50 Windows XP & Vista Tips & Tricks

Computer Active has compiled a list of 50 tips to improve performance of both XP and Vista.

For most people using a computer means using Windows and over the years Microsoft's operating system has become easier to use.

However, there is always room for improvement, so in this feature we have compiled 50 of the finest tips for Windows XP and Vista. These can help to make Windows even better, easier to use and faster. Most don't even require you to install any extra software, so if you want to make your copy of XP or Vista better, it's possible to get started immediately.

  1. Access My Documents from the Taskbar (XP and Vista)
    Right-click an empty section of the Taskbar and select toolbars, then New Toolbar. Navigate to the My Documents (XP) or Documents (Vista) folder and click the OK or Select Folder button. In its default position to the far right of the Taskbar, the toolbar provides menu access to the entire contents of the folder.
  2. Extra speed with Readyboost (Vista)
    Plugging in a USB memory key is one of the easiest ways to speed up Vista. When the Autoplay menu appears, select 'Speed up my system', or right-click the drive in Computer and select Properties. Move to the Readyboost tab, tick 'Use this device' and use the slider to choose how much space should be given up. Not all USB memory keys are fast enough to provide this boost.
  3. Save folders after a crash (XP)
    If you have lots of folders open in Windows XP, when one of them crashes, they will all close. This can be avoided by using a hidden option. Open the Control Panel, then choose Folder Options. Move to the View tab and scroll down through the list of options until you get to one called 'Launch folder windows in a separate process'. Place a tick next to it, then click OK.
  4. Disable Aero Glass (Vista)
    Vista's Aero Glass transparency effects may look great, but they also drain a computer's processing power. To speed up a struggling computer, right-click the desktop and select Personalize. Click the link 'Window Color and Appearance' at the top of the screen and untick the 'Enable transparency' box before clicking OK.
  5. Save memory (XP)
    When you run programs, Windows XP stores files known as DLLs in memory. When you close the programs, it usually leaves them there for later use but this can slow down the computer. If you are fine editing the Windows Registry, this can be fixed – but make suitable backups first and take great care. Click Start, then Run, type regedit and press Enter.

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"This can be avoided by using a hidden option. Open the Control Panel, then choose Folder Options. Move to the View tab and scroll down through the list of options until you get to one called ‘Launch folder windows in a separate process’."

"Access My Documents from the Taskbar"

"Add Run to Start menu"

Wow I sure am glad someone pointed out the "hidden" options that are plainly laid out in a control panel applet.


"Vista makes it possible to divide a hard disk into two or more partitions that Windows sees as separate disks."

Yep, so did XP and 2000 and 9x/ME allowed this with the FDisk utility. If that's not a hidden new feature of Vista I don't know what is!

Did anyone actually make it to the end of the article?

the tip about UAC is pointless it's there for a reason,turning it off will lower your security,if uac bugs you that much use tweakuac.

Thanks

#48 Copy file location. Nice trick


I would like to add for Vista users that if you hold down shift and right click a folder you will see a command to open the command window in that folder's location

(Doli said @ #10)
Thanks

#48 Copy file location. Nice trick


I would like to add for Vista users that if you hold down shift and right click a folder you will see a command to open the command window in that folder's location

I did not know that. Thank you! That explains why there aren't really any power toys for Vista. They stuck them in as features.

All this steps can work but the best way to speed up windows is to change the color quality from 32 bit to 16 bit.

(Masterp said @ #11)
All this steps can work but the best way to speed up windows is to change the color quality from 32 bit to 16 bit.

If you're using a really old graphics card and don't care about videos, maybe.

What I would like to have is ..... in the right click menu alongside "Copy to Folder" is "Copy to Folders".. or "Move to Folders".

In essence, allowing the OS to copy to multiple folder locations across a single computer or the network. Saving time of having to do it individually.

In addition to Tip #37, you can also give your optical drives a friendly name... (no, doesn't work with right click/properties as the HDDs)

Open Regedit. Navigate to HKEY_Local_MachineSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentversionExplorerDriveIcons

Click on (select) your drive letter.. in the case of the example, my first optical drive is F. You see a key DefaultIcon, now.. right click your drive key (in this case F) select, New, then Key. Name the new key DefaultLabel. Right click the new key (right hand side) go to Modify and name it!

If the DriveIcons key is not there in the registry, it's because you have not used that drive yet. Simply put in a disk.. use it, and restart the computer. (or refresh Explorer).


Give Virtual Memory a fixed size cause the fragmentation and optimization (it's easy to use a fixed size file rather to reallocate and allocate space when needing).

When you run programs, Windows XP stores files known as DLLs in memory. When you close the programs, it usually leaves them there for later use but this can slow down the computer. If you are fine editing the Windows Registry, this can be fixed – but make suitable backups first and take great care.


#1 - These are unloaded after a while
#2 - If the file is re-used it will be re-read from disk, and then this tweak will decrease performance
#3 - I don't see why you need to backup your computer before this
#4 - This is a feature, don't make it sound bad...

''50 completely uselss tips for XP and Vista" - most of the things there are well known common knowledge about MS products that even complete monkeys using Windows for 5mins knew already.

Most of these tweaks are extremely obvious, useless, or misinformed. And I don't know why people advise turning off UAC when you can put it in silent mode which is a much better "tweak"

I saw 3 security lapses in that crappy list. Read it all, but thats all I was able to come away from it with.

I see a few of us are going to have to fix family and friends PCs with some of those suggestions. :disappointed:

(JamieLee2k said @ #19)
Where is tip 25?

That makes 49 if I am correct, Has anyone noticed?

You didn't turn on IE's "show all tricks and tips" option?

(chilliadus said @ #19.1)

You didn't turn on IE's "show all tricks and tips" option?


I don't used crappy IE I use Firefox so don't try and be smart little boy ;P

in order to use 8 gigs of memory you need x64 edition but the specs you say of you dont need that high for vista to run well,at least an 8xxx series geforce card and 2GB min memory and a good dual or even single core(single core may run slowly after a time)a quad aint needed but a dual core is a good idea and sli is not needed a single card should be plenty.

(soldier1st said @ #20.1)
in order to use 8 gigs of memory you need x64 edition but the specs you say of you dont need that high for vista to run well,at least an 8xxx series geforce card and 2GB min memory and a good dual or even single core(single core may run slowly after a time)a quad aint needed but a dual core is a good idea and sli is not needed a single card should be plenty.

You do NOT need an 8- series graphics card to run vista, that's ridiculous. Aero runs fine on newer integrated graphics, and most cards unless they are ancient handle it perfectly fine. I used to run it on an FX5200.

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