6 Useful Tips to Help Windows 7 Run Faster

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!

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:

w7speed-windows-search

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.

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!

w7speed-personalization

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.

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.

w7speed-performance-options

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.

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.

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.

w7speed-programs-features-windows-features

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!

19 comments

  1. Microsoft has been attempting to establish this as a selling point for Windows 7. No one really paid attention, though. It’s actually a really nice feature to help give your computer a leg up :)

  2. Be careful with ReadyBoost.  Your average USB flash drive has a very limited number of change cycles (i.e. at most 100,000 write/erase cycles, but likely a whole lot less, especially inexpensive flash drives).  Using it for memory can exceed the maximum change cycles in a very short time making the flash drive useless.

    • Very well put. I’m sure there are companies that make drives purposely suited for more write/erase cycles, though? I’ll have a look and see if I can recommend some. Good catch!

  3. If you use the search function in Outlook you should not disable windows search. The search function in Outlook relies on it. I’ve never really seen a difference unless your using an older single core machine with a slower drive (oh the horrer!). The new multi-core machines with fast drives make mince meat of searching!

    • There are many people around the world who visit MTE that don’t use computers as quick as those we would find today in stores. In fact, some stores still sell single-core computers with 5000 RPM drives with horrible latency.

    • Ah that’s interesting! I just found that out right before I saw this comment. I didn’t really know that.

  4. Disabling Diagnostic Policy Service broke my network connection!  It uses Diagnostic System Host which I could not restart without rebooting windows!

  5. Thank god I found this! I am having trouble with my old laptop with its speed, I was planning to move to windows xp because it seems to be faster but I lost my installer, thanks for the tip.

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