With all the news about the cute graphics (often termed "eye candy" to denote its real value) of Windows Vista, we need to remember that Windows XP has some of those features, too.
Windows XP’s graphical interface defaults to a number of cute options that are worthless from a usability point of view — and are worse than that, too — they’re animations that effectively slow down your computer.
You can find and control these settings via the Control Panel. As usual, click on the Start Button and then select Control Panel from the menu.
If you’re using the Windows XP-style control panel, you’ll see the Category view and the invitation to Pick A Category. Our options are controlled in the Performance and Maintenance section, so select that button.
(If you use the Classic View for the Control Panel, click the "Switch to Category View" link on the left hand side. These screens are probably also available in the Classic View, but I haven’t located them there.)
On the Performance and Maintenance window, select "Adjust visual effects" and you’ll see the following dialog box.
If you click he radio button labelled "Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer" it will probably select all of the options. That’s what it did on my notebook. These are also selected if you choose "Adjust for best appearance."
If you choose "Adjust for best performance," you’ll get a display that looks like Windows 98.
Let’s choose Custom, so that we can unselect the animated effects while still keeping the more interesting displays and functionality in static views.
As you can see below, I’ve unselected a number of options for better performance of my system.
First, I unchecked “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing.” By unchecking the animation, the action happens instantly — and that’s what I want.
Similarly, I’ve unchecked the Fade or slide options in the window for the same reason. They’re cute, but I want speed and functionality.
The last item "Smooth-scroll list boxes" is another one I unselected. This one was annoying to me, especially if a list box (a pulldown menu) had a lot of items.
Then, click Apply and OK.
You’ll find that Windows XP feels much more responsive.