Windows 10 users normally complain that their computers tend to slow down after some time. They can add either a faster hard drive or more memory, but hardware is expensive. If you want to speed up the performance of your computer without spending cash, give the following tips a try.
Prevent programs from launching at startupWindows loads several programs at startup so they’re quickly available. While Microsoft likely has good intentions for doing this, the auto-launch can also slow down the speed of your computer. To fix this issue, you’ll need to make some manual adjustments in the settings.
To see what programs launch during startup, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Next, click on the startup tab of the “Task Manager” window, where you can easily disable any programs you don’t want launching at startup. However, there will likely be a few programs you’re unsure about. For those, it’s best to play it safe and keep them enabled.
Get rid of useless applicationsHaving too many programs on your computer take up valuable memory and hard disk space. They slow your computer down and make it work harder than necessary. To quickly clean out your unused programs, follow these steps:
Type “Change or remove a program” into the taskbar search box (this will show you all the apps stored in your computer)Select the program/s you no longer want, and click “Uninstall”.
Once you do this, you’ll then be guided through a number of steps to complete the uninstallation process.
Tidy up your disksWhile most people like to clean out their houses come spring, why not do so with your computer sometime this month? Thankfully, Microsoft’s Disk Cleaner tool makes it easy to do so.
To find Disk Cleaner, right-click any drive in File Explorer and select “Properties” and “Disk Cleanup” under the “General” tab. Once open, it will automatically find files that may be taking up unnecessary space, such as temporary Internet and system memory dump files, and present them to you for your review. Once you’ve looked them over, you can easily erase them by simply clicking “OK”.
Turn off apps running in the backgroundMuch to your surprise, there are likely some programs running in the background of your Windows 10 OS that you’re completely unaware of. Microsoft has enabled their native universal apps to do this so you can quickly access their features. However, it also will slow down your CPU, so you might want to disable them.
To find out what programs are running in the background, navigate to “Start Menu>Settings>Privacy>Background” apps. Then, switch off the programs you don’t want running at all times.
By following these four steps, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the speed of your PC. If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your Windows system or need assistance with your other Microsoft products, feel free to give us a call.
Speeding Up The Boot Time
Windows always boots up at seemingly lightning-fast speeds after a fresh installation, but within a couple of months, it slows down to a crawl for apparently inexplicable reasons. But are they really?
The main culprit behind slow boot-up times are programs which are scheduled to run on startup. There could literally be over a dozen needless programs slowing your computer down. Some of these might have been installed automatically, with only a few of them having actually asked you for a permission to run on startup. On the other hand, you might have enabled some of them yourself because they are programs that you commonly use.
Whatever the case, here’s how to clean up the startup queue and give the Windows 10 boot times a boost!
- Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc
- Click on More details if the window opens in a compact mode
- Select the Startup tab
Here, you can see every program that is scheduled to run on startup. The tab also displays some additional details about each program, whether they will or will not run on startup, as well as how much of an impact they make on the speed of the startup process.
Disabling a program is as easy as selecting it and choosing the Disable option in the lower right corner. To best optimize your startup times, it is best to simply disable all but the non-essential programs, even if they have a “low” startup impact. Of course, it is acceptable to leave a high impact program on is if it is one that you would launch immediately anyway.
Uninstall All Irrelevant Software
As with all the startup programs clogging up your boot times, there could also be miscellaneous programs running in the background. Again, this could be software that you installed yourself and then never really used, pre-installed bloatware, or programs that got installed along with some other software.
Luckily, these are fairly easy to get rid of, albeit it can be a tedious and slow process if there is a lot of trash to clean up.
- Press Win+R and type in “Control Panel”
- Once there, click on the Programs category or directly on Programs and Features if category view is not enabled by default
Here, you can see every program currently installed on your computer, along with other information, including how much space it occupies on your HDD/SSD. From here, getting rid of the needless software is easy:
- Select the program
- Select Uninstall from the bar above the list or from a right-click drop-down menu
It is a good idea to get rid of everything you don’t really use and that is unlikely to come in handy at any point down the road. Not only will you slightly speed up your system, but you might also end up freeing up quite an amount of space.
