I was working on one of my old laptops the other day, and realized it seemed just as fast as my newer laptop. The newer box is substantially higher specced - dual core proc, 4GB RAM, nVidia graphics etc. For awhile, I couldn't put my finger on just what the difference was, and then it hit me: the old laptop had Aero turned off. I turned off Aero on the new box and bam, it was noticably more snappy. Windows popped in instantly, menus snapped up with no hesitation. Not just a little improvement, but a drastic improvement in speed. You don't get the glitzy glass interface, but it's definitely worth the graphical loss to have a much faster experience.

I haven't tested this on beefier desktop systems, but it gives a great improvement on laptops.

Here are the steps:

  • Open the computer settings window (quickest way to do this is to right click on "My Computer" and select "Properties").
  • Click "Advanced system settings" on the left under Tasks
  • Go to the Advanced tab
  • Click the Settings button under the Performance item
  • On the Visual Effects tab, Select "Adjust for best performance"

This will optimize the visual effects for the best performance, but some important visual effects will be missing - especially font smoothing. To get to the optimal settings, check the following items in the list:

  • Show preview and filters in folder
  • Show thumbnails instead of icons
  • Show window contents while dragging
  • Smooth edges of screen fonts
  • Smooth-scroll list boxes

The resulting selection will look like this:

Click the OK button, and Windows will recalibrate itself for the new settings.

Enjoy the new snappier performance!


Comment by lfon

Definitely. It makes a noticeable difference. It’s not that Vista wasn’t operating fast already – I have a wicked fast quad core machine – it’s that it changes the PERCEIVED speed by doing away with animations and shadowing and such. The result is that everything appears to be much more instantaneous.

Comment by BKR krediet

And Windows keeps putting in fancy stuff to decrease the speed. They think everybody is on a monster PC or something!

BKR krediet