If you’re experiencing slow-downs and want to speed up your Windows 10 computer, you’re not alone!
All versions of Windows tend to slow down over time. (Here are our tips for speeding up a Windows 7 computer.)
Even a new computer which far exceeds the minimum specs eventually gets slower the more you use it – simply because it becomes clogged with files that are no longer use and data becomes fragmented over time.
Also, new computers often come with bloatware, which should be uninstalled to free up hard drive space and reduce the number of background processes that need to be running at the same time.
Here are the 5 easiest ways to make your Windows 10 computer run faster – for FREE.
Top Reasons Your Computer is Running Slowly
There are all sorts of reasons why your laptop may be running slow, but some of the top contenders include:
- Too Little Storage Space – As you add more files to your PC, your hard drive space will get full up. This can have an impact on your computer’s performance. Spring clean your storage once in a while to make space.
- You Might Have a Virus – You could have picked up a virus which is hogging your computer’s resources and putting your personal data at risk. Run anti-virus software to get rid of it.
- Your Broadband Is Slow – The culprit could well be your internet connection, not your computer. Run a broadband speed checker to see what sort of download speeds you’re getting.
- Out of Date Software – Dismissed that software update pop-up one too many times? Yes, it’s annoying, but running out of date software could be slowing you down.
- Downloading Large Files – It may be that you’re downloading a large file (such as a system update) in the background, which might be grinding your computer to a halt – check what’s in your download queue.
- You Need More RAM – A good quick fix, increasing your computer’s RAM essentially gives it a bit more thinking space and improves speeds considerably.
- You Have Too Much Software – Your computer might be struggling to run several programs at once. Check which programs it boots on start up and remove the non-essential ones.
- Your Computer Is Too Old – Sometimes, your PC is just too old to keep up. If you can’t speed it up, it’s probably time to invest in a new computer.
Advanced Ways to Make a Computer Faster
RAM is an essential component of any computer, and is key in how it can multitask and juggle several tasks at once. The more RAM, the snappier your PC will be. Installing more RAM is usually a simple case of unscrewing the PC case, or a hatch on your laptop, and slotting the new RAM in.
You can check how much RAM your PC currently has by going to Settings, then About, which will tell you the tech specs of your PC. There are many types of RAM, so when purchasing it, make sure to check with the retailer that the RAM you’re buying is compatible with your PC.
Refresh or Reinstall Windows
A clean Windows install can work wonders on your computer, essentially making it box fresh again. However, it will wipe all files from your hard drive, so it’s essential that you make sure everything is backed up first. You’ll also have to reinstall all your programs again after the re-installation.
A simple refresh of Windows may be enough to get your computer up and running again, so it’s also worth trying this before a full install. To do this, go to Settings, Update and Security, and then Recovery. Here you can choose the Refresh option. You won’t lose any files here.
On the same menu you’ll see the ‘fresh install’ option, listed as Remove Everything and Reinstall Windows. This will reset your computer to its factory settings, but remember, you will lose any files on the PC.
Replace the Hard Drive with a Solid State Drive
Traditional hard drives offer a lot of storage space at low cost, but the moving parts mean they are susceptible to slow down and breakages. A solid state drive is more expensive when it comes to the GBs you get for your dollars, but they are notably faster, speeding up not only a PC’s performance but also its start up time.
Installing an SSD can be a complicated procedure for the uninitiated, and it may not even be possible if you have a laptop. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and ensure that you have all your files backed up before starting the procedure.
PC SPEED KILLERS
- Corrupted registry–A corrupted registry will eat up your resources and bog your computer down with errors and conflicts. Remedy this by cleaning the registry.
- Low Free Space on Your Hard Drive— No free space can be caused by a your Windows cache files becoming full. Cleaning them out to make more space. Duplicate registry files also slow your PC down and eat up valuable disk space. Also visit our Clean up a Slow Computer tutorial
- Insufficient RAM— RAM is important for your PC speed. However, depending on your activity. You may need to upgrade or you may benefit by increasing your Virtual Memory to get more mileage out your existing RAM.
- Slow Hard Drive— The hard drive is cornerstone of your system. It must be kept in lean and run efficiently. However without the proper maintenance it is nothing more than a hulking lethargic monster. Visit this page to keep your hard drive healthy. Slow Hard Drive Fixes
#1 – Defrag Your Hard Drive
Hard drives begin to slow down as data becomes more fragmented – leaving you with a slow PC.
When data is fragmented, files are not saved in sequential order on your hard drive, so it takes longer for the hard drive to find everything. The more you open, close, edit, save, and delete files on your computer, the more defragmented they become.
By defragging your hard drive, you’ll be putting all the files into sequential order which will speed up the time it takes to find files and load them – allowing you to speed up Windows 10.