NOTE: You should be careful not to delete any important programs, such as software related to your GPU drivers and the like. If you come across a program and you are not sure what it is, a quick Google search will let you know whether it is important or not.
Clean Up The Registry
Another thing that can bog down your computer’s speed over time is all the junk that accumulates in the registry. It is not as relevant as cleaning up the startup list or the needless programs, but it is still something that should be done to keep your PC operating smoothly.
Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t have an automatic registry cleaning utility. As such, you would have to clean the registry manually if you don’t want to use third-party software. On the bright side, there are numerous free registry cleaners out there, the most popular being CCleaner.
CCleaner comes with a plethora of useful features, although some are locked unless you buy the full program. For the purposes of simple registry and junk file cleaning, however, the free version will be more than sufficient.
- Click here to go to the official CCleaner download page
- Download the free version and install it like any other program
- When you run the program, you will see it as follows:
- Select which programs you want CCleaner to scan and clean up the junk files. All the important areas will be automatically flagged from the start, so you needn’t worry too much about this
- Simply click Analyze and then Run Cleaner once the scan is finished. Note that the scan might take a bit longer and might appear stuck if you’ve never cleaned the registry before/haven’t done it for a longer period of time
- Select the Registry tab on the left and repeat
Defragment Your HDD
Next up is defragmentation, something that is very relevant for your hard drive’s health and efficiency. So, what is it, exactly?
It all comes down to the way that an HDD itself functions. The disk spins and the head mounted on the arm writes and reads data as the disk is spinning under it. This ultimately leads to individual files being split into multiple pieces on the drive, and it mostly happens when there is a lot of reading and writing involved. That is what’s called fragmentation, and it is quite obvious as to how it can negatively impact an HDD’s speed.
What the defragmentation process does is it takes all that fragmented data and organizes it properly. Defragmenting your HDD regularly can prolong its lifespan and lead to overall better performance, and it’s as easy as making a couple of clicks in a built-in Windows utility.
- Press the Windows key to access the search bar
- Type in “defrag”, without the quotation marks
- That should bring up a program called “Defragment and Optimize Drives”
- Upon opening the program, you will see the following:
As you can see, it shows all the partitions that currently exist on your HDD.
- Select a partition (or all of them) and click Analyze, which may take a bit to complete
- Once the analysis is done, you will see the fragmentation percentage displayed in the Current status column
- As before, select the partitions that you want to defragment and click Optimize
Note that the defragmentation process might take quite a while to complete, especially if the percentage is in double digits. However, it shouldn’t impact performance too much while its active and you can always stop the process and continue it later at any point. Furthermore, note that solid-state storage such as SSDs, memory cards, flash drives etc. do not need to be defragmented.
Scan For Malware
The Internet is not a safe place. This was not the case in the 90’s and certainly is not the case today. All sorts of unwanted software can find its way onto your PC and wreak havoc on the system. These include viruses, spyware, adware, Trojans, and many other types of files that are known collectively as malware.
Now, there are many anti-malware programs to choose from. Commonly, they’re referred to as anti-virus programs but are often much more than that. They can scan your system and eliminate threats, block online threats from affecting your computer, encrypt your data, and more. The number and type of functions vary from program to program, but the most important division is, of course, between the free ones and paid ones.
However, the advantages and disadvantages of individual programs are a subject so elaborate that it would require its own article. But when it comes to the free/paid differences, what tends to be “locked out” of free versions of an anti-malware program are the more advanced features and real-time protection.
The free program that we would recommend for cleaning out unwanted software is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, as it has proven to be extremely thorough in the elimination of existing threats. However, there are also alternatives such as:
Unfortunately, however, you can’t expect top-notch real-time protection unless you buy and potentially pay a subscription for the more advanced programs by Norton, Kaspersky, or McAfee.
For now, stick to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware because, as said above, it is the best free program when it comes to eliminating existing infections. Both the installation and scanning processes are rather simple, and the program itself will walk you through the process.
When all else fails, there’s nothing quite like starting with a blank slate. For some, reinstalling Windows might seem like a difficult undertaking, but it is actually quite simple and quick. So, how would you go about it?
