How to Speed Up Windows 10 – The Ultimate Guide

Updated May 28, 2020, by Steve Larner

Windows has a history of software bugs and malfunctions that have followed the operating system for years. Windows 10 exists to improve on the mistakes and criticism of Windows 8, complete with small, biannual updates and mandatory security patches that help keep computers safe during everyday use. It isn’t a stretch to say that Windows 10 is the best operating system Microsoft has ever shipped, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Like any other operating system, Windows 10 can slow down over time, especially when using your computer every day.

This article will take you through a variety of improvements and tweaks you can apply for Windows 10, helping you speed up your system and get your computer back up to par.

Malfunction Fixes

PCs get slower over time as data gets harvested, and old files get left in limbo. As you install software, download files, store media and photos, and browse the web, your device is continually using more resources to do the things you need it to do. Everything from keeping too many tabs open in Chrome or Microsoft Edge to installing unnecessary software on your device can contribute to slowing down the system or even having the PC freezing up and becoming unresponsive.

While these are some pretty standard hiccups for everyday PC use, there are also plenty of issues that cause headaches for most Windows 10 users. If your computer is running increasingly slow, it may be worth looking at some maintenance fixes to ensure your device is in good shape before moving on to the fine-tuning tweaks.

Hard Drive Problems

If you’re having major speed problems with your computer, check the health of your hard drive. The hard disk drive (HDD) is the storage location for most data on your computer, ranging from personal files, photos, and documents to operating system data and third-party data. Traditionally, hard drives are disk-based hardware that uses magnetic storage technology to retain digital information and provide access to it. Solid-state drives (SSDs), which lack mechanical parts and use flash-based storage similar to your smartphone, are becoming more and more popular due to their deflation in price and increased speeds over traditional hard drives.

Your HDD is one of the essential components of your computer. Without a healthy, well-functioning hard drive, your computer can slow down to a crawl. It’s critical to manage your hard drive the same way you’d clean your house or apartment. Setting aside a couple of hours to go through old files, folders, and software is necessary. Deleting, uninstalling, and archiving data is also essential. These routine maintenance steps can give your PC a break and make it more efficient.

Suggestion #1: Manage Profile Folders

Use File Explorer to view your profile folders (My Documents, My Music, My Downloads, My Pictures, etc.) and delete, move, upload, or archive as necessary. This process frees up space and speeds up HDD performance.

Suggestion #2: Archive Less-Used Files and Folders to External Drive

Archive files and folders not needed daily to an external USB-based hard drive. Terabyte hard drives can be found on Amazon for less than $60, making them an excellent investment for users looking to speed up their computers without purchasing a new device.

Suggestion #3: Install and Run a Disk Usage App

Use a disk usage app to check on the status of your HDD(s). Our recommended disk viewer is WinDirStat, a tool for analyzing your hard drive storage space and making smart decisions about your hard drive’s condition. The free software provides a visual way to view the data stored, with each file and folder sorted in color-graded boxes.

Upon installing WinDirStat, you get asked which drive to view (if you have multiple ones). You can inspect all the drives at once or just select certain ones. Each file type has its corresponding color. The key for the map is displayed in the top-right corner of your display, making it easy to identify what data is in your file system.

Rolling over each block will display the file name at the bottom of the application while selecting a block allows you to access the file in your file browser. You can delete the file or folder within WinDirStat, selecting permanent deletion or the Recycle Bin. As you clean up your HDD, you should be able to regain some speed, though drives can’t go faster than their typical set pace. For example, an older 5400 RPM drive isn’t going to match the performance of a 7200 RPM drive, and will never come close to competing with an SSD.

Suggestion #4: Install and Run a Disk Analyzer and Health Reporting Tool

If you’re looking for something to monitor the health of your HDD to better prepare for its gradual death, you can try PassMark DiskCheckout, a utility that is free for non-commercial use.

The application is rather basic, but using it can be the difference between saving your files, photos, and music collections or losing them because you failed to recognize that your HDD was dying. Simply boot the application, select your drive from the main menu, and check the necessary information provided.

PassMark uses the same SMART system that allows hard drives to recognize when they’re failing, so you’ll receive an alert if the status of your HDD changes unexpectedly. Using DiskCheckout, you can view your drive’s current read and write speeds, average disk latency, and the SMART info provided by the drive. Finally, using the configuration settings inside the app, you can set up both desktop notifications and email notifications for your hard drive’s health.

Of course, Windows also has a built-in command that allows you to check the drive status. CHKDSK has been around since the days of MS-DOS, and you can still use it today if you’re running on an account with admin privileges. It’s ideal for most users to use DiskCheckout or something similar to inspect their drive, but it’s good to know about CHKDSK.

Another popular HDD health tool is HardDisk Sentinel, but it has limited functionality for the free (standard) version.

Malware and Viruses

There are several different varieties of malware and viruses, each with their way of attacking your system, but the most common variety by far is malware. Malware is a bit of an umbrella term. Still, all you need to know is this: your system can be infected with malware without much-required action, typically spreading through executables and file attachments. Though executable files (marked with the file extension “.exe”) are a necessity in the Windows world, a dangerous “.exe” file can spell trouble for your computer.

Malware consumes valuable PC resources and HDD activity, leading to slower performance. Using antivirus and malware protection applications is essential to not only the safety of your precious data but also to the performance of your Windows 10 PC.

Many computers bought from places like Amazon or Best Buy ship with trial versions of software like Norton and McAfee antivirus, but they usually expire after a certain amount of time.

Antivirus/Malware Protection Option #1: Windows Defender

Windows Defender is Microsoft’s built-in antivirus and malware protection application that monitors all data in and out of your system, protects the network through firewalls, monitors app and browser settings for safe use, and much more.

While Windows Defender is a competent antivirus tool, it’s not as strong as other options. Advanced users can probably stick with this as their primary defense against outside attacks, but most users will want to upgrade to a third-party suite. What’s cool is that most antivirus/anti-malware programs safely work alongside Windows Defender and vice versa. It’s always best to pay for premium services, which generally include advanced, real-time protection, automatic file scanning, and auto-updates.

Antivirus/Malware Protection Option #2: Avast! Free Antivirus

Avast! Free Antivirus is reasonably quick but can slow down older PCs. Avast also includes paid versions that you can upgrade to for improved performance and more security. Avast offers tons of tools and customizations with intentions to better protect your valuable data and improve PC speed. The suite, free or paid, offers many additional tools to keep your system running efficiently.

