How to fix three "broken" features of Vista

February 25, 2008

How to fix three "broken" features of Vista Certain problems with Vista won’t be fixed by service packs or by updates but rather were actually part of the design.  Users got used to XP and the way XP did things but Vista does some things differently.  To help get your sanity back here are three things you can do to make Vista more amiable.

First, let’s tackle UAC.  Vista’s UAC enables account controls which requires you to specify program actions when they need elevated permissions.  The problem is that almost every action in Vista will require such.  This can be turned off while still leaving the more important virtualization protection in place.

There are two ways to do this, by using native commands in Vista which is a 6-step process and should be avoided by everyone unless you want to create “Local Security Policy” specifically for that.  I can’t recommend doing so.  Instead, download Tweak UAC which will allow you to painlessly enable quiet mode.

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This disables all those annoying “elevate permissions” dialogs but leaves the virtualization mode in place.  Some programs may still require admin level access and to give it that you will need to right click on the program and select “Run as administrator.”

UAC Quiet mode still requires you to have an Administrator account, it will only work on those types of accounts.  Standard users, even with Tweak UAC installed, will not be able to perform admin level tasks.

Note, that Security Center will tell you UAC is off when the quiet mode is enabled.  To make sure that it is working, see if Virtualization is listed as enabled in the Task Manager for some or most of your running tasks.  To check, start the Task Manager, select View then Columns and check the Virtualization option.  You may have to restart for UAC quiet mode to be properly enabled.

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Second, get faster disk performance.  This will only work if you have a SATA hard drive.  Windows Vista can use additional write caching, in which, data will be written to RAM before it is written to the hard drive.  It’s not that it makes your disks faster but gives the illusion of such but utilizing RAM first.

Microsoft has turned this feature off by default because using this mode can lead to increased data loss.  If you’re not using a laptop and have a desktop without an auxiliary power source then it’s best to leave it off.

To enable this mode go to the Device Manager.  Click the “plus” sign next to “Disk Drives” and right click the first device in the list (this is likely your boot drive).  Go to “Properties” and under the “Policies” tab and check the “Enable advanced performance” option.

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Third and last but certainly not least, the other common complaint in Vista.  Network file performance is lacking in the operating system.  It seems the system designed to improve it actually makes it slower on current networks.

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To correct this you will need to type “cmd” (without the quotes), then right click it and select “Run as Administrator.”  Type the following at the prompt: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

According to Techtree that will disable “Vista’s “Auto Tuning” - a smart feature that reacts to changes in the network by tuning the receive packet size.”  It’s designed to improve network performance but in most cases, slow it down.  It can be enabled again by typing: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal

Some of these seem simple enough but placing UAC in quiet mode and enabling the drive performance feature are probably more important to most people.

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