TIP: Solid State hard drives (SSD) and M.2 hard drives aren’t affected as much by fragmentation, so you don’t need to be as concerned about defragging those types of hard drives.
Here’s how & when to defrag a computer.
#2 – Check For Viruses & Malware
Getting rid of viruses and other types of malware can also speed up Windows 10 on your computer.
You should scan your computer regularly with antivirus and anti-malware programs.
Your best option is to use an antivirus program with real-time scanning to ensure that your computer doesn’t become infected in the first place. There are many free versions of antivirus programs available which will do the job for you.
At the very least, you should use the 2 programs that come pre-installed on Windows 10:
- Windows Defender
- Windows Firewall
Good free antivirus programs include: Avast, Avira, and AVG.
See why we like AVG Free and Trend Micro’s Housecall the best.
#3 – Clean Up Your Hard Drive
After awhile, your computer begins to clog up with temporary files, registry entries, and other processes you don’t need or aren’t using anymore.
You should check which programs are being loaded every time your computer boots up. Many of them don’t need to run in the background unless they’re actively doing something (like an antivirus tool scanning your computer in real time).
Here’s how to see what’s running during startup on your computer:
- Open the task manager (Ctrl-Alt-Delete at the same time)
- Click on the “Startup” tab to see a list of processes
- Right click and then select “disable” to stop a program from loading on startup
- Uninstall any programs that you’re not using
This will reduce the number of processes which run in the background and free up space on your hard drive.
CCleaner has a more powerful startup feature that allows you to fully manage startup processes.
When installing some free programs, you may find that they install other things in the background – such as browser toolbars and other programs they recommend. Check your list of installed programs and uninstall anything you don’t really need.
Here’s how to uninstall an app or program in Windows 10.
#4 – Change Your Power Settings
The default power settings for Windows 10 make your computer as energy efficient as possible.
If you want to get the most out of your computer, you should change those settings to allow for maximum performance instead of energy efficiency.
For starters, you probably should know the difference between hibernation and sleep mode:
- Hibernation mode shuts power use off completely (zero battery drain) and stores the current state of your computer in the hard drive.
- Sleep mode stores the current state of your computer in RAM (so it drains the battery a bit) but it will resume much faster – you’ll be up and running in 2 to 5 seconds in most cases.
The default Windows 10 power settings are, in my opinion, not ideal.
Here’s how to change the Windows 10 power settings.
More Ways To Speed Up A Slow Windows 10 Computer
I’m a health nut, a frugal mom, a dog lover, a DIYer, and a gadget girl. Personally, as a post-divorce, working single mom on a budget I have a lot of experiences that I enjoy sharing so others can learn from the things I wish I knew earlier! Professionally, I’ve worked full-time in a variety of marketing, sales, and editing jobs. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as Managing Editor at The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).
1. Close some programs
If you have too many programs running at once, your computer will definitely slow down. Especially if they’re big, resource-hungry programs (e.g. they use 99% of your CPU).
To find out what programs are running and how many system resources they’re consuming:
1) On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and X at the same time, then click Task Manager.
2) To see which programs are using your computer’s processor the most, click the CPU column header. This will re-sort the list, displaying the worst offenders at the top. Similarly, to see which programs are using the most RAM, or reading and writing to your hard disk the most often, click Memory or Disk respectively.
We sorted the list by Memory for the below screenshot. As you can see, Google Chrome is using the most RAM here. There are multiple instances of it in the list because Task Manager recognizes each of your browser tabs and browser extensions as a separate process.
3) When you discover which program(s) is hogging your computer resources, consider shutting it down to speed up your PC. To do this, switch to the program, and close it as you normally would (e.g. by clicking the X at the top right of the program). If it refuses to shut down normally, select it from the list in Task Manager and click End task to force a close. (If it’s a program you’re using, e.g. Microsoft Word, make sure you save any unsaved work first.)
11. Cool your computer down
If your computer is overheating, it will definitely slow down. But unless you track your PC’s temperature with a program like CAM, it can be difficult to tell if it’s overheating. Here are some typical warning signs:
- your computer’s internal fan gets louder (it may be spinning faster, trying to cool the system down);
- your mouse and keyboard stop responding as well as usual;
- you get a ‘blue screen of death’ error, and a sudden restart.
To reduce the temperature of your computer, you can:
- reduce the temperature of the room;
- check if the computer’s ventilation is clear and clean – it may be clogged by dust and fluff;
- check if your cooling fans are working properly – if they’re not spinning fast and freely, or they’re making loud noises, you may need to replace them;
Once you’ve done your best to reduce the temperature of your computer, check to see if your computer is still running slow.
Note that overheating can also be caused by a damaged or faulty RAM stick, processor or graphics card. If you believe your PC is still running too hot after you’ve done the above, you may need to consult your PC retailer or manufacturer, or your local computer repair shop.