Before starting with the system reinstall itself, make sure to back up all important files and documents that you might have. You can move them to external storage, upload them to cloud storage, but it is usually much easier to just put them on the D: partition.
- Find your Windows 10 installation disk/USB drive. If you are a laptop owner or have bought a pre-made PC, you have most likely received the OS bundled with the computer. If instead, you installed Windows 10 yourself, then you definitely don’t need us to tell you how to do it.
- After you have the disk/USB drive, insert it into your optical drive/plug it into the appropriate port and restart the computer. If the computer boots up and loads the Windows installation, you can skip to step 5. If it just starts up as usual, see steps 3 and 4.
- This is where things might get scary for non-tech savvy people but bear with us. Restart your computer and start pressing the “Delete” button on your keyboard when it starts booting up. This will open your motherboard’s BIOS.
- The appearance of a BIOS will differ from motherboard to motherboard, and most newer models have revamped and more graphically appealing interfaces. However, their functions are still the same. Below is an example of a common BIOS interface:
You need to select the Boot tab, and then you will see a list of boot devices i.e. devices from which the computer will attempt to boot up the OS first. Set your optical drive or your USB drive as the primary boot device, then exit the BIOS and choose to save the changes when prompted.
- The installation process itself is actually quite simple and straightforward. Just follow the onscreen instructions until you get to the following screen:
Here, you need to select your current system partition, which is the first partition after the system reserved one(s). After selecting that partition, the Format option will become available.
- Once you have selected Format, you can either change or keep the same amount of space on that partition. Either way, all data on that partition will be erased. There is no going back after that, so make sure that all the important files stored on the system partition are safely backed up before doing it.
- Allow Windows to finish installing, restart the computer when prompted, and enjoy your fresh and clean install
Potential Hardware Problems
Have you went as far as making a clean Windows 10 install, and your PC is still moving at a snail’s pace? Well, in that case, we have some bad news: you are having problems with the hardware.
Most of the time, digital technology is easy to troubleshoot because it either works or does not work. That makes it rather simple to pinpoint the root of a problem, but from time to time, certain pieces of hardware can see a great performance dip long before they stop functioning altogether.
So, what might be the problem?
- Hard Disk Drive – Due to the many moving parts that are crucial to its functioning, an HDD is most likely to start gradually performing worse and worse over the years rather than just giving out all of a sudden.
- Motherboard – If the problem is not with the system drive itself, then the problem likely occurs when it comes to the drive communicating with the CPU. It could be a defective port, a defective CPU socket or anything in between.
- CPU – It is very rare to see a CPU leading to performance drops, but it can still indeed happen. It mostly happens with older CPUs and/or those who have had less than optimal cooling.
- RAM – When it comes to RAM, it is not so often about malfunctions rather than insufficient capacity. If you are running a 64-bit version of Windows 10 on 4 GB of RAM or less, definitely consider an upgrade to 8 GB.
- Power supply – This is also highly unlikely to be the problem because if a PSU is supplying less power than needed, you are far more likely to deal with random shut-downs or the inability to boot up the computer, rather than performance drops.
- GPU – Your graphics card is the least likely to affect actual performance. When a GPU starts malfunctioning, you will see visual glitches and choppy framerates.
Ultimately, if you wish to speed up your system overall, you should prioritize getting an SSD. Furthermore, make sure you have at least 8 GB of RAM if you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows 10, and also consider upgrading any outdated hardware that is below the recommended specifications for running Windows 10.
Disable unnecessary startup programs
This one is a simple one, and not new to Windows 10, but if you take two minutes to complete it, it’ll save you valuable startup time.
All you have to do is right-click the taskbar, select Task Manager, press “More details,” and click the Startup tab. From here, simply right click to disable all the programs that aren’t necessary on startup. I told you it was simple, didn’t I?
Disable certain services
This one shouldn’t be attempted by people who don’t know their machine very well because it could leave you with some unintended consequences or failures. Also, be aware that service settings are global, which means that they apply to all users.
To do this, just open the Start menu and type in “services.msc,” then hit the enter key. Double-click the item you want to disable and adjust the drop-down to “disabled” or “manual,” depending on your preference.
