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17 Ways to Speedup Windows 7

Windows 7 is specially engineered for speed. It is built to be fast. Faster than any of its preceding Windows Operating Systems. While it may be faster than Windows Vista by a good sized margin, many users remain unsatisfied by the speed of Windows 7. Even with a fully updated hardware installation of Windows 7 you could still be longing for more speed. We aim to make your Windows 7 system run faster than you could remember it ever being.

If you are looking for a little extra speed and a performance, please follow through this guide to get Windows 7 to turbo speed! This guide can really get you the performance and speed up to where you want it.

First, you should be aware of the minimum requirements needed to operate on Windows 7:

1.) 1GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)

2.) 16GB of available disk space

3.) 1GB of main memory total

4.) A DVD – R/W drive

5.) Support for DX9 graphics with 128MB of memory

Actually, the DX9 graphics card is not necessity because it is more for appearance features rather than performance features.

Let’s get straight into the guide so you can speed up that Windows 7 computer!

1.  Disable Any Unneeded Visual Effects

  • To begin, right-click on the Computer icon on your Desktop and select “Properties” from the menu that appears
  • Select “Advanced System Settings” from the left pane to view the System Properties Window
  • Click the “Advanced” tab along the top of that window, then click “Settings” listed under “Performance”. Select “Custom:” options from there.
  • In that window uncheck all the options and make sure that only the last 4 options are checked.

– Optionally you could only leave the last choices checked

  • Lastly, log off of your system and log back in for changes to take effect

Turning off the aero effects in Windows 7 is a good start but you get even better results when you turn off many of the other unwanted visual effects.

2.  Turn off the User Account Control (UAC) Feature

  • Open the Control Panel and select “User Accounts and Family Safety” then “User Account”.
  • Select the User Account Control Settings link
  • Simply click-and-drag the slider until it reaches “Never Notify”
  • Click “OK” and restart your computer for changes to take effect

The UAC feature in Windows 7 is found annoying by many users especially those that are daily users of their computer.

3.  Disable Search Indexing Feature

  • Right-click the Computer icon on your Desktop and select “Manage” from the menu that appears
  • Select “Services and Applications” from the Computer Management Window and click “Services”
  • You will then see a list of services available – locate the Windows Search on that screen
  • Right-click “Windows Search” from that list and click “Properties”
  • The Windows Search Properties window will appear
  • Select “Disabled” from the drop-down menu for Startup Type
  • Click “Apply” and “OK”

Now the startup feature for Search Indexing in Windows 7 has been disabled.

The Windows 7 Search Indexing feature was created so that the computer would keep records of the files that have previously been searched so items can be located quicker the next time you search them. This feature is really only useful if search for things very frequently and need them searched as fast as possible on your system after repeatedly requesting a search on that item.

If you only occasionally perform a system search for files, downloads, etc. then the Search Index Feature, especially when selected to run at system startup can eat away at memory and system resources without you even knowing it’s running.

If you would like to disable the Search Indexing Feature all together in Windows 7 you can by setting the Search Indexing Service to “Manual”. That is along with following the above steps under Disable Search Indexing Feature.

4.  Disable Unwanted Services

A lot of the features and services offered with Windows 7 operating systems are not necessary for everyday use. There are some; however, that are necessary and not safe to be turned off or disabled. But things like the Print Spooler are only needed when printed a document or picture. This is something that you can safely turn off on a regular basis and then turn on when going to print something. Below are 10 more things in Windows 7 that you can safely disable.

  • Secondary Logon
  • Windows Error Reporting Service
  • Desktop Window Session Manager (leave on if you want aero effects)
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
  • Distributing Link Tracking Client
  • Offline Files
  • Diagnostic Policy Service
  • Protected Storage
  • IP Helper
  • Application Experience

Without these always running you can really improve the speed on your Windows 7 system.

5.  Set Up the Ready Boost Service

  • You will need a USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive that is Ready Boost compatible in order to configure the Ready Boost feature.
  • After inserting the  USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive open it by going to Computer and right-click it and select “Ready Boost” from the options
  • Check the “Use this Device” checkbox.
  • You can choose how much space on your  USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive you would like used as RAM

Windows 7 offers the Ready Boost feature so that you can use your  USB/Highspeed Flash/Pendrive as extra RAM. This one step improves the speed and performance by a good margin.

6.  Disable the Sidebar

  • Right-click on the sidebar and click “Properties” from the menu
  • When the Properties window appears uncheck the box that says “Start Sidebar when Windows Starts”

Now the sidebar will not appear when you start your computer or log in to Windows. Disabling this feature will not only make your computer run faster in general but it will get you to a fast startup.

