As anyone who has ever used Windows will attest, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it crashes, and sometimes it asks dumb questions like whether you want to tell Microsoft when you have a problem.
However, you can change many aspects of how Windows behaves when things go poorly, simply by setting a few options. To see what I mean, right click My Computer and click Properties. In the Advanced tab, you see three sections: Performance, User Profiles, and Startup and Recover. Most people shouldn’t mess with the User Profiles, but it’s unlikely you can hurt much of anything by changing some of the options in the other two tabs.
For example, next to Performance, click the Settings button. You see a laundry list of visual effects. By default, they are all enabled, but if you have a slow computer, disabling some of these effects can make it seem faster. Click the Adjust for best performance radio button and you’ll see all the checkmarks are removed. If you click the Custom radio button, you can disable just the effects you don’t care about, such as window animation. (Personally, I found that disabling "Smooth edges of screen fonts" made text much more difficult to read.)
The Startup and Recovery section is most useful if you have more than one operating system running, but you can change options related to debugging information as well. If you are having problems, it’s good to know where Windows is placing this information if you have to talk to technical support.
Disabling error reporting is another useful change you can make in the System Properties dialog box. At the lower right corner of the Advanced tab, you find a button that says Error Reporting. Click it and in the Error Reporting dialog box, click Disable error reporting. If you want, you can still be notified when critical errors occur.