Did you ever use the ReadyBoost feature on Windows Vista? Remember how your otherwise sluggish rig with 512 MB RAM suddenly handled Vista a lot better, as soon as you plugged in that teensy-weensy little pen drive? ReadyBoost was one of the few points about Vista that was actually well-received by most users of that bug-ridden operating system. The feature dramatically increases the size of your hard disk cache, so that applications load a lot faster than before.
Now, Windows 7 is shipping with an improved version of the ReadyBoost feature that has been designed to provide your PC with a rather large shot of adrenaline, sending its performance level through the roof. If you have USB 2.0 ports in your motherboard, you can give your PC performance a substantial boost, without having to invest in pricey RAM.
In Windows Vista, the maximum amount of memory that ReadyBoost could handle was 4 GB. On the other hand, in Windows 7, it has raised to as much as 256 GB! The feature now also supports a maximum of 8 removable Flash drives, as opposed to just one in Windows Vista. The ReadyBoost feature has been completely revamped by Microsoft, and it’s the consumers who gain the benefits.
If you purchase Windows 7 and find your PC struggling to keep up with all the graphical details this operating system puts on your RAM, here’s what you can do:
- Boot up your PC. When the operating system finishes loading (wait for the HDD diode to stop blinking repeatedly), plug in a removable Flash memory drive in one of the USB ports of your PC.
- A dialog box named “Autoplay” will appear with a number of options. Select the tab named “General”.
- Select the option that says, “Speed up my system”.
- A Properties dialog box will show up. Click on the tab named “ReadyBoost”.
- The tab will give you three options. The first one will allow you to turn ReadyBoost off, in case you are already using the feature. The second option will say “Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost”, and will use all remaining space on the drive. If you have any files in the drive, those will not be affected. The third one will let you decide how much available space on the drive you wish to use for ReadyBoost. Simply click on “Use this Device”, and adjust slider to decide the amount of space you wish to use on the drive.
That’s it. You’re done configuring ReadyBoost for your PC. Fire up a memory hungry application now, and see how well it runs.Read more..
Windows 7 has brought a truckload of graphical enhancements with it, which are sure to test the capabilities of your video card. One of the most notable features is the Thumbnail Animation Preview, visible when you minimize any window to the Taskbar. The feature shows a thumbnail preview of the window, which you have minimized, along with specific icons pertaining to the types of files stored in that particular folder.
The enhancement sure looks great, but it may seem a little awkward to users of previous versions of Windows operating system. If you think that you would rather not have the thumbnail animation enabled, you can turn it off any time you want. Disabling the option will also save some memory and processing power, so if your PC is not exactly a powerhouse, disabling previews will allow you to extract slightly better performance from it. Here’s how you can disable this feature from the Group Policy Editor:
- Click on the Start button and select Search.
- Type “gpedit.msc” (without the quotes) in the Search bar, and hit Enter.
- When the window opens, click on User Configuration, and then on Administrative Templates.
- Select the option Start Menu and Taskbar located in the left pane of the window.
- Find the option “Turn off Taskbar Thumbnails”, now visible on the right pane of the Group Policy Editor window. Double click on this option.
- Choose the option “Disable”.
- Click on Apply, and then on OK.
Now close the Group Policy Editor window, and check out your Taskbar. You should find that the Thumbnails are not showing any longer. Another way of disabling thumbnail previews would be to disable the Aero theme in Windows 7. If that theme is disabled, thumbnails will not show up on the Taskbar at all.
Fortunately, Aero theme does not get enabled by default in Windows® 7. Only if your PC has the necessary hardware for Aero, it will be enabled by the operating system. Otherwise, if you select an Aero based theme for Windows 7, then the thumbnail previews will be enabled along with the theme.
Thumbnail Previews on Taskbar may look real nice, but do consume significant amount of system resources. If you have a moderately powerful PC that can barely run Windows 7 properly, then make sure that this feature is always kept disabled. Your PC may run a lot smoother, and handle applications better.Read more..
Is your home PC used by a number of people in your family, especially kids? Then it might make sense to password protect internet access with a password. It is not always possible to monitor kids when they are happily clicking away. You can never be sure of what websites they are surfing through, until you check the web history, and by then it is usually too late. If you keep your internet browser protected with a password, you can at least be sure that your kids cannot browse the internet, unless it is under your supervision.
