Tweak Windows 7 for Netbook

Now that it’s official that Microsoft will not comeup with a windows 7 version for netbooks, its pretty clear that we will have to tweak win7 on our own. According to a report by DisplayBank in 2008 over 14.9 million netbooks were sold with that number expected to almost double or triple in 2009. Netbooks have become a great secondary PC when you want a very portable and low cost way to do basic computing. Many ship with Windows XP home edition but that is just not as fun and helpful to use as Windows 7.

Like many of you I loaded Windows 7 on my netbook and it performed just OK.  The key to speeding up Windows 7 on a netbook with limited resources is to turn off and disable features that you don’t need. After all, it’s a netbook and there are many Windows components that will never be used. Additionally, disabling un-needed components will extend your battery life since fewer processes will be using the CPU running in the background.

1. Fine Tune Visual Graphics/Animation Settings

The Windows 7 eye candy is the main cause of GUI slowness. While my netbook has a decent graphics card that can display Aero Glass it can be choppy at times.

Click on the Start Button and type in adjust the appearance and hit Enter. This will load the Visual Effects performance options.

On this screen I suggest disabling the following settings by removing the check:

  • Animate controls and elements inside windows
  • Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
  • Fade or slide menus into view
  • Fade or slide ToolTips into view
  • Fade out menu items after clicking
  • Show window contents while dragging
  • Slide open combo boxes

Click OK when you are finished.

2. Remove Startup Programs

Nothing wastes resources more is startup programs that you don’t need. Click on the Start Button and type in msconfig and hit Enter.

When the System Configuration utility is loaded click on the Startup tab.

Remove the check next to any applications you don’t need and click OK.

3. Disable Services

Now it’s time to trim the Windows services running in the background of your computer.

Click on the Start Button and type in services.msc and hit Enter.

When the Services management console is shown you can stop and disable services by selecting the service, right clicking and selecting Properties. Then change the Startup type to Disabled and hit the Stop button. Finally click OK to return to the Services management console.

I recommend disabling the following services on a netbook:

  • Block Level Backup Engine Service
  • Certificate Propagation
  • Homegroup Provider
  • Offline Files
  • Portable Device Enumerator Service
  • Software Protection
  • SSDP Discovery
  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service
  • Windows Search

Other services you can play around with:

1. Application Experience
2. Computer Browser
3.Error Reporting Service
4. Desktop Window Manager Session Manager
5. Diagnostic Policy Service
6. IP Helper
7. Offline Files
8. Portable Device Enumerator Service
9. Print Spooler
10.Distributed Link Tracking Client
11. Protected Storage
12.Secondary Logon
13. Server (If your computer do not connect with any network)
14. Tablet PC Input Service
15. Themes
16. TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
17. Windows Media Center Service Launcher
18. Windows Search
19.Remote Registry
20. Windows Time
21. Windows security center
22. Windows updates
23. Windows firewall(Provided you have a security software installed)
You can disable more services which you feel you won’t use. Keep in mind that if you use any of these services or applications that depend on them they will no longer function. E.g. if you are a homegroup user don’t disable the Homegroup Provider.


4. Turn off Windows features

Microsoft gives you much more flexibility with Windows 7, allowing you to turn off Windows components — such as Internet Explorer, Windows Search, the Gadget platform, and media features — that you couldn’t disable in earlier versions of Windows. Here’s how:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel and select Programs And Features.
  2. In the left pane, click Turn Windows Features On Or Off.
  3. Simply select or deselect the check boxes to enable or disable the various Windows features then click OK.

You can easily turn Windows features on or off in Windows 7.

5. Turn off Aero Snap (optional)
A new feature in Windows 7 is Aero Snap, which causes your application windows to automatically snap into a preconfigured place when you move them to the edges of the screen. Drag a window to the far right, and it will size itself to fill exactly half the screen. Drag it to the top corner and it will maximize to fill the whole screen. This can be handy, but it can also be annoying if you prefer that your windows stay the size you made them. Luckily, you can easily turn Snap off. Here’s how:

  1. Click Start and select Control Panel.
  2. Click Ease of Access Center.
  3. Click Make the Mouse Easier to Use.
  4. Select the Prevent Windows From Being Automatically Arranged When Moved To The Edge Of The Screen check box and click OK.

6. Install More RAM (optional)

There is really no good substitute to having plenty of ram in a computer. You can use ReadyBoost but with memory prices so cheap why not just buy more. I purchased a 2GB chip for my netbook for $16 (hopefully the mail-in rebate will come through).

The popular Intel Atom processor netbooks use the Mobile Intel 945GSE Express Chipset that has a max of 2GB of ram supported. The amount of expansion slots or if your netbook even has one depends on the vendor and model of your netbook.

Finally, Your  Netbook is snappy and you are happy!

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  • i’m happy 🙂

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  • Thank you for your help!

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  • windows 7 is the greatest windows OS yet. your article was well written i look forward to reading more of your posts!

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  • d0za

    lookup readyboost feature in google to see how you can make it run faster with a flash drive.

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    • Guest

      The Windows 7 eye candy is the main cause of GUI slowness.

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  • will

    great article,easy to use.

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  • Adamjcartwright

    Some of these changes have made an immediate and very noticeable change in speed for my netbook thankyou very much for this.

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