Visual Effects and Paging File Options in Windows 7

Before you start

Objectives: Learn where to find and how to configure visual effects and paging file settings in Windows 7.

Prerequisites: you should know about optimization in Windows in general.

Key terms: optimization, performance, visual effects, paging file settings, Windows 7


 Performance Options

To change the performance settings, we can go to the properties of our computer. To do that, we can right-click Computer and then choose the Properties option.

1 Computer

Computer Properties Option

Next, we have to go to Advanced System Settings.

 2 Advanced System Settings

Advanced System Settings Link

Next, we have to go to Performance Settings.

3 Performance Settings

Performance Settings

We well now see a Visual Effects tab. By default all of the visual settings are enabled. If we have a machine with weaker hardware, we can select the “Adjust for best performance” option, or we can start unchecking specific boxes to increase the performance of the machine.

 4 Performance Options

Visual Effects Options

Overall this will make the system a little bit more responsive as it will be using less graphical power.

On the Advanced tab, we can configure Processor Scheduling. We can choose if we want to adjust for best performance of programs or background services.

 5 Advanced Tab

Advanced Tab

Usually on desktops that are running programs we will choose the “Programs” option, but on servers or certain desktops that are doing a lot of background applications like SQL databases, we would choose the “Background services” option.

On this tab we can also configure the virtual memory of our computer. To do that we click on the Change button on the Virtual Memory section.

 6 Virtual Memory

Virtual Memory Options

By default Windows 7 configures Virtual Memory automatically.  If we uncheck the “Automatically mange paging file size for all drive”, we will be able to change those settings. We can specify a custom value in MB. We can set the initial size and a maximum size. It is recommended to specify a value one and a half times the amount of physical memory we have. We can actually see the recommended values at the bottom of this window. We can put the same value for initial and maximum size.

Also, if our computer has more than one physical separated disk it might be beneficial to store the page file on a separate physical disk to improve performance.

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