Turn Off the Eye Candy
Open Control Panel and type the word "visual" in the search field. You'll be presented with several things you can do. One of them is "Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows". Click on it and select Adjust for best performance in the dialog box that appears. Click Apply and you should see a nice improvement in speed. Personally I would rather turn things off on my own. So under the selection for Adjust for best performance is a long list of things that can be adjusted. If you feel daring, turn off the ones you can live without. The more you turn off, the faster things go. But I'm guessing you don't want to turn them all off. Post a comment and let me know what you find the least useful in that list and what you find the most useful.