Shift Any Version of Windows Into High Gear

In previous versions of Windows, tweaking settings to get the fastest system possible used to require bouncing from one arcane dialog box to the next. Though Vista makes most system information easier to find, many of the tools that will put your PC into overdrive remain buried. Here's a guide to Windows' built-in performance tools.

Vista Performance Information and Tools applet

A new Control Panel applet in Vista collects your favorite (and not so favorite) tools for analyzing and revving up your system: Click Start-Control Panel-System and Maintenance-Performance Information and Tools, and click the links on the left to access the tools you need (see the image at right). Be sure not to neglect the various options that lurk behind the 'Advanced tools' link.

Note: Few of these tools are new to Vista--XP users can access most of them by following the steps listed in the chart on the bottom of the page.

Hidden Performance Gizmos

Customize Start Menu

Although not intended as performance tools per se, a number of the apps in the Administrative Tools Control Panel applet available in all versions of Windows include options for revving up your system. These settings are much easier to reach when you put them on the Start menu, however.

To do so in Windows 2000, right-click the taskbar and choose Properties. In the 'Taskbar and Start Menu Properties' dialog box, click the Advanced tab. In the Start Menu Settings scrolling list, check Display Administrative Tools and click OK.

In XP and Vista, right-click the Start button, and then choose Properties. Click whichever Customize button is selectable. If you use the Classic Start menu, check Display Administrative Tools in the 'Advanced Start menu options' list at the bottom of the dialog box. If you use the default Start menu, click the Advanced button in the top right of the window. Under 'Start menu items', find System Administrative Tools and select whether to display it on the All Programs menu or on both the All Programs and Start menus (see the screen shot at upper right). Click the OK button twice.

Customize Start Menu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Dunn

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?