Appearance and Performance Tweaking

Windows 7 continues to use an advanced desktop composition engine and provides a number of subtle but pleasing UI animations by default. Some of this stuff, however, may be a bit much; and all of it takes its toll on the performance of your PC. Fortunately, the operating system includes a number of configurable performance options worth tweaking if you have an older PC and have noticed some slowdowns with Windows 7.

To open the classic Performance Options window (identical to the Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows tool in the previous section), type adjust perf into Start Menu Search. Here you can choose between three automated settings (Let Windows choose what's best for my computer, Adjust for best appearance, and Adjust for best performance).

Alternately, you can click the Custom option and then enable and disable any of the 15 user-interface-related options that appear in the custom settings list. Most of these options should be self-explanatory, and many appeared in previous versions of Windows, but a couple of options are worth highlighting:

♦ Animations in the taskbar and Start menu (New to Windows 7): With the debut of the new taskbar, a number of new animations have been added (for example, the fading in and out of Jump Lists). If you'd rather these menus just appear, shortening menu display time, disable this feature.

♦ Use visual styles on windows and buttons: Disabling this feature causes Windows 7 to revert to the ancient-looking Windows Classic user interface. It will dramatically increase the performance of your PC at the expense of attractiveness and graphical reliability.

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