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My Tweaks

That last topic could actually use some more talking about. I didn't mention it earlier, but there are a few tweaks I've made to every computer that I'm running - and they are things I don't think I'd ever go back on. If you are looking to get a smoother experience with Vista then feel free to try any of these (but don't hold me responsible if something goes wrong):

Turn off UAC - If those pesky 'Cancel or Allow' pop-ups are getting to you, and you are confident in other security measures you've put in place (anti-virus, firewalls, etc), then do what I do and disable this security "feature".

Turn off Virtual Memory - I've found that Windows' habit of swapping data from memory to the hard drive to keep some space in the RAM available is poorly executed at best. This isn't just with Vista - it has been this way since at least XP, maybe back to the 95/98 days. If you have enough memory (2GB, in all of my systems) I would give a shot to turning it off entirely. Note that this means that things WILL crash if Windows runs out of memory to work with, but you should get a little advanced warning before that happens. If you tend to run a lot of stuff at once, or are a user of heavier editing applications like Photoshop, then you may want to have more memory before doing this (or just not do it at all).

Turn off SuperFetch - This is one of the truly 'new' features that was added in Vista, and while it is a nice idea it tends to clutter the RAM unnecessarily. If you are going to turn off Virtual Memory, as I described above, it would be best to turn this off as well (to avoid running out of memory).

Turn off System Restore - Like Virtual Memory, this is not unique to Vista: I preferred to disable it in XP as well. I've heard of it working well for some folks, and I've heard the version in Vista is improved over XP, but it still seems like a waste of hard drive space and CPU time (when making a restore point). If you have any half-decent backup scheme then this isn't really a critical thing for Windows to be worrying about.

Turn off Indexing - This isn't so critical, but it cuts down on the amount of drive accessing (and so noise). It has the side effect of making searches in Vista take longer, but I guess I don't search for things often enough for that to be a problem. Certainly the least important of the tweaks I do, and so listed last.

Hopefully all of this info helps someone out there. In short, if you are considering a new computer make sure that your software does not have known issues with Vista; if no conflicts exist, feel free to go to Vista! If you have an XP computer now, take a look at the features that Vista does offer. If none of those strike you as worthwhile, then there is no need to upgrade - but if something would improve your user experience and your hardware is up to it then go ahead! Whatever you decide - XP, Vista, or even Linux - I hope you have a great computer experience :)

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Tags: Advice, Windows Vista

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