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Tweaking Windows Vista for Performance

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Some of the most important factors in Windows Vista performance include visual settings, hard disk performance, and power plan settings. Learn how to analyze your system for bottlenecks and tweak Windows Vista to improve your system's performance.

Some of the most important factors in Windows Vista performance include visual settings, hard disk performance, and power plan settings.

These are especially important if your system falls into any of the following categories:

  • A mobile or desktop computer with integrated graphics or PCI (not AGP or PCI-Express) graphics
  • A mobile or desktop computer that uses hot-swap hard disks such as USB, FireWire, or eSATA
  • A desktop computer that uses a battery backup (UPS) unit
  • A mobile computer that is normally plugged into AC power

This article shows you how to customize these common system configurations for better performance while running Windows Vista.

Using the Windows Experience Index to Find Performance Bottlenecks

If you’re looking for an even more precise way to evaluate your system’s current performance—and find performance bottlenecks—use the Windows Experience Index (WEI) base score and subscores calculated by Windows Vista when it was first installed.

To display your system’s current WEI base score, open the System properties sheet (available from the System and Maintenance category in Control Panel). Click the WEI link to open the Performance Information and Tools dialog to see the subscores, the lowest of which become the WEI base score. Subscores below 4.0 indicate performance bottlenecks.

In Figure 1, note that the lowest subscore (2.0) is the graphics score, which represents the system’s Windows Aero desktop performance. On a system in which the graphics subscore is the lowest subscore, visual performance tweaks should be a top priority to improve performance.

Figure 1

Figure 1 The Windows Experience Index is based on the lowest subsystem score (subscore).

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