o s
nearlyFreeSoftware for Android
nearlyFreeSoftware for Win8
nearlyFreeSoftware for Win7
nearlyFreeSoftware for WinXP

w i n d o w sv i s t a

h o m ep a g e s
computing for nothing?
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d o n a t i o n s
My hope is that everyone who reads this site saves some money and gets a more reliable computer from the advice on it.

If you feel this site is worthwhile a donation will help cover some of the expenses.

Email and Paypal information is available in the 'contact me' link above.
s o u r c e
I don't normally keep copies of programs on this site - instead there are links to the download pages of the copyright owners. This means you always download an up-to-date version of the program. While I don't have any use for continual updating (change = trouble) it seems reasonable to start a new install with an up-to-date version.

The exception to this rule is if I can't find the original author's site.


i n t r o d u c t i o n
Help for Windows Vista.

If you're unfortunate enough to have Windows Vista on your computer all is not lost. There are a number of things you can do:
oMicrosoft's free upgrade program
oBuy a copy of Windows 7
oTry to speed up Vista

m i c r o s o f t ' sf r e e' u p g r a d e 'p r o g r a m
This is the fastest option. (ie. your computer will run fastest if you do this)

I'm not sure whether Microsoft still do this but the deal was if you purchased a computer with Vista on it and decided you didn't like it, you were entitled to a free 'upgrade' to WindowsXP. Microsoft don't call it an upgrade of course.

I think to move from Vista to WindowsXP you have to wipe the hard drive. That's safer than upgrading an existing installation anyway. You just need to ensure all your files are backed up.

b u yac o p yo fw i n d o w s 7
The second fastest option.

It is possible to upgrade from Vista, but its best not to. I haven't trusted Microsoft's upgrade installs since the fiasco of going from Windows98 to Windows98se.

Wipe the hard drive and install Windows 7. Check backups first etc.

t r yt os p e e du pv i s t a
The third fastest option.

But probably worth trying before the others.

Despite the fact that I don't like and won't use Vista, I've had a number of client's computers through my hands over the years. Usually because they had ground to a halt (20 minute bootup time etc.) I've tried to help, and in the process learnt a bit about speeding up Vista.

The procedure is much the same as the one I describe in the 7-Maintenance section of this website:
oInternal physical cleanup
oMake backups
oMalware scan
oVirus scan
oRegistry scan
oCheck startup list
oCheck Windows files integrity
oCheck filesystem
oRemove unused drivers
oCheck browser add-ons
oDefrag the boot drive (maybe)

There are a couple of Vista-specific tweaks though:

Problem - 1
Vista shipped on many computers which are barely able to support it. Especially on notebook computers, an examination of the memory allocation can be useful.

Vista will run in 1 GByte of main system RAM. However many notebook computers also use main system RAM for the graphics processor. Up to 256 MBytes of main system RAM may be allocated to the graphics processor. This can result in less than 768 MBytes of main system RAM available for Vista, which is not enough. If Vista's main system RAM requirement exceeds that available, it will start paging to the hard drive and effectively grind to a halt.

The cure
As long as you don't want to play sophisticated games 64 MBytes is enough for graphics. Reducing the graphics RAM allocation to 64 MBytes will leave 960 MBytes of main system RAM, enough for Vista and a couple of programs (a browser and email program etc.). You need to get into the BIOS setup program to do this. Since every manufacturer has is own setup its not something I can cover here.
Note:If you can, put at least 2 GBytes of main system RAM in a Vista Computer.

Problem - 2
Vista's sidebar and 'Gadgets' uses a huge amount of processor cycles.

The cure
Turn them off!

w h a ta b o u tf r e ep r o g r a m sf o rv i s t a ?
Look at the list for Windows7. They should all work, though I've only tried about half of them on Vista so no promises.
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Last update: 19th August 2014
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t h i sp a g e

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the bullshit
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the truth (afaik)
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