I've read several posts over the last few weeks about people being disappointed with Vista performance. I've always been one of the type of people who tweaks and tweaks their system for ultimate performance. I'm continually looking to optimise and edit to make things run lightning fast and whilst I appreciate most people (everyone) doesn't want to do this and you shouldn't have to do this, I'd like to pass on some tips to ensure you're getting the best out of your OS.
- Remove the so called crapware - if your system tray looks like a Christmas tree when you boot up it's a good sign that you're probably running a lot of unnecessary programs at startup. Dell has recently released a line of PC's known as the Vostro with all evaluation and trialware removed (at the request of their customers) and I suspect they run rather better than those with all of that software. Go to Control Panel and click Uninstall a Program. Check down that list and prune for the things you really need rather than everything. See also How to zap the crap on a new Windows PC
- Run msconfig from the start menu and see what is in the Startup group. My guess is stuff like QuickTime, Acrobat and a host of other useful programs but they don't necessarily need to be there as soon as you bootup. Note that when you install an updated version of iTunes, QuickTime or other programs they install themselves back in there so it's good to keep an eye on it over time.
That's actually it from me - there are lots more tips and tricks at places like http://www.tweakvista.com but these two things should noticeably improve performance.