Computerworld article promotes unnecessary Vista fiddling



September 4th, 2008

I've just finished reading an article on Computerworld called "12 unnecessary Vista features you can disable right now" which claims that you can "reclaim your PC's performance by turning off a dozen wasteful features." Sorry folks, but more than 90% of this article is bunk.

Let me just run through the "tips" contained in the article quickly and add a few thoughts:

  • Turn off the Vista Sidebar - Bunk. Performance gains here are directly related to how many gadgets you have running and the quality of the code.
  • Turn off Aero - Bunk. Some notebook users might claw back a small amount of performance (and, more importantly, battery life), but even a lot-spec desktop machine won't benefit from this.
  • Turn off various Windows beautification options - Bunk. Offers little to no performance gains.
  • Turn off Remote Assistance - Bunk. Gains resulting from this can't be measured.
  • Turn off Internet Printing Client - Bunk. As above.
  • Turn off Windows Meeting Space - Bunk. As above.
  • Turn off Windows Ultimate Extras - Bunk. As above.
  • Turn off Tablet PC stuff - Bunk. Again, as above.
  • Turn off ReadyBoost - Bunk. As above again.
  • Turn off Search indexing - Some gains here, mostly relating to disk access. Depending on the speed of your disk and how many files you have, this might help make your system a bit more responsive.
  • Turn off Offline files - Bunk.
  • Turn off Windows Error Reporting Service - Bunk. However, it does speed things up following a crash recovery because you don't have to mess about with dialog boxes.

Bottom line, 90% bunk. You might be wondering whether doing all the things I've labeled as bunk have a cumulative effect on performance. Sorry, but that's also bunk.  The difference between a system with all these features running and one with them turned off is usually too small to measure.

Here's a tip. Next time you come across an article promising performance gains, look for any data presented by the author to back it up, even if they just tell you how much RAM they gained on their system, or how much their 3DMark went up by. If you see little or no metrics, that points to a regurgitated article written by someone who either hasn't tried out the tips themselves and is taking everything on face value, or hasn't bothered testing out the claims to see just how much performance gains their achieved.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2008 at 19:48 and is filed under PC Doctor's Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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