I’m running Visual Studio 2008 on a old, single-core laptop with 1GB RAM.
VS is a resource hog, so it’s not long before my laptop is struggling having a reasonable size solution in addition to the usual open applications.
There are a few things you can do to try and squeeze a bit more performance out of Visual Studio I’ve found from various blogs and looking around myself. The first two are the most useful. Don’t muck with the other options unless you know what they’re going to do.
Perhaps the biggest trick is the simplest: if you minimize Visual Studio, it will force a garbage collection, and packing of the memory usage. This can make VS drop from a few hundreds MB of memory usage to 20 or less. Of course things will slow down when you go back into VS as things get reloaded into memory from virtual memory and disk.
Patch to SP1
Make sure Visual Studio 2005 SP1 is installed, for the bug and performance fixes since release.
Turn off animation
Tools > Options > Environment > General and uncheck Animate environment tools.
Disable the Navigation Bar
Go to Tools > Options > Text Editor > C# and uncheck Navigation bar under Display.
Turn off Track Changes
Tools > Options > Text Editor and uncheck Track changes.
Turn off Track Active item
Tools > Options > Projects and Solutions: uncheck Track Active Item in Solution Explorer.
Turn off AutoToolboxPopulate.
Tools > Options > Windows Forms Designer: set AutoToolboxPopulate to False.
Startup with an empty environment
Tools > Options > At startup: Show empty content
Windows Forms refactoring
Tools > Windows Forms Designer > General: Set “EnableRefactoringOnRename” to false in the Refactoring section
Apart from it being an updated and faster engine, it also adds 100% ACID3 support, HTML Email Composition (finally!), integrated spell checker, and automatic updates.
All this on top of the in-built features like mouse gestures, integrated ad blocker, the slick mail, news feed and chat client, Bit Torrent support, Wand password manager, desktop widgets etc.