I’m convinced, as are most Vista ultra mobile PC owners, that a standard install of Vista on a ultra mobile PC is not optimal. I’ve seen it and so have many others. Its torture. Especially if you’re used to a relatively spritely windows XP installation so here’s my top 13 tips for optimizing Vista on UMPCs. Most of these I have tried myself. Others came as tips from third parties. If you have more tips, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.
- Disable Windows sidebar. Well known to take processing power.
- Disable on-screen mouse. Learn how to use the mouse without the on-screen version. Saves memory and processing power.
- Disable indexing. This tends to keep the disk working overtime. Highly recommended.
- Reduce screen candy. Go to Performance Settings and change the setting to “Adjust for best performance” and then re-enable visual styles.
- Disable Windows Defender. Its a security hit but personally, I think its worth it.
- Get all current Windows updates and then turn off auto update download (switch to notification only.)
- Disable anti-phising filter in IE7. This is a killer.
- Switch to 16-bit screen. I always use 16 bit if I remember. It saves a lot of screen memory and if you’re browsing, you rarely notice it.
- Optimize your power settings. If you need performance, make sure your CPU is free to run up to full speed. Max battery settings tend to lock the CPU down to lower speeds. (600Mhz on a Pentium-M, 400Mhz on a Via C7-M)
- Pre-fetch/Super-fetch hacks. This is a tip from Origamiproject forums. I have tried it and I liked it! See here for more info.
- Test out readyboost. Its not one I can recommend personally as I’ve never tried it and I’ve also seen reports of people trying it out and seeing no benefit. You need to test it out.
- Consider disabling handwriting learning. Its a service that takes memory and processing power.
- Remove background tasks. As you install software you’ll always get a build up of unwanted services and processes. Real, Logitech, Adobe and all anti virus packages put software in the background that at the minimum take memory but in the worst case take CPU and Internet bandwidth. If you’re on a limited 3G plan, the last thing you want is Firefox downloading 2MB of program file in the background. There are tools around to clean these processes up so its advised to use them.
- [added 29th Oct 2007] Disable the touch input panel on-screen tab (left or right of the screen) as this can interfere with Video performance.
- [added 02 December 2007] Install this Microsoft patch. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941649 which was proved to save almost 10% battery life on the HTC Shift. Note that this may be rolled up into updates or service packs so its possible that this could already be installed on your system. Thanks to The Niles for this tip.
One additional element that should be considered for devices with keyboards is disabling tablet functionality services. Its drastic and controversial but if all you use the touchscreen for is as a mouse then why not! I haven’t done it myself so I can’t advise on how to do it but its an options worth investigating.