Antivirus/Malware Protection Option #3: Trend Micro Maximum Security

TrendMicro Maximum Security provides a variety of antivirus/malware protection tools and delivers them with minimal PC slowdown. The suite includes a free 30-day trial to test it out. As a long time user of Trend Micro, I can say that it ran smoother than other antivirus programs I’ve used, and I’ve never had any problems. However, it may not detect specific intrusions that malware protection apps and other antivirus programs catch. Of course, this is also true for any antivirus program on the market.

Antivirus/Malware Protection Option #4: Malwarebytes Antimalware

While Avast and Trend Micro cover most viruses and other dangerous components, it’s still worth looking into a dedicated anti-malware program. Malwarebytes AntiMalware helps you detect and remove malware of all sorts. The FREE version does not offer real-time protection, web protection, ransomware protection, or exploit protection, which is all essential to blocking malware in the first place. However, you do get malware scanning and updates. They offer a free trial to test out the premium features. Premium Malwarebytes covers it all, but you’ll still need an antivirus program.

Malware is the worst type of infection to consume your precious PC performance. So, it is best to upgrade if possible. Some antivirus programs do not work well with Malwarebytes Antimalware. Trend Micro prompts to uninstall it, but it can be reinstalled afterward without causing issues, as long as the two applications don’t scan at the same time.

Faulty RAM

While your hard drive may slow down applications on your computer, random-access memory (RAM) problems can cause issues with recent and temporary data and operational speeds. If your computer seems to get slower as the day goes on, this may be the cause of a faulty RAM stick, which can also cause your PC to crash, restart, or have blue screen error messages.

Luckily, the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostic tool checks the status of your RAM.

win-memory-diagnostic

  1. Press Win+R to open the Run prompt.
  2. Type (or copy and paste) “mdsched.exe” without the quotes and hit enter.
  3. Your computer’s Memory Diagnostic tool will load, and you can either use the application immediately (causing your computer to restart), or just use it the next time you start your computer.

If the diagnostics display presents problems with your RAM upon reboot, it’s time to replace it. There are plenty of guides online showing how to replace RAM in your machine if you don’t know how already.

Overheating

Computers tend to run at hot temperatures. A PC’s central processing unit (CPU) typically runs at around 45 to 50 degrees Celsius (113 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit), sometimes reaching maximum temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius. Your setup will determine the typical operating temperatures. You may want to view existing details and jot them down so that you have a base to compare with later.

If your computer continually overheats due to restricted airflow or poor cooling conditions, the components and case may require cleaning, including the cooling fans and the PC heat sink that often collects dust buildup.

Higher temperatures mean slower processing and functionality. Maintaining a “cool” system helps keep things running smoothly and optimally.

Both NVIDIA and AMD have built-in software for controlling your GPU’s fans manually, and GPU-Z is a free program for Windows that can also manage your graphics card at manually-set speeds.

For laptops, it’s a bit more difficult to “truly” clean the machine. You may be able to remove the bottom casing of your device to check the ventilation vents for dust buildup, and then remove any that you find with cans of compressed air. Canned air is recommended for electronics to prevent blasting off tiny components from the boards. Compressor/air tanks are not applicable, although a vacuum with a crevice tool can work (with caution and with discharged static). The CPU gets covered up in most modern machines, which means less of a risk of accidentally exposing important components to dangerous elements. For laptops, it’s also essential to ensure you aren’t blocking any vents. If you’re using your machine on carpet or cloth, invest in a stand (or flat surface at the least) for the device to sit on to prevent closed-off airways.

Upgrading Your Computer to Increase Performance

Once you’ve ensured your computer is well-cooled, protected against malware and other dangerous software and hasn’t experienced damaged hardware, it’s time to consider new equipment. Desktops are typically easy to upgrade; it’s a matter of removing the side of the tower and switching out old components. Laptops are upgradeable as well, to a certain extent. While you generally can’t add a new graphics card or CPU, there’s a good chance you can switch the hard drive or upgrade the RAM.

Adding More RAM

One of the first things to consider when upgrading your PC is adding additional RAM. As mentioned above, a lack of “accessible” RAM forces your computer to use the HDD to read and write temporary data. This scenario means everything on your computer, especially the stuff you use most often, will feel slow and unresponsive. Windows 10 has a minimum 2GB RAM requirement for most machines, but realistically, you’ll want a minimum of 4GB, but more preferably, a full 8 gigabytes for your PC. In 2020, applications and operating systems have become more memory-hungry than ever. Even your phone has 3GB or 4GB of RAM at this point. Most users won’t need over 8GB of RAM for everyday use, but if you are genuinely concerned about future-proofing your machine, 16GB is plenty for 90 percent of all users. Content creators will want to look at 16GB of RAM as a minimum, and may even want to consider stepping up to 32GB.

task-manager-memory-use

How Much RAM Should I have?

4GB is the barebones amount you should use to power any modern computer. 4GB is useful for anyone looking to browse the web, write documents, and watch movies. 4GB will also allow for some basic photo manipulation, though don’t expect anything crazy here. Finally, if you’re planning to do any significant multitasking, you’ll want to step up to a higher tier of RAM. Even keeping multiple tabs open at once inside a browser (especially Chrome, which infamously uses a lot of memory) will cause your computer to slow to a crawl.

8GB represents a reasonable mix of value and utility. You can do everything 4GB allows you to, but a bit faster and smoother. Watch Netflix and browse the web at the same time, all while keeping dozens of tabs open. Video chat and watch a movie together. Edit more photos than you were previously. 8GB of RAM allows you to play some games, but your ability to play games also relies on the GPU and CPU inside your machine.

16GB usually guarantees anything you want to do with your PC is possible. Multitasking? No problem. Current-day games? 16GB handles them like a champ. Video production in applications like Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects? You’ll be good to go. Consumers might want to consider this tier, too, solely for the sake of future-proofing their computers. If you wish to keep your computer functioning for as long as possible, 16GB is the best amount for the price.

32GB works excellent for 4K video editing, studio-quality sound mixing, constant photo editing and manipulation, and full-time gaming. 32GB can handle the same sorts of processes as 16GB of RAM, but with a bit more power behind every action. Most users won’t need to jump up to 32GB of RAM, however, and if you’re the type of user who needs it, you likely already have it.

One thing you’ll want to consider before upgrading your RAM is the limitations imposed by your existing hardware, including your PC’s motherboard. You’ll want to ensure the motherboard of your computer can support additional RAM in your PC.

