Windows performance tweaking myths, busted

I should have pointed this out earlier this week, but better late than never. The How-To Geek has an excellent post over at Lifehacker that every Windows user should read.

Mythbusting: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths hits just about every one of the myths you’re likely to find at various how-to sites, including several I’ve written about extensively here.

Excellent reading, and the conversation in the comments section is entertaining as well.

5 thoughts on “Windows performance tweaking myths, busted

  1. Of course, I couldn’t have written that without all the work you’ve already done debunking them… more of a roundup of your work than anything else. =)

  2. What would really improve my Vista performance would be to not have a svchost.exe process that grows to a few GB of virtual memory over time if I suspend or hibernate once or twice.

    Also, I improved my machine’s performance by limiting the system restore size… it started to eat all my spare hard drive space with one image being over 12GB in size.


  3. Gregger,

    You should use Process Explorer to figure out what service is using all that extra memory. It’s certainly not normal. I suspend and resume all the time on a half-dozen machines here with no symptoms like the ones you describe.

    It sounds like that issue might be related to the second problem, in fact. In my case, I actually have increased the size of the System Restore reserved area, but I have tons of HDD space and feel it’s best used. If you’re starting to run out, your needs would be different.

  4. I echo the commentator who said “throwing my hat in with the disabling service = improved performance”, but only when you’re careful about what you are doing.

    I recently re-installed XP Home on one of my computers. I also installed a large HOSTS file as a prophylactic measure.

    After that, my first web page access (after booting) would take half a minute to resolve its DNS query. After several hours of mucking about (including two system restore rollbacks) I realized I needed to disable (or disable auto-start) the DNS Client service. Problem solved. Ah, the joys of late-night sleep-deprived computer administration!

    I understand not everyone believes a large HOSTS file to be a worthwhile preventative measure.

  5. Generally, I agree with the debunking here, but for two points:

    Registry cleaning and disabling certain services may not yield a performance gain. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons you’d do both those things.

    Registry cleaning or registry modification can be helpful when troubleshooting a problem. Now, generally, this winds up making a specific change rather than relying on a catch-all app, but even the catch-all apps can prevent problems from occurring.

    Specific service disabling CAN be used for performance gains and/or troubleshooting. The difference is, you’re disabling something you know is a performance drag or compatibility problem, not just arbitrarily disabling services.

    In both these cases, I know these things can matter for doing real-time audio and music performance. But I agree with the article that it’s not sort of randomly applying these techniques and hoping for the best; that’s almost certain not to work.

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