Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Wired's Vista "Do's" Have Some Major "Don'ts"

Wired has an article up about how to speed up Vista. While they have a couple OK tips in there, there are a couple of suggestions that caught my attention as colossally BAD. I tried to edit the wiki page to reflect this, but I was rebuffed by the original author. So much for community contributions.

  1. DO NOT under *any* circumstances, shut off Windows Error Reporting. How do you think Microsoft knows what to fix in the Service Packs? Microsoft doesn't collect personal info with these reports, so what are you worried about?
  2. DO NOT use vLite, despite it's perceived appeal. Look guys, there are *thousands* of people at Microsoft who helped engineer Windows, including the new dependency engine that manages the Setup process. Do you seriously trust ONE GUY to understand enough of all that to be able to delete files safely without affecting anything else? Using this program will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to install SP1, PLUS it needs to be run to make a custom install of Vista, so it won't help anyone after the fact. Even so... seriously, you mean to tell me you can't spare 6GB on your hard drive?
  3. YOU DON'T NEED TO manually defragment. Vista's defragmenter, though seemingly hobbled, is actually quite good. Vista has a new "prioritized I/O" system that pauses lower-priority operations (like defragmenting) for higher-priority operations (like saving Word documents). Even if it runs while you're working, you shouldn't really notice it too much. And while the author will tout the usefulness of a visual UI showing what's going on, that actually DOES take up processor time, and will slow down the defrag. You're better off without it.
  4. YOU REALLY SHOULDN'T shut off Aero if your graphics card is capable of it. Aero at it's core moves desktop drawing off of the CPU and onto the GPU. Even if you don't want the transparencies of Glass (you can turn those off), unless you're on a laptop trying to conserve battery life, you should let Aero do it's thing.

Maybe next time, Wired will get someone who has actually used Vista, instead of regurgitating XP tips, to write their tuning tips. Just a thought.



  • Dave P said:

    While I can see several of your points, the problem is that while "there are *thousands* of people at Microsoft who helped engineer Windows" none of them seemed to have considered that not everyone would be running Vista on a machine that could take full advantage of it.

    I chose Vista for my OQO because of the improvements in handwriting recognition and the integration of inking in general. Unfortunately, I don't have the processing power to run all the processes that make up the full Vista experience. If Microsoft doesn't feel that vLite is a good product, they should at least recognize that it fulfills, however poorly, a real need to slim Vista down.

    I would welcome a Microsoft alternative but, at least at the moment, it doesn't seem to exist.

    February 28, 2008 7:29 AM
  • February 28, 2008 5:31 PM
  • john ckk said:

    Great, the best setting for windows is always the factory settings, search for problems at the foruns around the web, everyone that has a problem messed with windows files, xp or vista. It´s obvious, if you want to have the last OS you have to buy a machine capable to do so, I´m running XP, first cause it´s about a year and a half with no issues, of course, i stop using tweaks and messing the register, it´s running at the same speed as I´ve installed. Vista is the same, there´s so many tricks in web but, a lot of them are enthusiasts just like me, even if they are engineers (software) they didn´t work with windows core and that´s a problem, cause you don´t know the extenses of a process under the system. Hope it´s clear ´casue i´m not english.

    February 29, 2008 2:00 PM
  • librarian scott said:

    What tuning tips do you recommend?

    March 1, 2008 1:58 PM
  • The #1 tuning tip I can recommend is to not clutter up your computer with installed crap that you REALLY don't need. And use Windows Defender or MSCONFIG to disable startup programs that you don't really need, like the Adobe or QuickTime trays.

    March 2, 2008 12:04 PM
  • Bob said:

    YOU REALLY SHOULD learn the difference between "its," the possessive form of "it," and "it's," a contraction of "it is."

    March 2, 2008 3:52 PM
  • Asahi_Super_Dry said:

    I've found that Vista, if left alone, manages it's own 'tuning' just fine. You simply don't need to mess around with 'tweaks' that  do more harm than good. Some users even suggest turning off Superfetch and Indexing to 'speed' up Vista, which is just bad advice.

    I don't like Vista's defragger though. It's not the concept that I dislike, but it's execution. I 'd go with a commerical real-time automatic defrag utility that can handle the defrag with slightly more transparency and control. But thankfully, the dreadful days of scheduling or manually running defrag for Windows OSes are truly over.

    April 18, 2008 7:20 AM