How to Adjust the Visual Settings in Windows 7 for Best Performance

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Many PC users are not aware of the host of visual settings that are available in Windows 7. There are many animation effects, transparency settings, menu fades, and so on. In slower machines, these can be a drag on system performance. Also, not everyone is enamored of a lot of busy visuals.

Here is how to configure the settings to your own liking (some settings will be missing in systems that do not support Aero):

  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Right-click Computer
  3. Choose “Properties” from the context menu
  4. In the left panel, click “Advanced system settings”
  5. In the Performance section, click the “Settings” button
  6. The dialog box shown in the figure below will open
  7. Make sure the “Visual Effects” tab is selected
  8. Remove or add checks to items according to your preference
  9. Click “OK” and “OK”

If you don't mind typing long words, you can get right to step 6 by entering "SystemPropertiesPerformance" (without quotes) in the Start search bar.

An alternative to making individual selections is to use one of the options listed near the top of the dialog box. You can let Windows choose what’s best for your system, adjust for best appearance, or adjust for best performance.

Here are some possible effects to disable for better performance:

  • Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
  • Animations in the taskbar and Start Menu
  • Enable transparent glass
  • Fade or slide menus into view
  • Fade or slide ToolTips into view
  • Fade out menu items after clicking
  • Show shadows under windows
  • Slide open combo boxes

Naturally, this and all the other possible settings are a matter of personal choice. Also, how performance is affected depends on the nature of your particular system.

Visual performance settings

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's and tutorials, including  a computer education website and a site for learning about the command line.

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