Throughout the years, all Windows versions have shared a common problem: they degrade in performance over time and boot more slowly the longer the computer is used. Microsoft addressed this gradual sludgification somewhat in Windows Vista, and even more in Windows 7. Compared to Windows XP there are certainly some improvements. For example, unlike XP, it’s actually possible to take an aging Windows 7 install, clean some things up, and get it back in tip-top shape. With XP, you’d eventually be forced to reinstall the entire OS in order to regain lost performance. Boot-up speed, of course, is a primary concern. In order to speed up the time it takes for your PC to return to life each time you sit down in front of it, you can take a number of steps:
• Remove unwanted startup items: Over time, as you install more and more software on your computer, the number of small utilities, application launchers, and, most annoyingly, application prelaunchers (which essentially make it seem like those applications start more quickly later because large chunks of them are already preloaded) that are configured to run at startup multiply dramatically. There are several ways you can cull this list, but the best one is to use Autoruns, a Microsoft Sysinternals freebie (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx).
To cull the list of startup applications, download and open Autoruns (Start Menu Search, and enter http://live.sysinternals.com/autoruns.exe) and click Run. You’ll be presented with the scary-looking window. Before attempting to make any systemwide changes, click File -> Run as Administrator. This will restart the application under administrative credentials to give you full access to startup entries on the system. After dealing with the
User Account Control prompt that appears, click the Logon tab to view a list of programs that execute right after you log in. By clicking Hide Microsoft and Windows Entries in the Options menu, you can narrow the list down to just thirdparty gunk. Finally, if you’d rather disable than delete, simply uncheck the entries you wish to disable and you’re set. Later, when you feel comfortable without the gunk, you can return to Autoruns and delete it once and for all.
• Do a little cleanup: There are a number of things you can clean up on your PC that will have mild effects on performance. One of the more effective is Windows 7’s hidden Disk Cleanup tool (Start Menu Search, and type disk clean). This little wonder frees up hard drive space by removing unused temporary files. (Free hard drive space is important for keeping virtual memory and other applications (like Adobe Photoshop) running optimally. Virtual-memory optimization is covered in just a bit.)
• Don’t shut down the PC: This one may seem obvious or even humorous, but think about it: why are you shutting down the PC anyway? Windows 7 supports advanced power management states, including Hybrid Sleep and Hibernation, and these states enable your PC to “shut down” and “power on” far more quickly than actual shutdowns and power-ups.
While Autoruns sports a dizzying array of other tabs, such as LSA and Winsock Providers, KnownDLLs, and Drivers, we suggest you limit clean-up activities to the safer Logon, Sidebar Gadgets, and Scheduled Tasks tabs. As Autoruns provides an unbiased view into the internal wiring of various Windows components, you could inadvertently and irreparably break Windows.
Windows XP and Vista users can use the Software Explorer feature of Windows. Defender to remove unwanted startup items as well. This feature, alas, was removed from Windows 7, because Microsoft believed that it detracted from the main function of Defender (the removal of malware). We disagree: the line between true malware and unwanted preloaders is pretty gray.
Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)
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