How to speed Up Windows Vista

Useful tricks and tips

SP1 may not give your system much more oomph, but there are other ways to speed Vista up. Spending a few minutes (or a few dollars) optimising your Vista PC can help it get its groove on.

143538-2605p109_1b

Get flashy: If you have an extra USB flash drive that you don't use for much else, Vista can cache disk reads on it, thereby boosting performance beyond what you'd get from your hard disk alone. Simply insert your flash drive into a USB 2.0 slot. If the drive is fast enough, a prompt will appear, asking whether you want to open the folder for the drive or use it to 'Speed up my system using Windows ReadyBoost' (see the screen shot at left). Choose the latter option, and follow the remaining prompts. When you're calculating how much space to set aside for ReadyBoost to use, Microsoft recommends that you let ReadyBoost use one to three times the amount of RAM on your system.

Play your cards right: USB thumb drives aren't the only way to boost system performance--fortunately, since USB memory sticks protruding from a computer (particularly a laptop) are easy to dislodge, and they can be a pain to remove and stow for traveling. If your PC has a reader for SD (Secure Digital) or CompactFlash cards, you can use those media in place of a USB stick to handle your ReadyBoost needs.

See if your hardware is slowing you down: In Explorer, right-click Computer and choose Properties. Next to 'Rating', click Windows Experience Index. The item with the lowest score is the biggest drain on your getting a better Vista experience. For example, if the lowest score is attributed to Graphics, it may be time to invest in a new graphics card.

143538-2605p109_2b

Sideline sidebar: If you don't need the little "gadget" doo-dads in the Vista sidebar, get rid of them. Right-click the Windows Sidebar icon in the taskbar tray and choose Exit. Open the Control Panel and launch Windows Sidebar Properties in the 'Appearance and Personalisation' category. Uncheck Start sidebar when Windows starts and click OK (see the screen shot at left).

What would Windows do? If you have an older or less capable video card, click Start, type systempropertiesperformance, and press Enter. Click Continue if prompted by User Account Control. Select Adjust for best performance. Or cherry-pick the options you can't live without. (Fewer checkmarks mean better performance.) Click OK.

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

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?