Luckily, Crucial (one of the leading manufacturers of computer RAM) has developed a tool that scans your machine to report the proper RAM amount that your device supports. To follow through with it, head here to download the Crucial System Scanner tool onto your PC. This app will check your system BIOS for information on the number of RAM slots in your machine and the maximum RAM capacity your motherboard can support.

crucial-results

Desktops and laptops typically have different sized RAM sticks, so make sure you’re buying the correct RAM for your type of machine. Replacing or adding RAM is as easy as pushing your RAM into the memory slots on your computer’s motherboard. For laptops that offer expandable or replaceable RAM, you simply slide the new ones into the corresponding compartment. Some laptops are not upgradable, so make sure to consult your manufacturer’s guides for more details.

Drives

Investing in a new drive can make sense for most users, especially if:

  • Your computer is a few years old.
  • You’re interested in investing in flash storage for your PC.
  • Your hard drive is consistently more than 80 percent full.

First, if your computer is a few years old now, it’s most likely using a disk-based drive. These disk drives are cheaper than their flash-based counterparts, but they’re also far slower, causing your PC to have slower startup times and longer load times. Disk-based hard drives are typically rated by disk speed, with most modern drives either rated at 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM. While it’s better to have a 7200 RPM drive than the slower and more common 5400, neither can stand up to a full-fledged SSD, which uses flash-based storage like your smartphone to retrieve information faster than ever before, while also reducing startup and restart times to seconds.

The other reason to upgrade or purchase a new hard drive is your storage capacity. If the HDD gets close to its limit, you’ll have a higher chance of fragmenting files that slow down your computer. Using a higher-capacity drive will help eliminate the need to free up disk space.

If you’re looking to upgrade your computer’s hard drive, you’ll want to consider both the type of PC you have (desktop, laptop, etc.) and the type of hard drive you want. There are a few different storage varieties for computers, so here’s what you’ll need to consider:

  • Hard Disk Drive (HDD): HDDs are traditional, disk-based storage drives that most machines have used over time. They come in a few different sizes for different devices and are by far the cheapest option for adding new storage to your device. As mentioned, of course, speed is much less compared to fresher options. If you want to modernize your computer and make the device feel faster, you should skip over using an HDD. However, a standard hard drive is a great place to keep extra files or games that don’t require daily or consistent access.

  • Solid State Drive (SSD): Unlike traditional disk-based hard drives, SSDs use integrated circuits with no moving parts, typically using NAND-based flash storage similar to smartphones and tablets. Without moving pieces, SSDs are more reliable, and the speed increase is noticeable as soon as you begin using the drive. Although prices have gradually dropped for SSDs, they’re generally more expensive than their disk-based counterparts.
  • Hybrid Drive (SSHD): Hybrid drives are what they sound like: traditional disk-based hard drives with an included solid-state cache for loading the OS boot drive and occasional files. Hybrid drives are an excellent choice for anyone looking for decent speed while maintaining the typical amount of storage expected from an HDD. SSHDs don’t nearly perform as well as SSDs, but they are a better option than a standard hard drive.
  • M.2 SSD: M.2 SSDs are a variation of standard SSDs, but they bypass the traditional SATA input and use the M.2 standard, similar to PCI slots, but with improved speeds and smaller size. These are, by far, the most expensive upgrade on this list. You’ll have to research your laptop or motherboard to find whether your computer supports M.2 drives. You’ll see the benefits as soon as you’ve installed your new hardware.

Most modern motherboards have more than one available SATA port, the interface used to connect hard drives to the motherboard. Replacing your drive or, more likely, adding a second drive to a desktop computer is incredibly simple. Most desktop towers have mounting brackets for you to screw the hard drive into place. If you choose to buy an SSD or smaller hard drive than the standard 3.5″ internal hard drive, you can pick up a cheap adapter bracket from Amazon for a few bucks, allowing you to mount the drive inside your computer.

While the drive is mounted in your machine, you must ensure that the SATA cable runs from it to an open SATA port on your motherboard.

Use a power connector to run from the hard drive to your PC’s power supply. The power supply must be capable of handling the added drive, but for the most part, you should be fine. Anyone upgrading to an SSD should consider moving their partition of Windows 10 from their old hard drive to the new SSD.

Laptop users, unfortunately, will have to check with their manufacturer before adding or replacing a drive. Most Windows laptops have some capabilities for replacing the drive, typically with either a new 2.5” SSD or with a 2.5″ HDD.

Ultrabooks ship with SSDs included as the main (and typically only) drive, and unfortunately, you’re likely out of luck for adding onto an Ultrabook without complication. Again, check with your manufacturer for more on whether your laptop’s drive is replaceable.

Finally, most gaming laptops ship with user-replaceable hard drives, along with extra slots for additional storage. Newer gaming laptops might include spaces for M.2 SSDs, which, as mentioned above, bypass the SATA interface to increase speed, performance, and size. Tablets and other ultra-portable devices, meanwhile, are likely out of luck when it comes to storage upgrades.

Upgrading the Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Unlike RAM and hard drives, virtually no laptop contains a replaceable processor. For desktop PCs, it’s essential to know what to look for in modern processors. The majority of computers sold today get powered by Intel and AMD CPUs, ranging from Intel i-series processors to AMD Ryzen.

A laptop using a Core i7 processor should sustainably perform the most power-hungry tasks, including video production and gaming on the go, assuming a dedicated GPU runs in conjunction with the CPU. The Intel® Core™ brand has been around for several years, producing i5, i7, and i9 processors with continual releases, such as the 9th Generation i7. Each generation has included changes and increases in performance, some major and some minor, along with improved battery consumption.AMD’s Ryzen line is the first time in years the company has produced CPUs under a new architecture, and they’re also great for the money, often performing at similar levels to the Intel line without demanding as much cash. Buying a CPU can be a daunting task, but if you want/need to save as much money as possible, upgrade your existing PC to a faster processor. Refer to the manual or the motherboard’s website for compatible processors.

Dedicated Graphics Card (GPU)

Your computer’s CPU is what powers most of the tasks you perform on your computer, but your graphics processing unit (GPU), also known as graphics card, shouldn’t be overlooked. Most users will be satisfied with an integrated graphics card. Anyone who plans to game or edit photos or videos on their computer might want to add a second video card, known as a dedicated GPU. The graphics card inside your PC gets integrated into the motherboard. It carries limits on performance, but you can add a dedicated GPU focused solely on video and audio processing, unlike your motherboard’s CPU. A GPU helps when performing intense video and sound processing tasks that the CPU might be too weak or busy to handle on its own.

