Gain some serious Vista Velocity
Vista can be a total slug, especially when running on systems with 1GB or less of RAM. Yes, there have been reports of Vista running on 512MB systems, but those were likely only run by the Microsoft Masochist Membership.
If you've already run good third-party software to defrag and clean up your disk (try Diskeeper or Acronis True Image) and cleaned up the rest of the completely useless junk piled up by Vista on your hard disk by using Ccleaner (it's freeware and has to be the best around), now it's time to delve a bit deeper into the system's innards to give Vista the speed boost it so desperately needs.
Whether you're running Vista Original or SP1 (any version) one of your best first steps to getting some Vista Velocity is to check your BIOS settings. If you have your boot device priority to start with your optical or even worse your floppy (even though most systems no longer have floppies, you'd be surprised how many are still set up in BIOS to boot from floppy first), change your priority to boot from C: drive. This simple step can shave up to 15 seconds off your boot up routine.
You can also chop a good 4 or 5 seconds off the boot by going into the RUN command, typing msconfig, pressing Enter, then choosing the Boot tab and clicking on No GUI Boot. This will eliminate that time-wasting Vista Splash Screen. If you have to be reminded of what OS you're running every time you boot, you're beyond hope anyway.
Since you're in the Boot tab, now is a good time to set the Advanced Options/Number of Processors box. Select the setting to reflect the exact number of processors you have. For dual core it's 2, for quad core it's 4 and for dual socket quad core... I'm envious.
While you're in there, check your Start Up and Services tabs. You'll find all sorts of gobbledigook in there. Take the time to Google each process name and disable anything that you recognize and don't want to boot up with your PC, such as application and hardware manufacturer specific apps that do nothing but run in the background and suck your Vista dry.
If you haven't gone to Tools tab yet to disable UAC, then do it now and those horrible, pesky, bothersome and generally pointless prompts that come up whenever you want to do anything at all will finally disappear.
To ReadyBoost or not to ReadyBoost is a typical question asked by Vista users trying to get more zoom out of their PCs. If you have a 4GB or larger USB key sitting around, it certainly isn't going to do you any harm to plug it into the port. However, if you're going to go out and buy one, put that money towards 2GB of RAM which if you shop around you'll find for about the same price as a 4GB key. You'll get immensely more performance out of the RAM than you will out of the ReadyBoosted key. Remember that if you're running a 32-bit Vista, anything more than 3.5GB of RAM is a waste. Go to 64-bit to access 4GB and more.
When you implement these system mods, you may find that your Vista is not such a slow snail as you have been experiencing!