How-To Geek

Speeding up VNC on Vista By Limiting Visual Effects

This article was written by MetrotekGeek from Metrotek Solutions, a friend of the How-To Geek

As a computer field tech, I use the remote desktop program UltraVNC quite often. I utilize it mostly to connect to offsite computers so I can run diagnostics and repair remotely, if needed.

Recently, I ran into an issue with UltraVNC and Vista. I was able to connect but the desktop was slow to the point of being almost non-responsive. There was no way I would be able to diagnose let alone repair anything over that connection.

After adjusting various color depth and screen resolution options without any noticeable improvement in speed, it dawned on me that I was connected to an Aero enabled Windows Vista machine. Sure enough, when I disabled Aero, the remote desktop sprang back to life. Here’s how disable all Aero features for UltraVNC sessions.

Disable Visual Effects

Right click on Computer, and choose Properties.


Click on Advanced System Settings, and then under Advanced, click Settings.


Select the “Visual Effects” tab, and then click “Adjust for best performance? and OK.


I’ve found that this dramatically speeds up the remote connection. Note that you should probably re-enable the old setting after you are done.

Editor’s note: This is a helpful way to speed up any remote desktop solution, not only for VNC.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/15/07

Comments (9)

  1. Mike Drewery

    I’m a 75 year old neandertal trying to recycle myself and I would like to know if there is a way to jump the cursor to the next box without having to use the mouse when I am typing a form such as the one I just filled out above. Thank You

  2. Judd Wildman

    While listening to music, or watching a film clip, my XP only will play part of it, then stops. It has done this for quite some time. I install new updates automatically from Microsoft, updated the media player, do you have a answer ? thanks Judd

  3. ilham

    reply to Mike Drewery
    just press tab

  4. iHydrocarbon

    Re: “Note that you should probably re-enable the old setting after you are done.”

    Why should we re-enable the old setting, please? It seems faster and looks more like XP with “Adust for best performance”

  5. hippieshaker

    Just disabling desktop composition speeds it up 90%.

  6. Dave Burton

    It also helps a lot to temporarily reduce the display resolution to 800×600. (Be sure to note the old display resolution, so you can restore it when done!)

  7. Johann

    Thx dude, i was on the point of pulling my hair out- you know how clients get when they have to wait…

  8. BetterButter

    Thanks, this is exactly what I needed. I probably should have figured that out on my own, but reading this tip got me to the solution. Everything’s high speed (and local, so no WAN links to worry about) where I work that I rarely have to think about squeezing out options to preserve performance. :-) So it didn’t even occur to me. I have gotten in the mind set of assuming there’s something “different” or “weird” with Win7 vs. XP that I figured it was a driver issue first.

  9. brahmaman

    Run this in the clients cmd leave cmd open and minimized then when session is done maximize the cmd click on cmd and press any key to restore aero

    net stop uxsms
    echo off

    echo Press any key to re-enable Windows Aero.
    net start uxsms

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