Upgrading a graphics card on your existing desktop is relatively simple. Just as with your RAM, your graphics card simply fits into a slot on your computer’s motherboard, making it a relatively painless process. However, there’s still another process you need to follow when upgrading your computer’s GPU. Buying a brand-new, top-end GPU for your PC with a half-decade old processor will result in bottlenecked performance in games. It’s essential to keep a balance between both your CPU and GPU, and you should look for our guide to upgrading processors below for some advice on improving your performance.

If you’ve determined that your GPU won’t get bottlenecked by using your processor, you need to find out if your new graphics card supports your motherboard and your computer’s power supply. We recommend using PC Part Picker to do this.

Finally, once you have your new GPU in hand, make sure to uninstall the graphics drivers from your old dedicated GPU (not the internal GPU) inside Device Manager before installing the new one. Once you’ve inserted your new graphics card into your computer, you’ll have to install new drivers for your GPU (almost always either NVidia or AMD).

If you’re using a laptop, you don’t have a ton of options for upgrading your GPU. Newer laptops may support Thunderbolt 3 in which you can look into using an external GPU to increase your gaming or editing performance. These eGPU enclosures are typically a few hundred bucks, and that’s without including an actual GPU.

Depending on your budget, these modules go a long way in increasing your gaming performance on an Ultrabook or thin and light laptop. If your portable PC doesn’t have a Thunderbolt 3-compatible port, you’re probably better off putting that money towards a more powerful computer.

Windows 10 Tweaks

For any Windows 10 PC, there are several tweaks and changes you can make within the settings to help speed up your PC. You’ll want to try these options one by one, to ensure that they perform correctly. This process may take a while, as you’ll be testing your computer step by step, but if you make several changes at once and suddenly discover a critical error with your PC, it’ll be much tougher to figure out what’s causing your problems.

The first four categories in this list are must-dos for anyone trying to speed up their computer. They go a long way in solving errors and slowdowns caused by rogue applications and problematic setting changes. Everything after that can be considered optional, depending on the apps and services you use. Let’s dive in.

Remove Vendor Bloatware

When you purchase a computer from a major manufacturer that isn’t marketed or sold directly by Microsoft, Windows 10 isn’t the only software installed on your device. Each computer company makes deals with various software companies to include their products on your device. Pre-installed software can be everything from antivirus suites with a “free trial” like Norton or McAfee software to DVD-playing software like RealPlayer or PowerDVD. Some of this software can be useful, and if you find yourself using it on your PC, there’s no need to remove it.

Some manufacturers have a nasty habit of installing all sorts of apps and plugins on your PC, causing severe headaches down the road. What’s worse is that it isn’t always immediately clear what software should and shouldn’t get uninstalled. Some of the apps, particularly those developed by the PC’s manufacturer, can typically add specific functions to your PC, including volume and brightness controls. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’re uninstalling the correct software.

Furthermore, PC makers like to throw in marketing bloatware and resource-hogging tools that always run in the background, such as error loggers, update checkers, and branded adware. Dell, HP, and other brands have their own added software with tools like those just mentioned.

Should I Remove It?“ is a website dedicated to helping Windows users determine the importance of the software installed on their PC.

“Should I Remove It” features all sorts of rankings and lists on the website, designed to help ease the removal process of bloatware. You’ll see the rankings of worst-to-best manufacturers in terms of the average number of apps installed on their devices. Toshiba, Acer, Asus, and other brands feature some degree of bloatware on their PCs. Each brand link on the website allows you to view lists of the software included on the brand’s devices, making it easy to decide which programs and apps stay and which ones go.

“Should I Remove It” also has an application. The app is free and displays the rankings of each piece of software on your computer. If you don’t want to use the app, you can also stick to using the website; it does the same thing but without a built-in uninstall link.

To uninstall specific apps, you’ll need to open up the “Add or Remove Programs” option, either from your control panel or by searching in Cortana’s search box. This process will open your settings menu and allow you to begin uninstalling applications from your device. You can search for specific applications by name, or you can scroll through an alphabetical list. Be careful not to uninstall anything you aren’t familiar with, as some apps are needed to correctly control your computer.

For example, anything developed by Microsoft is typically a critical app to keep on your device, but applications from unknown publishers are generally safe to uninstall. The easiest way to make sure you aren’t removing essential apps is to use “Should I Remove It” to search the name of your program; likewise, you can also Google the name of the app to ensure it’s safe to remove from your device.

Removing programs from your computer can typically take a good chunk of your time, so make sure to set aside a couple of hours to run through your full list of apps. Uninstall anything you don’t use or recognize, though make sure to cross-check your answers using the Internet’s resources. Some apps may also require you to restart your computer, though in some cases, you can hold off on doing this until you’ve uninstalled multiple apps. After you’ve removed your programs, take a day or two to use your computer as you would typically use it to test it out. Make sure everything still works as intended and that you didn’t uninstall any necessary software. Any apps that are required for general usage can be re-downloaded from the manufacturer’s site.

You may also want to consider starting from a fresh copy of Windows 10, which you can do by creating a Windows 10 Recovery Disk.

Note: Windows Add and Remove Programs tool does not delete all traces of programs, including bloatware and adware. It does eliminate most data, however. Third-party applications like IObit Uninstaller, Revo Uninstaller, and CCleaner can delete most traces, including registry entries, leftover folders, and more. Be sure you know what you are doing!

Startup Files and Services

When you install a computer program, the process may ask you to add the application as a startup program on your PC, which means it will automatically run once your computer boots. For some applications, like certain utilities or apps, this can be a good thing, helping you get to the program or application you need faster. However, for other apps, this can slow down your computer and dramatically drag out the bootup process. Some apps, like Spotify or Steam, might seem like suitable applications for bootup, but if you don’t use them every day, it’s a good idea to remove them from your startup manager.

The easiest way to disable these applications is through task manager, accessed by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete and selecting the task manager option from the list of settings.

Alternatively, pressing Ctrl+Shift+Escape will automatically open the taskbar. Select the tab labeled Startup, which will load a list of applications that launch when you boot your computer. This list will show you information about each of these selections, including their name, publisher, current status, and even their startup impact. The status portion is the crucial part: each of these apps will either be disabled or enabled.

Background Applications

Applications that run in the background in Windows 10 might be doing a lot more than you think. They could be updating sporadically, sending notifications to your device, looking and searching for content, capturing activity, recording various errors, and more. Not every background application hinders your computer. Still, some users might find that their device runs smoother when fewer apps are taking up device resources, particularly on older and less-powerful computers.

