Non-Graphical Windows 7 Speed Tweaks

November 26, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Windows 7 is a great operating system, one that is already Microsoft’s most popular since Windows XP. However if you don’t run it on a suitable system, you are not going to get the benefits that this OS offers.

To begin with, you need to have the following system hardware as the minimum requirement for Windows 7.

1GHz processor (32-bit or 64-bit)
1GB of RAM
16GB of available disk space
Support for DX9 graphics with 128MB RAM
A DVD R/W drive

Even then, however, running Windows 7 might prove troublesome, particular in terms of how fast the operating system responds and performs various tasks. However there are various settings you can change to speed it up considerably, even if you enjoy the bells and whistles of desktop gadgets and Aero.

Let’s take a look at how you can tweak Windows 7 speed issues that might be caused by standard features of the operating system.

Windows 7 speed tweaks

Top Windows 7 Speed Tweaks – Disable Search Indexing

Search Indexing allows you to find pretty much any file or folder on your PC – but it takes time and resources for Windows 7 to perform this task, often taking place in the background while you’re trying to get online.

If you don’t need Search Indexing then this feature can be disabled, freeing up memory and processing. To do this, go to Start, right-click Computer and select Manage > Services and Applications > Services; a list of all running services will be displayed, usually in alphabetical order.

Find the Windows Search item and right-click, choosing Properties. Find the Startup Type in the middle of the Properties box and change the drop down menu to Disabled. Apply this change, and the Search Indexing will be disabled.

Disable Unused Services

Various services are configured to run automatically in Windows 7 – but you might not need them at all. While many services are needed and should therefore be left to run, certain ones can be disabled if you don’t use them; or at least set to manual so that Windows can use them when necessary (for instance as components in other software.)

Using the same screen (Start, right-click Computer and select Manage > Services and Applications > Services) you can access certain services and disable or set them to manual. This shouldn’t be done for all services, however, as you will likely cause yourself more speed issues.

The recommended ones to change are:

  • Print Spooler – recommended if you don’t use a printer
  • Protected Storage – don’t disable this, set to manual
  • Windows Time only use this if you want Windows to display Internet time
  • Tablet PC Input Service – this enables “pen and ink” functionality on a tablet PC and can be disabled
  • Offline Files – if your PC is standalone and you’re not on a corporate, you can safely disable this feature
  • Application Experience – this can be largely ignored as most applications are designed to work regardless of the outcome of this feature.

Disable User Account Control

One final change you can make to tweak your Windows 7 speed is to disable the User Account Control. This is the notice that appears whenever you try to install or uninstall software or make changes to your system; the screen will go grey and a small box will appear asking you to confirm.

If you don’t mind losing this feature (and a lot of people don’t!) then go to Start > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Change User Account Control settings. This screen displays a sliding scale, allowing you to choose between various levels of notification.

By sliding this down to Never notify… and clicking OK to confirm, this will reduce the amount of time it takes to install and remove software.

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