Want to make Windows 8 feel faster? Shut-off these animations

Microsoft's Windows 8 comes with many performance improvements over that of Windows 7 but it also includes animations that polish up the UI. If you can live without these animations, by turning them off, you can make the OS feel a bit snappier. 

Sure, it's mostly a placebo effect seeing that the animations are only there to make transitions a bit smoother, but if you watch the video, you can see how by turning them off, the OS appears to be faster.

In the video you can see the animations that are being shut-off from the settings window at the top of this post including "Animate Windows when minimizing and maximizing" and "Animations in the taskbar". Your results will vary based on the specs of your machine and especially those of you with slower hardware, turning these options off should help improve your performance just a bit.

Windows 8 is now a bit over two years old, it was released to manufacturers in August of 2012, and it looks like its successor is right around the corner with Windows Threshold expected to be announced at the end of next month. While we don't know what or if anything Microsoft has done to improve performance under the hood, we would expect that Threshold should be on par or best the performance of Windows 8.

The video posted above was created by Warwagon and was first posted in our forums which you can check out here.

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How is presenting a screen implemented in windows xp considered news?

This is pretty much like finding an old sandwich behind the fridge and serving it on a plate.

The same useless advice was given when windows xp was first introduced, and you know what? It's about as useful now as it was then. Because that snappiness is so noticeable that nobody would bother getting it back after the first re install.

How much time does this actually save? Surely there is much better things to worry about than how quick a digital display a closing/opening window.

Is this what they call a First world problem?

Since the august update, disabling "Animate Windows when minimizing and maximizing" will make the taskbar on de welcome screen stay on top. Re-enabling is fixing this bug. So...

I'd rather reduce the animation time than turn it off completely.

Anyone know how to fine tune the animation durations?

Also...it's pretty fast on my PC. Especially after the 8.1 update.

Should probably change the article title to "speed up Windows 8" instead of talking about it "feeling" faster... because this takes less CPU cycles.

JMOP, but this article is barely worthy for a tips and tricks section of a forum. Hardly front page material.

Actually the animations are handled by the GPU on supported hardware (which should include most cards after 2006)

I like these animation on windows so I cannot turn them off. With 6gigabyte of ram my system is capable of handling these basic things.

This is what i do on all installations . It makes it run faster and lags less.

If you ask me i would disable the whole "metro" crap if i had the option to.

Oh thank god! I needed to save myself 0.00002 seconds a week.

You can bet your bottom dollar that if MS finally replaced all the desktop icons with new ones, someone would complain and come up with a "Fix" to restore the old ones.

I wish I could disable the window open/close animations without disabling the minimize animations. I like the minimize animation, it's useful, but the window fades, yeah, I'd very much prefer if the window just appeared.

I don't know why people have a problem understanding this.

It doesn't just feel faster... it IS faster.

Animations draw a bunch of frames between the off state and the on state. Yeah it's pretty quick... but there are still extra frames between the opening and closing of a window, dialog box, etc.

Without animations... they pop up INSTANTLY from off to on.

It's really not that hard to comprehend :)

Sure it's not the most interesting thing in the world... but there is definitely a difference with animations and without.

I know, you wouldn't think it wouldn't be that hard to understand. When I made the video I thought, look, it's cut and dry, but apparently it's hard for some people to grasp :)

The animation and fades are literally the VERY First thing to get turned off. On a new install of Windows. With them turned on the UI just feels sluggish.

Edited by warwagon, Aug 24 2014, 4:41am :

It is rather funny seeing most of the users here do not understand that disabling animations has absolutely zero to do with hardware and in fact DOES speed up opening and closing applications, windows and the like.

I also do this to OS X and Android, disabling useless animations that sacrifice speed for eye candy.

Functionality>Form

Sonne said,
It is rather funny seeing most of the users here do not understand that disabling animations has absolutely zero to do with hardware and in fact DOES speed up opening and closing applications, windows and the like.

I also do this to OS X and Android, disabling useless animations that sacrifice speed for eye candy.

Functionality>Form

Exactly!

Why would I want to be shown a window being minimized or maximized?

