21 Simple Steps to Optimize Windows 10 Performance

Just like every other version of Windows before it, Windows 10 comes with several built-in tools to help you optimize your PC’s performance. These tools are mostly hidden, and they’re not very user-friendly, but if you know where to look and how to access them, you can do wonders to improve the speed of your Windows 10 laptop or desktop computer. Here are 21 simple steps to optimize Windows 10 performance.

Tips to Imrove Windows 10 Performance

1. Restart your PC

Restarting your computer is one of those tips that’s always listed as a simple way to improve performance. It has a minimal impact on your day-to-day activities but can have a huge effect on overall system speed.

Try it yourself and you’ll be surprised how much quicker everything runs when you restart.

To restart your computer, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and click on Restart in the bottom-right corner of your screen. This will close any applications you have open and start your PC again from scratch.

2. Run Disk Clean-up

Over time, your hard drive collects temporary files, logs, and other files. The larger these files grow, the slower your PC will become.

To optimize Windows 10 for faster performance, we recommend running Disk Clean-up (located in C:\Windows\System32\cleanmgr.exe) with a few easy clicks or commands. This simple tool can help you clean up any unnecessary files on your PC and boost its speed significantly!

3. Disable special effects

The easiest way to optimize performance is by disabling unnecessary visual effects. To do so, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System > Display. Click Adjust for best performance under Visual Effects.

Some special effects may not be completely disabled (e.g., transparent glass in Explorer windows), but disabling visual effects will lead to a noticeable increase in speed for most users.

4. Upgrade your RAM

Consider upgrading your system RAM. If you’re using a computer with 4GB of RAM or less, upgrading your RAM may lead to better performance and a more enjoyable experience overall. 

Many laptop users will only have access to RAM soldered onto their motherboards—and in those cases, adding RAM requires replacing other parts of your computer.

In desktop computers, on the other hand, you can usually add extra RAM by installing it into an open slot on your motherboard. Adding extra memory is one of those upgrades that’s worth doing early on in your computing journey.

5. Keep Updated with Windows Updates

It may sound trivial, but keeping your computer updated is one of the best things you can do to optimize performance.

That means staying up to date with all major system updates, as well as ensuring that your antivirus is up to date.

Most computers automatically do their updates, but it’s still a good idea to check on them once a week just in case you’ve been away for a while and need an update.

6. Check start-up apps

One of Microsoft’s biggest performance boosts in Windows 10 is its ability to disable unneeded start-up apps.

If you don’t need Skype running at start-up, for example, it makes sense to disable it from running.

You can always re-enable it later if you need it without going through a lot of extra work by removing and re-adding programs.

Disabling unwanted app will boost your Windows 10 start-up.  Disable them by searching for msconfig on your start menu, which should bring up a window that allows you to disable/enable unneeded programs at boot time.

7. Remove unused software

One of the easiest ways to boost your PC’s performance is by removing programs you don’t use from start-up.

There are plenty of free tools available, such as Autoruns and Process Explorer, that allow you to see exactly what programs launch every time your computer boots up.

With a few clicks, it’s easy enough to disable software or delete it altogether.

8. Disable transparency effects

If you don’t need transparency effects enabled for your desktop, it’s best to turn them off. Transparency effects can cause performance issues and increase memory consumption in Windows.

To disable transparency effects in Windows, open Settings from Start Menu > Settings > Personalization > Themes, and uncheck Show colour on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar. It may take a while after changing some of these settings before you see an improvement in performance—so be patient!

9. Always Use an SSD

This one is a no-brainer, but it’s worth saying. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are way faster than hard disk drives (HDDs), and new laptops usually have SSDs built in now.

The reason you want an SSD is because solid-state drives can read and write data more quickly than hard disk drives.

They’re also more reliable, meaning they’re less likely to crash and lose your files.  All these things add up to increased performance for everyday tasks like opening and saving documents, browsing folders in File Explorer, launching apps and much more.

10. Updates Drivers

One of your main weapons for optimizing Windows performance is updating drivers. Drivers are packages of code that help your computer communicate with its components, from your video card to network adapters.

