10 Tips to Improve Windows 7 Performance
Ever Google terms like “optimize Windows 7″ or “speed up Windows 7″? If you have, you probably landed on a site trying to convince you that the only way to speed up Windows 7 is to disable Aero, along with other useful features. I’m writing this guide with the normal, everyday user in mind, whose goal is to increase performance without sacrificing any features or Windows 7′s beloved eye candy.
1. Manage Indexing
Although turning indexing off (discussed here) will result in the most significant increase in performance, intelligently managing your indexed locations can still make a huge difference. People with iTunes installed tend to see an improvement in performance simply by excluding the iTunes folder from their indexed locations, since that folder only contains configuration files, which the normal user wouldn’t usually search for.
2. Keep Aero On
I’m aware that many recognized tech blogs and forums recommend this feature be turned off, but the truth is that disabling Aero just ruins the Windows 7 experience. Also, Aero takes advantage of hardware acceleration, which reduces the overall load on your CPU. That’s something to consider.
3. Install the Latest Updates
Make sure to enable Microsoft Update to get the latest updates for Office and other Microsoft products, along with Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Update also checks for the latest drivers, which can greatly improve performance or even fix issues.
4. Use Internet Explorer 9
I know that this sounds crazy, but Internet Explorer 9 is the best browser I have ever used. Unlike other browsers, it supports full hardware acceleration (on capable hardware) which makes a dramatic difference, especially when rendering objects. Also, having only one browser reduces the bloat on your system, and can have a positive impact on the overall performance of your computer.
5. Let Windows Manage the Page File
Alot of people, especially on forums, will recommend you turn off the page file so that everything stays in memory. DON’T! They do not know how the page file works, and turning it off could have a very negative effect on not only performance, but also the stability of your computer. I have 8 GB of RAM on my computer and I still do not change the virtual memory settings. Do your computer a favor and let Windows manage the page file.
6. Use a Registry Optimizer
I’m not talking about a registry cleaner, but instead a registry compressor. The only 2 reliable ones I could find were Auslogics Registry Defrag and System Mechanic. After all the registry is a database, and needs to be cleaned of overhead once in a while.
7. Use Microsoft Security Essentials
Many, if not all, anti-virus suites bloat your computer with unneeded features, causing a significant decline in performance. Security Essentials is made by Microsoft and has 1 simple function: To protect you against the growing threat of viruses and malware. On top of that, the UI is very clean and easy to manage.
8. Watch What You Install
If you don’t need it, don’t even bother installing it. Even if you uninstall it in the future, it will leave behind fragments of the installation. This is crucial to keeping your computer running reliably and consistently over time.
9. Update Your Graphics Driver
Chances are, your graphics card manufacturer releases updates very frequently. Since Windows 7 takes advantage of hardware acceleration, keeping your graphics driver up-to-date can prove to be very rewarding in terms of performance.
10. Manage Your Startup Items
Quite a few things start up with Windows. As you install more software, the number of startup items increase, resulting in degraded boot performance over time. You can simply run msconfig to see what starts up with your computer. If you find something that is not necessary, uncheck the box, and reboot to see if your computer starts correctly. If you find that your computer runs fine without that startup item, delete the registry entry.
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