Windows Vista Speed-Ups

This is a brief description of some of the things I have done to make Windows Vista usable on a laptop. It starts a lot of services that you don’t need, and enables lots of graphics features that you may not have hardware support for. So turn them off!

  • Disable User Account Control. In Start / Control Panel / User Accounts / Turn User Account Control on or off, turn it off.
  • Disable Transparency and a few of the nice graphics effects. This is all in Start / Control Panel / Personalize / Windows Color and Appearance.
  • Also in Start / Control Panel / Personalize / Windows Color and Appearance / Open classic appearance... / Advanced... there you can change the size of the Active Title Bar to its minimum, and the Active Window Border to its minimum, and it will look less like it’s all been drawn with a 5-year old’s crayon.

The main one to hit is Start / Administration Tools / Services. If you don’t have that, then right-click on the Start button as add Administration Tools to the Start menu.

The services that are enabled on my system are these. You may not have some of these due to software I have installed (mostly Apple stuff), and you may have a few extras due to extra software you have installed, which is probably mostly obvious.

You need these enabled:
  • Adobe Active File Monitor V6
  • Apple Mobile Device
  • Application Experience
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service
  • Base Filtering Engine
  • Bluetooth Support Service
  • CNG Key Isolation
  • COM_ Event System
  • Computer Browser
  • Cryptographic Services
  • DCOM Server Process Launcher
  • Desktop Window Manager Session Manager
  • DHCP Client
  • Diagnostic Policy Service
  • Diagnostic System Host
  • DNS Client
  • Extensible Authentication Protocol
  • F-PROT Antivirus for Windows system
  • Group Policy Client
  • GtFlashSwitch
  • Human Interface Device Access
  • IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules
  • iPod Service
  • IviRegMgr
  • KtmRm for Distributed Transaction Coordinator
  • Multimedia Class Scheduler
  • Network Connections
  • Network List Service
  • Network Location Awareness
  • Network Store Interface Service
  • NSUService
  • Personal Secure Drive Service
  • PGPserv
  • Plug and Play
  • Print Spooler
  • Program Compatibility Assistant Service
  • ReadyBoost
  • Remote Access Connection Manager
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPM))
  • Secondary Logon
  • Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol Service
  • Security Accounts Manager
  • Security Center
  • Security Platform Management Service
  • Server
  • Shell Hardware Detection
  • Software Licensing
  • SSDP Discovery
  • Superfetch
  • System Event Notification Service
  • Task Scheduler
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
  • Telephony
  • Themes
  • TPM Base Services
  • Trusted Playform Core Service
  • User Profile Service
  • VAIO Entertainment Database Service
  • VAIO Entertainment File Import Service
  • VAIO Entertainment TV Device Arbitration Service
  • VAIO Entertainment UPnp Client Adapter
  • VAIO Event Service
  • Windows Audio
  • Windows Audio Endpoint Builder
  • Windows Driver Foundation - User-mode Driver Framework
  • Windows Error Reporting Service
  • Windows Event Log
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Management Instrumentation
  • Windows Presentation Foundation Font Cache
  • Windows Update
  • WLAN AutoConfig
  • Workstation
  • XAudioService

All other services, I have disabled. This is actually quite a few, despite the length of the above list. All the ones listed above are Started after a normal boot.

Before changing the list of services you have enabled, I strongly advise creating a restore point (My Computer / Properties / somewhere).

I am using Superfetch as a bit of a test. This is the service that tries to guess which programs you will run depending on the day of the week. It will learn over time, so gradually improve performance. That’s the idea anyway. If you don’t like it, or run a totally random unpredictable set of programs when you boot each time, then disable the Superfetch service as well.

Using the setup above, I have got Windows Vista running at a vaguely usable speed. It’s still to start up applications, but that’s due to Microsoft dropping direct support for the graphics API that all Windows apps have always used. That was doomed to cause immense trouble for them, whatever anyone did. Virtually no normal apps use DirectX, and that’s all they support now. So every app in the book runs horribly slowly through an emulation layer. Fools.

But other than that, this gets Vista working just about as fast as you’ll get it going. Look up “Speed up Windows Vista” in Google too, that will give you some tricks I have also done and forgotten about here.