How to speed up Windows 10

How to speed up Windows 10

Windows 10 might be the newest and the most powerful Windows OS there is, but the computers that have to run this OS aren't always the newest and the most powerful. As a result, from time to time, systems with Windows 10 might run slow and sluggishly, which is rather unexpected and really disappointing considering all the praise and hype that this OS edition gets. Anyway, Windows 10 systems can be sped up a little using various methods. Here are the most common methods of speeding up Windows 10 systems:

Change Power Settings to High Performance

For some weird reason, the default power plan is set to Balanced even when you're using a desktop computer. By changing this to High Performance, you can make your system act a bit faster, at the cost of consuming more energy. To change this power setting, go to Control Panel, then to System and Security and to Power Options. From here, click on the drop-down arrow on the right side ("Show additional plans") and choose High Performance.

Check the Startup Processes and Remove the Unneeded Ones

It's a known issue since older versions of Windows that programs add themselves to the Windows boot-up list so that they'll be launched automatically at the same time with your system. Though this seems like a good thing in theory, a list too large of startup entries may slow down considerably both the speed of your computer's boot but also its overall performance level. So go ahead and remove the unneeded entries from the Windows startup list. To do so in Windows 10, call the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc, click on the Start-up tab, and disable any entry that's not mandatory to start with Windows.

The Startup EntriesThe Startup Entries

Turn Off Shadows, Animations, and Other Visual Effects

Though on the fast and powerful newer PCs these settings don’t usually affect system performance, on the slower and older PCs, they can affect the performance level quite considerably. Either go to the Windows 10 search box or press Windows key + R to start the Run window, then type sysdm.cpl and press Enter. The System Properties dialog box will be launched. Now click the Advanced tab and click “Settings” in the Performance section. This will display the Performance Options dialog box where a varied list of animations and special effects is displayed. If you have enough knowledge and time, you can check each and every one of these entries individually, and disable the ones you consider you can do without. If not, you can just select “Adjust for best performance” at the top of the screen and then click OK. Windows 10 will then disable the effects that slow down your system.

System PropertiesSystem Properties

Performance OptionsPerformance Options

Disable Unneeded Services

Services are usually handy, but some of them, especially third-party ones, can sometimes be no longer needed. In such situations, it's for the best to disable them, as they can affect the system performance. To do so, press the Windows key + R combination, type msconfig and hit Enter. The System Customization window will be shown on your screen. Now select the Services tab to see a list with all the services. You should check the box marked Hide all Microsoft services and view just the third-party ones. From the left ones you should be able to track down the items that you don't need and disable them.

The ServicesThe Services

Turn Off Search Indexing

Since older versions, Windows automatically indexes the files on your PC so that when you search for something locally, accurate results are provided much faster. Unfortunately, the indexing itself consumes a lot of the computer's resources too, so it can slow down your system considerably. If you don't use the search function too often, it's really recommended to turn off the search indexing. To do this, go to the Windows Search box, next to the Start button, type "index", and you should see Indexing Options at the top of the results' list. Click that, then click on Modify and remove the locations and file types that are being indexed.

Indexing OptionsIndexing Options

Indexing LocationsIndexing Locations

Perform Hard-disk Defragmentation

Defragmenting the hard disk is a well-known, acknowledged, classical system maintenance tasks. Running it from time to time on your Windows 10 system is recommended as well. This can considerably help improve your computer's speed and performance level. Just write "defrag" in the Windows search box and the "Optimise Drives" utility should be displayed there. Run this tool and check the fragmentation status of your partitions.

The Disk AnalyserThe Disk Analyser

Run the Performance Troubleshooter

Type troubleshooting in the Windows search box and click the “Troubleshooting Control Panel” icon that appears. Next, click on the “Run maintenance tasks” in the System and Security section of the screen that is displayed, and a screen named “Troubleshoot and help prevent computer problems” should show up. Run this tool by clicking Next. The troubleshooter should locate files and shortcuts that are no longer needed, and then fix any other performance-related issues on your PC.

Perform a Disk Cleanup

It may sound like a common system maintenance task, but this doesn't mean that cleaning the disk of unnecessary, junk files are less important when it comes to your Windows 10 system's speed. Just right click a partition or drive in Windows Explorer, select Properties, then click on Disk Clean-up. The rest is even simpler: check the file types to delete and press OK to proceed. You can also clean-up system files from this window if the system drive was initially selected.

Drive PropertiesDrive Properties

The Disk Clean-up WindowThe Disk Clean-up Window

Uninstall Bloatware, Adware, and Crapware

Especially on laptops, the pre-installed applications, better known as bloatware (or crapware too), can take quite a toll on your system performance, especially since many of them have a behavior that's more typical to adware components than to harmless tools. My recommendation is to right-click on the Windows logo Start button and choose the top choice Programs and Features. A new window will open listing all the apps installed on your computer. Locate the bloatware ones and simply uninstall them.

Check for Viruses, Malware, and Spyware

Viruses and malware can cause many different kinds of harm, including system slowdowns. It's never a bad idea to thoroughly check for such issues. My recommendation is keeping the default Windows Defender security tool turned on at all times, and even using the free version of the acknowledged Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware application for an increased level of protection.

Malwarebytes' Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes' Anti-Malware

Run Third-party Specialized Applications

Though not everyone's cup of tea, me included, some users prefer running such specialized third-party applications to speed up their Windows 10, which is perfectly understandable considering the convenience and comfort that such applications bring. Some of these tools even provide one-click system boosting functions that will quickly and automatically, without user intervention, perform system maintenance tasks like some of the ones mentioned above (deleting junk files, defragmenting the hard drive, removing malicious infections and adware, turning off the search indexing and the visual effects, changing the power plan, etc.). No wonder many users prefer using these tools instead of manually going through all the steps mentioned above. Anyway, I prefer being in complete control of what I'm doing and performing these tasks by myself.

Install an SSD Startup Drive or Add More RAM

Finally, upgrading your hardware configuration is a reasonable solution as well. It's clearly not the cheapest, but it's a guaranteed way to speed up your system.

Conclusion

If there's a will, there's a way. You shouldn't just accept that your Windows 10 is sluggish and slow as there are plenty of ways to fix this issue.

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