Plus performance-enhancing tweaks for Vista and XP
Windows 7 is a brilliant OS and offers us loads of long-overdue improvement and upgrades. However, like any OS it can benefit from a few tweaks. We've rounded up 25 essential tips to make your PC run faster.
Works in: XP, Vista, 7
To this day many PC manufacturers insist on stuffing new systems with unnecessary, unwanted software that consumes drive space and slows startup.
We're talking security suites you may not require, games you might not want, and vendor-branded utilities that are more nuisance than necessity.
Get rid of the rubbish. You can venture into the Control Panel and click Uninstall a program, or use one of our favourite freebies, Revo Uninstaller, to make a clean sweep; the utility not only uninstalls software, but also removes leftover files and Registry entries.
Just make sure not to dump anything important, such as Adobe Flash Player or Microsoft .Net Framework.
Expert Tip: Eliminate the Aero Peek delay
Works in: 7
Aero Peek, one of Windows 7's most celebrated enhancements, temporarily turns all your windows transparent when you move the cursor over the Show Desktop button.
However, if you accept the default settings, the effect takes nearly a full second to kick in.
Why wait? A simple Registry hack will enable instantaneous transparency.
Press the Windows key to open the Start menu, type regedit in the search box, and press Enter. In the Registry, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\Advanced. Right-click an empty area in the right pane, and choose New, DWORD (32-bit) Value.
Name it DesktopLivePreviewHoverTime. By default, Windows will assign a value of 0, which is exactly what you want.
Now just restart your computer (or log off and back on).
The next time you mouse over Show Desktop, you'll be Peeking at light speed.
Expert Tip: Run Performance Monitor
Works in: 7
If you like charts, numbers, and data sets, Windows 7 has just the tool for you. Performance Monitor tracks your PC's hardware and applications in real time, generating all kinds of data that you can review and compare.
It's aimed more at system administrators than at everyday users, but if you're trying to confirm a sneaking suspicion that, say, iTunes is single-handedly tanking your system's performance, it can help.
To access Performance Monitor, press the Windows key, type perfmon, and press Enter.
You can start assessing your system by expanding the Monitoring Tools folder and clicking Performance Monitor. From there you'll probably need to delve into the built-in help files, as the tool isn't exactly user-friendly.
For more, check out the Microsoft Developer Network blog post on using Performance Monitor.
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