I am sure many know this already but bring it up anyway...
Windows Vista of course, has lots of extra features, which usually means you need a faster computer to keep the same speed as the previous generation. One of the most basic things people do with their comptuers is browse for files using Explorer. Sometimes you can think your comptuer is really slow, because Explorer is busy getting video or photo thumbnails, or doing other automatic things to "make your life easier".
Explorer can be made to display faster if you toggle some of these optional features off. The result of these tweaks mean your Vista computer will only work faster, at a cost of some eye candy.
To begin, you need to edit the Folder Options. You can do this by either:
Type "control folders" in a Run dialog box (Win + R) OR go to the Control Panel and select Folder Options
Click on the View Tab
Check the following options
Always show icons, never thumbnails
Show hidden files and folders
Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended)
Uncheck the following:
Hide extensions for known file types
Next, open up your Computer Properties. To do this, click on the Start button, then right-click on "Computer" and select Properties. In this window, click on "Change Settings" under the "Comptuer name, domain, and workgroup settings."
Click on the Advanced Tab.
Click the "Settings" button under "Performance"
Uncheck any or all of the following options:
Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
Fade or slide menus into view
Fade or slide tooltips into view
Fade out menu items after clicking
Show shadows under menus
Slide open combo boxes
Slide taskbox buttons
Use a background image for each folder type
Your general file browsing experience will be a lot quicker. This little trick also helps tremendously if you have a bunch of Divx of Xvid files and are getting a weird error when browsing them... Vista will no longer try to create thumbnails for the videos. If you really want the eye-candy then you can try switching some features back on and off.