7.  Turn off the Thumbnail Preview Feature

  • Open your Computer and select the “Organize” drop-down menu to select “Folder and Search Options”
  • In the Files and Folders section select the View tab and check the box showing “Always Show Icons, Never Thumbnails”.

Displaying thumbnails of folders rather than icons can take up more space and time than just icons. So turning off the thumbnail preview option saves you both!

8.  Disable the Aero Theme

  • Right-click any space on your Desktop and select “Personalize” from the menu that appears
  • Open the Window Color tab
  • Uncheck the box that says “Enable Transparency” and then select “Open Classic Appearance Properties for More Options”
  • A new window will appear, select a Standard or Basic them from it. (Standard Windows 7 theme is a good choice)

If you are looking for aesthetics rather than performance you can keep the aero user interface. While it obviously adds luster to the appearance of things it also takes up a lot of space on the graphics and video cards. You can check this out yourself by viewing its memory consumption when aero theme is both on and off to see the difference.

9.  Disable Aero Peek and Aero Snap

  • Go to your Control Panel of Windows 7 and double-click the “Ease of Access Center” icon.
  • Select “Make It Easier to Focus on Tasks” listed near the bottom
  • Uncheck the box that says “Prevent Windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen”
  • Right-click on the Windows 7 taskbar and click “Properties” from the menu that appears
  • Lastly, uncheck the box that says “User Aero Peek to Preview the Desktop”

Windows 7 has these new features designed to do things you already did in XP and Vista just in new ways. Aero Snap allows you to Maximize, Minimize and Resize your windows simply by dragging-and-dropping at screen corners.

Aero Peek is pretty much the same as the “Show Desktop” icon from Windows XP and Windows Vista. It hides all of your windows to show a clean desktop and icons.

10.  Disable Password Protection

Users that set up passwords to access their account in Windows 7 spend a few seconds every time they start up or log in to enter that password. If you are the only person who uses your computer my opinion is that you don’t really need this feature. I opt for getting on my account quickly. When I previously had a password set and someone wanted on my computer I would just give out the password anyway so it was completely useless and took extra time to log in every day.

11.  Disable Unwanted Startup Items

  • Open the Windows button and type “msconfig” in the Run option of the start menu and press Enter
  • This opens the System Configuration Utility window
  • Select the Startup tab and uncheck all items that you do not need to run automatically when the computer starts up

This can drastically improve startup time and even running time if you have had a lot of things running when your computer starts. This often happens automatically when several things have been downloaded and installed onto your computer.

12.  Change your Power Plan to Maximum Performance

  • Open your Control Panel and double-click the “Power Options” icon
  • Scroll down to see the Show Additional Plans option and select “High Performance” power plan to activate it.
  • Further tweaking can be done to this by selecting the Advanced Settings

13.  Turn off Unwanted Windows 7 Features

  • Open your Control Panel and select “Programs and Features”
  • Select the “Turn Windows features On or Off” from the left panel
  • Uncheck all of the features that you do not use
  • Restart your computer for the changes to take effect

There are several features that Windows 7 offers that many users don’t need or use often so by disabling them you are making more room for running time on things you do use frequently.

14.  Disable the Screen Saver and Wallpaper

  • Right-click any blank space on your Desktop and select “Personalize” from the menu that appears
  • Select the Screen Saver link
  • From the Screen Saver drop-down menu select “None” then select “Apply” then “OK”
  • Next click “Desktop Background”
  • From the Location drop-down menu select “Solid Colors” pick a color and click “OK”

It takes up memory to display wallpaper and screen savers and more memory means faster computer.

15.  Disable Unwanted System Sounds

  • Open the Start Menu and type “mmsys.cpl” in the Run option
  • Locate the Sounds tab
  • Under “Sound Schemes” then choose “No Sounds”, click “Apply”, click “OK”
  • Optionally, you can keep some of your favorite sounds turned on and select which sounds to disable, but keep in mind that sounds played during startup, shutdown, logon, etc. take away from performance that could be utilized better elsewhere

16.  Tweak your Registry

We have a couple of articles in our PC 911 blog that have a lot of information on how you can tweak your registry to improve the speed of your computer!

17.  Software to help Speed Up Windows 7

There are several software programs out there that you can use to maintain a nice, healthy system. Programs that update your hardware, programs that clear bugs, programs that clean registries and programs that remove potentially harmful information against you. Some of my favorites are listed below.

