This is a guest post by Liz from Auslogics Blog.
I’m sure that a lot of you have already downloaded and installed Windows 7 RC. If not, then I strongly recommend trying it out. Compared with Beta, the Release Candidate hasn’t slowed down and it takes a bit less time to install. But, of course, there is room for improvement. Let me tell you what you can do to improve Windows 7 performance and customize it to your liking.
1. Make Windows 7 Faster
There is a simple way to make Windows 7 faster. Like in any previous Windows versions, you can disable visual effects for maximum performance.
- Go to System Properties (press Windows + Pause/Break keys)
- Select Advanced
- Then press the Settings button in the Performance section
- A new window will open
- Select the Adjust for best performance radio button
If you don’t like the minimalistic look, choose the Custom radio button, disable the effects you don’t need, and leave the effects you like.
Another thing you can do is customize folder and search options:
- Open Windows Explorer
- Go to Organize – Folder and Search Options
- Disable the following:
- Hide extensions for known file types
- Show pop-up description for folder and desktop items
- Display file size information in folder tips
- Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in colour
2. Improve Performance With ReadyBoost
I’m sure that Vista users are familiar with this feature. It’s really useful if your computer is running low on RAM. The good thing about ReadyBoost in Windows 7 is that you can use several flash drives simultaneously, whereas in Vista you could use only one. To enable ReadyBoost, follow these steps:
- Plug in the USB storage device
- Go to Computer, right-click on the device and select Properties
- If your USB drive is compatible, you will see a ReadyBoost tab. Click on it.
- Select Use this device and then specify the amount of space you want ReadyBoost to use
- Click OK to finish
3. Disable Minimize – Maximize Animation
The Minimize – Maximize window animation was first introduced in Windows Vista and made its way into Windows 7. Yes, it looks cool, but it also creates a delay and makes your PC slower. Disabling this effect is really easy. It will speed up your computer and make it more responsive.
- Go to Start, type in SystemPropertiesPerformance and hit Enter
- Go to the Visual Effects tab
- Uncheck Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
- Click OK
4. Enable Hidden “Send to” Menu
By default the Windows 7 “Send to” menu gives you a choice of very few locations:
The good news is that you can expand it by pressing Shift before right-clicking and the “Send to” menu will expand:
5. Customize UAC
You can make Windows 7 UAC less or more intrusive, or even turn it off. All you need to do is:
- Go to the Control Panel – User Accounts and Family Settings
- Click User Accounts and then Change User Account Control settings
- A new window will open
- Use the slider to set the protection level
- Click OK.
- You may need to restart. Depends on what you selected.
If you have UAC completely turned off, you won’t be able to run your desktop gadgets, because Windows thinks they are a potential threat. Here’s what you can do to be able to use gadgets with UAC turned off:
- First of all create a Restore point or backup the Registry
- Type regedit in the Search bar and press Enter to launch Registry Editor
- Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Sidebar\Settings
- Create a new DWORD value called AllowElevatedProcess. To do that select Edit – New DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it AllowElevatedProcess
- Set its value to 1
- Close Registry Editor. Right-click on desktop and select Gadgets. Now you will be able to add and use gadgets as you would normally.
6. Open Folders in New Process
By default Windows 7 opens folders in the same process. While this saves system resources, it can lead to the entire system crashing because of one crashed folder. If you are afraid that your system is unstable or if some folders crash regularly, you can open it in new process. Here’s how:
- Open Computer
- Hold down Shift and right-click on your drive
- Select Open in New Process
Now the folder will be launched in a separate process.
7. Get Free Windows 7 Guides and Videos
And last, but not least Microsoft offers several free guides and videos that will help you understand Windows 7 better. You can find them here:
- Power Management in Windows 7
- Windows 7 Manageability Overview
- Enterprise Search in Windows 7 Overview
- Demonstration: Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7
- Demonstration: Windows 7 VHD Boot