I was looking for something else entirely when I found this PC World article: Speed Up Windows by Stripping it Down.
That’s a familiar concept. It includes several tips that apply to XP, Vista, and 7.
Some of the optimization tips are extremely well known, like turning off Aero and other visual effects. But there are some jewels in there too, like showing how to disable Internet Printing and the Tablet PC Components by clicking Start and typing programs and features (if you’re running Vista) or windows features (if you’re running Windows 7) and de-selecting them.
The idea here, as always, is to save memory and CPU cycles by not loading functionality you don’t use. If I don’t have a tablet PC, why do I need tablet PC components sitting resident in memory at all times? It’s wasteful.
Will I notice much difference on my quad-core AMD64 system with 8 GB of RAM? Maybe, but probably not. Certainly not most of the time. But on my other Windows 7 systems, it’s more likely to make a difference, given that one of them accepts a minimum of 2 GB of RAM.
There’s a security benefit too. (You knew I’d go there, didn’t you?) You don’t know what vulnerabilities might exist in this functionality. And if you don’t have that functionality enabled, you don’t need to care. If there’s an exploitable buffer overflow in the Tablet PC components and I have it disabled, I’m not vulnerable.
So besides making my system marginally faster, by disabling functionality I never use, I’m also making it safer.