Why not just do it?

People seem to not understand the difference between system performance and the act of waiting for an animation to finish.

Will Intel HD Graphics 6000 handle 'adjust for best appearance'? I've never dared put it on that setting.

You can achieve same snappiness with the animations enabled!
Regedit > HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop > change value of MenuShowDelay from 400 to 20 or less.

Voilá, best of both worlds!

No problem! I just wish more people would know about this.

Another recommended "regediting": HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Desktop > Mouse > MouseHoverTime from 400 to 20 (400 ms to 20 ms).
This changes the delay between showing something while hovering with the mouse. Default setting means that the system waits 400 ms before showing e.g. taskbar thumbnails. Big difference here between 400 and 20! Try it, if you don't like it then adjust the value to your liking.

abecedarian paradoxious said,

Then you can have your snake oil and drink it too.

Have you ever tried that stuff?? :/

hagjohn said,
Stop buying crap computers and you won't have to do these placebo things.

Have you thought that even with the fastest computer, the animation is acting like a nocebo ?

hagjohn said,
Stop buying crap computers and you won't have to do these placebo things.

You could have the worlds fastest computer and those animation and fades are not going to go any faster.

warwagon said,

You could have the worlds fastest computer and those animation and fades are not going to go any faster.

Turn all the animations off and it's still not getting any faster. It's all in your head.

AsherGZ said,
Turn all the animations off and it's still not getting any faster. It's all in your head.

We will have to agree to disagree.

warwagon said,

We will have to agree to disagree.

No one has to agree to that.
Since DWM was introduced, things haven't changed much in either direction regarding window effects.

Using the same hardware, Windows 8 doesn't feel any faster nor slower than Windows 7, Vista... and arguably XP, regardless whether the settings you propose are included or excluded.

abecedarian paradoxious said,
No one has to agree to that.
Since DWM was introduced, things haven't changed much in either direction regarding window effects.

Using the same hardware, Windows 8 doesn't feel any faster nor slower than Windows 7, Vista... and arguably XP, regardless whether the settings you propose are included or excluded.


That is not true. Windows 7 is slow compared to XP's drawing speeds. There is a lot of latency. Maybe you don't notice it. But I and others certainly do.

Windows 8 comes close to the desktop latency XP used to have.

Windows 8 is already fast without aero. I recently upgraded a netbook with 2gb ram and old intel atom. Its smoother than when it had Windows 7 on it.

This is one of the first things I do. Animations add time to operations that otherwise are instantaneous.

Nothing to see here people, move along!

abecedarian paradoxious said,

Not when it doesn't change the outcome.

The difference is psychological. I think it matters if it "feels" snappier.

bigmehdi said,

The difference is psychological. I think it matters if it "feels" snappier.

Yep as we saw with the XP loyalists once someone is used to doing things and using things a certain way it is painful to the brain otherwise. I like the animations and my guess is warwaggon got used to doing this from the early XP era so it was hard to adjust. I like animations and it shows when items are moving and not froze or crashed

Some people have a difficult time adjusting to being an adult, I suppose.

sinetheo said,

Yep as we saw with the XP loyalists once someone is used to doing things and using things a certain way it is painful to the brain otherwise. I like the animations and my guess is warwaggon got used to doing this from the early XP era so it was hard to adjust. I like animations and it shows when items are moving and not froze or crashed

I was a bit surprised to see this article, it has such a pre-2010 feel to it that it caught me off-guard.
These tweaks might be necessary if speed was the number one gripe with Windows 8. There are many problems with Windows 8.x, but speed is most assuredly not one of them, making such 2005-era tips a bit superfluous. Maybe even a bit comical....

i'm going to quote bithush because he nailed it.

bithush said,

Let's do a car analogy :)

Think about when you open your car door. It takes you around 1 second to open it yes?

Well then imagine if the action of actually swinging the door open was removed and you simple want instantly from a closed door to an open door. You save yourself that second by removing the animation/action of opening the door. Same thing with window animations :)

I quite agree. Not really sure why this is even an article on Neowin homepage. Seems like forum material to me.

