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Fixing Windows Vista

Microsoft's most troublesome operating system since Millenium Edition

Most people who have used Windows Vista do not have many positive things to say about its performance. Windows Vista introduced a new-age graphic style to the Windows interface, but it also introduced many problems in a variety of different areas. Windows Vista can be improved, however, as a few of my experiments have shown. After tossing around a few system components and removing a few faulty "features", Windows Vista actually runs well enough to avoid an upgrade or downgrade. Startup time will always be a problem, but it can be reduced by installing as few programs as you can, keeping your system registry clean.

The first thing you should do to improve your system performance is to upgrade to Service Pack 2. Shown in the shot above is the description on Microsoft's website. This update fixes many internal problems and removes many of the User Access Control (UAC) pop-ups asking for permission. Install this update first, because if done last, the update could reset the fixes we will be performing next.
New in Vista was a cool looking feature known as the sidebar. However, this application drags your system into the dirt on startup. Following the instructions below you should disable your sidebar for a faster desktop experience. Right click on the sidebar, and select Options. On the check box labeled "Start sidebar with Windows", make sure it is not ticked. You can manually close it now after clicking OK if you do not want to wait for a restart.
Another big problem with Vista is the applications that were distributed by your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). The first thing to remove is any copy of Norton Antivirus or McAffee. These suites do more harm than good for your computer and with Vista they create a very slow productivity and internet experience. After removing such suites, consider our recommended anti-virus suite, Avast!. Next, remove any unneeded OEM notification software, such as HP Network Assistant. These programs generate useless messages and alerts while hogging system resources. Any application that you do not use is worth uninstalling as soon as possible. A computer with more applications will usually run slower, especially when those apps deal with the registry or automatic update services.
In the system manager (Right click on Computer and select Manage, then select the services tab) you can access system services. You should locate updating services that you don't need. This may include Firefox Update Service, Java Update, Adobe Update, even Apple Update. There is no reason we need those processes running in the background all of the time. Such processes can be initiated manually when they actually become necessary. Right click on those services, select properties, and change the slide-menu to Disabled (as demonstrated above with Superfetch). Do this same procedure for anything else you see in the list that you are not planning to use or need.
Next is a simple, yet effective method of improving performance. Windows Aero is the service on your machine that runs those sleek transparent windows. Sadly, if your graphics card isn't higher-end, this can slow down your desktop performance quite a bit. By changing your settings to the above (Found in 'Personalize -> Window Color') your performance should improve. This last step is a simple yet very important change for most users. That is, the internet browser. Users spend the majority of their time using their system to browse the World Wide Web, so shouldn't that be the PC's top performing area? Sadly Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and 9 do not meet the requirements of a legitimately good working browser under the specifications of any tech-guy you will ever talk to. A possible improvement? Install an alternative such as Firefox, Chrome, or Opera.

You will immediately see improvements in your browsing experience.

Restart your Vista machine after making these changes, and your experience will climb higher than you have seen it in a while. While Vista still takes a long time to start, with these changes you can avoid paying for unnecessary upgrades or fees from the local repair depot.
Written By: Erik W. Greif
Published: 04/10/2012 18:55PST
Modified: 05/07/2014 06:46PST
Article Title: Fixing Windows Vista
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Website Title: Bit Fracture Online
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Media Type: Blog Post/Technical Article
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