Updating these is crucial for ensuring that your computer operates as quickly and efficiently as possible. Running a scan for outdated drivers may reveal dozens of bad links, many of which you’ll want to update immediately.

11. Disable Background App

Apps running in your system tray can sometimes be updated without you noticing. Sometimes they can even be scheduled to run without your consent.

That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly check which apps are running in your tray and disable any that you don’t need.

This way, you will keep your computer optimized and prevent any possible malfunctions in the future.

12. Run Troubleshooters

One of the most important tools you can use to optimize Windows performance is Microsoft’s suite of troubleshooters.

This free software can detect and fix issues with hardware, Windows system files, applications, and other resources running on your machine. To quickly access these troubleshooters, press Win+R (the run dialog) and type in trouble shooters.

Then click OK for a list of all available troubleshooters. You may need your administrator password.

13. Disable One Drive Sync

OneDrive is turned on by default when you first set up your Windows 10 computer. If you aren’t using OneDrive, it’s a good idea to disable sync and store files locally instead.

This will boost performance of your computer by freeing up storage space on your computer.

You can still access all your documents via web browsers if needed. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Go to Settings > System > Storage > Change where new content is saved
  • Step 2: Select This PC for Save new content Step 3: Select Make available offline for everything you want that way.

14. Use Drive Defragmentation

If you’re a Windows user, you’ll want to defragment your hard drive on a regular basis, since it can speed up your computer and boost performance.

To do so: open Start, search for Defragment, and optimize your drives, select Defragment and Optimize Drives from All Programs in results. Click Analyse disk from here. Wait for analysis to complete (it should be quick) then click Optimize disk.

15. Perform Malware Scan

If you don’t already have antivirus software installed on your PC, now is a good time to set that up. While running a full-system scan of your system with an antivirus program isn’t strictly necessary, we recommend performing one anyway just in case you have any malware lingering around.

Malware can cause significant slowdowns on any operating system—even one as fast as Windows 10.

Antivirus programs will also help protect your system from exploits and other types of viruses that could be slowing it down or compromising security.

16. Manage Power Settings

If you’re on a laptop, it can be a challenge to optimize your power settings. There are various ways that you can turn down your computer’s performance to boost battery life; we recommend going into Control Panel and visiting Power Options.

From there, you can adjust your power plan and choose what happens when your computer is on battery or plugged in. We suggest choosing Balanced mode for maximum efficiency with an occasional boost of performance if needed!

17. Disable Search Indexing

One of Windows’ lesser-known features is its ability to keep track of all your actions and documents, indexing them to help you find things faster. While useful at times, it can also be a major drag on system performance, especially if you have an older or slower PC.

Search Indexing will slow down how quickly apps launch and files open, so we recommend disabling it for optimal speed—and privacy!

18. Repair Windows Setup Files

When Windows misbehaves, something’s often gone wrong with your system setup. If you suspect that—or if your PC has been getting slower and slower over time—you can use a simple tool from Microsoft called System File Checker (SFC) to repair corrupted or missing files.

You should also know that there’s another tool you can use to repair your PC: DISM, which stands for Deployment Image Servicing and Management.

19. Clean out your Registry

The Registry is a database that holds configuration settings and options for all your installed software. Over time, Registry entries can become obsolete or corrupted, slowing down your computer. Luckily, you can use special tools (called registry cleaners) to scan and repair these entries—making your PC run much faster in the process.

20. Reset Setting to Default

If you’re having issues, try resetting your computer’s settings. Open Settings > System > About and click Reset your PC. A bit of a pain, but sometimes it can be just what you need to get back on track. Don’t worry—your files won’t be deleted. If you have files that weren’t synced offline, now is probably a good time to sync them!

21. Always Install Original Version of Windows

Having an original version of Windows will ensure that your system is not infected with any kind of virus or malware.

When you install a pirated version of windows, then there are greater chances that you may be installing something else along with it.

The pirated versions often contain spyware and other unwanted software which can slow down your PC performance, crash your hard drive or corrupt your system files leading to data loss. This will require you to re-install windows which again results in time loss.

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