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Windows XP and Vista expert tweaking guide

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Speed up Vista

Got a problem with Windows? There's no need to put up with elements that don't suit you. We've got the tools to help you get XP or Vista looking and acting just right.

Windows Flip 3D, which gives you a pop-up preview of all your open windows, is one of Windows Vista's coolest new features. But if your hardware isn't up to scratch, its operation can be jagged and sluggish. With a simple Registry hack, you can speed up Windows Flip 3D and smooth its animations by limiting the number of windows it will display.

1. Launch the Registry Editor by typing 'regedit' at the Start Search box or a command prompt. Navigate to Hkey_Current_User\

2. Create a new DWord value and name it 'Max3Dwindows'. Set the value to the maximum number of windows you want displayed. If you have severe performance problems, set it at four; you can always re-edit and up the number later. Exit the Registry Editor.

3. For the change to take effect, you'll need to either restart your PC or restart Vista's Desktop Windows Manager. To do the latter, launch an elevated command prompt (which means you're operating the command prompt with administrator rights) by typing 'cmd' in the search box and pressing Ctrl, Shift, Enter. Type 'net stop uxsms' and press Enter. Then type 'net start uxsms' and press Enter.

Windows Flip 3D should now be much speedier.

4. With the new settings in effect, Windows Flip 3D will display only the number of windows you've told it to. If you have six windows open and your set maximum is four, only four will be displayed at a time. As you scroll through your windows, each new one will replace an old one.

Vista Flip 3D

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