To remove your speaker Icon, Network Icon or
your clock from the System Tray.
Just go to your Start Menu, r-click on an
empty spot and click on Properties. Click on the Notification Tab. Go
down to System Icons. And uncheck those you wish to disable.
Removing the Windows Defender
System Tray Icon from the taskbar
To remove the Windows Defender Icon, open up
Windows Defender. On the toolbar at the top choose “Tools”. Under the
“Tools and Settings” area choose “Options” in the settings area. Scroll
down to “Real Time Protection Options” and look for “Choose when Windows
Defender Icon appears in the Notification Area”. Now choose which action
you would like. “Only if Windows Defender detects an action to take”, or
“Always”. Choosing the first option will remove the Icon, but if Windows
Defender is alerted to something. It will appear in the notification area
to warn you of something amiss.
Finding the Quick Launch
Toolbar in Vista
Just go to your Start Menu, r-click on an
empty spot and click on Properties. Click on the Toolbars Tab.
In the Toolbars Tab is where you will find
the settings to add or remove Quick launch or other toolbars.
Quickly Open Network
Connections List in Windows Vista
One of the biggest annoyances in Windows
Vista is that you can’t immediately open the
Network Connections list to see the list of adapters, like you could in
In Windows XP, you could right-click any
network connection and select “Open
Network Connections”, but in Windows Vista,
the only option you have is to open the Network and Sharing Center via
the same right-click menu.
To immediately open the connection list, you
can just type ncpa.cpl into
the Start menu search box:
And up pops the network connection list just
like your used to:
You can also create a shortcut somewhere to
the full file path if you want even easier access.
Just use C:\windows\system32\ncpa.cpl as the location of the shortcut.
Clean up what you don't
you installed Vista yourself and have experience installing previous
Windows operating systems, you surely noticed that Vista hardly asks any
questions about your computer
Windows Vista makes all kinds of assumptions about your
computing habits and the features you may or may not need, and it
inevitably installs some overhead that you simply don't need. You can get
rid of it.
Windows XP had the "Add/Remove Windows Features"
button in the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet, and Vista has
something like it.
1. Open Control Panel and click
"Uninstall a Program" to launch Vista's Uninstall or Change a
Program Window. In the Tasks pane on the left, click "Turn Windows
Features On or off."
2. Check the list of features. Each
feature is preceded by a checkbox, which, if filled, indicates the
feature is installed. If you hover the mouse over a feature, a help tool
tip appears to tell you what it is.
3. Uncheck any feature you don't
need. Some of the features are headings with a sub-list below them; just
click the little "+" sign to expand.
For a gaming
system, purge everything except:
> Some of the games
> XPS Viewer (under .NET Framework 3.0)
> Remote Differential Compression (a
> Windows Ultimate Extras
Note that when you uncheck features, you're
not removing these features from your system; you're simply turning them
off so they don't sit in the background eating up resources.
You can turn any of them back on by invoking
this window and filling the checkboxes.
NOTE: Your Flash
Drive must be “ReadyBoost” Compatible. If you do not see the “ReadyBoost”
Tab while setting up your system. Then your drive is not compatible. You
must buy a Flash Drive that supports “ReadyBoost”.
ReadyBoost is a Vista feature that uses a
compatible USB flash device to enhance performance.
that the oft-misunderstood feature isn't a replacement for a memory
upgrade, and it doesn't affect game performance — you won't see higher frame rates by adding a
keychain drive to your system.
ReadyBoost caches disk reads on the fly and can often speed
up data access. Reads from a USB key or other ReadyBoost device are much
faster than random reads from a platter on the hard drive.
ReadyBoost data is encrypted, so if someone swipes the flash
device he or she can't tell what you've been up to. It's secure, and it
really does speed up access in certain instances.
enable ReadyBoost, just plug in a flash device. (Microsoft recommends one
about the same size as your system's main memory. For instance, if you
have 1GB of RAM, grab a 1GB ReadyBoost device.)
system will automatically detect the drive and offer to use it either as
an external drive or as a ReadyBoost drive. Simply choose the latter, and
a window will appear.
can change the amount of memory on the device is used for speed. Windows
will recommend the amount it can use with the most efficiency. Click
"OK" and you're done.
Adding a ReadyBoost drive isn't like doubling your system's
memory, but the performance benefits are well worth the price of a USB
Shut down Background
For the most streamlined operation, it's
essential that your computer have as few programs running in the
background as possible.
can tell a bit about how much junk is running behind the scenes by
looking at the system tray (the area next to the clock on the taskbar).
The more icons you see there, the more stuff is running that you may not
recommend a two-step process for getting rid of any background services
that you don't need. Check out the tray icons and use the interfaces from
those programs to disable them natively. Then, run good old MSCONFIG to
clean out anything else.
