Windows Vista includes a number of tools that you can use to pinpoint performance bottlenecks. Some of these, such as the System Health Report, the Windows Experience Index, and the Reliability Monitor, provide static snapshots showing the resources available to your system and where those resources might not be adequate to your needs. Others, such as the venerable Windows Task Manager, the new Resource Overview, and Performance Monitor (an improved version of the tool known in Windows XP as System Monitor), let you track a variety of performance metrics in real time.

In addition to these snapshot and monitoring utilities, Windows Vista incorporates the following forms of performance-enhancing technology: SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, ReadyDrive

All three of these are designed to reduce the amount of time your system spends engaged in performance degrading disk IO. SuperFetch is a memory management technology that observes your computer usage patterns over extended stretches of time (noting the programs you run and the days and times you typically run them) and adjusts caching behavior to accommodate your own particularities. ReadyBoost uses external memory devices (such as USB 2.0 flash disks) to cache disk content of all kinds, reducing the need for time consuming hard disk access. And ReadyDrive is technology that supports the use of hybrid hard disk drives drives that incorporate nonvolatile flash memory (NVRAM) as well as conventional rotating disk media. Hybrid drives are particularly useful for extending battery life on portable computers, because they reduce the need for drive spin. More »

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Is Windows Vista Faster Than XP?
Our Windows Vista coverage began with a hands-on diary by MobilityGuru’s Barry Gerber, followed by an assessment of gameplay under Windows Vistaby graphics presidente Darren Polkowski, as well as a complete feature rundown of Vista. Barry took the new operating system and its look & feel with a grain of salt, while Darren was disappointed because OpenGL support was dropped along the way, meaning that Windows Vista currently offers horrible performance for graphics applications utilizing the Open Graphics Library.

We are sure that mainstream users will appreciate the improved usability of Windows Vista, and the average office/multimedia user will likely never notice the lack of OpenGL. However, a chapter on the overall performance of Windows Vista requires more dedication. In particular, two things require an in-depth analysis: More »