This blog post is about how to speed up Microsoft Windows 7.
February 2021 update: My 2012 blog post below focuses on non-hardware tweaks. I’m not currently using Windows 7, but I wanted to also mention that I think one of the best ways to improve performance is to replace a mechanical SATA hard drive with a SSD. Other hardware changes I considered are graphics card and increasing RAM, but that might not always be possible.
I also reach a stage where I don’t want to spend any further money on a PC and I just try my best with what I already have available and eventually I move onto a new PC.
Microsoft Windows 7 doesn’t just come on shiny new computer systems, but also it is purchased for older systems. However regardless of whether you are running Microsoft Windows 7 on a new or old computer system, performance can be an issue. Now before we get started with our tips, we will say that in most situations upgrading hardware is the most effective way to increase performance, and tweaking an existing system will only get you so far. That being said, there could be some great tweaks, that you’ve not done. Let us start with the most obvious.
Remove your background wallpaper.
As with older versions of Microsoft Windows, wallpaper will eat up memory you might want elsewhere, so best stick with a single colour background, rather than an image background.
Upgrade your graphics driver.
Sometimes Microsoft Windows will use an outdated graphic driver for your graphics card. Other times you will discover your graphics card manufacturer doesn’t have a Microsoft Windows 7 setup application as your card is too old. It is typically the case that using a more recent graphics driver not only will mean you probably can use a higher screen resolution, but also have improved performance. You might want to try installing graphic card setup software using compatibility mode, if it wouldn’t run under Windows 7. Another option is to look at the Omega drivers, as they may provide a better driver if you have a ATI or Nvidia graphics card.
Turn off the special effects!
Nifty features such as thumbnail previews in the system bar and transparent windows, will decrease performance. To turn off the visual effects, right click on ‘My Computer’ from the start area, and then select ‘properties’. Now you will find an option to access advanced system settings and to configure the ‘performance’ options.
Configure your Startup.
Another well used application on various versions of Microsoft Windows to help improve performance is msconfig, which you access by typing its name in the search bar from the start menu. Then you can click on the ‘Startup’ tab, to see if any applications can be stopped from starting up, but won’t cause a security issue. Basically you should very careful go through the list, as many items shouldn’t be disabled. However depending on your setup, you might be able to disable a few.
As we stated at the beginning of this article, hardware upgrades usually will make the biggest difference, i.e. more ram, faster ram, motherboard, SATA instead of EIDE hard drives and a better graphics card are some upgrades that can make a dramatic difference. However without spending any money, the above tweaks could help you get better performance.