Luckily, Windows 10 now has a way to disable apps from running in the background automatically. It’s as easy as diving into the Privacy section of your settings menu.

Go to Home -> Privacy -> Background Apps.

Browsers Extensions and Caches

Unless you spend most of your day working in a creative application like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro, or an office application like Microsoft Excel, you likely spend much of your time on your computer using a browser to access your favorite sites. Since your internet browser gets used for everything from checking up on friends on Facebook or Instagram to watching your favorite movies and television shows with Netflix and Hulu, it only makes sense that the browser becomes an essential tool in your arsenal of software. The Internet is an incredibly powerful place, full of media, helpful information, online gaming, online tools, and more, making it a must-have utility for any PC.

Every major browser used on Windows 10, including Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, allows extensions that change the way it operates. Extensions are generally helpful tools, giving you the ability to modify your computer without having to worry about installing significant pieces of software. If you look at your browser’s extensions menu, you’ll see the full list of software you’ve added to your internet experience. The list might include extensions like password managers such as LastPass or 1Password, and a VPN plugin like ExpressVPN, or even an ad-blocker. There are millions of different extensions on the web, and your browser developer will often do its best to gather those extensions into one place, like Chrome’s Web Store or Firefox’s Add-ons market.

Not every extension is your friend, though, and if you’re not careful, you could add software to your laptop or desktop that causes problems. It’s essential to make sure that any software you don’t remember adding to your device gets removed, and that you avoid any extensions that attempt to install themselves to your device. Though there are plenty of unnecessary, spam-filled browser extensions on the web, the most important to stay away from is search toolbars that take over your browser’s default search engine and deliver ads every time you open the browser.

Just as vital as keeping track of your extensions, however, is ensuring that your browser’s cache gets routinely cleared to keep your Internet running smooth and fast. Browser cache, like any cache in general, is the automatic storage of online data that you often visit enough that it becomes more efficient for your browser to save some of that data locally. For the most part, the cache is a good thing. It takes up little room on your device and typically makes it so you can access your data without having to wait while your browser loads the same Facebook icon repeatedly.

Unfortunately, cache often becomes a bit “screwy,” unsure of where the files are and substantially extending the general loading time for your content as you wait for your browser to give up on finding the cache. Some cache can be harmful and cause delays or unnecessary processes that slow your PC down significantly.

Since both browser extensions and browser cache occupy the same space, let’s dive into the settings menu and look at how to remove unwanted browser extensions and clear your cache inside the browser.

Chrome

To remove extensions inside of Chrome, do the following:

  1. Select the triple-dotted menu icon in the top-right corner of your display.
  2. Roll your mouse icon over “More Tools,” then select “Extensions” to open the settings menu for your extensions.
  3. Scroll through this list of extensions and ensure that you have personally added every extension listed on the menu. You can check on the permissions granted to each extension by clicking on the “Details” icon, and you can enable or disable extensions by clicking the checkmark icon on the side of each listing.
  4. If you find an extension worth deleting, click on the garbage can icon to remove it from your computer, browser, and Google account.

To clear your cache, do the following:

  1. Click on the triple-dotted menu icon and select “Settings” from the menu. Once you’ve opened “Settings,” scroll to the bottom of your page, open the advanced options, and select “Clear Browsing Data” at the bottom of the Privacy and Settings.
  2. Add a checkmark to the box next to “Cached images and files.
  3. Choose additional options, including “Cookies and other site data” and “Browsing history.”
  4. Click on the “Clear Data” box to clean up Chrome and regain performance.
  5. Accept the prompt to restart your browser.

Firefox

To view and remove any extensions in Firefox, do the following:

  1. Select the triple-lined menu icon in the top-right corner of your display.
  2. Select “Add-ons” from this menu, which opens the Add-on store inside of Firefox and provides the ability to look at extensions installed inside of your browser.
  3. Select “Extensions” from the menu along the left-hand side of your display, which will load your full list of extensions plugged into Firefox.
  4. Click “More” to get information about the extension like the publisher’s name and the general idea behind what the extension is supposed to do.
  5. Click “Disable” to stop the extension from running in your browser.
  6. Click “Plugins” on the left side of the menu to remove any additional background-running software.

To clear your cache in Firefox, do the following:

  1. Click the triple-lined menu icon in the top-right corner of your display and select “Options.”
  2. Type “Cache” into the search box at the top of the screen and wait for the full list to load, and then select “Clear Now.” This step will automatically delete the browser cache.

Microsoft Edge

Edge has become a much more powerful browser over its last few revisions and updates, improving support for extensions and other plugins, and generally making the app a bit more friendly and easy to use. To check out your installed extensions, do the following:

  1. Click the horizontal-dotted menu icon in the upper-right hand corner of your display.
  2. Click “Extensions.”
  3. Clear out what you do and don’t need from Edge, disabling, and removing extensions as you see fit. If you have not installed any extension, you will only see the recommendations.

To manage your cache, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Tap on the settings icon.
  2. Select Settings at the bottom of the menu.
  3. Click on the “Choose What to Clear” icon under “Clear Browsing Data.”
  4. Choose to remove your cached data and files.
  5. You can also remove browsing history, cookies, saved passwords, and anything else you wish to delete from Edge.
  6. Restart Microsoft Edge to test the performance for improvements.

edge-clear-data-screen

Disable Animations and Other Visual Effects

On lower-end PCs, you may want to consider disabling some of the “flashier” visual effects provided by Windows. Since the launch of Windows Vista over a decade ago, Microsoft has made good use of animations, transparent icons, and formerly, a design technique called Windows Aero. Transparency and animation have remained a staple of design in Windows. As flashy as Windows 10 can be, it’s important to remember that these effects can tank your system’s performance if you’re running on low-end hardware. Even on faster computers, the time it takes for your laptop or desktop to perform the animation can “eat” valuable time throughout your day if you’re always working on your computer.

transparency

There are a few specific things you should tweak to speed up Windows 10.

Windows 10 Personalization Menu

The first thing to do is to dive into the Personalization menu inside the Settings of Windows 10.

  1. Open the Settings menu on your device, or type Personalization into the Windows menu to load the Themes and Related Settings list.
  2. On the side of the menu, you’ll find a list of changeable settings and menu options. Select Colors.
  3. If Transparency is on, switch it off to disable all transparency options on your device. The tops of your menus and windows will no longer be transparent, but beyond a visual change in functionality, it helps ease the load on your processor.

animations-off

Ease of Access in Windows 10

The Ease of Access menu allows you to change how your device works, making it more or less comforting for your level of accessibility, depending on your personal needs.

