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12 Vista features your PC doesn't need

Improve performance by turning off the bloat

From Aero to Remote Assistance, we've rounded up the 12 most unnecessary features that simply bloat Windows Vista and can be turned off immediately.

10. Search indexing

This one is a real trade-off. Turning off Vista's indexing will slow searches to a crawl, I'm talking minutes, not seconds. But ditching this convenient feature could very likely speed up your general PC use significantly.

In other words, turning off indexing will help your PC's performance only if you seldom search by file content, or if you use a third-party search tool such as Copernic Desktop or Google Desktop (in which case you probably have two indexing routines running at the same time, which is an even bigger waste).

If you match either of those descriptions, turn off indexing by clicking Start, typing services and pressing Enter. Find and double-click Windows Search. In the 'Startup type' drop-down menu, select Disabled and then click ok.

11. Offline files

If you work on files stored on a server somewhere, and you can't depend on that server always being available, Vista Business and Ultimate's Offline Files feature makes your life easier by copying the files to your hard drive and keeping them synched.

Of course, that sort of thing isn't for everybody, which is probably why Microsoft didn't include Offline Files in the Home editions of Vista. But if you have Business or Ultimate and still don't need Offline Files, turn it off by clicking Start, typing services and pressing Enter. Find and double-click Offline Files. In the 'Startup type' drop-down menu, select Disabled and then click ok.

12. Windows Error Reporting Service

Every time Windows experiences an error - either with its own processes or with a third-party program - it offers to report the problem to Microsoft. In theory, doing so can help the company locate problems with its operating system (and heaven knows that would be a good thing). But more than likely, your report will either go unresolved or just end up in a big ol' pile of other people's reports on the same problem. Either way, you're wasting your system's precious resources on a feature that isn't doing you any good.

UAC: Boon or bloat?

One of Windows Vista's most controversial features is User Account Control (UAC), which attempts to protect your system from malware by forcing you to authorise certain system-altering actions by clicking through a dialog box from time to time.

To some people, this feature is an unwanted annoyance that must be eliminated. Other users appreciate the added security.

While I wouldn't go so far as to lump UAC in with the other wasteful features in this article, I can certainly understand why some folks would like to turn it off - or at least minimise its intrusive behaviour.

  1. Improve PC performance by turning off these wasteful features
  2. Assorted interface beautification options
  3. Windows Ultimate Extras
  4. Search indexing and offline files

Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Microsoft News Spotlight for the latest news on the software giant


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