Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Removing Smooth Scroll and other Tweaks in Windows 7

After setting up my computer with Windows 7 I noticed that there were a few basic things that I'd qualify as being "Annoyances" that really are "eye candy".  The biggest one for me is something called "Smooth Scroll". 

Smooth scroll in Windows is where you're looking at a document and hit a Page Down or Page Up key.  What happens is that instead of it snapping to the next page, it scrolls down smoothly in something that looks like you're reading something on a roll of paper that someone is pulling away or towards you.

In my case, it just seems unnatural and slightly nausea inducing.   Seeing that one of my favorite things in life is a Rollercoaster, I'm not saying this lightly.

Here's how I set the computer up to get rid of Smooth Scroll plus a few video tweaks.  I hadn't turned all the eye candy off.  As you can see in the picture, I still have Aero Glass turned on.  I'll leave eye candy on when it serves a purpose, and the effect seems to work for me.

  1. Click Start and select Control Panel.
  2. I suggest you select "View By: Large Icons".  Makes life easier to find things when they're not stuck together in categories.  Besides, that's how I find things.
  3. Select System.
  4. Select "Advanced System Settings".  This is on the list at the upper left.  You will see a pop up telling you if you really want to do this, you need to be an Administrator.  You do.
  5. Under the System Properties, select the Advanced tab.
  6. Under Performance, Click on the Settings button.

Your screen should look like the picture below.

You can take my word for it, if you select things like in that list, you'll be on your way, but I will explain specifically what you want to do here.

  1. The first three check boxes are to turn off animations in windows.  I find them unnecessary and not having them will make your machine seem faster.
  2. The second three check boxes are to turn on Aero Glass and Aero Peek.  I like them, you may not.
  3. The next five buttons I turned off.  The fade effect irks me because it feels like it's slowing the computer down just to get things done.  Task bar effects I personally never found useful and the shadow under the mouse pointer has been shown to slow down your video card.
  4. Shadows Under Windows helps me to tell where one window starts and ends, but at a performance hit on the video.
  5. Thumbnails instead of Icons, will search a folder and try to present you with what the item actually is, but it is a performance hit when you open a large folder.  Your choice.
  6. Translucent Selection Rectangle is a help when you do a lot of cut and paste, as I do.
  7. Show Window Contents While Dragging is one of those things that I keep on because the alternative is to just show a selection rectangle while you're moving windows.  Your choice.
  8. Slide Open Combo Boxes is another one of those things I don't see the point of, you may.  It feels like it slows down the computer to me.
  9. Smooth edges of Screen Fonts is important if you do a lot of word processing and composition like I do.  I personally prefer it.
  10. Smooth Scroll List boxes.  Evil.  Turn it off.  This was the one I got started going through my preferences with in the first place.
Select Apply and OK, and you're on your way.

But there is more...

If you do a lot in Explorer, you will notice that they are still trying to convince you that Microsoft's Smooth Scroll algorithm works.   It does not work well, especially with a long list of files in a folder.  To turn that one off, do the following:

  1. Click Start, then Control Panel
  2. Click Internet Options, then the Advanced Tab.
  3. In the long list, find the Browsing group, then "Use Smooth Scrolling".  Turn that box off, then select Apply and OK.

Finally if you want to stop Smooth Scroll in Firefox:

  1. Select Tools
  2. Select Options
  3. Select the Advanced Tab
  4. Select the General Tab
  5. Uncheck the "Use smooth scrolling" check box.
  6. Click OK and you're done.

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