  1. In the left menu, click Other Options.
  2. Uncheck “Play Animations in Windows.”
  3. Click Home in the Settings menu.
  4. Select Ease of Access. This step will completely stop all animations in Windows 10 so that gestures get completed in a single frame.
  5. If you want, you can also disable your background image.

Windows 10 Advanced System Settings

The Advanced System settings menu provides custom performance options, which can be tweaked by the following steps.

  1. Close the standard settings menu and press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  2. Type “con” in your menu and hit Enter, which will open the Control Panel quickly.
  3. Select “System and Security” from this menu, and then select “System” to view your PC’s information.
  4. On the left-side menu, click Advanced System Settings to load a pop-up menu displaying your system preferences.
  5. Ensure the Advanced tab is selected, and at the top of this menu, you’ll see the option for Performance.
  6. Click on the Settings menu to load your performance options.

visual-effects

By default, this menu allows Windows to pick the best options for your computer, but it’s easy to adjust to improve performance and control appearance. What you want to do here really depends on your preferences. If you’re going to allow Windows to change settings for best performance, select that option.

Checking a box will switch your mode to custom, which is fine. If you’re running a powerful computer, you can select “Adjust for Best Appearance” to check every option automatically. Once you’ve chosen the options that you want to keep, click Apply and choose OK to close the menu.

Virtual Memory Settings

Virtual memory is an essential feature on your computer, which ensures that your data loads quickly. While RAM handles your computer’s memory to keep apps open and active in the background (and ready to be launched promptly), virtual memory allows your system to store temporary data on the drive when the physical memory is full or busy. This option helps speed things up if your PC runs short on RAM. For PCs with less RAM and no way to upgrade, check your virtual memory settings to ensure your device has as much “wiggle room” as it can. Generally speaking, virtual memory should be set to one and a half times more than physical memory, but never more than three times the amount.

To check out your virtual memory settings, do the following:

  1. Type “Control” in Cortana’s search box to select and open the Control Panel.
  2. Select “System and Security,” then select “System” from this list.
  3. On the left-side panel of your display, select “Advanced System Settings.”
  4. Accept the security prompt if one appears.
  5. Select “Advanced,” then “Performance Settings,” and “Advanced” once more.
  6. In the virtual memory section, select “Change…” to adjust the amount given to your device.
  7. Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” to manually edit the amount of virtual memory.
  8. Change your selected setting from “System managed size” to “Custom size.”
  9. Type your initial size and the maximum size you want to allocate to virtual memory.
  10. Ensure your swap file’s location gets set to the fastest storage device in your computer (if you have multiple drives; otherwise, this step isn’t for you). If your C: drive is an SSD and your D: drive is a traditional hard drive, make sure the C: drive is the location of your virtual memory to ensure your computer gains the best possible speed.

Power Settings

If you’re running a laptop, you might want to check out your power settings to ensure the best options possible for speeding up your PC. While lowering your power settings on a laptop can help it last longer, it also reduces your device’s performance. If your portable PC is plugged in, Windows will typically increase the performance of your device automatically. Likewise, if your laptop has a dedicated graphics card (like a GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 in NVidia’s Max-Q laptops), it will automatically switch when you plug your device in increasing the power of your computer. The newest updates to Windows 10 have made updating your power settings incredibly easy, so don’t stress too much about having to dive into your settings every time you want to control your power.

To control your power settings using the shortcut in the Windows taskbar, look for the battery icon in the lower-left corner of your display. Clicking on the battery icon will load your quick settings menu for your power options.

When plugged in, you’ll have a slider with four options for your power performance: “Best battery,” “Better battery,” “Better Performance,” and “Best Performance.” You’ll also be able to see how long until your device is fully charged.

When you unplug your device, you get an extra option on the included slider, allowing you to select from the first three options listed above or, if you wish, to choose the option to the far left, labeled as “Battery saver.” Selecting the “Battery saver” mode will automatically dim your display and reduce your performance. Still, if you’re on a plane or away from a power source, it’s the right option to help keep your computer running.

To get the full list of battery options on your computer, open the shortcut on your laptop using the battery icon in your taskbar, and select “Battery settings,” which will open a settings menu. Here you can see a full overview of your battery stats. Windows allows you to review some battery-saving tips from within the settings menu, and you can even change the battery settings for playing back video on your device.

One final step before moving on from power settings is to access the Power Options in the Control Panel.

  1. Type “Control” in Cortana’s search box to select and open the Control Panel.
  2. Select “Hardware and Sound,” then select “Power Options.”

The Control Panel version of the Power menu has far more options than the basic settings menu, so it’s essential to know it exists. You can manually change your power plan settings in this section, including choices for when your display turns off and when your computer finally puts itself to sleep. If you select “Advanced Power Options,” you can fine-tune every aspect of your computer and the power it draws, maximizing, or minimizing as you see fit.

Most people will be good to go by adjusting the basic power options in the shortcut through your taskbar. If you’re looking for a way to edit the PCI Express power options or modify when your USB plugs suspend power, the Advanced Power option is a great way to take control of your device. If you adjust options and notice your computer acting oddly, make sure to change your power settings back to their default setting.

Search Indexing

Search indexing can be a powerful tool in the right hands, used to increase the speed of your searches and make everything a little faster on your PC. If you have an extensive library of files on an older, disk-based hard drive, it can take a long time to find data. Search indexing makes the process a little bit faster by indexing files in the background. If you have an older computer with a slow processor, you may want to turn it off, especially if you don’t do a lot of full-scale searches for content on your PC. People who frequently search for files may want to leave the option enabled, but whichever you choose, you’ll be happy to know you’re helping to speed up your PC in some way or another.

To open search indexing, do the following:

  1. Type “Index” in Cortana’s search box to select and open Indexing Options.

Your indexing locations appear in the white portion of the menu, and you can edit or add options as you see fit. The “Modify” icon opens a window where you can select and deselect locations that are indexed. However, if the menu looks complicated to you, you’re better off either turning off indexing altogether or leaving it on for good.

search-indexing

OneDrive

One of the significant features of Windows 10 is Microsoft’s integration with OneDrive, the company’s cloud storage, and file hosting service that competes actively with Dropbox and Google Drive. While both of those competing services do allow for some straightforward desktop integration, nothing is quite as in sync with Windows as OneDrive, thanks to the synergy between Microsoft’s cloud storage service and its operating system. The service runs in the background actively to sync your files to the storage allocated to your account, but if you aren’t using it, OneDrive might just be eating up processing power you could use on something else. Turning off OneDrive isn’t too tricky, though disabling it altogether is a different story.

od_settings-1

If you’re just looking to disable OneDrive, it’s pretty straightforward.

