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Tuning the Advanced Performance Options

The more effects and cool-looking features you enable for Windows, the slower your computer will run. If you have a top-of-the-line PC, you can probably sacrifice a bit of computing power just so your graphics will look top-of-the-line as well.

However, if you want to get around more quickly, especially on older PCs, its best to go with the best performance route than with best appearance.

In addition to visual effects, Windows also has a few other advanced performance options that can be tweaked, including virtual memory and processor scheduling. However, as you'll see soon, you likely won't need to make any changes.

Here's how to edit the Advanced Performance Options:

  1. Right-click the My Computer or Computer icon that's on your desktop or Start menu.
  2. In Vista, click the Advanced system settings link on the left Tasks pane.
  3. On the System Properties window, select the Advanced tab.
  4. Under the Performance area, click the Settings button.
  5. On the Performance Options dialog box (see Figure 3), choose the setting you desire and click Apply.
  6. Click the Advanced tab.
  7. Unless you are running some type of server, ensure that Programs is selected for the Processor Scheduling setting (in XP, the Memory Usage setting).
  8. Under the Virtual Memory area, click the Change button.
  9. It is best to let Windows manage the page file sizes for you rather than inputting custom amounts. If you have multiple drives (not partitions that can also have a different drive letter), you can enable virtual memory for each of your secondary drives and use the system managed size option.
  10. When you're done, click OK to close the Virtual Memory dialog box and then click OK on the other windows.
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