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Black Viper’s Top 8 tweaks for a faster (and less annoying) Windows 7 PC

The following is what I do directly after a clean install of Windows 7. This does not mean that everything I do will work
for you. Keeping that in mind, ensure you are fully aware of the risks of tweaking your system before doing so. Several of my performance tweaks "reduce" the default functionality of Windows and removes some built in security features. If security is a top priority for you or you are a new user to W7, refrain from disabling any functionality noted as a security feature.

Point to note: Ensure that you are logged in as an "Administrator" or have Administrator rights before performing any of these
steps.

Even though I perform these steps directly after a clean install, all of them can be done at any time.

Quick Links:

Number One: User Account Control 
Number Two: System Restore and Windows Search Features 
Number Three: Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop 
Number Four: Aero (Themes) 
Number Five: Updated Drivers 
Number Six: Lighten System Tray (Action Center) 
Number Seven: Add/Remove Programs 
Number Eight: Services 

Number One: User Account Control

User Account Control or UAC is a feature in Windows 7 that asks for permission to do system software tasks and also run programs. Unfortunately, this security feature can become annoying at times. Much less so then it was with Vista’s default configuration, but it can be difficult to deal with as well as confuse users with dialog popups that are requesting a "password" to perform actions, but never actually ask for that password (if already logged in as an administrator). I cannot predict the future of your system or what kind of security vulnerabilities will be used to attack systems, and as such, you need to decide for yourself if you desire to keep UAC active, but if you wish to disable it, here is how I do it:

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select Change User Account Control settings under Action Center header
  5. Select the Continue button (if UAC is active)
  6. Select the slider on the left and drag it down to "Never notify"
  7. Select the Ok button to close the panel
  8. Select the Yes button (since UAC is still active) to continue modification of the settings
  9. Close the remaining open windows

Changing UAC back is as easy as steps 1 through 5 and putting the slider where you desire. Higher is "more secure".

With all of that said, I recommend the default levels for most anyone, but if you make system changes (denoted by a UAC shield on the button) often, you may choose to make it go away.

You will have to reboot for the setting to take effect.

Number Two: System Restore and Windows Search (Indexing) Features

If you are experiencing "random" slowdowns and "high" CPU usage for no reason, these two features are the most likely cause of the problem. These features are also a major cause of "missing" disk space. System Restore could be taking up to 15% of your hard drive space, just on its own. On a 200GB hard drive, that is 30GB! My laptop defaulted to 2% @ 766MB with 455MB actively being used on a non-tweaked (and not really used much) system. Clearing those backups reduced the usage to zero, though (more about the Delete button below).

System Restore creates system snap shots or "restore points"
for returning to at a later time. Every time you install a program or new driver, plus on a schedule, this service creates
a restore point to roll back to if a problem occurs. This is the first thing that I get rid of on a clean installation. If you use this and enjoy it, good for you. I never
will. I feel it is faster and less hassle to just install clean. If you do not use System Restore, I highly recommend you back up your important files using, for example, a CD/DVD burner or an external USB 2.0 hard drive. A rather good (and possibly the only) reason to use this "feature" is to roll back your OS after installing an unknown program or testing software. For example: BETA software
of any kind or before installing a Service Pack . NOTE: If you disable this feature,
your previous "restore points" will be deleted. If, for what ever reason, you do not want this to happen, do not
disable this service. This also creates and manages multiple versions of files that we can delete later. Yet another feature that I do not have a use for as I ensure many versions are backed up often elsewhere on the system. I have never needed to "roll back" a document, so the feature is not worth the effort for me. You may want to keep System Restore until after you mess with Number Eight (below). Your choice.

The Windows Search  Service (or the not installed by default Indexing Service ), by default, the service searches the start menu and the user account directory (C:/Users/<account>/) to assist in finding information faster. However, with the tasks that I personally do, I rarely, use the Windows Search  feature. The indexing feature has improved, though, as it is much more sensitive to an active user and will reduce the resources used while a person is actively using the system.

Get rid of System Restore and file versioning. Where do you find it?

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select System
  5. Select System Protection (on the left side)
  6. Select the Continue button (if UAC is active)
  7. Select System Protection Tab (should be there already)
  8. Select a hard drive listed under "Protection" that has "On" in the column
  9. Select the Configure button
  10. Select the "Turn off system protection" radio button
  11. Drag the "Max Usage" slider all the way to the left to 1%
  12. Select the Delete button if you wish to get rid of the current backups (not a wise idea if you are wanting to keep System Restore active)
  13. Select the Ok button to apply the settings (you may get several warning dialogs that you have too little space allocated or that you are deleting old restore points.

You can now disable the Windows Search  Feature:

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select Programs
  4. Select under Programs and Features "Turn Windows Features on or off"
  5. Scroll down to Windows Search and uncheck it
  6. Select the Ok button to close the panel

Number Three: Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop

Remove Remote Assistance and ensure Remote Desktop is disabled.