  1. Click on the ^ icon in your taskbar, found near the clock. Look for the cloud icon.
  2. Right-click the cloud icon and select “Exit” or “Quit OneDrive,” depending on the app’s version.
  3. OneDrive will notify you that files will no longer remain in sync with the service, and you can click through the prompt to finish quitting the system.
  4. Optionally, select the settings option here and disable OneDrive from starting on your computer automatically.

onedrive-disable

If you feel comfortable enough editing the registry on your computer, you can disable OneDrive altogether through your computer’s settings.

  1. Type “Regedit” in Cortana’s search box to select and open the Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate to the following key: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows.”
  3. Create a new key named One Drive, and give the key a DWORD called DisableFileSyncNGSC with a value of 1.

The above steps will disable the option to sync content on your computer through OneDrive, though you can always return to this key to edit and remove it.

Startup

Your computer should have a password for security and protection, especially if you live with other people. However, if you have no interest in protecting your laptop, you can disable Windows 10’s requirement that you keep a password on your device by using the Run dialog we’ve used throughout this guide.

  1. Press Win+R on your device to open Run and type “netplwiz” into the dialog box. This action will open the User Accounts display on your computer, which shows every user account on your computer. At least one of your accounts will need administrator access, though disabling “administrator” on accounts where it isn’t necessary is suggested.password-disable
  2. Select your account name and highlight it using your mouse, then uncheck the box next to “Users must enter a name and password to use this computer.”

Disabling the password prompt will speed up your login process, giving you access to your documents faster. If you have a shared device with multiple accounts, we recommend not using it to unprotect your data.

However, even if you don’t want to remove your password and security options from your device, you can still manage to save some serious time on your startup process by enabling Windows Fast Startup.

fast-startup

This feature is one of the most critical options you can select in Windows to improve boot times, yet Microsoft leaves it off by default for most users.

Fast Startup allows Windows to create something called a hiberfil. This file holds information on the most recent image of your saved kernels and drivers from your RAM. The next time you start your computer, Windows will use the info from that hiberfil file to load your information faster.

You should take note that enabling Fast Startup means your computer doesn’t fully power down. Using Fast Startup puts your device into deep hibernation. For most users, this is effectively the same as powering down the PC; you’ll never know that your computer isn’t in a zero-power mode. It’s different from using the standard hibernation mode you can activate from your Start menu in Windows. There are some minor power concerns for some folks, but most people will find no difference between the two options.

To activate Fast Startup or ensure it is enabled, do the following:

  1. Type “command” in Cortana’s search box.
  2. Right-click on the “exe” link that comes up in the list, and then select “Run as administrator” to open your command prompt.
  3. Type the following: “powercfg /hibernate on” without the quotes.
  4. Close the command prompt and open your start menu.
  5. Type “power” then hit enter. You’ll see your Power options open on your device.
  6. Select “Choose what the power button does” and select “Change options that are currently unavailable.”
  7. Ensure that the checkbox for “Turn on Fast Startup” is enabled.
  8. Save your changes on the device. We should note that anyone running current versions of Windows 10 (anything after the old 2017 Fall Creators update) should already have this enabled. Still, those on older devices will want to make sure this feature is selected manually.

Shutdown

Just like startup options, it’s worth taking a look at your shutdown habits to make sure your process of turning off your device is as fast as it can be. There are two ways to do this. The first suggestion is to ensure that the power button on your device does what you want it to do. The option is controllable within the Control Panel, and it’s worth making sure you have the power button on your device set to do whatever speeds up your process the most.

  1. Search for “Power” in Cortana’s search box.
  2. Select “Power and Sleep Settings.”
  3. On the right side of the menu, find “Additional power settings” to open the Control Panel, and then use the left-side of that menu to select “Choose what the power buttons do.” This option opens a new list that allows you to control what the power button does. Some computers, including most laptops, have power and sleep buttons built into their hardware, enabling them to manage power and sleep. Other PCs, especially laptops, typically only have one physical power button, but may have a function key that doubles as a sleep button.

You can control what both buttons do depending on your needs, which is excellent for anyone looking to command their laptop with effort. Both buttons have the following options:

  • Do nothing
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate
  • Shutdown
  • Turn off the display (this may depend on your hardware)

On desktops, as seen in the screenshot above, most computers keep things pretty basic. Laptops have much more flexibility when it comes to this option. You get three options: the ability to use the power button, sleep button, and to close the lid. Each of these also has options to control what happens when running on battery and when plugged in.

If you’re still looking to save some time in powering off your device, you can create a shortcut on your desktop that automatically powers off your laptop or desktop.

Right-click an empty section of your desktop and select “New” from the contextual menu. Select shortcut, and type %windir%\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0 in the target box.

shutdown-shortcut

Click “Next” to name the shortcut, and hit finish. Once you double-click the shortcut on your desktop, it’ll automatically shut down.

Folder Options

Windows Explorer can change specific settings within your folders to help give your computer a boost in performance.

  1. Open Explorer and click View at the top of the interface.
  2. Click the dropdown menu on the far right of the interface.
  3. Click the options key to open the window, and then select the “View” tab from the list.

Within this options menu, you’ll see a ton of information about displaying files, folders, drivers, and more.

view-options

By disabling some of these options, you can speed up the visual aspect of File Explorer, to make everything load as quickly as possible. You don’t need to uncheck all of them, but here are a few of the options you should disable as soon as possible:

  • Display file size information in folder tips
  • Hide empty drives
  • Hide extensions for known file types (it is also a good security measure to disable this)
  • Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color.
  • Show pop-up description for folder and desktop items

folder-options

Privacy Settings

Privacy is essential, but some settings should get turned off. It’s a good idea to disable Windows’ option to collect and send data from your computer to their custom logs, identifying bugs, crashes, and uses of Windows. This data is anonymized, so leaving it on doesn’t necessarily hurt your privacy. Instead, you should turn it off if you want your computer to use fewer resources sending data to Microsoft’s centers.

