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Configuration Tips

Making the computer faster and nicer - editor's choice

These are largely my own personal notes on how to configure the GUI to be less annoying, less bloated and first of all more responsive. I just made them public in case anyone else happened to share my opinion on settings.


General Tips

  • Upgrade your hardware. The newer the hardware, the faster it is. (Well duh!) When you upgrade make sure you get lots of RAM. This is way more important than having lots of CPU, especially for over-all Windows performance. Also look for average seek times, when buying harddrives. Those two factors are what counts. If you can afford SCSI or a Solid State (flash based) drive, go for it.
  • Be conservative with software upgrades. Most people tend to switch to the latest Windows version and upgrade all their software right after buying a new PC, simply because of the refreshing feeling of "starting with something new". This is where you should hesitate. Older software is typically simpler. Simpler software is faster. Only upgrade if there are bugs or features missing.

    Now there are special cases where newer drivers or newer software result in faster performance, but that's actually much more rare than commonly assumed, due to the low cost-benefit yield of software optimizations in general.

Warning: Even though it is unlikely, the .reg files on this page might change settings in Windows that have undesirable effects. I cannot be held responsible for any such side-effects.

Windows

Just got a major windows update and is missing various settings? Try this quickfix which will remove the 400 ms delay on all menus, make the minimize/maximize animation faster, show file extensions and disable the "Fast Start" which may cause various hardware devices to not be detected during start-up.

More tricks, one by one:

  1. Windows 10 and later: Open an explorer window and go to the "View" tab and enable the checkbox called "File extensions". Leaving this off is a severe security risk. Or use this.
  2. Right click My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Environment variables: set TEMP and TMP to C:\temp in both windows (and make sure C:\temp exists.) This will make it easier to clean up if your disk becomes full.
  3. To disable mouse acceleration turn off "enhance pointer precision" in the mouse control panel or simply run this (recommended).
  4. To disable auto-run on CD-ROM drives, run this.
  5. To disable the annoying taskbar flashing in XP run this.
  6. To speed up theUI, disable slow scrolling by running this.
  7. If you wish, you can both disable and enable the windows keys and caps lock.
  8. Speed up menus by running this.
  9. Windows XP and older: For tab completion in the DOS window run this.
  10. Tip: If any application is using the CPU all the time, set its priority to "Idle" in the taskmanager.
  11. If the machine is slow (lots of disk activity and/or memory usage), quit and restart all Adobe applications.
  12. Tip: Try running C:\WINDOWS\system32\gpedit.msc
  13. If you wish to have support for symlinks, enable them using this command:
    fsutil behavior set SymlinkEvaluation L2L:1 R2R:1 L2R:1 R2L:1

X-Windows (XFree86)

  1. To adjust mouse speed add one of these lines to the end of ~/.xinitrc:
    xset m 5/10 1     (slow)
    xset m 10/10 1   (medium)
    xset m 20/10 1   (fast)
    xset m 20/10 5   (accelerated, special use only)
  2. To set the keyboard repeat rate add one of these lines to the end of ~/.xinitrc:
    xset r rate 400 15   (slow)
    xset r rate 250 25   (medium)
    xset r rate 200 40   (fast)
  3. To make the key between shift and Z on a european keyboard type \ and | like in Windows, first verify if you can resolve the matter the normal way by choosing the correct keyboard model in the system settings under Input Devices. Look for "variations" of the US english keyboard layout.
  4. To disable the beeping: xset b off
  5. Remember to run "uptime" or "top" once in a while. The "load average" should usually be way below 1.00 when the computer is idle.

FreeBSD

  1. To make backspace, delete, home and end work properly, create an .inputrc file in your home directory containing:

    "\x7F": backward-delete-char "\e[3~": delete-char "\e[1~": beginning-of-line "\e[4~": end-of-line
  2. To enable utf-8 support in the bash shell, make sure this is in the file ~/.bashrc:

    export LANG=en_US.UTF-8 export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8 export LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 export MM_CHARSET=utf8

Macintosh

Is the mouse difficult to control or "feels weird"? This is because of "acceleration" which cannot simply be disabled using the control panel like you can on other operating systems. Here are some tricks that are supposed to disable mouse acceleration:
  1. The easiest method is to run the two lines below in Terminal, log out, and then back in.
    defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling -1 defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.trackpad.scaling -1
  2. Another way is to get one of these applications: Mouse Curves or SteerMouse.
  3. I've also seen this solution suggested.

Windows 98 / ME

  1. Okay, you really should start thinking about changing operating system!



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