So, let’s see how you can password protect your Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), so that nobody can surf the internet unless they know the password. The process is not at all complicated. Here’s how you can get it done:
- Run Internet Explorer.
- On the top menu bar, click on Tools, and then on Internet Options.
- Click on the tab named Content.
- In the section named Content Advisor, click on the button named Enable.
- A new pop up window will instruct you to enter the supervisor password. Enter the password in the field named Password. Then, enter the same password in the second field, named Confirm Password. Note that these two passwords have to be exactly the same. The passwords are also case sensitive, so make sure that the Caps Lock key on the keyboard is turned off.
- You will see a box named Hint under the Confirm Password box. If you have entered a rather complex password, then it is a good idea to add a hint here that will help you remember the password in a jiffy. However, make sure that you do not enter the actual password in this field. Some users have been found to actually make that fatal mistake.
- Click on the OK button when you are done.
- Close the Internet Options box and restart IE8.
That’s all you have to do. Now, whenever attempts to connect to the internet from your PC, the browser will ask him/ her to enter the supervisor password. Without it, nobody will be able to browse the internet from your PC. One may argue that this won’t apply to other browsers in your system, but if you have only IE8 web browser in your PC, then this trick will work like a charm. Anyone trying to download another browser will also have to get it through IE only, anyway.1 Comment // Read more..
Windows 7 is pretty scalable as an operating system (OS), meaning that it can be made to consume significantly less system resources than it usually does, making it run well on less powerful systems. Here are top 10 ways to speed up Windows 7 and give your PC a performance boost.
Speed up boot time
Make your PC boot faster than before, in this way:
- Click on Start, and then on Run. Type “msconfig” in the box, and hit Enter.
- Click on the tab named Boot, and then on Advanced Options
- Check the option ‘Number of Processors’, and type the number of processors your PC has. Click Apply, and then on OK.
- Reboot your PC. It should boot faster now.
Speed up windows 7 shutdown
Make Windows 7 shut down faster than ever before, in this way:
- Click on Start and type regedit. Press Enter.
- In the regedit window, navigate to the key named ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control’.
- Right click on the value ‘WaitToKillServiceTimeOut’ and click Modify. Lower the value given there.
- Click OK. Hit F5 to reboot your PC.
Turn off search indexer Windows 7
It is perhaps the greatest bloatware that Microsoft has churned out. Here’s how you can disable it:
- Click on Start button and type services.msc (minus the quotes).
- In the Services window, find and right click on ‘Windows Search’.
- In the field named Startup Type, choose the option ‘Disabled’.
Turn off System sounds
If you don’t need system sounds, turn those off to save memory. Here’s how you can do it:
- Click on Start and type mmsys.cpl
- Click on the tab named ‘Sounds’, and choose the option ‘No Sounds’ from the drop down menu.
Streamline Windows 7 startup
Prevent whatever programs you do not need all the time from loading automatically. Do it in this way:
- Click on Start, and type in MSConfig.
- In the box that opens, click on the tab named Startup.
- Uncheck only the unwanted programs, such as Microsoft Office, Java, and iTunes. Do not disable essential services like firewall, antivirus software, and the likes.
- Click on Apply and restart your PC.
Get faster response from taskbar thumbnails in Windows 7
Speed up the displaying of thumbnails on the taskbar in this manner:
- Click on Start and type Regedit.
- In the window that opens, click on the following key to expand it:
- Right click on Advanced, and then select the option ‘New DWORD’. Enter the name: “ThumbnailLivePreviewHoverTime” (without quotes).
- Right click on this new value and choose the option ‘Modify’.
- Select the Decimal Base option and enter a new numerical value in milliseconds.
- Click on Ok, refresh the registry by pressing F5, and reboot your PC.
Speed up window switching
Here is how you can speed up minimizing/ maximizing of windows:
- Click on Start and type in “SystemPropertiesPerformance” (minus the quotes).
- Click on the tab named ‘Visual Effects’.
- Uncheck the option “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing”. Click Ok.
Get rid of unused fonts
TrueType fonts are sparingly used unless you have a printer and print documents regularly. Remove the fonts you don’t need to free up space. Here’s how to do it:
- Open Control Panel, and then the Fonts folder.
