One of the few things that really makes Vista stand out from previous versions of Windows is the cool Aero 3D interface with its flippy windows and thumbnails of all your applications. Unfortunately, the Aero interface is a huge resource hog. I'd been having performance problems running Diablo II with Direct3D on my new HP laptop so I tried running it with DirectDraw. This solved the performance problem but created a new problem -- suddenly it now took Diablo II several minutes to start up. It wasn't ideal but I lived with it for a while.
Suddenly one day, the Aero interface disappeared for some reason (I think it was a related to a new video driver that I installed) and suddenly Diablo II was starting up instantaneously and running great in Direct3D mode. So I did a little experimenting and found a familiar looking dialog box in the Window Color and Appearance item in the Personalization application under Vista. This box made it easy to switch between the different color schemes in Vista. In other words it made it easy to turn the Aero interface on and off.
With a little more experimentation, I realized that it was easy to find this handy little dialog box. Just create a shortcut on your desktop with the following command line: "C:\Windows\system32\rundll32.exe" Shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl,Appearance,@Appearance
Every time you click on this shortcut the Appearance Settings box will appear and you can easily switch off the Aero interface so your games will run at full speed.
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