Ultimate Performance Tweaks for Windows 7

by / Wednesday, 10 April 2013 / Published in Editorials & Reviews, News & Articles

Being that Windows 8 is already out, and most aren’t quite ready to undertake the overhaul in fear of software/hardware incompatibility, and… we’ll… just the new intimidating GUI Win8 brings to the table, I thought I would take the time to help some users tune their Win7 machines. Mind you, many of these tweaks are transitional with both Vista or even Win8 systems if you happen to be running them.

Windows 7 is already a much more elegant, better performing and responsive operating system than its past predecessors, however there are some tricks, tweaks and changes you can do yourself to speed her up even more. If you were someone who upgraded to Win7 from a somewhat older PC, and feel that your hardware is likely a little bit behind, some of these methods may be a cheaper solution than going out and getting a brand new machine. Through implementing these modifications, you can very much increase your system performance in a very short period of time.

Here we go!

1.) BLOATware!
Navigate yourself over to your Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a program and eliminate anything, such as unused games, programs, and tools that you’ll never need. If your PC is new, or you never cleaned out your program list in the past, you will likely see things from the manufacturer that came preinstalled with the OS such as HP/Toshiba/Acer software for CD/DVD burning, Support Assistants, Picture Viewers/Editors and etc. Many programs will load these processes at boot time, sticking them at a memory-address, and taking up your valuable RAM and CPU cycles. (Try doing this every few months, the list grows mighty quick!)

2.) Index THIS!
If you aren’t someone who is in dire need of searching your computer for files upon files on the daily, search indexing is something you can afford to live without. Right-click on Computer either in the Start menu or on the desktop, select “Manage”. Double-click Services and Applications, then select Services. Locate Windows Search in the list, and double-click. In the dialog, you can choose a Startup type of Disabled.

3.) GO GO Gadgets!-Pause… NAAAT!)
If you don’t fancy the gadget accessory, just scrap it. Windows 7 has already abandoned the actual sidebar of Vista, but they still left the sidebar process running. Some like it, I always end up turning it off since I use Rainmeter. Get rid of it by typing “gadgets” in the start menu search bar, than choose “View list of running gadgets” and select each in turn and click Remove to shut any gadgets you can live without.

4.) Fancy Backgrounds… Oui ou non?
If you aren’t one of those who loves the bragging rights of a sick ass background, using a plain windows background can save you a small chunk of RAM to be allocated. Right click on your desktop, select personalize, followed by Desktop Background at the bottom. Set this to whichever solid color you wish. This isn’t much, but’s every little bit counts if you are short on valuable hardware resources.

5.) Turn off the Aero (Mmmm….Aero)
You can additionally dumb down the visual effects of Windows 7, and save some resources without noticing a real big difference at all. RIght click on Computer, and select Manage. On the left you will select Advanced System Settings, than under performance click on Settings. Uncheck Aero from the list and any other visual effects you can live without.

6.) What to start what to start…
This is a big one, and often helps your system a s**t tonne, especially upon boot up/login. Too many customers I do clean ups and repairs for have far, FAR too much running at boot up. You don’t need Skype, FB Messenger, Steam, OneNote, AIM, and uTorrent starting up automatically on log on! Get rid of the extras and keep to your bare essentials of Windows OS, Antivirus, Sound/Display Driver software and maybe one or two things you need like Dropbox or Rainmeter. Enter “msconfig” in your search bar, and navigate to the “startup” tab. Uncheck all of the unnecessary jazz you do not need from the get go. Again, this problem can cripple your boot times to a slow crawl.

7.) Get up to date!
We all have a bad habit off putting off or “postponing” our windows updates, and sometimes even disabling automatic updates. They are a pain in the ass yes, but ignoring them can only hold your system back from potential performance bumps. Updating your system drivers (chipset, audio, device controllers, OS, etc…) will ensure you get the most from any performance enhancements and bug fixes. I would NOT recommend relying on MS Windows update to find all of your crucial hardware drivers such as Graphics. Stick to manually getting them from your respective hardware manufacturers.

8.) We need more Power Captain!
This method pertains more to mobile computing devices (i.e. laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs), as the power options can change when you are using battery or mains power. Select your battery icon and change your power setting to high performance. This may be disabled on some devices if you are not plugged in. You can also adjust addition options in the “Advanced power plan options.” Upping the power plan will enable the system to run faster clock cycles on some systems, thus more data processing and throughput.

