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I have had the chance to use Windows Vista RC1(Build 5600). I installed it inside of a VMWare Virtual Server. I then searched around the web and found these hints from a variety of sources (and one of my own). It’s all legal as nothing is reverse engineered.

According to Microsoft, the requirements for a successful Vista installation are:
Processor of at least 1GHz 32bit(x86) or 64bit (x64)
1Gb of system memory
A graphics card which is DirectX 9 capable and with 128Mbs memory
40Gb hard disk space
DVD Drive.
Audio
Network Capable

1. Installing Vista RC1 without a key
You can install Vista without a CD key. Just leave the product key field blank ,hit next, and answer no to the dialog box. You can then select any edition of Vista to install (Ultimate, Home Premium, Home Basic, Business, or Starter). Check the box at the bottom and there you go. Vista with no key. Note: You cannot activate if you don’t do this unless you have a CD key for the version you installed.

2. Logging on as Local Administrator if you have already logged in as a user
a. If you are having trouble logging on as the built-in Administrator account, you will have to modify some registry entries to display the Administrator account.
Log in using the user account you created during the Windows Vista setup process.
From the Start menu, click All Programs and then expand Accessories.
Right click on “Command Prompt” and click “Run as Administrator”.
Click on “Allow” from the Windows Security dialog.
In the Command Prompt window, type “regedit” (without the quotes) and press Enter.
In the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Add a new key called “SpecialAccounts” (without the quotes).
In the “SpecialAccounts” key you just made, create a sub-key called “UserList” (without the quotes)
Make sure you are navigated to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList
In the “UserList” key, create a new DWORD (32-bit) item and name it Administrator.
Double click on the new DWORD item and set its value to 1.
Close Registry Editor and the Command Prompt.
NOW:
Go to Start/All Programs and right click the command prompt.
Type Control UserPasswords2.
Click Advanced.
Click Advanced again.
Select Users.
Select Administrator and untick the the box “Administrator is disabled”NB. If you follow the above path (Tip 2.) you may find that some of the following tips, related to security, are not needed. Bu believe me, it makes a difference working withou those nags.

3. Exclude some unused services
It’s a good idea to try disabling these services a little at a time. If you do not have a complete knowledge of you computer, you may need some of these. Alternatively, you may leave them all in, they will not impair too much on the resident memory.

1. Run services.msc via the Run command (Win key +R).
2. Stop the following services and change their start-up type to disabled

- Computer browser (if not connected to LAN)
- Fax (if not using printer and fax)
- Windows Error Reporting Service
- Secondary logon
- Tablet PC Input service
- Print spooler (if not using printer and fax)
- Windows time
- Media center receiver service (This caused some dysfunction on my computer)
- Security center
- Routing and remote access (if not connected to LAN)
- Internet connection sharing
- TCP/IP NetBios helper
- Server (if not sharing resources through LAN)
- Offline files
3. Close the services management console.

By taking these steps, you will ensure that your OS has less processes running in the background, so more memory can be dedicated to the programs you open, not the ones that are used by Windows itself, by default.

4. Disable system restore
1. Control panel- System and maintenance- System
2. Advanced system settings
3. System protection tab
4. Uncheck all the drives.
5. Apply changes.

5.Disable some UI effects
1. Control panel- System
2. Advanced system settings
3. Advanced tab/Performance/Settings
4. Uncheck the following boxes:
- Fade or slide menus into view
- Fade or slide tooltips into view
- show shadows under menus
- Show translucent selection rectangle
- Slide open combo boxes
- Use a background image for each folder type
5. Apply changes.


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