Windows has all sorts of cute animations such as fading menus into view and out of view. Of course, all of these tricks take time — time that we’re waiting while we watch (or tolerate) Windows doing its thing…
Fortunately, the versions of Windows all the way back to Windows 3 offered ways to fine-tune those visual effects.
We can make our computers feel more snappy — and be more snappy, for that matter — by changing from the default visual effects.
The controls are found in different places in different versions. For a long time, they were found by right-clicking the desktop, choosing Properties, and then were an Advanced button on the Windows tab.
In Windows 7, you can access the controls most easily by clicking on the Windows Orb (used to be called the Start Button), then using the search bar to search for Performance. In the results, click on Performance Information and Tools. On the left side of the resulting dialog box, click on Advanced Tools and select Adjust the apperance and performance of Windows.
Now, you get the dialog box that will let you pick how you want Windows to perform its visual effects. The default setting is Let Winodws choose what’s best for my computer.
Unfortunately, this dialog box has a fixed size, so there are a couple of additional options not displayed in the above image. They are Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop and Use visual styles on windows and buttons. They’re checked by default and I normally leave them checked.
There are two "best" options:
- Adjust for best appearance will check all of the boxes, while
- Adjust for best performance will uncheck all of the boxes.
I choose the fourth alternative, which is Custom. This lets me pick the options I want, as shown below.
With these simple changes, Windows becomes more responsive. Whether the result is a little longer life out of an aging computer, or whether they just take away a bit of frustration, these are eacy changes any Windows user can make.