How to: trim some Vista fat

As with just about every version of Windows there has ever been Vista makes a lot of assumptions when it’s installed. It creates a system based on the most commonly-used features that you’re likely to want and need and while the default feature set is pretty comprehensive there’s always extra things you need and other things you can really live without.

To modify Vista applications go into the Control Panel and under Programs click on “Uninstall a program”.

When the Programs and Features window opens select “Turn Windows features on or off” on the left-hand side of the window.

This list gives you access to all the available Windows features and you can save quite a bit of drive space and system overhead by turning off particular features. For example I’ve yet to find a real use for Windows Meeting Space and unless you want the checkbox feature in Windows Explorer or the Snipper tool you definitely don’t need the Tablet PC components.

Vista Features – Everything In One Spot

To be honest there’s not that much which is particular useful for a home user. If you’ve got a locally attached printer don’t do any scanning don’t care about XPS and don’t like the standard games you could turn off pretty much everything.

For business users there’s a few hidden gems though. By default you can’t telnet from a Vista machine so the Telnet Client is very useful. If you do any network administration then the RIP Listener Simple TCP/IP Services and SNMP are all very useful and if you’re planning on connecting to non-Windows file servers then Services for NFS is a must. If you’re planning on doing any web testing then IIS 7.0 is also a pretty useful feature.

Of course the more you install the greater the system footprint but business/admin machines do tend to have a bit more weighing them down anyway. But for home users there are some real space savings to be made.