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Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

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Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

First of all, we all know that the best way of speeding up Windows is to install Linux over it!  Grin
However, I am wanting to know what folk do to give their Windows installations a bit of a boost speed-wise.
I have just reformatted my niece's laptop because whatever I did to it the performance was not as good as I would like, despite putting extra RAM in it (this is now up to the maximum of 2GB).
Anyway, have installed Avast because it has a light footprint and I like it.  This has improved matters.  Have switched off the graphical effect icon because I have set the resolution to 16-bit medium anyway.  BTW is it OK to switch off Defender with Avast in use?  Never found it very good anyway. 
Next I went through all the start-up programmes and taken off those not needed (there were very few in fact). 
In the processes tab there was nothing untoward except was surprised to see how much Dropbox used so have lowered it to below normal priority.
Took the back off and cleaned the fan with compressed air and a light tough of the vacuum nozzle.  All in all, a good improvement and the cpu is now at between 2 and 12% when the computer is idle.
Can anyone think of anything else?
13 REPLIES
Steve
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 6,802
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Registered: 13-07-2009

Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

Good Morning Poppy  Smiley
Sounds like you got everything covered, There Is a good tutorial here you could have a nosy at and see If It can be Improved further. This Is for Windows Seven though?
And Yes Its fine to not Have Windows Defender on now that you have Avast on It.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/11728-optimize-windows-7-a.html
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
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Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

Good morning to you and what a fine day it is here in Plusnetland - hope it is nice where you are too.
The link is very good (thank you for that) and have bookmarked it, had a quick glance and will study more thoroughly later.  Yes, it is for W7 and this is Vista but some good generic things there.
Forgot to mention that I downloaded Defraggler on my own spare laptop and was astonished that it took about two hours to defrag.  This is on a machine with an 80GB hard drive that has been regularly defragged anyway.  Also use CCleaner on it.  Makes me wonder if the Windows defrag tool is very good.  Now I've put it on all the computers.
Have not put Office or Open Office on my niece's computer as they (particularly the former) need updating and she doesn't use most of the programmes anyway.  Only reguires a word processor so have put Abi Word on and it is perfectly functional with a quick load up time.  Also put Chrome on for speed although I don't like it as much as Firefox.
Oh, and thank you for the tip about Defender - will turn it off before I take the computer back.
Steve
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 6,802
Thanks: 305
Registered: 13-07-2009

Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

The sun Is shining here, The birds are tweeting, Its a great day Indeed, That's a bit weird regarding the defrag, Any way If you want to try something other than defraggler I use Ausologigs, Its pretty good and Its also free  http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

Hi Poppy, can you post the full model number/name of the hard drive that is fitted.
One of the bottlenecks in laptops is that manufacturers often fit slow rotating hard drives to extend the battery life figures by a few minutes, mainly to make their specs look good.
However with some careful research it is usually possible to replace the standard drive with something much faster AND with a similar or better power consumption figures.
Could you also post the exact model of laptop as well - so I can see how difficult it would be to replace the drive.  Sometimes it's just behind a panel, other times it will be a full dismantle job !
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

And another thing !
When you had the back off to clean the fan, did you notice whether the CPU was in a socket or was it soldered to the motherboard ?
If it was socketed, then there is a good chance that you could fit a faster CPU, or one with a bigger cache memory which would help performance.
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Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

That information about the CPU is interesting - I had thought that it could not be changed very easily.  Anyway, it's a MSI M670 which was a budget laptop in its day.
It is now running much better since the reinstall of Vista and making a few adjustments here and there.  I think it will do just nicely for my niece, whose computer it is.At least she has now stopped whinging so I am presuming that no news is good news.  I've got the same machine as a spare and it too is quite sprightly so can't complain.
Now my problem is that I was going to air blast the fan on my Sony but can't get the back off.  There is a door for the RAM and one for the HD but it looks like I'll have to take the whole bottom off to get at the fan so it'll have to stay put.
Will check out Auslogics although I had always assumed that the Windows defrag utility was adequate. 
Community Veteran
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Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

What model of Sony laptop can't you get the back off ?
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Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

Vaio VGN NW-20EF/W - as seen here.
Community Veteran
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Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

For the MSI M670, you could get hold of a good Western Digital Scorpio Black 160GB model " WD1600BEKT", on eBay for between £16 and £21.
Potentially that could give a disk performance boost of about a third, although the laptop will limit the maximum data rate to 1.5Gbps when the above drive is capable of 3.0Gbps.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

Having had a brief look at the MSI M670, it would appear that the CPU is in a socket, and it looks like if the one you have is less than 2.2GHz then a simple swap of same series CPU to 2.2GHz would be no hassle.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

I have not yet found the definitive dismantling instructions for your VGN-NW model of VAIO.
However having looked at the shape of the replacement fan and the general construction of your VGN-NW,
this youtube video
>
shows a VAIO of similar construction having a new fan fitted, so might possibly help you get yours apart for cleaning !
If you need a replacement fan (if yours is worn out - rather than just dirty) then there are currently eleven for sale on eBay (both new and used). Search for "Vaio VGN-NW fan"
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

[quote=poppy]... we all know that the best way of speeding up Windows is to install Linux over it!  Grin
If you were ever to seriously consider installing Linux, it would definitely be worth checking thoroughly your chosen distribution using a "Live CD" (before deleting your Windows setup),
as this MSI model seems to have quite a long list of Linux compatibility issues, such as closing the lid switches off the LCD backlight which then cannot recover without a power down !  Undecided
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Re: Hints and tips to improve performance in Windows

Have had my spare MSI dual-booting with Ubuntu and Mint (different times of course).  It works very well indeed - no incompatibility issues at all. Seem to remember that I stuck a PCLinuxOS disk in once and didn't get the wireless working but might have if I'd tried a bit harder.  As for the laptop in question, my niece wouldn't have the interest to cope with a different OS and it is working fine now so best to leave well alone.