- Create a temporary directory in another drive, and move the font files that you don’t usually need. As you remove fonts, you will gain system resources.
Disable Aero theme
This may make your Vista look worse, but will surely free up memory. Here’s how you can disable it:
- Right click on your Desktop. Select Personalize, and click on the tab named ‘Window Color’.
- Uncheck the box named ‘Enable transparency’.
- Click on the option named ‘Open classic appearance properties for more color options’. Now choose the Standard or Basic theme option from the menu that appears.
Disable unwanted services
Some of the system services are unnecessary for the normal functioning of Windows, but still keep running in the background, and consume good amounts of RAM. In order to disable some of these, go to Control Panel. Then do the following:
- Click on the option named Administrative Tools, and then on ‘Services’.
- Right click on each service that you think you do not need, and click on Manual. This will ensure that you can turn it back on if you make a mistake somewhere.
- Once you are done, close the window and reboot your PC.
That’s it. You’re done. Your PC should work a lot faster now, and also use resources more efficiently.Read more..
Windows Vista is a pretty resource-hungry operating system, and if you have a PC with moderate amount of resources, you would definitely want to optimize the memory usage as much as you possibly can. Here are a set of tweaks that you can apply to your PC, in order to make Vista run a lot better and speed up your internet connection.
Tweak 1 – Turn off Search Indexing: Every time you create a file or transfer a file to your hard disk, Vista enters details of the file in its search index table. This can consume a considerable amount of system resources. Turn it off to greatly improve system performance. Here’s how:
- Click on Start button, then on Computer. Right click on C: drive and choose Properties.
- On the General tab, uncheck the option “Index this drive for faster searching”. In the next dialog box, select the option “Include subfolders and files”. Do this for all the drives.
Tweak 2 – Turn off the Remote Differential Compression option: This option allows Vista to compare changes in shared files stored in other PCs in the network when transferring those, so that only the changes are updated instead of transferring the entire file. This requires minimal bandwidth, but uses up a lot of CPU resources by always staying on. Turn it off for improved performance, in this way:
- Open Control Panel and switch to Classic View.
- Select Program Features, and click on “Turn Windows features on and off”.
- Scroll down the list and uncheck the option Remote Differential Compression.
Tweak 3 – Disable Automatic Windows Defender Operation: This built-in malware blocker keeps on running at all times and consumes considerable system resources. Turn it off to free up system resources, in this manner:
- Open Control Panel and select Windows Defender.
- Click on Tools in the top menu, and then on Options. Uncheck the box named “Auto Start”.
Tweak 4 – Disable Automatic Disk Defragmentation: You do not need Vista to defragment your hard disk every time you create or transfer a file in your hard disk. Just run it once a week, and disable automatic defragmentation.
- Click on Start button, then on Computer. Right click on C: drive and select Properties.
- Click on Tools tab and uncheck the box “Run on a schedule”.
Tweak 5 – Use Windows Ready Boost technology: Use a flash drive of capacity 2 GB or more as extra memory cache to improve performance of Windows Vista. Here’s how:
- Insert a Flash USB drive of capacity at least 2 GB or more in a USB port.
- Click on Start button, then on Computer. Right click on the USB Drive in My Computer. Choose Properties.
- Select the tab named Ready Boost. Choose the option “Use this device”.
- Select the amount of space you want to use as RAM.
These tweaks can help you keep your Vista running well, even with moderate amount of system resources.Read more..
Defragging is a utility program that is run through the system in order to better its performance speed and the end performance of the system. Defragging the computer should be done as a routine in order to enhance the performance of the system as a whole. The occurrence of errors within the system may cause the files within the disk to fragment in that the files are broken in parts. The parts may then be scattered throughout the disk. The system is likely to face some difficulties reading and rewriting these files. A lot of time is consumed when trying to bring the different parts together for a user to view these files.
Defragging the systems involves bringing the scattered parts of a file together so that the system takes less time top open a file. The time one takes to view files is shortened so that they can be able to run other programs on the system at high speeds. In addition, the system is more stabilized and is less likely to crash while trying to open such files. Moreover, the defragging process will eliminate the errors that could have occurred within the systems as well as get rid of any unwanted files and documents that could be taking up the memory space of the computer.
