At this moment, you’re probably satisfied with how Windows 7 runs, but you probably want to squeeze as much juice as you can out of it. Despite the improvements, the operating system still takes up resources that didn’t necessarily have to be used for normal functions. Let’s have a look at a few of those you can turn off!
1. Disable Search Indexing
One of the most resource-hungry features of Windows 7 is search indexing, which creates a dictionary for your files, allowing you to perform faster searches. The problem is that, while it’s creating that dictionary, it consumes your hard drive’s read/write speeds significantly, making it difficult to navigate through applications while indexing is taking place. That’s why Microsoft included an option to turn this off.
To effectively disable this feature, follow through this path: “Start -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Services”. Once in that window, scroll down to “Windows Search.” Right-click the item and click “Properties.” Within the window, select “Disable” under “Startup type,” like so:
Click “OK” once finished. Once you reboot or stop the service manually, you won’t have to worry about your hard disk being eaten alive.
2. Disable Aero
If your computer gets kind of clunky while playing a movie or has difficulty emulating the graphics when you minimize or open a window, it’s probably time to sacrifice the pretty effects that Windows 7 Aero brings with it and just live with simple bland colors. The interface will function similarly to how Windows 7 Starter does. Removing Aero will give your computer a little more breathing room, especially if the display adapter uses some of the PC’s physical memory to perform.
Remove Aero by right-clicking your desktop, clicking “Personalize,” scrolling down the list of themes that appear, and selecting “Windows Basic.” You’re done!
3. Use MSConfig to Your Advantage!
Although we’ve discussed this before, it never hurts to reiterate that MSConfig is an important tool to help you improve your boot time. There are several services and startup applications that take up tons of resources while Windows boots. For those of you who have to bear a sluggish boot process, this is the tool to use. Here are some services you should consider disabling:
- Application Experience
- Diagnostic Policy Service
- Distributed Link Tracking Client
- Offline Files
- Portable Device Enumerator Service
- Protected Storage
- Secondary Logon
- TCP/IP NetBIOS Service
- Windows Media Center Service Launcher
If you are aware of any other services that can be disabled without losing core system functionality, show them to us below in the comments section.
4. Disable Visual Effects
For many people, Windows works just fine without all the fancy visual hoopla that comes attached to it. Some would even consider it preferable! Visual effects are the kinds of things that make your computer hang when you minimize, maximize, open, and close a window. Windows 7 introduces a whole series of new visual effects that also can make a computer hang when hovering the cursor over an open window’s icon. If you don’t want these things to use up the visual resources on your computer, you can easily disable them.
All you have to do is follow this path: “Start -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> System -> Advanced system settings -> Advanced tab -> Settings (under “Performance”).” Once there, select “Custom.” Now, just deselect anything you think might not be important and click “OK” after you’re done.
Disabling the majority of these items will still keep most of the capabilities in Windows without requiring that you sacrifice a certain amount of RAM as a tribute. As a downside, you’ll have a blander look on your computer which might take some getting used to.
5. Use ReadyBoost
Of all the features on Windows 7, ReadyBoost seems to be one that most people are oblivious about. The problem is that it’s also one of the most important features, allowing you to significantly boost your system memory using a USB flash drive. If you have a ReadyBoost-compatible USB drive, you can configure your operating system to use it as a RAM module, effectively increasing the amount of physical memory you have by the amount of memory available on the drive.
To configure ReadyBoost on your USB drive, right-click on its icon in “Computer” and click “Properties.” Once there, click on the “ReadyBoost” tab. If you don’t find one, your device is not compatible with this feature. Once in the tab, select “Use this device.” The slider below the area you selected allows you to configure exactly how much memory you’d like to dedicate to ReadyBoost.
Depending on the speed of the drive, and the speed of your USB port, you’ll be able to significantly increase the speed at which Windows interacts because of the sudden spike in the amount of memory available to it. You can run more programs at the same time. This also frees up the hard disk’s virtual memory a bit, since it doesn’t have to store so much data.
6. Get Rid of Features You Don’t Use
There’s one more way to get rid of things you don’t necessarily need in Windows: by turning Windows features off. Just go to your control panel, then go to “Programs -> Programs and Features.” Click on “Turn Windows features on or off,” found at the top left-hand corner of the “Programs and Features” window.
Follow the instructions at the top of the new window, and deselect features you’re absolutely sure you don’t need. After you click “OK,” your problems just went “poof!”
Instructions like these can’t be easy for everyone to follow. If you have a problem, talk to us in the comments section below or click the “Ask Our Experts Now” button on the right-side of this page. We’re always watching!