Performing all of these tasks will get your Windows 7 computer running noticeably quicker! Feel free to share more tips to speed up your system in the comments below!

7 solutions for common PC problems

You know the kind I’m talking about: they’re not life threatening to your PC, but at the same time they are infuriating in that they are a constant source of bother and wasted time, leading you to loss of focus, lost productivity and a generally sour frame of mind. Here are seven ways to make your computing life ever so much easier, and they’re easy fixes as well!

The Dang Things Starts Up SO Slow! – I’m sure you’ve experienced this one, if you owned a computer for any length of time. You’re sitting there, and sitting there, and sitting there, and finally it crawls open, all the while leaving you wondering about the magic of computers! More than likely the problem lies in the amount of programs demanding access at the moment you start up Many times when you’ve downloaded new software or computer programs, they automatically are set to open at the startup of your PC.

You can restore your computer to a totally like new state but keep all your programs and information on it just like it is with Reimage Software. We highly recommend you try it out. You have not downloaded anything like it before, we promise. You will be able to tell instantly as you watch it work that this is the most technologically advanced repair software ever. If you have ever used a registry cleaner and wondered if it really helped you really need to try this out!

In fact there are also a bunch of programs that your computer wants to open that aren’t really necessary. You can delete and limit the number of these resource hogging programs and get your startup much more vibrant by clicking Start, Run and type in msconfig, and this will display all the programs that are set to open at startup. You can then uncheck the ones you don’t want.

Make sure you do this one by one with a notepad nearby, as many of these programs are necessary to run your computer, and if you make a boo boo you’ll be able to go back and recheck it.

You Don’t Like The View – You sit at your computer for hours, and there’s just something about the way it looks. Not a problem; we can change this! Start by right-clicking on the desktop, then click Properties in XP, or Personalize in Vista, and then Settings, and you’ll be presented with many ways in which you can change the screen properties. I mean, if you have to look at it all day you may as well like what you’re looking at.

Your Printer Has Gone Haywire – It just won’t stop printing out either old print jobs or ones that were not cleared from the queue. First try turning off the printer and see if this doesn’t do the trick, and if that doesn’t work, go to your printers menu in the Start menu and delete anything you see let there, assuming of course you no longer want it to print. If this doesn’t solve your problem, then you may be forced to download and reinstall drivers for your particular printer.

My Videos Are Now Mute Or Invisible – If the videos are now playing without sound or even worse, without picture or both, then it may well be that the codecs are out of date. There are several places where you can get free updates. DO a search for K-Lite Codec Pack for a nice easy fix. Also, before you go to that length, check and see that you didn’t accidentally hit your keyboard’s mute button! (Speaking from experience!)

You Accidentally Broke A Key Off Your Keyboard – Okay, I won’t ask how this happened, or just what you were so angry at that you slammed your fist down onto it, but you need to know this can be an easy fix. If you happen to have an old keyboard lying around, it’s possible to salvage a good key with an intact key mechanism that you can swap out for the damaged one.

If you are unsure how to do this, do a search for “keycap replacement”, and you should find some good help. It’s fairly simple. If the entire keyboard needs replacing, you’re still in luck: keyboards are some of the cheapest things to replace on your PC. If it’s your laptop that needs a new keyboard, try eBay for good replacement keyboards for laptops, and search out instructions for this as well.

Your Wi-Fi is Now Slow-Fi – Another trial of your so far interminable patience, assuming that you are not a victim of a general network outage, you more than likely have come up against some rather stiff interference. Sometimes your phones router, (If you have one installed , as I do) can be the culprit, sending confusion into your otherwise well designed network. (As it did mine!) Make sure you have the connections in the proper order, as per manufacturers instructions, and you should have no further problem.

Interference can also come from the likes of a microwave oven, cordless phone, or many other types of electronic devices. You may end up having to change the channel to one less populated on your router by taking a peek into your routers config page, and try another channel, most commonly either channel 1, 6, or 11.

You Keep Getting Messages About Your Memory – And no, I’m not talking about YOUR memory, as that is beyond the scope of this article. However the memory on your machine is something you can take steps to improve. If you find yourself constantly getting system messages regarding your system’s memory capacity, or your computer is unusually slow, you may want to look into this. It may be a bad section of RAM, or you may simply need more. Run a memory test; there are several free ones available, and see if boosting your memory might not clear things up and speed it along quite nicely.