First, look at the tray. Some of the stuff there belongs
there; you might see a little speaker icon, a battery power icon, an icon
for the Sidebar, network status icons and a few other odds and ends that
Windows puts in the tray.
for third-party icons; Such as QuickTime, it often occupies a part of the
Right-click on any icons you find that aren't simple Windows
status icons. Look for settings, properties or a similar option. Then, in
the resulting window, look for a way to prevent the program from loading
when Windows starts.
For example, to prevent Steam (a popular
game-data delivery service) from automatically loading, you would:
1.Right-click the Steam tray icon.
2. Click "Settings."
3. Click "Interface."
4. Uncheck "Run Steam When
5. Click "OK."
QuickTime, however, presents a challenge. You can tell it
not to display the tray icon, but it will still run in the background.
For that, and other programs that don't always display tray icons, use
the second method.
Click the Start button, type
"msconfig," and hit "Enter."
You'll see the System Configuration window,
which operates essentially the same as it does in Windows XP. Click the
at the list of startup items. Each is preceded by a checkbox. You can
prevent any of these programs from starting simply by un-checking it.
You'll note that QuickTime, which wouldn't let me disable it
through its interface, is there. Simply uncheck it to prevent it from
running in the background — and sucking
up system resources.
Steam, QuickTime and many other such programs will start
automatically when they're needed. For example, if you launch an MOV
file, QuickTime will start whether or not its little applet is running in
the background. Steam will launch if you start a Steam game, even if it's
not running behind the scenes.
some items are necessary. You might see things like a mouse or game pad
applet that the hardware needs to offer its programmability. You might
see Windows Defender, which, if your computer has constant Internet
access and lacks another anti-spyware program, could help protect it.
Here's a good rule of thumb: If an application in MSCONFIG
references hardware, you should keep it. If it references software, get
rid of it (unless it's a vital security program).
Hardware applets often supply needed front ends; software
applets usually help a software program open faster. Software opens just
fine without helper applets, so there's no need for them to suck up
processor cycles all the time.
When you've cleaned out the list, un-checking
anything you don't need, restart the computer.
Speed Up the Interface
Windows Vista features what some of us think is the
prettiest graphical user interface in the operating-systems industry. Its
stylish transparencies and nifty animations — driven by Direct3D and your graphics card — give it a polished look that's a pleasure to use.
Unfortunately, that shiny, new interface, called Aero, is
also a resource hog. If you're running Vista on a PC that's near or just
above the system requirements, you might want to shut off some or all of
Here are some actions you
might want to take to tweak interface services:
1. Lose the transparency.
Right-click the desktop, click "Personalize" and click
"Windows Color and Appearance." Uncheck "Enable
Transparency." Click "OK."
2. Get rid of the Sidebar. It's cool,
but some of those gadgets chow down on memory. Right-click the Sidebar,
click "Properties" and uncheck "Start Sidebar When Windows
Starts." Click "OK." Then right-click the Sidebar and
click "Close Sidebar." If you ever want it back, you can simply
click the Start button and key in "sidebar" and hit
3. Get rid of some of the visual
effects. Open Control Panel, click "Performance and System
Tools" and click "Adjust Visual Effects." In the resulting
window, you can uncheck line items for animations, fades and other
effects; or simply click "Adjust For Best Performance."
4. Go with a non-Aero theme. To get
rid of Aero entirely, use the Windows Classic, Windows Vista Basic or
Windows Standard theme. Right-click the desktop, click
"Personalize" and click "Windows Color and
Appearance." Click "Open Classic Appearance Properties" .
and choose a theme in the Color Scheme list box. Click "OK."
you perform such tweaks, Windows Vista won't look as pretty. It will,
however, respond much faster. A high-end system might not benefit a whole
lot from these adjustments, but they'll improve low-end computers in
Defrag Once in a While
If you've somehow gotten the impression that
Windows Vista doesn't need to be defragmented, think again.
comes with a defrag program (Microsoft's worst yet, in terms of
usability) and it even comes preconfigured to defrag the hard drive once
Unless you keep your computer on 24 hours a day, launch Disk
Defragmenter (click Start and type in "defrag" and hit
"Enter") and disable its scheduler.
You can do this on your own, with a better
defrag application, which, unlike Microsoft's, still shows you a map of
the drive as it defrags.
Download Disk-Defrag from AusLogics and install it. Then run it. It's speedy and free.
Unless you install and uninstall programs, move and delete
data and otherwise assault the hard drive regularly, you don't need to
defrag more than once a month.
Pick a night after you're done with your PC,
start the Disk-Defrag application, start a defragmentation and go to bed.