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.
Create a system-repair disc
Works in: 7
Stop - before you do one more thing with your PC, dig out the box it came in. Do you see a Windows 7 disc or a system-recovery disc?
They're less common these days, so chances are it falls to you to create your own. And it's vital that you do, because if your system ever becomes unbootable, a recovery CD or DVD might be your only recourse.
Thankfully, Windows 7 makes the task exceedingly easy. Just pop in a blank, recordable CD or DVD (you'll need a burner, of course), click Start, type repair, and choose Create a System Repair Disc. Follow the instructions from there, remembering to label the disc when you're done.
If you ever run into trouble, boot your system with the repair disc. It includes a variety of recovery and diagnostic tools, and also lets you choose a System Restore point to help get your PC back to a previous, working state.
Make this disc now. If you wait until after you encounter a problem, it's too late.
Expert Tip: Tweak the UAC
Works in: 7
You remember User Account Control, right? Incessant annoyance? Symbol of everything that was wrong with Vista? Yep, that UAC.
It's back in Windows 7, and its heart remains in the right place: it's still meant to protect you from running dangerous software or making unauthorised changes to your system - you know, of the malware, identity-stealing variety.
Of course, it can still be annoying, too. Fortunately Microsoft now gives you control over when and why UAC issues warnings.
To tweak the settings, click Start, type account, and select Change User Account Control settings. You'll see a slider with four notification levels.
By default, UAC is now a little less intrusive than it was in Vista, notifying you only when programs try to make changes and not when you make changes to Windows.
Want UAC to take a hike altogether? Drop the slider down to Never notify.
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