Things You Can Do to Make Windows 7 Run Like a Cheetah

Windows 7 is already a pretty fast operating system, but many things still annoy its users, such as the amount of time it takes to shut down, how it runs certain games, and its inability to use the full potential of the hard drive to transfer files. The truth is we never run out of ways to speed up the operating system. In fact, we could write a whole book about it, but why do that? We can just show it to you on MakeTechEasier for free! Let’s get to the juicy stuff, shall we?

1. Make Windows 7 Shut Down Faster

Windows 7 applies certain timeouts to services that need a slight delay to properly shut down, without overwhelming the computer’s processor. If you have a fast enough processor, you certainly don’t need this functionality. Why wait for services to shut off if you can just terminate them almost instantly? The delay for Windows 7 service shutdowns is stored within a key in the registry.

To enhance your shutdown experience, open the Start menu, type “regedit,” and press “Enter.” Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control” and look at the right-hand side of the window. Modify the value named “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” to “2000” or some other low value. The default is 12000, which means it waits 12 seconds. We’re done here!


2. Reduce the Amount of Time Thumbnail Previews Take to Show Up

If you hover your mouse over any icon that has a thumbnail preview, there’s a certain delay before that thumbnail shows up. We’re going to make that delay shorter with a simple registry hack that will make thumbnails appear almost instantly. Windows puts a 400 millisecond delay, but some people would prefer to see thumbnails almost instantly. If you’re one of those people, don’t skip this tip!

Open up the registry editor as in the previous step, and navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse“. Modify “MouseHoverTime” to 100 or something else more comfortable for you. Once this is applied, you’ll have almost instant thumbnails, allowing you to waste less time waiting for them to appear.


3. Test The Speed of a USB Drive Before Applying ReadyBoost

Not too long ago, we’ve already discussed using Windows 7’s ReadyBoost to add to your RAM. Now, we’ve forgot to mention one question: How fast is that RAM going to be? You’d end up screwing your computer up even more with a slow USB drive on ReadyBoost compared to one with a ton of horsepower. Using your operating system, you can test speed by transferring a large file, but this doesn’t fully test its potential.

That’s where Crystal DiskMark comes in. Once you run the software, it will do a full comprehensive test of any drive on your computer, including SD cards! You can download Crystal DiskMark from its website here.

Make sure you don’t use a USB drive with low specs. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some programs running unbelievably slowly. You don’t want your computer to turn into a snail, do you? Speed is what people use ReadyBoost for in the first place!

4. Speed Up Your Netbook

Netbooks usually don’t come with specs that compare vis-à-vis to a desktop computer. For that reason, many of them run Windows 7 Starter, which doesn’t have as many resource-hungry features as other versions of the operating system do. Still, some of them come with more bulky versions of Windows 7 that might seem to work fine on them, but will eventually slow down and just drag the whole system down to a screeching halt. The majority of things that netbooks can’t quite stand about Windows 7 come from the visual effects of the OS. So why don’t we get rid of some of those?

Let’s get down to business! Go to your Start menu, type “SystemPropertiesPerformance” and hit “Enter.” You should be at a screen like this:


Once you’re done, click “Adjust for best performance” and click “OK.” You’re all set!

With everything applied, you’ll likely end up with a much smoother operating system without all the fancy effects.

5. Increase Performance in Games

Tons of people still prefer to use a PC rather than/paired together with an XBox or other gaming console for an ultimate gaming experience. However, even with the best hardware, your computer will not be able to take advantage of every drop of every frame as long as it’s running services that eat up resources every few minutes or so. Imagine being able to stop all those services while you’re gaming, making your computer an excellent powerhouse for gaming! You can do this using Game Booster by IObit. The company has made this free software with the intention of optimizing any computer for gaming. Download the software here.

6. Put Your CPUs to Work While Booting!

On the majority of computers, Windows adequately sets how many CPU cores a computer can use. However, there are cases when Windows uses only one CPU core to process the entire bootup. Does a carriage go faster with one horse, or four horses? Why don’t you give your computer more horsepower while booting? Let’s put in every core!

Open up MSConfig by clicking the “Start” menu and typing “msconfig“. Click the “Boot” tab in MSConfig and click the “Advanced” button.

Under “Number of CPUs”, give it your all! Select the highest amount of CPUs possible there, as long as you know you have as many processing cores. This will give you a significant boost as long as you can compensate with a high amount of RAM. In Windows 7, we recommend you have 4 GB RAM installed for a quick boot.

7. Use a Tweaking Utility to Fine-Tune Windows

While I personally don’t like recommending these fancy “tweaking utilities,” some people like using them, so why not include at least one? TweakNow PowerPack is a very potent utility that reverse-engineers Windows very well. You don’t necessarily have to defragment the registry, but cleaning it through the program would be ideal. Make sure you back up your registry before using it.

The application not only shows you a lot of your system’s specifications, but also gives you the ability to do things like advanced disk cleanup and changing systems settings in ways you never thought possible! Give it a shot and download it here. It’s free.


Let us know if you’d like to add something to this or whether you’d like to start a discussion about some of the information mentioned so far. Let’s hear you in the comments section!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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