The overall performance of the system is enhanced once defragging has been done. The processes that could have caused the system to slow down also takes up a larger CPU memory space. The defragging will offer the users more memory space for storing their valuable files. Further, when the defragging is done frequently, it helps to eliminate the errors that are not quickly detectable within the system. One is advised to defrag their systems frequently regardless of the duration which they have used the system. A user is able to run many programs concurrently on the system once the defragging has been done.Read more..
Does your PC run in a snail-like pace even when you seem to have just a couple of applications running? Then you should take a long, hard look at the processes running in the background. Many of those processes may be used only once or twice per session, but they keep squeezing the juice out of your CPU throughout the time that the PC is running. It is time to put those processes on a low-calorie diet, don’t you think?
The tweak is a little tricky to explain, because it will need detailed knowledge about bit masks, bit pairs and binary values. Let us try a different approach. When your processor runs, it works on your system processes for variable lengths of time, depending on their priorities. Many of the background processes also have their own priorities, forcing the processor to “pay attention” to them once in every few minutes or such.
However, if this is causing your applications to slow down repeatedly, you can apply a tweak to your PC that will starve the background processes unless those desperately need CPU resources. So, your foreground processes will get better timeslices (which refers to the period of time for which the processor is attending to those processes) and consequently will run better than before.
In order to do this, follow the steps given below:
- Click on the “Start” button and select “Run”.
- Type “Regedit” in the box and hit Enter.
- In the window that opens, expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key by clicking on the “+” sign beside it.
- Expand the following keys, “System”, “CurrentControlSet”, “Control” and at last “PriorityControl”.
- In the right panel, you will find a setting named “Win32PrioritySeparation”.
- Right click on the setting and choose “Modify”.
- Select “Hexadecimal” from the option buttons on the right panel and change the value to 26. If the option “Decimal” is selected on the right hand panel then you should change the value to 38 instead.
- Click on OK and close the Regedit window.
- Restart your PC and you will notice an improvement in the performance of all of your foreground processes.
One word of caution though. If you have either Internet Information Server (IIS) or Microsoft SQL Server running on your PC, then you should not alter these settings. It could cause both these services to run at significantly slower rates.Read more..
Does your PC regularly act sluggish and take a lot of time to open up the folders in the system? This can be due to a number of reasons. While it may be that your PC is just low on resources, it may also be that you have too many unused files in your hard disk. A hard disk full of files will always perform in a sluggish manner. So, if you clean up some of the unused files, chances are that your hard disk will perform a lot better.
There are a number of ways in which you can clean up your hard disk from the clutter of unused files. You can use the disk defragmenter, disk cleanup, or the chkdsk utility. All of these are quite effective. Let’s have a look at these one by one, shall we?
Disk Defragmenter – If you have been using your PC for a long time, chances are that you have stored a lot of files in those. In time, portions of a file may get scattered to different memory addresses all over the disk. You won’t see it; the process is not visible to the user. However, Windows® knows it and fetches all parts of the file from the various memory addresses when you try to open it. The problem is that if you have a lot of files in your PC, this fetching can take what may seem like ages. The defragmenter puts the pieces of a file in adjacent memory addresses, thus making the fetching process simpler and consequently faster. You can start the defragmenter by clicking the Start button, followed by clicking Accessories, System Tools, and finally Disk Defragmenter. After that simply select a drive from the list and run it. Once it is finished, repeat the process with the other drives.
Disk Clean Up – This utility of Windows® allows you to clean up the unnecessary files piling up in your hard disk. These files include temporary internet files, old temporary files and unused log files. It is surprising how much space these files can occupy in the long run. In order to clean up a partition in your hard disk, right click on the icon of the partition in My Computer. Choose Properties and in the box that opens up, click the button named “Disk Cleanup”.
Chkdsk – This is the Check Disk utility, which can fix minor errors in your files, file system and even on your hard disk platters. This makes your PC run at least 8%-10% faster. In order to run the utility, right click on any partition in My Computer and choose properties. Then choose the Tools tab and click on the button “Check Now”. Check both the boxes and click on Start. If the drive contains your operating system, then the disk check may not run immediately. Don’t worry, it will run when you restart your PC.
Disk cleanup operations are important to maintain a hard disk in good shape. These checks should be performed at least once a week, especially if you store a lot of files in your hard disk.1 Comment // Read more..