Winddows Home Server 2011 : More Optimization Tricks (part 1) - Eliminate the Use of Visual Effects, Optimizing Windows Home Server for Services

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The rest of this chapter takes you through several techniques and tricks for eking out a bit more performance from your system.

1. Adjusting Power Options

Windows Home Server’s power management options can shut down your system’s monitor (assuming you’re not running Windows Home Server with a headless setup) or hard disk to save energy. Unfortunately, it takes a few seconds for the system to power up these devices again, which can be frustrating when you want to get back to work. You can do two things to eliminate or reduce this frustration:

  • Don’t let Windows Home Server turn off the monitor and hard disk— By default, Windows Home Server doesn’t turn off the monitor or hard disks, and it doesn’t go into a system standby state. To make sure, select Start, Control Panel, Power Options to display the Power Options window. Select the High Performance power plan, and then click Change Plan Settings. In the Turn Off Display list, select never. Click Change Advanced Power Settings, select the Hard Disk, Turn Off Hard Disk After branch, and make sure the Setting value is 0.

  • Don’t use a screensaver— Again, it can take a few seconds for Windows Home Server to recover from a screensaver. To ensure that you’re not using one, select Start, Control Panel, Personalization, click Screen Saver, and choose (None) in the Screen Saver list. If you’re worried about monitor wear and tear, use the Blank screensaver, which is relatively lightweight and exits quickly. Also, if you’re not worried about security, you can deactivate the On Resume, Display Logon Screen check box to avoid having to log on each time you stop the screensaver.

2. Eliminate the Use of Visual Effects

Unless you use Windows Home Server for day-to-day work, there’s no reason for it to be using visual effects. For example, effects such as animating the movement of windows when you minimize or maximize them, fading or scrolling menus and tooltips, and adding shadows under menus and the mouse pointer are merely cosmetic and are drains on system performance.


To keep things in perspective, I should point out that these visual effects only affect system performance slightly, and most modern systems should be able to handle them without slowing noticeably. However, if you’re running Windows Home Server on an older system that’s already slower than you want it to be, or if you just want every last processor cycle to go to Windows Home Server’s core functions, by all means lose the eye candy.

You can use various methods to turn off visual effects:

  • Select Start, Control Panel, Display, Change Display Settings, Advanced Settings, select the Monitor tab, and then choose High Color (16 bit) in the Colors list. Using fewer colors gives your graphics card less to do, which should speed up video performance. Also, display the Troubleshoot tab, click Change Settings, and make sure the Hardware Acceleration slider is set to Full.

  • Select Start, Control Panel, System, click Advanced System Settings, and click Settings in the Performance group. In the Visual Effects tab of the Performance Options dialog box (see Figure 1), activate the Adjust for Best Performance option (which deactivates all the check boxes).

    Figure 1. Turn off the check boxes in the Visual Effects tab to improve performance.

  • Open the Registry Editor, and set the following Registry value to 0:

    HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\MenuShowDelay

3. Optimizing Windows Home Server for Services

You can set up Windows Home Server so that it’s optimized to run services. This involves configuring the processor scheduling, which determines how much time the processor allocates to the computer’s activities. In particular, processor scheduling differentiates between programs and background services. The latter are the processes that Windows Home Server uses behind the scenes, such as performing backups and monitoring network health. Clearly, background services are what Windows Home Server is all about, so it should be optimized to give more processor cycles to these services.

Optimizing Windows Home Server performance means configuring it to give more CPU time to background services and using a large system cache. This is the default configuration in Windows Home Server, but it’s worth your time to make sure this is still the case on your system. Here are the steps to follow:

Select Start, Control Panel, System to display the System window.

Click Advanced System Settings.

In the Performance group, click Settings to display the Performance Options dialog box.

Display the Advanced tab, shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. In the Performance Options dialog box, use the Advanced tab to optimize Windows Home Server for programs.

In the Processor Scheduling group, activate the Background Services option.

Click OK.

When Windows Home Server tells you the changes require a restart, click OK to return to the System Properties dialog box.

Click OK. Windows Home Server asks whether you want to restart your system.

Click Yes.
  •  Winddows Home Server 2011 : Tuning Windows Home Server Performance - Optimizing Applications
  •  Winddows Home Server 2011 : Optimizing Virtual Memory
  •  Winddows Home Server 2011 : Optimizing the Hard Disk
  •  Windows Home Server 2011 : Monitoring Performance (part 5) - Monitoring Performance with Performance Monitor
  •  Windows Home Server 2011 : Monitoring Performance (part 4) - Monitoring Performance with Resource Monitor
  •  Windows Home Server 2011 : Monitoring Performance (part 3) - Monitoring Performance with Task Manager - Monitoring Network Performance
  •  Windows Home Server 2011 : Monitoring Performance (part 2) - Monitoring Performance with Task Manager - Monitoring System Performance
  •  Windows Home Server 2011 : Monitoring Performance (part 1) - Monitoring Performance with Task Manager - Monitoring Processes
  •  Windows 8 : Managing User Access and Security - Managing Remote Access to Workstations (part 2)
  •  Windows 8 : Managing User Access and Security - Managing Remote Access to Workstations (part 1) - Configuring Remote Assistance
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