"make windows 8 FEEL faster"... uhh... okay?

Why was the without animation portion done within minutes of disabling them? Wouldn't everything still be in memory when it was first loaded?

Evolution said,
Why was the without animation portion done within minutes of disabling them? Wouldn't everything still be in memory when it was first loaded?

Let's do a car analogy :)

Think about when you open your car door. It takes you around 1 second to open it yes?

Well then imagine if the action of actually swinging the door open was removed and you simple want instantly from a closed door to an open door. You save yourself that second by removing the animation/action of opening the door. Same thing with window animations :)

bithush said,

Let's do a car analogy :)

Think about when you open your car door. It takes you around 1 second to open it yes?

Well then imagine if the action of actually swinging the door open was removed and you simple want instantly from a closed door to an open door. You save yourself that second by removing the animation/action of opening the door. Same thing with window animations :)

Bravo!! Now tell it to mzta cody below me! :D

bithush said,
Well then imagine if the action of actually swinging the door open was removed and you simple want instantly from a closed door to an open door. You save yourself that second by removing the animation/action of opening the door. Same thing with window animations :)

Almost the same. Not having to open the door actually saves time but the animations are so fast that they're usually done by the time I have moved my mouse cursor to the window to interact with it. I never have to wait for the windows animations to finish. So while it might feel snappier it isn't.

Also sometimes the animations hide/distract from the 'drawing' of the content of a window. For example the task manager is white for a few milliseconds after opening, about as long as the opening animation lasts. Overall it's a wash imo.

Let's do a car analogy :)

Think about when you open your car door. It takes you around 1 second to open it yes?

Car door goes from closed state to open state in 50 ms in this case - less than average human response time. It is also less than the standard deviation between response times for fast people. Is the animated state technically slower? Yes. Is the difference large enough to actually matter if a meatbag is doing the driving? No.

Edited by zhangm, Aug 24 2014, 12:21am :

bithush said,

Let's do a car analogy :)

Think about when you open your car door. It takes you around 1 second to open it yes?

Well then imagine if the action of actually swinging the door open was removed and you simple want instantly from a closed door to an open door. You save yourself that second by removing the animation/action of opening the door. Same thing with window animations :)

A car analogy doesn't work here because the time difference is on a whole different scale. Nothing stops a window from opening before the animation is complete. The animation fills the time it takes to process and complete. The effects are purely psychological.

Because of the fad and animation it does cause a delay, It might be only a few milliseconds but without that millisecond delay boxes seem snappier.

warwagon said,
Because of the fad and animation it does cause a delay, It might be only a few milliseconds but without that millisecond delay boxes seem snappier.

Yeah this isn't a performance thing it is just removing a delay added to look pretty. That animation takes up time though so removing it will make things quicker as that delay is removed. I am not sure why other people here don't understand this and start mentioning things like 3D acceleration, etc.

warwagon said,
Because of the fad and animation it does cause a delay, It might be only a few milliseconds but without that millisecond delay boxes seem snappier.

I've adjusted milliseconds but my delay boxes aren't snappy no matter what I do.

Your suggestion? Add commas, maybe?

warwagon said,
Because of the fad and animation it does cause a delay, It might be only a few milliseconds but without that millisecond delay boxes seem snappier.

That delay is 400 ms, it's the default setting for windows since atleast Windows 2000. You can change that with regedit. MenuShowDelay 400 -> 20 (makes the delay 20ms instead of 400ms).

I'm gonna use this topic and ask: can we tweak the speed of these animations? I like the animations and wanted to make them animate faster.

Setnom said,
I'm gonna use this topic and ask: can we tweak the speed of these animations? I like the animations and wanted to make them animate faster.

Yes, via regedit or using a third party program or tweakui to do that. I

Raa said,
And since we don't have said machines anymore, there's no reason to do this.

That's not necessarily true... I still deal with older XP machines from time-to-time.

