BOOT CAMP 515 (11/03/08)

More Vista Tuning Tips pt 4


Time for some more intermediate performance tips that are also suitable for confident beginners but as usual your first job is to set a new System Restore Point, and if you don’t know how to do that by now, go back and read parts 1, 2, and 3!


We’ll begin as usual with a quick and easy tweak, so go to Start > Control Panel, open Programs and Features, then click the ‘Turn off Windows Features link in the left hand pane. Scroll down the list to Remote Differential Compression and uncheck it. The only reason you might want to leave it switched on is if you work in an office and require fast file backup on remote network drives, otherwise you don’t need it.


Vista users either love I or hate the Sidebar but the fact remains that it gobbles up resources. Personally I have lived without Gadgets all these years and see no reason to have them now, besides I prefer to have my Taskbar down the right side of the screen, so it has to go. Right-click an empty area of the Sidebar, select Properties and uncheck ‘Start Sidebar when Windows Starts. Click OK, then right-click on the sidebar again click Close. To get it back just type Sidebar in a Search box and double click the icon.


Doubtless there are some among you who cannot bear to be parted from their Sidebars, in which case here’s a halfway house solution that reduces its impact on the system by setting it to a Low Priority. This means that if you are running any fancy Gadgets they won’t pinch resources from any other applications you are using. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select Start Task Manager, click the Processes tab, right-click on Sidebar.exe and on the menu that appears select Set Priority. Low and click OK. Ignore the scary warning and click Change Priority.


I’m in two minds about this tip, which can speed up Vista, but it also affects one of its best features. The Search function works so well because it constantly indexes the files on your hard drive, but this keeps the CPU, system memory and hard drive busy. Switching off indexing doesn’t stop Search working it just makes it a lot slower. In the Search box on the Start menu start typing ‘Services’ and click the item when it appears. Scroll down the list to Windows Search, right-click on it and select Properties. On the Startup type drop-down select disabled, and to halt it right away click the Stop button.

Hibernation mode in Vista is largely redundant but it’s still there, running in the background, eating up hard disc space and memory that could be doing something more useful. Switch it off, you won’t notice it but Vista doesn’t like it so you have to do it through a Command Line. Type ‘cmd’ in the Search box on the Start menu, right click on the cmd icon that appears and select Run as Administrator, If the User Account Control (UAC) box appears just click Continue (see this week’s Top Tip). Next, at the flashing command prompt type the following (without the quotes) ‘powercfg -h off’ and press the Enter key.

Finally if your Vista PC is more than nine months old, say, with a slowish CPU and a basic graphics adaptor you will find that switching off some or all of the snazzy Aero Glass effects can yield useful performance gains. The quickest method is to turn the lot off by going to Start > Control Panel > Personalization, click Themes and select Windows Classic from the drop-down menu.


If you want to experiment and keep some of the effects open System Properties by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del, select Advanced System Settings, select the Advanced tab and under Performance click Settings, then the Visual Effects tab. Try the preset ‘Best Performance’ setting or use the custom option to manually deselect effects, and see if you miss them.


Next Week – Vista Tuning Tips pt 5






A typed instruction, to tell a PC to do something, as opposed to clicking on a menu or icon



Running programs are saved to the hard drive and Windows is suspended but the processor is still active and the system can be revived in just a few seconds



Small desktop program or utility for accessing information on the web, displaying images, playing games etc.




A lot of the tips we’ve shown in this series trigger Vista’s User Account Control or UAC. Broadly speaking it is a good thing. It forces users to stop, think and deliberately click a button and hopefully stop them accidentally doing something that might have a damaging effect on the operating system. However, for more ‘seasoned’ users it is a real nuisance and the urge to switch it off is overwhelming. It’s easy enough to do, but I must warn you that it does reduce your system’s overall security by allowing you to do daft things…


Having been duly warned go to Start > Control Panel, in the Search box type ‘user’. Click the option to ‘Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off…’. UAC asks you if you are sure, click Continue, it asks you one last time, uncheck the ‘Use User Account …’ box, then restart the machine. When Windows reboots you may get a warning from Vista’s Security Centre, if so click ‘Change the way Security Centre alerts me’ and select either ‘Don’t notify but display icon’ or ‘Don’t notify and don’t display icon’.


Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at



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