While most of these annoying problems won’t necessarily sink your ship, they are a bothersome interference in your computing experience, and you don’t have to put up with them. This list is by no means comprehensive, and you may have demons of your own that bug you to no end, and you have my sympathy. (I find new ones everyday!) These fixes, along with sound general maintenance should keep you from tearing out your hair every time you sit down to use your computer!

Optimizing Windows Vista Process and Resource Handling

Windows Vista by default installs services and configures several applications which may not suite your needs. If you are a home user rather than in a business environment there are many things you can change to give your computer that little extra oomph for applications and process you use.

I have put together a few items which when set correctly can help you control how resources are used on your system. Some of these items listed will simply uninstall certain features or change a program configuration.

Others listed can be used to actually designate what resources are dedicate to individual programs. If used properly this can make specific programs operate faster and more efficiently.

You may or may not wish to implement some or all of these changes as it will be a matter of preference. Please remember you should document any changes made to your system. This well help you reverse any changes made if for any reason you experience adverse effects.

Uninstalling remote differential compression

The remote differential compression feature is designed to streamline file transfers to and from remote directories by keeping track of file changes and only transferring the changed information.

To disable this feature:

Go to “start/control panel/programs/uninstall a program”.

On the sidebar select “turn windows features on and off”.

Uncheck “remote differential compression” and select “ok.”

Designating which CPU (if using multiple processors) runs a specific process

Windows Vista allows you the ability to assign an application to run only on a specific CPU. This is called processor affinity. This is a good way of balancing the load on a multi-core CPU.

Assigning processor affinity to an application:

Launch the desired application.

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and choose the “task manager”.

In the “applications” tab locate the desired program and right click it. Choose “go to process”.

This will bring you to the “processes” tab with the process used by the application application highlighted. Right click the process and select “set affinity”.

The processor affinity window will open. Using the check box select which processor(s) you want to run that application.

Note: All settings will reset to default when a restart of the computer is performed.

Assigning priority to an application

All recent Microsoft operating systems have contained the concept of priority, meaning in this case, which process gets the most attention from the CPU. In Vista, you can customize these priority settings so that your hardware is concentrating most on what you want it to.

Vista has a range of available settings ranging from “low” to “real time”.

Note: Any full screen application automatically is assigned high priority by Windows Vista.The best way to optimize such applications is to tweak the commonly used windowed applications.

Assigning a custom priority to an application:

Launch the desired application.

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and choose the “task manager”.

In the “applications” tab locate the desired program and right click it. Choose “go to process”.

This will open the “processes” tab with the process highlighted.

Right click the process and choose “set priority”. The priority list will openand you may designate your desired level.

Note: that choosing “realtime” is not wise as this will designate all processing being alloted to this one specific process. All settings will be reset to default when you restart the computer.

Configuring Windows Defender

Windows Defender by default runs a scan daily. Even though this scan runs in the background it can impact system performance. You may wish to disable the automatic scanning and perform only occasional manual system scans.

Disable Windows Defender automated scans:

Open the “start” menu and in the search field type “defender.”

select the “tools” icon at the top of the window and then “options”.

Uncheck “automatically scan my computer” and select “save”.

This will be the first in a line of articles dedicated to improving performance on Windows Vista. If you have a suggestion of your own that you have implemented and you feel may be beneficial to others please comment on this article. We would be happy to include any viable tips in our next article.

PC VS Mac

According to some recent benchmarks the Mac hardware out performs PC based systems when running Windows. Consider they use almost identical hardware it makes you wonder why this is.

Well for starters the Mac does not have the x86 memory limitations. In a Mac when you have 2gigs of memory that is exactly what it sees; whereas a PC has the 640k limit in which it must break up the 2gigs worth of memory. Thats not to say Mac’s dont have their issues with memory.

The main benefit I believe comes from a standard hardware set. If you have a set type of hardware then you can test that hardware for a more efficient design of the overall computer. Unfortunately with the typical PC based OEM system hardware is not picked by best performance, but rather the lowest bidder. This is where you can run into trouble. I know I have experienced issues with PC based systems having compatibility issues between hardware devices.

PC based systems might reap the benefits of atleast somewhat standardizing the equipment (atleast between models), and before you say it; yes I understand the impact it would have on the hardware industry, but maybe performance is atleast one cause for the increase in market share that Apple is enjoying.

Botnets

Spammers and hackers today are very sophisticated when it comes to covering their tracks. Instead of sending spam or using their own computers to attack an orginization or individual they now employee Botnets.

A Botnet is a collection of computers (that have been hacked and taken over) which a remote user can use to execute operations such as spam, DOS attacks and other types of mailicious activities.

