Why does Vista run so slow?

The biggest complaint about Microsoft’s Vista operating system is that it is too slow, and this complaint is too often true. There are numerous reasons why a Vista computer, or any computer, will run too slow; insufficient RAM, lack of hard disk space, inadequate disk transfer rate, weak processor. Sorting through all these can take time. Fortunately, Vista has a little-known tool called the Reliability & Performance Monitor that will tell you exactly why the OS is running so slow. Here’s how to use it.

First, go to the Start Menu, and then to Control Panel.

When Control Panel opens, go to the System & Maintenance category:

When System & Maintenance opens up, click on Performance Information & Tools:

In the left-hand column of Performance Information & Tools, click on Advanced Tools:

In Advanced Tools, click on the System Health Report:

This will open up the Reliability & Performance Monitor, which will then do a System Health check:

The system health check typically takes about one or two minutes. When it finishes, it will produce a detailed listing of your system health:

It will note insufficient RAM, excessive disk paging, lack of AV software, a weak processor, missing drivers, and numerous other problems, and will suggest solutions to those problems. For example, insufficient RAM and excessive disk paging will produce a suggested solution of more RAM and perhaps using a USB device for ReadyBoost. With this tool, hopefully you can pin down exactly why your Vista system is running so slow.


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6 Responses to Why does Vista run so slow?

  1. I am completely mystified as to why people insist that Vista is slow. Running Vista in virtualbox (non -ose) on a dual 2.3ghz Xeon, allocating the container 1536mb of ram and 256mb of (fake) video ram, I get a “score” of 4.3, and the guest is every bit as useful as a “real” machine.

    Add to this, running on my wife’s 2.2ghz C2D with 4gb of ram (admittedly, it sees 3gb and change) and an intel 954 graphics set, I haven’t had any problems with it at all. The hardware was cheap ($600 on ebay), and the only real preparation I gave the machine was to rip out everything I wasn’t using. With a full Office 2007 install, running Ultimate with its fancy active desktop and so on, it ran everything I wanted (including IE8) perfectly.

    The same machine, running Intrepid, was usable but unremarkable. The fit-and-finish of Vista SP1 (along with Office 2007 SP1 and all the other patches) was far better than Kubuntu 4.1 and Intrepid.

    Maybe my experience would be different with gdm instead of KDE 4.1 or 4.2. I’m kind of trying to justify to myself picking up a dual-quad-core Opteron with 8gb of ram and a 1536mb video card and a 4x 1.25tb sata drive array internally. It’s just so goshdarn cheap to do anymore. I was real pleased with my Hardy setup (but had already moved to 4.1, so Intrepid was no real big improvement, really), but I think I’d be leaning in the direction of Vista Ultimate to sit alongside the Mac Pro (which, for the most part, has been flawless since we switched to Leopard Server).

    Sorry to rant, but I really don’t see the same problems with Vista that everyone else sees. I really wish more people would use it. It’s a terrific operating system compared to XP.

  2. Jonathan Moeller says:

    Vista is definitely better than XP. I think the general bad perception came from three factors:

    1.) Too many people ran Vista on inadequate hardware. 1 gig of RAM just doesn’t cut it.

    2.) Too many systems came laden with OEM cruftware, all of it rigged to start up at once, on systems with 1 gig of RAM.

    3.) The hardware compatibility was pretty bad for the first couple of months.

    By now a lot of that has been fixed. I think the plan is to take all the polish, build Windows 7 around it, and take credit for fixing Windows…even if 7 is really just a shinier Vista.

  3. Rob Lees says:

    Vista is not good now nore will it ever be unless they sort out how fast it runs, when someone buy’s a pc they want it to be reliable without buying extra RAM and upgrading. when we had XP with 256 of ram that didnt need upgrading it was good enough.

    Vista uses up 30% of the ram installed on your pc and its CPU is usually at a minimum of 30% thats without it doing anything whilst XP you can have at 30% when you have 5 or 6 applications open. FACT XP runs better is alot faster alot cheaper and alot more efficient than vista.

  4. Dan says:

    Everyobe here’s missing the point. The fact is that Vista has loads of worthless “features” enabled by default that do nothing but eat up processor cycles. One GB is EASILY sufficient to run Vista, IN ADDITION to emulating the PlayStation 1 and running games off of Steam – that’s what I did on my old 1GB RAM Toshiba, which ran Vista with NO PROBLEMS (apart from the all-too-frequent bugs that are inextricably part of the operating system).

    You can use the Services application (located in System32) to turn off useless garbage like the Search Indexer (probably the biggest culprit here) and keep any cruftware that came with the system from starting up on its own. Turning off the gimmicky window transparency also works wonders for speed and battery life.

    Alas, that computer kicked the bucket a while back (the el cheapo screen fell off), and I had it replaced with an HP. Now I use Windows 7, and it’s far from “just a shinier Vista”. It’s easily the best version of Windows that I’ve ever used.

  5. Roy says:

    well all i can say is again my computer is running slow i done all the usually things that people suggest it starts to work then after about 2 3 weeks its back to running slow use windows xp none of these problems rae there and i refuse to buy windows 7 just out of princible i got vista with my machine and its never worked i should not be have to buy operating systems to get it work

  6. Jonathan Moeller says:

    “i should not be have to buy operating systems to get it work”

    Spoken like a true Linux fan!