Take Note: Remote Desktop is not available on Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic or Home Premium, so the option will not be there.

Where do you find it?

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select System
  5. Select Remote settings (on the left side)
  6. Select the Continue button (if UAC is active)
  7. Uncheck "Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer " option
  8. Ensure "Don’t allow connections to this computer" option is checked
  9. Select the Ok button to apply the settings

Number Four: Aero (Themes)

Reduce the overhead associated with Windows 7 new Theme. As a side note, the new Aero is a big reason to upgrade to Windows 7 and I really enjoy the new look. However, if you are using an older system that does not meet the recommended requirements to run the Aero Glass engine or have a system that does not have Windows 7 certified driver support, disable the themes to make it look like Windows 2000/XP (with its new theme disabled) and save the memory.

Also, in order to get back Aero Themes selection (after performing these steps, they will be grayed out of selection), you will have to reverse (enable) the features and reboot.

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select Appearance and Personalization
  4. Select Personalization
  5. Select Theme
  6. Under Basic and High Contrast Themes, select "Windows Classic"

Fine tune visual performance options:

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select System
  5. Select Advanced system settings (on the left side)
  6. select Advanced tab
  7. Select Settings button under Performance
  8. Select "Adjust for best performance."
  9. Select the Ok button

In order to shrink up the task bar to be only "one line", you will need to check another box located here:

  1. Right click the taskbar where there is nothing at
  2. Select Properties
  3. Taskbar tab
  4. Check "Use small icons"

After that, Disable and Stop the Themes  service.

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select Administrative Tools
  5. Select Services
  6. Select "Themes" service (Double Click)
  7. Select General Tab
  8. In the Startup type: select "Disabled"
  9. In the Service status area: select "Stop"
  10. Select the Ok button to close the panel

You may also want to disable the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager  Service

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select Administrative Tools
  5. Select Services
  6. Select "Desktop Window Manager Session Manager" service (Double Click)
  7. Select General Tab
  8. In the Startup type: select "Disabled"
  9. In the Service status area: select "Stop"
  10. Select the Ok button to close the panel

Rebooting is not required as each action performed above is applied at the time it is finished.

Number Five: Updated Drivers

Download and install all updated drivers from the hardware manufacture sites.
I cannot tell you what site you need to go to for your system components as I have no idea what is installed in your system, but do your computer a favor and get updated drivers for everything. Contact your PC builder or each manufacture for each item installed in your system.

As with every Windows release in the past, updated drivers fix bugs and also usually increase performance from the default OS drivers installed.

Usually, after the installation of each driver, you must reboot. If the driver installation program does not ask you to reboot, I still recommend to do so.

Number Six: Lighten System Tray (Action Center)

After updating all my drivers, I remove any excess icons (most of them, basically) from the system tray (lower right) and
check the services (Number Eight: Services ) to ensure nothing else was installed (like NVIDIA’s "driver helper" ). Contrary to popular belief, those little "quick access" icons take up a lot of room and increase boot time.

Unfortunately, the Action Center is tough to get rid of and the "up arrow" can hide some of those icons. We can fix that.

  1. Click the "up arrow" in the system tray
  2. Select Customize…
  3. Check "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar"
  4. Select "Turn system icons on or off"
  5. Turn off the icons you do not wish to use by pulling down the menu selection under Behaviors.

I leave Clock and Network on (personal preference) but get rid of Volume, Power (laptop) and Action Center (it annoys me).

If you choose to disable the Action Center system tray notification, you can always view what "would" be there by:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select Action Center

Using this method, I can check Action Center messages and not be nagged by those "balloon" pop-ups when I am trying to get stuff done. Your call.

Number Seven: Add/Remove Programs

Uninstall Windows 7 features that are unused. You can always put them back on later:

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select Programs
  4. Select Programs and Features
  5. Select Turn Windows features on or off (on the left side)
  6. Select the Continue button (if UAC is active)
  7. Check or Uncheck needed/unneeded Windows features (such as Tablet PC Components or Windows Gadget Platform)
  8. Select the Ok button

Number Eight: Services

Adjust for any additional unneeded services. Windows 7 Services Configurations  have my recommended settings for all services and all versions as well as individual links to help you determine which services you can safely disable.

With the default Category Control Panel:

  1. Head to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Security
  4. Select Administrative Tools
  5. Select Services
  6. Select a service to adjust by double-clicking
  7. In the General tab, Startup type section, select Automatic (Delayed Start), Automatic, Manual or Disabled.

If you like, you can also do: Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> Run –> type in services.msc –> Select OK.

After configuring all services that you desire to change, reboot to see the effects of your tweaking.

Note: Do not use msconfig to stop services. It basically is "disabling" a service. Use the above procedure
and set to "manual" instead for testing purposes.

If you have not already, reboot now.
If you have rebooted, do it again.

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2014/03/12 16:33 2014/03/12 16:33

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2014/02/17 02:41 2014/02/17 02:41
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