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How to optimize Windows 8 on old hardware

Marco Chiappetta | Oct. 24, 2012
Microsoft has made a point of advertising the performance enhancements and optimizations being made to Windows 8. Although Windows 7 was well received and typically offered better performance and stability than its much-maligned predecessor, Windows Vista, Microsoft had some loftier goals in mind for the jump to Windows 8.

To do so, slide out the Windows 8 charms by placing your mouse cursor in either the upper- or lower-right corner of the screen and click on the Search icon. Then highlight Settings in the Search panel and type UAC into the search field. Change User Account Control settings will appear in the left pane, click it, and the UAC Settings window will open. Simply drag the slider down one notch so Windows 8 will no longer dim the screen and will only notify you when an app tried to make changes to the system.  Dragging the slider all the way to the bottom will disable all notifications, which is not recommended unless you're a PC power user who is willing to take the risk.

Results

We collected some data on how these tricks affected our aging Asus Eee PC running Windows 8, and here's what we came up with: immediately following a fresh installation (and fully patching the OS via Microsoft Update), Windows 8 would launch with 34 running processes, consume 30% (.6MB) of available memory, and use 9.72GB on the disk in our particular machine. After running Disk Cleanup and CCleaner, 9.52GB of disk space was used. After disabling any unneeded startup items, visual options, services, and hardware, running processes were reduced to the 33 and the used memory dropped to only 20% (.4MB). Anecdotally, the PC seemed to perform typical tasks faster (opening and closing applications, moving files, etc.) and navigating the Windows 8 interface seemed to be much smoother.

The changes we outline here probably arent going to affect any benchmark scores, but they will result in a snappier system with more available memory and resources, which is exactly whats necessary to squeeze some additional life out of an aging PC. Try it out on your hardware and let us know how it goes; if youve got some tweaks of your own to optimize Windows 8, wed love to hear them in the comments section below.

 

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