To do this, click on the Start Menu in the lower-left hand corner and type “Privacy” to open your privacy settings. You can choose which options to leave enabled and which options to leave disabled, depending on your performance needs and what you want Microsoft to receive. For example, you may wish to disable your advertising ID choice but leave “suggested options” enabled in your settings menu. What you change here is really up to you as the user in the long run.

Tips and Notifications

Windows 10 comes with a series of tips for letting you know how to best use the operating system. These are great for beginners, but if you’ve been using Windows 10 for years, you’re likely going to find you don’t need these notifications on to learn how to use the OS. These tips and other notifications that attempt to highlight apps or guide your actions in Windows can bog down your computer, or just turn your device into a frustrating experience. If you’re over having to deal with these notifications, you can turn them off inside the Settings menu.

  1. Click Settings from the Start Menu and select “System.”
  2. Select “Notifications and actions” from the left side, three or four options down from the top.
  3. Turn off tips, tricks, and suggestions.

With all three options turned off and disabled, you’ll have a much better experience using Windows, especially if you’re already a pro-level Windows user.

Trim the Start Menu

The Start Menu in Windows 10 made a roaring comeback after being gone from Windows 8, and thanks to the improvements made in it, it’s more powerful than ever. If you’re looking for a way to slim down Windows and make it easier to use, do not keep the Start Menu in its current state. When you first boot up Windows 10, the Start Menu fills with things you simply do not need. News, weather, and other rotating shortcuts take up room on your Start Menu, and they load content in the background of your device, slowing things down and making it much harder to work on your computer.

You can take the time to customize your Start Menu, but if you just want to keep things clean and simple without any complications, you can open up your settings menu to change the options for your Start Menu personally.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization from the actual menu. Personalization allows you to change all sorts of options within your computer, from the background screen to the lock screen wallpaper.
  3. Select Start, which rests on the left-side panel within the menu.

In the Start section of the Personalization menu, you can quickly customize your settings to suit whatever works best. If you’re looking for the most basic version of the Start Menu, you could disable “Show more tiles,” “Show suggestions occasionally in Start,” and “Use Start full screen.”

The first option (“Show more tiles”) extends your Start Menu farther than it needs.

The second option (“Show suggestions occasionally in Start”) places suggestions and ads for apps from the Microsoft Store in your Start menu.

The third option (“Use Start full screen”) creates a full-screen Start Menu experience, similar to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

If you want to go farther, you can disable “Show most used apps,” which displays a list of six or seven suggested apps at the top of the Start Menu when you open it, and “Show recently added apps,” which highlights apps and programs you’ve recently installed on your device. We don’t recommend disabling the option to show your app list in Start, however, since that’s the primary purpose of the utility.

Once you’ve finished customizations in the Settings menu, make sure to head into your Start Menu to ensure that everything gets laid out how you want it. You can also further disable live tiles and other content here, including removing the weather and news to ensure that your computer is loading as fast as possible without taking up background processes.

Set Active Hours

This one is important. Thanks to Windows’ new updating system, you’re going to want to make sure that you’ve set your Active Hours correctly, or you may lose current work or progress because the update system takes over. Active hours can extend up to eighteen hours total, so make sure that you’ve set yours correctly to ensure your work is covered. To change your busy hours, do the following:

  1. Open the Settings menu from Start and select “Update and Security,” or search for “Active Hours” in Cortana’s search box and select it.
  2. Under Windows Update, find the option to change your active hours.

Windows used to limit you to a twelve-hour limit for this option, but newer features within Active Hours extended your time. You should take advantage of this feature, especially if you’re someone who finds it hard to maintain specific work hours or who always seems to be using their computer for work, school, and play.

Maintenance Items

While older versions of Windows provoked users to pay attention to specific maintenance items frequently, Windows 10 makes it much easier to just focus primarily on using the PC. If you haven’t caught up on your general PC maintenance lately, it may be worth taking a look to ensure your PC is clean and clear of resource hogs.

Temporary Files

Your computer gets filled with temporary files created to load data efficiently and correctly or to keep track of content on your device. While they’re essential, they can lead to some severe issues if you let them build up. Your temporary files are stored in a single folder, making it easy to clear them out, but you shouldn’t delete the content from your device inside File Explorer. Instead, it’s a good idea to ensure that you use the right-clicked Properties folder on your main drive (typically the C: drive) to use the Disk Cleanup option.

If you’re looking for an alternate option to use on your device, CCleaner is a free third-party program that combines this and other maintenance tasks in one easy-to-manage place. Wise Care 365 is our choice and is a great paid program for boosting performance, full of numerous tools to tweak and clean your system. Wise Care 365 is also fast!

Defrag

Normal file operations on an HDD result in bits of scattered files written all over the hard drive. The more fragmented the data becomes, the longer it takes to read it. Windows 10 does an excellent job of keeping fragmentation in check. You can view the status of the drives and run a manual Optimization from the Tools tab of the drive’s Properties box. Select a drive and hit Analyze to get the latest status. Hit Optimize if you want to defrag the drive.

optimize-drives

Note that SSDs work differently and SHOULD NOT GET DEFRAGMENTED. Defragging is MOSTLY disabled for SSDs in Windows 10, but the OS uses some functions to optimize the drive safely.

Disk Images and Clean Installs

If you have upgraded your computer from a previous Windows version, it might be time to perform a clean install. Describing the full process is beyond the scope of this article. It clears out any problems that were carried over from the old system and eliminates any programs or operations that are no longer compatible. Remember: it’ll take a lot of time to reinstall all the apps you need, so make sure you aren’t performing this in the middle of a workday.

If you do all the work to optimize your system or perform a clean install, you might also create a complete disk image of your fully-cleaned PC with all programs ready to run. It’s a good idea also to store your essential files in a separate backup. After that, the next time your PC gets to a point where it is slower or needs a significant cleaning, all you have to do is restore the image and restore your data from a current backup.

Conclusion

This guide may make Windows 10 seem like a complicated operating system, but the tricks and tweaks you can perform to speed up an aging machine make it much more flexible. Not every OS allows you to dig deep into the platform and change minuscule settings to improve efficiency, but with Windows 10, you can rely on your laptop or desktop to be a viable machine for years to come.

Of course, if you decide you’re ready to upgrade to a brand-new computer, we’ve got guides for that too! Check out the best laptops for students or how to build your PC.

One thought on “How to Speed Up Windows 10 – The Ultimate Guide”

Avatar Helmut Scharrer says:
Excellent guide!
Avatar Yen says:
I totally agree and very much thorough in the instructions!

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