Well this new anti skuemorphism lets require a new system look ancient by disabling everything is the new rage it will probably be gone anyway anyway in Metro

sinetheo said,
Well this new anti skuemorphism lets require a new system look ancient by disabling everything is the new rage it will probably be gone anyway anyway in Metro
Animations aren't skuemorphism. Beside, animations are an important part of the Metro UI.

sinetheo said,
Well this new anti skuemorphism lets require a new system look ancient by disabling everything is the new rage it will probably be gone anyway anyway in Metro

Uh, the animations serve a functional purpose by "hinting" where the window is going so the user is given hints as to where it now is. If you move a window around and toggle its minimised/restored state, you'll see the animation follows it nicely. This is in contrast to the video where they just appear and disappear.

Raa said,
And you've both fallen for "placebo".

Watch the video, it really increases speed. Actually the whole metro thing causes insane delays and problems for day to day work.

yeah it does actually work man, try it on like an old xp machine or vista, or 7 you notice the difference by a very large amount.

warwagon said,
Hey, it's my video! :D

Without animation and fades windows on both Vista, 7 and 8 windows is much snappier

proof? You slow your system down when disabling 3d acceleration as the CPU does more work. The days of the 486 are long gone

sinetheo said,

proof? You slow your system down when disabling 3d acceleration as the CPU does more work. The days of the 486 are long gone

It isn't disabling 3D acceleration. In fact doing so isn't actually possible via the performance settings dialog in Windows 8. 3D acceleration is always enabled.

This is just disabling the basic animations seen such as the minimize/maximize and the application fade in/out when opened/closed, etc.

As for performance impact? Well on todays machines yeah it isn't going to make any difference however in actual speed it does. For example the minimize animation takes around 0.8 seconds whereas with animations disabled it is around 0.3 seconds. This isn't a CPU/GPU thing it is just that you are removing the animation which removes the delay that the animation causes.

warwagon said,
Hey, it's my video! :D

Without animation and fades windows on both Vista, 7 and 8 windows is much snappier

And so too XP, 2000, ME, 98 and 95; the 'performance' tab has been there since Windows 95 (possibly earlier).

Edit: I'm wrong: the settings weren't in 95, 98 and ME (just checked!).

Edited by 68k, Aug 24 2014, 4:23am :

my city has been so happy with me now that my PCs are only drawing enough electricity to power a small street. No more black-outs, we can finally improve our lives!

Perception is an interesting thing. Although I like the animations, I would like if they behave faster on faster machines. Sometimes it feels like they're stuttering when they can just fly without issues.

primexx said,
People have been peddling this snakeoil since XP.

anyone want to buy some bottled air??? I have bottled air for sale only $20 a bottle or £15/€18 a bargain at twice the price

Cnónna said,

anyone want to buy some bottled air??? I have bottled air for sale only $20 a bottle or £15/€18 a bargain at twice the price

I will trade you a bottle of dehydrated water for a bottle of air.

primexx said,
People have been peddling this snakeoil since XP.

Arguably it was most effective on XP. The minimize/restore animation back then wasn't as great or smooth as now with the entire window animating.

Since Windows Vista the tweak is also helpful if you're running inside a VM. Animations there are a tad choppy.

primexx said,
People have been peddling this snakeoil since XP.

and I've been turning them off since XP to improve performance :)

Cnónna said,

anyone want to buy some bottled air??? I have bottled air for sale only $20 a bottle or £15/€18 a bargain at twice the price

Was it bottled in Druidia?

DConnell said,

Was it bottled in Druidia?

yes, but I have a receipt for it.:/

theDUD3 said,
trade your bottled air and dehydrated water for a couple of lost cats.

I don't like cats, so I'm out :o

primexx said,
People have been peddling this snakeoil since XP.

This does make Windows faster as you obviously don't have to wait for animations.

But i have a problem with this in the article: "and especially those of you with slower hardware, turning these options off should help improve your performance just a bit"

It will have zero affect affect on hardware. The GPU usage for animating a window is so stupidly small that this wont affect performance at all (or battery life for that matter), even on slow hardware. Any speed gained is purely because you no longer have to wait for an animation to finish.

virtorio said,
It's perception. If you're not waiting for animations to complete then it's going to seem faster.

Umm... if you're not waiting for animations to complete it WILL BE faster.