These are the optimized settings I found and use for my PC running with xp & vista. (You have the right to disagree with me 100%)
– Switch start menu to classic mode. No jazzy menus, so no delay in loading menu .
– Keep desktop background plain and simple. I prefer using black background so that the icons stand out.
– Enable Quick Launch in taskbar.
– Add NOTEPAD & frequently used application shortcuts in quick launch.
– Pay attention to Windows Update & Windows defender scanning. If it prompts update it. Its good practice to keep your system smooth. (Unless you have restriction not to update)
– My work expects me to use IE (which is great ofcourse), keep blank page as startup page.
– Customize the icons and remove the unwanted ones like EDIT, PRINT, MAIL and so on.
– Keep small icons instead of Large icons.
– Organize your favourites menu. Create folders and sub folders under LINKS and move frequently used items under it. It helps me a lot.
– Install Google Toolbar. It helps in better search. Once you start typing, it prompts with previously done searches. (I love this feature)
– Uninstall any unwanted toolbars (i hate the bulky Yahoo & MSN toolbars).
What can you do to improve your efficiency ?
Use both your hands (not just index finger) while typing and selecting menus.
Use mouse to the minimum. (unless you are using some graphical software or doing some audio/video editing)
Use shortcuts as much as you can. (click here to see list of windows shortcuts)
(more to come..)