Add a ReadyBoost Speed Shot
Microsofts hails ReadyBoost as an easy way to boost a Vista PCs performance with a USB flash drive. Insert a flash drive into a USB port, and take up Vistas automatic offer to Speed Up My System Using Windows ReadyBoost. When the flash drives Properties window opens to the ReadyBoost tab, choose Use this device and click OK. Vista automatically grabs up to 4 GB of your flash drives storage capacity.
Your flash drives memory cant replace system memory, unfortunately. Instead, Vista uses it for virtual memory, caching frequently accessed bits of information to avoid making return trips to your much slower hard drive.
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Turning on ReadyBoost didnt bump my Windows Experience Index past its lowly 1.0 rating. And I didnt notice much of a boost until I began filling my desktop with open program windows. But sure enough, with ReadyBoost, Vista no longer strained when switching between windows.
Vistas ReadyBoost snubs flash drives that lack a fast memory access speed, and you wont see much boost on PCs already holding 2 GB of RAM or more. But since many older laptops lack more than 1 GB of RAM, ReadyBoost provides an easy way to run more programs simultaneously.
Be sure to dump your flash drives contents onto your laptop first; an empty flash drive gives Vista the most space to juggle windows.
Fatten up Vista's cursor
Being only one pixel wide, Vista's blinking cursor quickly sinks into a sea of text on a laptop's screen. To fatten up the cursor, open the Control Panel, choose Ease of Access, and click Optimize Visual Display. Near the window's bottom, change Set the Thickness of the Blinking Cursor to 2, doubling its size. (The preview lets you see your change immediately.) Click OK to save the cursors new size, or, depending on your eyesight, bump it up a few more notches.
These few tweaks dramatically increase Vistas performance, improve your laptops battery life, and let you postpone buying that new laptop for another year or so. By then, the new breed of laptops will be able to take advantages of Vistas new laptop-oriented features. Theyll fully support Vistas Mobility Center, for example, as well as offer a small Sideshow display on the closed lid for quick e-mail checks. Their new hybrid hard drives with built-in RAM will increase performance and battery life.
Finally, Vistas Service Pack will have arrived, smoothing out the rough edges that have alienated so many of todays PC and laptop owners. Its worth the wait.