The difference between these two options is that a disabled service will stay off regardless of whether you need it and try to start it or not. Then, any other services or applications that need this disabled service to run will fail.
Manual, on the other hand, means that if Windows or another service needs it, it’ll start. You can also manually start the service by entering the command “net start servicename” in the command line. The next time you reboot, though, the service will again be off until you restart it.
Changing services that you don’t need to start automatically can often safely be switched to manual to help you make Windows 10 faster.
This means that, if you’re unsure, manual is the safer choice and more services can be switched to manual than can be disabled. However, you shouldn’t be disabling your services in the first place if you’re unsure. A short, helpful conversation on the manual vs. disabled debate can be found here.
Some services that are typically safe to be disabled (although this list isn’t true for everyone) are:
- Diagnostic Policy Service
- Distributed Link Tracking Client
- Portable Device Enumerator Service
- Print Spooler (if you don’t have a printer)
- Secondary Logon and Security Center
- Background intelligent transfer
This website is helpful if you’re looking for a more in-depth guide.
Make Windows 10 faster on startup
Windows 10 gives you the option to select a hybrid startup mode that cuts down on boot up time by just putting the PC into hibernation rather than fully shutting down.
To enable this, click Start and type in “Control Panel” and press enter. From here, click Hardware and Sound. On the new page that appears, click “Change what the power buttons do” under Power Options. Next, click “Change settings that are currently unavailable” and check the box marked “Turn on fast startup.”
Voilà, you now have a quicker startup.
Disable low disk space check
Windows is constantly checking your disk space and notifying you about low disk space, even when you still have enough. To disable this check and free up some more resources on your machine to make Windows 10 faster, type “regedit” into the search box to launch Registry Editor.
Then, open HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Policies. From the Policies folder, find “Explorer.” If this doesn’t exist, create a new DWORD value with the name Explorer.
Select it, go to the right pane, then right click and select DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name this “NoLowDiskSpaceChecks” then right click on this and choose “Modify.” In the edit dialog box, set the Value data to 1 and press Ok.
Utilize Disk Cleanup
Windows 10 built in a Disk Cleanup tool for you to get rid of unnecessary files. To open it, just click the Start button and select File Explorer. Then, right-click on Local Disk C: and select Properties. Find the General tab and from there click Disk Cleanup.
Here, inexperienced users can select “unnecessary files (temporary Internet files, etc.)” while more experienced users can also choose “Clean up system files” to clear even more files to make Windows 10 faster.
Defragment the hard drive
If you have a solid-state drive, you can skip this tip. Because of the way SSDs store data, fragmentation doesn’t affect performance as much as it does for physical, platter-based drives.
Defragmenting your hard drive works to make Windows 10 faster by consolidating “the different parts of your files into the smallest possible sequential area on the disk. This means that the read/write heads have to travel smaller distances.”
If you have a physical HDD, you can defrag it by clicking on the Start button then selecting the File Explorer link. Then, right-click on Local Disk C: from This PC and select Properties again. Choose the Tools tab, then click Optimize under “Optimize and defragment drive.” After this, you should see a noticeable difference in the speed of your Windows 10.
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Speed up Windows 10 menu animations
First of all, we would recommend you to create a System Restore point. Because we will be playing with registry files and modifying some critical Windows settings. Having done this, we will continue on our quest of speeding up menu animations on Windows 10.
Hit the WINKEY + R button combination to launch the Run utility, type in regedit and hit Enter. Click on Yes for the UAC or User Account Control Prompt that you get.
Once Registry Editor opens, navigate to the following key location-
Look up for a DWORD called MenuShowDelay on the right side panel.
Double click on it to modify its value data. The number in that field is the number of milliseconds that the computer will take to run the animation once it is initiated. You can adjust it lower to make the animations faster, and you can set a higher number of making the animations slower.
The default value is 400. To speed up animation you could enter a figure of, say, 200.
Click on OK to set the values. Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.
Completely disable animations
To completely disable animations, type ‘Performance Options’ in Start search and hit Enter. Verify that you are under the Visual Effects tab.
If you select Adjust for best performance, all animations & visual effects will be disabled.
To disable only animations, select Custom and make sure that you uncheck the following two entries:
Now click on Apply and exit.
Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.
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