Visual Effects Options

How to Change the Visual Effects Options for Appearance and Performance in Vista
The Visual Effects include most of the special effects and animations in Vista. This will show you how to select the settings you want to use for the appearance and performance of Vista from these.
How to Change the Visual Effects Options for Appearance and Performance in Vista

information   Information
The Visual Effects include most of the special effects in Vista. Select the settings you want to use for the appearance and performance of Vista. You can choose which visual effects to turn off, one by one, or you can let Windows choose a bunch for you. There are 20 visual effects you can control, such as the transparent glass look, the way menus open or close, and whether shadows are displayed.
Tip   Tip
If Vista is running slowly, you can speed it up by disabling some of its visual effects. It comes down to appearance versus performance. Would you rather have Vista run faster or look prettier? If your PC is fast enough, you don’t have to make this tradeoff, but if your computer is just barely powerful enough for Windows Vista, it can be useful to scale back on the visual bells and whistles to gain some performance.
warning   Warning


Vista Home Basic
  • Processor: 1GHz (32 or 64 bit)
  • System Memory (RAM): 512MB
  • Hard Drive: 20GB with 15GB available for Vista
  • Video Card: 32MB Memory and DirectX 9 Support
  • DVD-ROM Drive
Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate
  • Processor: 1GHz (32 or 64 bit)
  • System Memory (RAM): 1GB
  • Hard Drive: 40GB with 15GB available for Vista
  • Video Card: 128MB Memory, DirectX 9 Support with: WDDM Driver, Pixel Shader 2.0, 32bits per pixel
  • DVD-ROM Drive

Here's How:
warning   Warning
If you make any changes in the Ease of Access Center in the Control Panel (Classic View), then the visual effects settings will automatically be reset to the default settings. You will then need to make any changes that you have made to the visual effects settings below again. :(

1. Open Control Panel. (Classic View)​
2. Click on the System icon.​
A) Go to step 5.​

3. Open the Start Menu.​
4. Right click on Computer and click on Properties.​
5. Click on the Advanced system settings link. (See screenshot below)​

6. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​
7. Under Performance, click on the Settings button. (See screenshot below)​

8. Under Visual Effects, dot Custom: and check the ones you want, and uncheck the ones you do not want. (See screenshots below)​
NOTE: If you dot Adjust for best perfomance, then you may have to turn ClearType font smoothing on again.
Tip   Tip
If you want to help improve performance, then these are the most common ones to uncheck:
Tip   Tip

  • Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
  • Fade or slide menus into view
  • Fade or slide tooltips into view
  • Fade out menu items after clicking
  • Show shadows under menus
  • Slide open combo boxes
  • Slide taskbar buttons
  • Use a background image for each folder type
Top and Bottom half of list:
VisualEffects1.jpg VisualEffects2.jpg

9. Click on Apply and on OK to apply changes.​
10. Click on OK to close window from below step 7.​
11. Close window from below step 5.​
That's it,

Related Tutorials

Last edited:
Shawn Brink


I had almost all of the check boxes unchecked to speed my system up. I did not have transparent unchecked but I did uncheck it and the box for color change on the icons is still grayed out. Microsoft has a long way to go yet. There should be a way to change the font color since they know the background would be changed by users. All I want right now and I did say now is a way to change the font color from white to black even if I have to edit the registry. If this be the Case I will need to know where and what to put in to change the font color. Maybe in the next upgrade or update they will add this little nicety.
Thanks for the help thou.

Ron Spruell Sr.
I do not have the option"Show Thumbnails Instead Of Icons" I believe I had it at one time but not now, in my options and never have, and I would like to see Thumbnails How do I correct this? any ideas?
Hey!! Shawn awesome!! got my thumbnails back!! Followed the method of merging the reg values and also deleting the "Disable Thumbnail" string Thankx allot super Forum! have a great day
Hi Shawn,

Unless I missed it in the list of tutorials, there doesn't seem to be one explaining how to adjust processor scheduling for the best performance of programs using the advanced tab of performance options.

The Official Vista Magazine (UK ) recently recommended setting this to adjust for best performance of background services. The idea being that Vista switches between background service threads every 20ms or so when best performance is selected - using a lot of resources.

Trouble with that suggestion is that your foreground operations no longer get the priority boost.

A simple registry tweak allows the background services to enjoy a longer time between switches - thus saving resources, while also prioritising programs.

HKLM/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/PriorityControl then set WiN32PrioritySeparation to 16 (hex).
A value of 14( hex) also gives this longer time between switches but adds no priority boost to programs.

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I have searched and there is so many places to look. I would like to know very simply, how to change the wording description under the icons on the desktop. Color mainly, but also is there a way to get the wording any size? Thanks.
Hi Starwing,

The only way to change the text size is to also increase the desktop icon size. The free program D-Color XP will let you change the text color though. It works fine in Vista.

Dindo Liboon's Website

Hope this helps,
Okay I have an issue similar to this. I turned off all the fade menus in / out options off. Then I decided to turn them back on however, they don't fade in or out, They slide. How do I make them fade again?

Okay nevermind. I just did a system restore and it fixed it.
Hello. I have did a little extension:

UN mark (disable) the option "Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing"

That's speeds the interface too.
Hi. My screen looks a bit different. When I press "Settings" on Advanced tab of Performance, I have something what you have, and same goes for me. I don't see few items that you have on your shots.

Please help? I need to download something, maybe??
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