How to Decrease CPU Usage in Vista

By Robert Karr

In a typical setup of Windows Vista a number of services, software features and viewing enhancements are installed by default. While these may offer the user some nice options, many are not absolutely essential for operation of the system. However, each one may consume part of the CPU power resulting in incremental decreases in performance. At some point, these may well cause unwanted slowdowns in computer operation. If you can live without some of these goodies, then CPU utilization can be improved.

Step 1

Press "Ctrl+Alt+Del" and select "Start Task Manager. " Click on the "Processes" tab where you can get an idea of processes currently running and how much memory they consume. End ones you don't really need like the Sidebar to decrease CPU usage.

Step 2

Open the Control Panel and select the "Power Options." If the Preferred Plan is not "Power Saver" chose this setting. Fine tune these settings by selecting "Change Plan Settings" and then "Change Advanced Power Settings."

Step 3

Click "Start" and then "Run" and type "msconfig" in the command box. Click the "Startup" tab and remove the chec kmark from every program you do not need to start automatically.

Step 4

Click on the "Services" tab and put a check mark in the "Hide all Microsoft services" box. Remove the check marks from the remaining services that you do not need to run all the time.

Step 5

Turn off the Vista Aero display by right-clicking on the Desktop. Select "Personalize" and then the "Window Color and Appearance" link. Choose "Windows Classic" or "Windows Standard" from the Appearance Settings screen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Various free and commercial programs can be located by searching the Web that may help reduce CPU usage.
  • Be very careful which Services you decide to turn off since selecting the wrong one(s) may adversely impact the way one or more of your programs run.