To quote another article I recently read: “Joe St. Sauver, manager of security programs at the Internet2 networking consortium and the University of Oregon, said there are 5 million to 5.5 million botnets in active rotation at any time.”

Article: Botnets Running Rampant Neal Weinberg, Network World care of PC World

The best way to help prevent this from occuring for an end user is to keep your operating system up to date; Always have an updated virus software running (with a scheduled scan enabled weekly); Employee a good firewall.

I understand many of the computers that are part of Botnets are generally not an end user machines, but rather machines hosted in a public environment such as libraries, campuses and other public domains. Is there no IT staff available to monitor these networks?

Generally speaking the case is that the IT department is so understaffed, overworked, and under budgeted they simply don’t have the time or the money to implement the proper equipment which can detect and prevent this from occuring. That is if they have an IT department at all.

Look…We all know how to prevent most of this from occuring. I am by no means saying it will ever stop, because anything that can be secured can be hacked (it’s all a matter of time), but lets atleast try to secure our own computers.

If you would like more information on how you can secure your computer please follow this link to a previous article over best security practices I previously wrote. I hope it helps.

Is Microsoft Giving up on Vista?

 The buzz here lately around the tech shop deals with whether in fact Microsoft is giving up on Windows Vista and all it’s problems.

No definite answer has been given, but as Reuters reports Bill Gates was touting Windows 7 which he stated is slated for release in the next year or so.

As with my earlier blogs we already know according to reports that Windows xp sp1 and sp2 out perform Windows Vista in a side by side comparison. Not to mention how users feel about all of the headaches…I mean changes such as the User Account Control.

The only thing I would like to know is how Microsoft is going to compensate the million or so users that have sunk two to four hundred dollars into an operating system that may end of life before it ever got going?

No wait! That isn’t the only question I have. What about all us admins and technicians that have sunk thousands of dollars into Microsoft’s training and MSITPRO certification for Vista? This will undoubtedly be very frustrating if we receive the typical Microsoft response.

No wonder Microsoft is losing market share to Linux and Apple…I know I’m not going to stand for being treated like that. Not only as a customer but as an admin and technician.

Hmmm! Maybe I will just get my Mac certification rather then spending thousands of my hard earned money on Microsoft products and training just to have them decide they made a mistake.

Despite all my ranting you can bet my ear will be to the ground on this one. Lets see how it plays out.

Windows Vista Sp1 Released

You may or may not have read my previous article over Vista sp1, but as a quick refresher I will outline a few entries.

The below portion is pulled from my previous post on the Sp1 subject. I just wanted to keep this information fresh in your mind if you are thinking of downloading Sp1 before other people have had a chance to feel the pinch (Beta testing). 

The word on the street (and in other articles) is the fact that Windows xp is faster at more operations than Vista sp1. According to Principled Technologies Inc. (Whom performed the testing at the request of Microsoft) Windows xp is faster than Vista sp1 at 61% of the operations grouped in a consumer test suite and in 46% of the operations in the business-oriented in a head-to-head competition on duplicate computers.

Aside from the performance factors another issue to consider is Microsofts’ service pack track record. Once again any admins will understand where I am coming from. It is not often Microsoft puts an extensive service pack out that doesn’t cuase issues with compatability.

Let it ride for a while! What I mean is you should allow others to install it first: then watch the forums for issues that have been discovered by other people after implementing Sp1. I can gurantee you feel a whole lot better knowing you weren’t effected. I’m not saying that you should never install Sp1, I am just saying you should wait a while. As with many service packs and patches provided by Microsoft they are there to plug holes that intruders may use to gain access to your computer.

If I could I would wait, unfortunately I have to endure the pain to find out if there are any compatability issues that need to be reported to clients. Thank goodness for my test bed of computers.

Microsoft Security Hole In Windows Vista and XP

Microsoft is currently addressing newly discovered holes in the security of their Vista and xp operating systems. Most importantly a security vulnerability in Windows Vista and XP that could expose a computer to an early-season bite while you are connected to the Internet.

How it works is a hacker can broadcast rogue TCP/IP packets to any range of IP addresses. The rogue packets have the ability to circumvent Windows’ security and hijack a computer turning that computer into part of a Bot net. Bot nets are designed for spamming as well as launching self replicating worms and even worse ICMP attacks which can shut down servers.

Currently there have been no attacks using this vulnerability. Microsoft scrambled to make available a patch to secure this hole and it is currently available using the link below. The patch may already be applied to your system if automatic updates are turned on.