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Basic PC Maintenance/Measures that can improve performance.

Ex Bond

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Here's some basic measures that I perform to get the the most out of my hardware and to dodge most software issues. These are Vista based functions.

- Run Disk Cleanup, select Files From All users, and clear out all memory and error dumps. This lets your processor focus on other things besides whats in the OS's back pocket.

- Run a defrag weekly. This makes your files "organized" and thus easier for the processor to find instead of hacking through a jungle of file clusters locating a file to load.

- Go into your startup via regedit or msconfig and clear out all unnecessary garbage. Most programs that run from the startup are autoupdaters, hardware detectors, or some miscellaneous application you don't need running all the time. Plus this is always a good way to recognize malware you might not have known you had if you find unrecognizable programs.

- Make sure you are running Windows Update. Believe it or not, Microsoft ACTUALLY makes updates that will benefit your system performance. Yes I remember windows XP SP2 and the horrors it brought, but due to the big compatibility issues with Vista, I recommend you install any and all updates.

- Make sure your 3d Applications are updated. Most recent patches handle Vista compatibility issues and performance issues.

- Make sure you are AWARE of your hardware and its capabilities. Don't sit there trying to run games like Bioshock on a 6 series with a Celeron D with 512MB DDR RAM, because you won't get anywhere.

- Don't modify your system settings unless you know what you are doing. I can't begin to explain how many people report poor performances because they went and changed something, and now it takes almost two minutes for their computer to boot up.

- For NVIDIA card owners, if you are having general graphics performance problems and feel you know about that stuff enough, then go into the NVIDIA Control Panel, go to Adjust Image Settings with Preview and slect the "Let the 3D Application Decide" option. NVIDIA Control Panel WILL force certain options on your games even if you go inside the application and cut them off. I first noticed this back in 06 when I noticed AA effects where being applied even though I cut them off.

-One more thing. If you are running a laptop, make sure your Power Options are set to High Performance.

Advanced Measures:

- Educate yourself! Go learn what each option of each application does, see how much processor power it will take and decide if you really need it or not. A good website for this is www.tweakguides.com. I learned a lot about some of the games I played and got them to run good on my 8400m.

- If you feel you know enough, then go and learn about overclocking. Overclocking basically changes the limits set on your hardware in your registry and unlocks more of its potential, ultimately making it faster. Be aware that these limits are set in order to keep your PC at a decent tempurature. Overheating will cause damage to your hardware, degrade it faster, render your hardware useless in some cases, and in extreme cases, set your hardware on fire (I have seen it happen). Overclocking will cause your machine to get to a higher tempurature, so be sure that you know what you are doing, and always monitor your PC's tempuratures. I use the programs Rivatuner and ATI Tool to overclock.

- Also, you can make changes to your DirectX and OpenGl settings. You can do stuff like force shader versions or change intellisample values. I use RivaTuner to do this.

- Experiment with compatibility modes. I find that running some DX9 applications in compatibility mode GREATLY increased performance.

For those of you who think i dont know a thing about stuff like this, keep in mind that I am an A+ Certified Technician who does active tech work. I have been doing tech work for about 3 years now, so I have some experience in this type of thing.

EDIT:Here are some other tips I have found helpful since the writing of this article which I felt I should share:

- Disable Aero. You can do this by right clicking the desktop and selecting Personalize, then click Windows Color and Appearance and click the link that shows classic properties. Choose Windows Vista Basic and Aero will be disabled. This will provide a significant increases in overall performance and make things almost equivalent to XP IMO.

NOTE: If you can't stand the dull light blue theme it comes with for Vista Basic then use the directions on the below website to patch your system to allow custom themes:


As I stated above, screwing with the system requires the utmost attention to detail and precision. Set a System Restore point before attempting and make sure you do it step by step. As I am writing this I had just completed this and my custom theme is working fine. If you screw up your PC by attempting this it is solely your fault. Do not come to this thread asking how to fix it. You take all risk involved in patching your system. And did I mention to make a System Restore point? If you are locked out of your system, you may use a Vista setup disk or the partitioned System Recovery utility to run Windows System Restore.

You can go to deviantART to find good themes.

- Purchase an external laptop fan. These babies will assist your cooling a hell of a lot more and they also double as a riser in some models. They make some noise but its worth it to protect your 1200 dollar investment. Make sure you get a model that cools the area where your GPU is not just the bulk of the laptop. Also try to get one that sucks away the hot air rather than blow cold air against the laptop.

- Keep your laptop free of dust and dirt. Getting this crap in your internal fan can ruin your laptop. Take it from someone who knows.

Got a 9600M GT and lovin' it baby.


Edited by Ex Bond
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  • 5 months later...

making changes in registry (you should type "regedit" to Run dialog box to open it) can cause serious problems (for people not familiar working with it) so you people can use a handy tool for that registry cleaning.Like Tuneup Utilities (complex tool-also cleans garbage), registry fixer, regsupreme, glary utilities (complex tool-also cleans garbage)

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  • 1 month later...

All tools can harm your OS installtion. Especially "people not familiar working with it". The same applies to infamous registry cleaners and tweaking tools. Especially "TuneUp" utilities of all kind more or less incorporate certain "hidden" registry settings, which are hidden for a reason by MS. They are not meant to be activated or altered by the general and even educated computer users. There should only be used in certain circumstances. And this circumstance will actually never apply to your specific situation.

A lot of false and half-baked information is floating around in the net concerning those hidden tweaking/tune-up registry settings.... and they are mostly copy and pasted and never actually researched. Almost all of them are even openly documented by microsoft and just plainly misunderstood by some half-witted editor who publish them.

If you don#t know what a settings does leave it alone or try researching it first.

The only tool recommended tool is Dial-a-Fix as Michael states which (known MS) commandlines he#s using to fix issues... instead of making you believe it will fix stuff by applying one fabulous reg setting.

For cleaning portable CCleaner is my recommendation, but don#t expect any major speed improvements from any tool.

The best proven (common sense :) ) tweaking is to keep the OS as original as a clean install. Less software installed means less errors, less clutter, less registry, less files, more RAM.

Else i agree with Ex Bond's first post :)

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i also reccomend users visit : Tweakguides.com to find useful and insight into tweakes for a variety of new and old games that can improve performance and image quality.

Also I highly reccomend users use the free .pdf known as Tweaking Companion for useful insights and suggestions on tweaking XP and Vista for stability and maximum performance.

The guides includes services tweaks, registry, boot tweaks all which i have researched and is known to work :)

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