Trimming Vista’s Fat

I decided to do some research on what all the processes that run and do some trimming of those as well as some of the graphic features to see how many I could get away with disabling without screwing anything up.  With my 2 gigs of ram I haven’t had any problems with it being slow, but it doesn’t hurt to save some memory usage.  I came across an article on about trimming Vista’s windows borders; a simple task which I never even thought of looking into.  While I was messing with those options I found that I can change the spacing between the icons, which was irritating me a little since they seemed too far apart.  I have aero enabled so my options may be a little different.

Right-click on the desktop -> properties -> window color and appearance -> open classic appearance properties -> advanced and change these options: active title bar 19 to 17, border padding 4 to 0, caption buttons 17 to 15, icon spacing (vertical) 43 to 30, menu 19 to 17,  scrollbar 17 to 15.

There isn’t a huge difference but it makes my desktop look a little cleaner, which I like.



After tweaking with the graphic stuff I found a huge list of articles at describing what some services are and how to change or disable a lot of unnecessary options.  I haven’t gone through all of them yet, but the articles I found helpful so far were:

  1. Remove Optional and Probably Unnecessary Windows Vista Components
  2. What is ctfmon.exe And Why Is It Running? – You only need that if you use the language bar, speech or pen tablet features.
  3. What is jusched.exe And Why Is It Running? – Shows you how to take it off the startup list and add a monthly task so that you don’t lose update notifications entirely.
  4. What is svchost.exe and why is it running? – Each svchost instance is running a group of services.  I seem to have about 10 of those running, more trimming is needed.  But I found an excellent site to help with that, it’s called, more on that later.
  5. Prevent Windows Update from Forcibly Rebooting Your Computer – This has to be one of the more irritating features in Vista.  There’s nothing like coming back to your computer to see that it restarted itself while you were working on something.
  6. Add “Run as Administrator” to Any File Type in Windows Vista
  7. Add “Open with Notepad” to the Context Menu for All Files
  8. Clean Up Past Notification Icons in Windows Vista

I haven’t even had a chance to look through all of the articles since there are so many, but those are some helpful ones.  I especially liked the open with notepad one, I use that all the time. is a great site for figuring out what services are needed and which you can do without.  You want to mess with the services through services.msc and not taskmgr.exe like so many people do.  It appears to be down at the moment. It has 3 categories for disabling services, “safe”, “tweaked” and one other that I can’t think of.  But it goes from disabling around 15 services, to 50-something, and up to nearly 80.  You have to be careful with this though since you may need services that are listed as disabled on his list.  You’ll probably end up with a hybrid of his 3 lists to fit your needs.  I suggest creating a restore point before each set of changes in case something goes wrong, but I didn’t have any issues.

Quick tip: If you don’t plan on removing SP1 you can clean all the old files that are no longer used by opening your command prompt and typing in vsp1cln.exe.  After this you will not be able to remove SP1.  The article says you will have “a ton” of extra space, but I only noticed a gig more so I guess unless you’re short on space this isn’t very important.

Do all this at your own risk.  I am not responsible for any problems that arise from messing with the system services.

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