12 Unnecessary Vista Features You Can Disable Right Now

Windows Meeting Space

Windows Meeting Space lets users share documents remotely. It's neat, but hardly anyone uses it.
I like Windows' built-in peer-to-peer collaboration program, Meeting Space, which lets you share files across a network while editing them with a remote colleague. But I don't have any use for it in my daily life, and neither do most of the people I know.

So I shut Windows Meeting Space off. You can, too. Simply uncheck Windows Meeting Space while you're in the Windows Features dialog box. If you're not in the Windows Features dialog box, see the tip on the previous page for instructions on getting to it.

Windows Ultimate Extras

Windows Ultimate Extras are available only in the Ultimate Edition--and that's probably for the best.
One of the best things you can do exclusively in Vista Ultimate Edition is turn off the really pointless features that are found exclusively in Vista Ultimate Edition. I refer, of course, to Ultimate Extras, a set of downloadable add-ons available only to Ultimate users. If you didn't pay for the most expensive version of Vista, these useless add-ons aren't a concern.

If you do own Ultimate, go to Windows Update (Start, All Programs, Windows Update), click View available updates, and check out all the worthless stuff Microsoft has made available exclusively to people who paid through the nose for the most bloated version of Vista.

As of this writing, the extras include a poker game, some BitLocker and EFS enhancements that hardly anyone uses, several sound schemes, and an odd tool called Windows DreamScene that lets you waste your precious system resources by using video as your wallpaper. If PC World ever asks me to write an article on pointless ways to slow down Vista, I'll start with DreamScene.

You can turn Windows Ultimate Extras off in the Windows Features control panel by clicking Turn Windows features on or off to open the Windows Features dialog box, and then unchecking Windows Ultimate Extras.

Tablet PC Stuff

If you don't have a tablet PC, you don't need Tablet PC Optional Components. Disable them.
I own a tablet PC, and I love Vista's tablet-oriented features--especially the Input Panel for writing with the stylus. But if you don't have a tablet, these features are useless to you.

Turning off Vista's tablet features is a two-step process: Start in the Windows Features dialog box. If you're not already there, see the tip on the previous page for instructions on getting to it. Once there, simply uncheck Tablet PC Optional Components.

You complete the job in the Services window, which you open by clicking Start, typing services, and pressing Enter. Find and double-click Tablet PC Input Services. In the 'Startup type' drop-down menu, select Disabled, and then click OK.

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