part of your ram to cache frequently opened programs to allow faster startup. Problem is, if you do not have that much ram, it cuts performance down, and if your a gamer, the more ram you have available to your system to run your games, the better.

Start Menu Lag

Follow this link for the solution.

Windows Defender

This scans at random times and gives little to no notification when it scans your system. Unfortunately it takes up quite a bit of system resources when it does this. To stop Windows Defender from running automatic scans, go to Control Panel and in the upper right hand corner, in the search bar, type in Windows Defender. This will then show Windows Defender in the main window, click it to bring up the Windows Defender application.

In the Windows Defender window, you’ll see a top set of icons labeled, Home, Scan, History, Tools and the blue question mark. Click on Tools, then in the Settings sub-section, click on Options. You’ll see Automatic Scanning as the first section in Options. Untick “Automatically scan my computer (recommended)”. Now the reason I’m targeting this is because most of the readers here have their own malware and anti-virus solutions, and Defender has one of the worst detection rates of any of the programs out there.

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