I’ve been using windows 7 RC since it was available on my work laptop. The main usage is mainly done for enterprise application development, emails, documentation, project management, recreational activities and blogging as you can see. I’ve got loads of software installed including backend servers like IIS7, SQL Server 2008 database and integration services,ASP.NET, MySQL 5, PHP etc are always running in background. With these I’ve noticed that performance is degrading day by day on my pretty fast Windows 7 laptop, even though I’ve got duo core 2.1 and 2 GB of ram.
So I took time out and started to figure out how to tune up windows 7 for maximum speed and performance that I used to get from fresh install. Here are my checklist items and to do list in the way I proceeded in this adventure of mine.
- Check whether you have enough free hard drive space available on your primary and secondary partitions. As you can see below in the screenshot, I had only 6.82 GB free space on my primary partition, and well this is an obvious problem as hibernate files, Page file and temp folders require space for optimal performance. So I removed and moved files to free up 10 GB additional space, which I guess is good enough. Try running Disk Cleanup utility which can be pretty helpful..
- Other option is to check the Disk for fragmentation, but in Windows 7 this is not an issue anymore and Windows manages defragmentation in background and defragmentation is scheduled to run periodically as illustrated in following screenshot.
However you can also check when the last disk defragmenter schedule has been run. So all is good in this regard.
If you are an advanced user and want more control over your disk defragmentation, try this O & O Defrag software.
- Uninstall unnecessary and unused software, special focus should be given to the software which are running in background.
- Turn off unwanted services which are running in background and are really not required by a general user. Use MSCONFIG.EXE utility to see which services are in running state and use Google and Bing search engines to see the description of a services in case you fail to identify its functionality and whether it is critical for windows 7 to function.
- Check the widgets running on Windows Sidebar. If you have too many widgets loaded on your desktop and specially widgets which are loading lot of data consider turning them off, since these widgets are using processing power and memory in background and mostly on runtime. If you don’t really use sidebar gadgets, turning off the sidebar is really the good option. This can be achieved by launching MSCONFIG.EXE utility and un checking windows sidebar.exe from launching in “startup” programs. See screenshot below.
- Lighten up the Windows personalization: If you have selected a heavy Windows 7 theme and have loaded lots of wallpapers in slide show, trying keep things simple here. Heavy wallpapers do take memory and also slide show always involve processing power, can be helpful in lightening up things.
- If you are using Windows 7 on laptop, tablet or portable device, then consider using high power profile when you want to avail full power of your PC. Since low power device profiles by default have low CPU throttling and cap utilization to consume less battery power. See the following screenshot of a high power profile advanced view.
- Use Windows ReadyBoost: Ready Boost is a great feature of Windows 7 which can improve your systems performance. Ready Boost is a facility that can utilize your USB 2.0 (high speed compatible )flash drive for providing quick access memory which the operating system can use as surplus RAM. Readyboost is useful If you have 2GB RAM or more, with less RAM you will not feed any visible difference.To set up Ready Boost, follow the steps given below:
Connect a USB flash drive.
Open ‘My Computer’.
Right-click the USB Drive.
Select the ‘Ready Boost’ tab.
Select the ‘Use this device’ checkbox.
- Viruses and Malware always hog up your PC resources, use a powerful an light weight anti-virus software and perform frequent virus scans to keep your system clean. I personally am using Microsoft security essentials, and it is really light on windows resources and does the threat detection and cleaning job nicely.
In-depth and advance tips to tune up your windows 7
- Turn off Windows 7 Aero features: Windows 7 Aero features are visually appealing and makes the windows experience very cool, but comes with a processing cost. If you don’t want to completely turn of Windows Aero desktop features, consider turning off features like “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing”
- Turn of Windows Features which are not required. By default minimal set of tools and features are installed, but Turning off XPS Services and XPS Viewer can be helpful if not required.
- Improve Windows boot up time by Investigating the software which loads up when windows start, removing unnecessary software from loading can result in significant Boot-up performance and overall performance.
An Advance Utility Autoruns for Windows from Microsoft is a very good utility meant for tech savvy users and professional users who want to keep an eye on every file that loads on startup and manage them. Launch the exe by unzipping the package, All startup objects are located under “Logon” tab. Make sure not to disable the entries “explorer.exe” and “userinit.exe”, since they are responsible for the logon process and your desktop. See the screenshot below.
Alternately if you are not a power user and wants to simply tweak the startup applications use MSCONFIG.EXE from run command prompt. This little utility lets you tweak the simple startup programs and services, and also lets you customize your boot up sequence as well. Furthermore, there are common available tools which can be launched from “Tools” tab to perform various windows management tasks.
- Remove any unwanted network shares from your computer. Access the network shares by Right clicking on “My Computer” and select Manage. Among the items, 3rd menu is of “Shared Folders”, removing these shares can be helpful if you are using windows in a network and many people connect to your machine for accessing shared information e.g. your shared songs folder.
- Clear Windows Event Log on periodic basis, Average user does not pay attention or even is not aware of Windows Event Log, this log is mostly useful for system administrators and developers, and overtime can grow up extensively that even for windows writing into this log can slow things. Clearing up windows event log can be a useful step in overall performance tuning. Right click on the log category such as “system” and select the clear option to clear up log entries.
- Do not meddle with Windows Prefetch folder and let windows manage contents and recycling, Prefetch is the technology Microsoft introduced in Windows XP and subsequently added in Windows Vista and Windows 7, the idea behind is that Windows determines and loads the files needed by software in a special folder “windows\prefetch” one time and subsequently will be loaded from this prefetch folder, this resulting in lesser loading times for frequently used software. Read more about Windows 7 pre-fetch performance here
- Making Internet explorer load faster : Internet explorer (IE8) although fairly quick in loading, can be bogged down by different installed add-ons and plugg-ins. IE8 lets you see the load time of different add-ons, Click Tools > Manage Add-ons, check the Load Time in the right-hand column, and you’ll immediately see which browser extensions are slowing you down
Stay tuned to the next post where we will try to identify which processes, services are hogging up your CPU power, memory, Disk IO, and network. Further more we will also see how to use the performance analyzer facility and also see how viruses and malware can affect the windows performance.
Please do send us any other tips and tricks which can be used to boost the Windows 7 based pc performance which we have missed.
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