I have been able to tune VISTA to use about 360Mb RAM, without sacrificing essential things like networking and automatic updates (your mileage may vary).
Please note that the following instructions are “all care, no responsibility” Ie: the way your PC is operated/configured could mean that the tuning I describe might cause you to lose all your data; make your system less secure; make your hair go grey :-). Make sure you understand what you are doing, and don’t just blindly follow what I say.
The PC I’m using has a “windows experience index” of 1.0
Its a 2Ghz Celeron, with a 40GB HDD, and 480MB RAM… which is good with XP, but not with VISTA.
Immediately after installing VISTA, I noticed that a lot of the usual vista “eye candy” like aero, was already switched off (probably due to the low experience index). If your PC has aero enabled, then by following the instructions below will get a “windows 98” GUI!
Next, I set out to disable parts of VISTA that are annoying, or can slow things down due to memory and cpu usage:
- First and foremost: run windows updates, and make sure you have all the latest updates.
- The “welcome center” that usually starts automatically. Well, it has a tickbox in the lower left hand corner: untick the “run at startup” tickbox.
- Right click on start button -> properties -> classic start menu
- Start the control panel -> switch to classic view -> windows sidebar properties -> untick “start sidebar when windows starts”. If you really want the sidebar: buy more RAM
- Start the control panel -> Administrative tools -> services -> standard tab. Then select view -> customize -> untick “console tree”. Then look down the list of services and double click on the following… setting the startup type as follows:
- Background intelligent transfer service: manual
- Diagnostic Policy Service: disabled
- Distributed link tracking client: disabled
- IP Helper: disabled
- Offline Files: disabled
- ReadyBoost: disabled
- Secondary Logon: disabled
- SSDP discovery: disabled (unless you have SSDP network devices (routers and “media broadcasters”))
- Tablet PC input service: disabled
- Themes: disabled
- WebClient: disabled
- Windows error reporting service: disabled
- Windows image acquisition (WIA): disabled (unless you use a scanner or digital camera with the PC)
- Windows Search: disabled
- Disable system restore (you will no longer be able to wind the clock back if you install some nasty software): control panel -> system -> tasks -> advanced system settings -> system protection -> untick all disks in the “automatic restore points” box.
- While in the system properties window, also do the following:
- Remote tab -> untick “allow remote assistance”
- Advanced tab -> settings -> advanced tab -> virtual memory “change” button -> untick “automatically manage…” -> tick “custom size -> enter initial and maximum to be “1000” -> click “set”.
- Disable User Account Control (UAC). Note that this turns off the annoying “you must authorise this action” popups… your system becomes slightly less secure, and you get a slightly less annoying red shield in the bottom-right taskbar. Start button -> run -> msconfig -> tools -> click “disable user account control” -> click” launch”
- Use a tool like “winpatrol” to disable any other programs that don’t need to run (eg nvidia stuff, soundman.exe, messenger, etc
- Right click the “computer” icon on the desktop -> explore -> right click on your “C:” drive -> properties -> untick “index this drive…” and when prompted about a file “in use” (sometimes after a few minutes), tick the “apply action to all subsequent”, and select “skip”.
- After a system restart, run a disk defragment (start -> programs -> accessories -> system tools)
Tuning Internet Explorer 7:
- Right click on a blank part of the “toolbar”… eg: slightly to the left of the home icon. From the dropdown menu, make sure “Menu Bar” is ticked
- Tools -> internet options -> Advanced ->
- Untick “enable page transitions”
- Tick “Use inline autocomplete”
- untick “use smooth scrolling”
- Disable phishing filter (only do this if you know you won’t be a victim of phishing)
Note that I leave windows defender running, and I also install antivir, so that the system is not unprotected… If the PC is not on the internet, you can save even more memory by disabling the antivirus, windows defender, and the VISTA firewall.
After all that, restart your PC, and start task manager -> performance -> memory box… and you should see the memory usage at below 500MB (I get 360Mb while running a few applications, and 280Mb with nothing else running).
How fast is VISTA in this situation: Its OK… but it still has the occasional sluggish response when switching windows and opening control panel.