9.) I’m so fresh, I’m so clean
CCleaner, a “superusers” best friend in most circumstances. CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system, and cleans out any orphan files in the registry which were left behind by poor uninstallation programs – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. Its four features — Cleaner, Registry, Tools, and Options — are prominently displayed on the left side of the window. Run this about once a week to keep your file system and registry in tip-top shape.

10.) Use Protection! — Good protection that is
Some may use big slugger programs with all the bells and whistle such as AVG or the notorious Norton, but in all honesty, all you need is good old MSe. Microsoft security essentials is of course going to be your most compatible Anti-Virus with Windows OS because, well, do I really have to explain it? Additionally, it’s light weight, and performs it’s job in efficient succession. If you are hard headed and like something a little different with more tools and options, a next best alternative to this would have to be Avira, and Avast hands down.

11.) What the Frag?
Fragmentation occurs on your hard drive after a file system cannot or will not allocate enough contiguous space to store a complete file as one, but instead puts parts of it in gaps between other files. Defragglercan defragment individual files, groups of files (in a folder) or an entire disk partition, either by the user’s command or automatically on a schedule. Run this about once every few months, and don’t over do it. It can be a time consuming task, and slowly degrades the life of any hard drive if done too often. Do not, I repeat DO NOT run this on any form of Solid State Drive. (SSD)

12.) Das Boost!
I’m a big fan of this method when you are extremely strained on memory, and are often relying on your pagefile to cache your application data. ReadyBoost is designed to help when your PC’s memory is running low. Low memory can make your computer sluggish because Windows, which needs a place to stash data, turns to the hard drive which is natively slow being a mechanical device. Flash memory offers a far speedier alternative. Plug in any USB drive or SD car lying around which is formatted to NTFS, FAT16 and FAT32 and run through the prompt shown. NOTE: You are not going to see any improvement or difference if your rig is already pimped out to the max. This is a speedy alternative to older systems and insufficient RAM.

13.) Juice it 
Overclocking. I am not going to get into this because I don’t need to feel liable when someone fries either their GPU or CPU in the process. This is for very experienced individuals who know their way around a BIOS like the back of their hand. The theory of overclocking is simple. You over volt the CPU, crank up your bus speed or CPU multiplier (depending on the CPU type), with intentions of getting more clock iterations in a shorter amount of time. This is very effective, but dangerous if one doesn’t take cooling, and system stability into account while implementing it. Many computers nowadays come stock with overclock software, which makes it more manageable for rookie users.

AFTER you have tried these quick and simple tricks, try these next few. These will likely cost you some coinage.

14.) Time for some more Car RAMrod
It’s what most would recommend right off the bat… “Just add more Ram!” but you GOTTA do your research first. “What type of memory will my chipset accept?”, “What is my OS bitness?”. Furthermore, making sure that if you are going to mix different manufacturer memory, that it is compatible with one another. If you do more intensive work such as CAD or video editing then added even more than 4GB RAM may be a sensible idea. However it should be noted that simply adding lots of extra memory will NOT continue to improve overall performance, the bottleneck depends on other components (such as your CPU and hard drive). It is a residual downslope.

15.) Solid-State Ermahgerd!?
Mechanical hard drives will be obsolete in the coming years, but for the time being SSDs are quite expensive. If you have the money and a high end system to improve upon, this is an excellent investment. Using a Solid State Drive is going to provide a performance boost in almost all Windows 7 applications, especially when it comes to boot times. SSD’s have no moving parts and therefore are silent and more energy efficient, with the benefit of much faster access times. Boot times + login for my laptop personally have gone from a minute and a half on a 7200RPM Momentus, all the way down to less than 20 seconds on a OCZ Vertex.

After this, the sky is the limit. Upgrade further hardware if you have the money and the know-how, or just throw your hands up in the air and go buy a new rig. On your new rig, try some of these tweaks to get the most out of your experience ;)

Cheers Ladies and Gents!

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One Response to “Ultimate Performance Tweaks for Windows 7”

  1. JayRad11 says : Reply

    EDIT!

    Microsoft Security Essentials is NOT supported by Windows 8!
    My personal preference for Win 8 machines in the Anti-Virus department is “Avast”. The Basic protection plan will suffice just fine for both everyday and advanced users hands down. Should that program not stand up to par for some users, next try “Avira”, and lastly “AVG” if you must. (AVG is slowly improving and becoming more lightweight for lower end systems as opposed to past revisions.)

    Cheers!

    JayRad11

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