Hard Drive Properties
Double click on Computer and then right click on each one of your hard drive partitions. Now select 'Properties'. At the 'General' tab, make sure the two check boxes on the bottom (Compress this drive, and Index this drive) are both unchecked. They are both unneeded and can cause slowdowns, especially with lower speed Hard Disk Drives. If your machine is Vista-Ready, you may wish to leave 'Index this drive' checked, to improve the performance of the Windows Search Engine.
System Protection - Right click on Computer, and select 'Properties'. Click on the 'System Protection' tab, Check turn off Restore on all drives - if you wish to attempt to use this feature then do not check this.
*Note – the System Restore feature does not appear to work properly in Vista Build 5231 so it should be disabled.
Remote Assistance - On the 'Remote' tab, uncheck any boxes in there and click 'OK'
Visual Effects - On the 'Advanced' tab , click the ‘Settings’ button under the ‘Performance’ section. Go to the 'Visual Effects' tab; there you can choose options to enable or disable certain visual effects.
Significant performance gains in this build have been seen when using the ‘Adjust for best performance’ option.
*Note: Disabling certain Visual Effects will also disable Aero Glass effects. It has also been reported that setting this to ‘Adjust for best performance’ will cause an error in Paint when trying to ‘Save As’
Virtual Memory - Go to the 'Advanced' tab, , click the ‘Settings’ button under the ‘Performance’ section. This will open the ‘Performance Options’ dialog. Select the ‘Advanced’ tab there and go to the Virtual Memory section and click on the Change button – uncheck the box that says Automatically manage paging file size, highlight the drive you want your page file to be located on – usually the drive you installed Vista on - (If you have a secondary drive you can usually increase performance by putting the page file there – just make sure you don’t already have a page file from another OS there!) then click the radio button that says Custom size and set both the minimum and maximum to an amount that is one and one half times the amount of ram you have, then click set. This will help reduce fragmentation of the page file and your drive.
Startup and Recovery - On the 'Advanced tab’, click the ‘Settings” button under the ‘Startup and Recovery’ section. In the Write debugging information combo box, select none. *Note: This tab also has button to edit the startup options file (boot.ini)