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ASUS Windows 8

Now that the much awaited Windows 8 is out of the door, many existing PC users will be upgrading to the new OS. And while Windows 8’s modest system requirements mean that most Vista and Windows 7 PCs will have no problem upgrading, getting the best out of the existing hardware means tweaking things a bit.

To start, always run Windows Update that ships with the OS.

While most existing drivers will work with Windows 8, both Microsoft and hardware manufacturers are continuously developing new drivers that offer better features, security, or performance. Thus, Windows Update is the best way to keep the platform’s system software stable and secure.

Since an upgrade entails re-installation of software (XP and Vista) or migration of installed software (Windows 7), it invariably means leftover temporary and backup files will use storage space. Also expired registry entries and processes will consume memory, slowing your PC’s performance. A great solution is Piriform’s free CCleaner, a handy app that cleans up the leftover files and registry entries. Furthermore, it also has a tool that allows you to disable unnecessary applications that load at start-up and consume system resources.

One quick and simple way to get over old hardware’s performance anxiety is to change the Power Options setting to High Performance. This power consumption option keeps all subsystems like storage and processor running all the time, which will improve overall performance. While it might not sound very environmentally friendy, you might have actually reduced your carbon footprint by upgrading rather than buying a new Windows 8 PC.

Conversely, you can also improve performance by reducing demands on the processor – by turning off Lives Tiles. By default, Windows 8 activates Sports, Travel, Finance, News, Mail, Weather and Bing Tiles – all of which constantly check and update data. Pulling their plugs would mean saving the processor’s bandwidth for applications being used such as Photoshop or Excel.

And finally, Microsoft’s hidden gem, the Performance Options control panel. By selecting the “Adjust for Best Performance” button in the Visual Effects tab in the control panel, you are in a single click, making multiple changes within the system and optimizing it for performance above all else.

Of course there are many more ways to boost your upgraded Windows 8 PC’s performance. But those roads are best traveled by the more technically-inclined souls. Happy tinkering!

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