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Why Is Windows Vista Slower Than Windows XP?

Feb 10, 2008
Many people are taking the leap and upgrading their pc operating system from Windows XP to Windows Vista, only to be very disappointed by the distinct slow-down in performance.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Windows Vista requires twice the computing power and resources to operate at a performance level similar to that of Windows XP. So what can you do to improve this?

Firstly, it may be worth considering if you need to have all of the Vista bells-and-whistles that are turned on by default. The Aero interface in particular, although it looks pretty, requires considerable resources and it's worthwhile turning it off to see how much general performance improves. In addition many computers from manufacturers such as IBM come with a whole suite of ancillary support programs which you may not really need, such as firewall programs, antivirus programs, performance monitor programs, etcetra. Third party firewall programs in particular can use up a lot of resources. If you've been happy with the built-in Windows Firewall, then consider turning off any third party ones.

The other two areas where a significant improvement can be made is by upgrading the amount of system ram or memory, and utilising a ReadyBoost compatible flash drive or flash card.

Upgrading system memory is very straight forward. Manufacturers like Kingston make third party ram to the specifications of the big OEM's like IBM, HP, Dell, Acer, Apple and others so it's not necessary to pay hefty prices to obtain a 100% compatible ram upgrade. Kingston also guarantee their memory for life so even if the reseller you purchased it from closes up ship you can go back to Kingston for any warranty-related issues.

Upgrading system memory as high as your budget will allow is recommended, although anything higher than 4GB with the 32-bit version of Windows Vista is pointless, as it will generally only recognise around 3.5GB of the installed memory. The 64-bit version of Vista, however, can recognise over 8GB of memory, although most computers don't yet support this.

To take advantage of ReadyBoost, simply plug in a compatible USB drive or flash card into your computer, then follow the steps to configure it using the built-in wizard. Once configured, ReadyBoost serves as an additional memory cache which can significantly improve performance by reserving part of the flash drive/card for memory management.

If you are not certain about whether your pc can be upgraded with more system memory, there are many websites which make this task relatively simple to figure out. Using your favourite search engine, type in your computer brand and model followed by the words "memory upgrade" and this should give you somewhere to start. Alternatively, if you still have your user manual this should contain specifications about how many memory slots you have, the maximum memory capacity your pc can handle, and the type of memory that is compatible.

To check your currently installed memory for Windows: Right mouse-click on the "My Computer" icon and select "Properties." The total memory is calculated and displayed under the "General" tab in the system properties window. For Mac: Click "About This Mac" or "About This Computer" from the Apple menu. (Far top left of the screen). This will provide information about your Mac's total memory (built-in memory plus DIMMs installed).
About the Author
Rod Bland is the owner of RamCity , a specialist Computer Memory Upgrade supplier shipping directly from Auckland, New Zealand.
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