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As computer hardware continues to accelerate, so does software, and the Windows operating system is no exception. This is especially true for startup time. However, once up and running, there are other performance factors to consider. Even the newest version of Windows isn’t immune to slowdowns, and not everyone is ready to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 just yet. These tips for speeding up Windows work whether you’re using version 10 or 11.
How To Make My Pc Run Faster Windows 10
The problem with many articles that tell you how to speed up Windows is that they tell you to turn off some of the fun features of the operating system, such as visual animations. Most of our tips show you ways to speed up your Windows system without compromising its appearance and functionality. Most tips can be done for free, but some involve spending some cash on software or hardware. For people with older, underpowered machines who want to speed things up but don’t care about the extra perks, you’ll find some tips at the end of this list.
Cheap Or Free Ways To Make Your Old Pc Run Faster
Note that you may see the “Speed up your PC!” be careful Ads for registry cleaners, which often lead to malware. Microsoft apparently does not support the use of registry cleaners (opens in a new window) for Windows 10.
, although we haven’t listed it as a tip because everyone should be doing it. Periodically go to Settings > Windows Update to see if there are security and reliability updates that you need to install. Your PC may run faster after an update, as it may include hardware driver updates. Do this even if you don’t want a major feature update; you can delay these important updates in the Settings section itself.
There are some third-party system cleaning utilities for Windows 10 that can speed up your PC, but this category of software isn’t as popular as it used to be. Most of these utilities increase your computer’s performance, but sometimes only by a modest amount. There are many malicious downloads that claim to speed up your computer, so stick with a tried and tested product. Iolo System Mechanic is a good choice, for example.
Although the situation is improving, one problem with some new computers is that they come with a lot of unwanted software, sometimes called bloatware, crapware, or PUPs for potentially unwanted programs. A few years ago, a Lenovo PC we tested had about 20 so-called utility programs that would occasionally pop up and interrupt what we were doing. Microsoft isn’t innocent in this game either, having included some mixed reality games and software on PCs that you might not be interested in.
Easy Ways To Speed Up Windows 10
Right-click any unwanted app tile on Start and uninstall. Doing so will uninstall the program immediately. You can right-click the Start button on the Windows logo and choose Programs and Features from the top choice. Or type programs in the search box next to the Start button.
You can usually find crapware culprits by sorting the list of installed applications by the name of your computer’s manufacturer. Another good option is to sort by recent to see if there are any unknown programs you have installed. Or by size, to get rid of very large objects that you don’t need. When you find unwanted apps, select them and click Uninstall. Unfortunately, you can only remove one at a time. If you have a bunch of puffy items, set aside half an hour or so for this project.
Don’t forget to take an ax to apps you’ve installed yourself but no longer want, and software you no longer want to be installed with software.
Note that Windows 10 and 11 have two types of apps: traditional desktop apps and modern Microsoft Store (formerly Windows Store) apps. You’ll see both on the Apps & Features page of the Modern Settings app. For non-Store apps, the Control Panel opens, where you can uninstall old desktop programs. Alternatively, you can sort them by size, install date or name, or search for a specific app.
What To Do If Your Pc Can’t Upgrade To Windows 11
One of the reasons that removing apps helps performance is that many programs load processes at boot time and take up valuable RAM and CPU cycles. When you’re in the Programs and Features section of Control, you can click Turn Windows features on or off and scan the list to see if there’s anything you don’t use. For more help on what to remove, read How to Rid Your PC of Crapware.
As mentioned, many programs install side processes that run every time you start your computer, and some of these aren’t things you should always be running on your system. Compared to Windows 7, where you had to run the MSCONFIG utility, newer versions of Windows give you an easier way to limit what runs at startup from the updated Task Manager.
The easiest way to invoke the Task Manager is to press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Switch to the Startup tab and you’ll see all the programs that load at Windows startup. The dialog box also has a column that shows you the starting effect of each. The Status column shows whether or not the program can be run at startup. You can right-click on any entry to change this status. It’s generally pretty easy to see things you don’t want to run. For example, if you don’t use iTunes, you probably don’t need iTunesHelper running all the time.
In the Start menu, type Disk Cleanup to open a trusted utility that has been part of Windows for many generations of operating systems. Disk Cleanup finds unnecessary junk on your computer, such as temporary files, offline web pages, and installation files, and offers to delete them all at once. You may also find that the recycling bin is standing up at the seams; this usually only has a noticeable effect on speed if your drive is nearly full.
Windows Startup Slow? How To Find & Disable Startup Programs [easy Fix]
If you don’t regularly schedule disk defragmentation, set it up in the Optimize Drive tool, which you can find by typing its name into the search box next to the Start button. Note that if your primary drive is an SSD, you don’t need to bother with defragmenting as there are no parts to read the drive.
An even newer way to monitor storage usage is to enable the Storage Sense option (see image above). Free up space automatically by removing temporary files and items from the Recycle Bin. For a full rundown on how to use this feature, see How to Free Up Hard Drive Space in Windows.
Both Windows 10 and 11 manage memory more efficiently than previous versions of the operating system, but more memory can always speed up your computer’s operations. If you’re still using a desktop tower, this article can show you how to add RAM. All of the major RAM manufacturers’ websites (Critical, Kingston, Corsair) offer product finders that show you what type of RAM your computer has, and the prices are very reasonable. You can get 8GB of high-performance DDR4 RAM for under $50.
If $50 or so is more, and your computer is older, has a hard drive instead of an SSD (see below), and is low on RAM, you can try using ReadyBoost with a USB stick. It caches data on the storage of the portable storage device to speed up memory access that would be slow with a spinning hard drive. Just go to the File Explorer entry for the USB key, right-click to open Properties, and switch to the ReadyBoost tab to get started. For most updated systems, this feature will not be available and will not provide any performance improvement.
How To Clean Up Your Windows Desktop
However, adding RAM isn’t always an option, so not everyone will be able to use this tip. With some of today’s Windows devices, such as Surface Pro tablets, this is not possible. Gaming and business laptops still allow RAM upgrades, but this is becoming rare. Newer, thinner ultrabooks and convertibles usually have fixed memory.
Installing and running demanding applications like Adobe Photoshop is much faster with an SSD. SSDs also greatly benefit Windows at startup. Microsoft Store apps can be easily moved from the spinning hard drive to the SSD on the Apps and Features page of Settings.
For system speed, it makes sense to replace the internal boot hard drive, and if you’re using a laptop, that might be an option as well. But an external SSD with a USB 3.0 connection can speed you up in storage-intensive applications. For help choosing which device to install, check out our list of the best SSDs.
You can use the built-in Windows Defender or a third-party app to do this, but you’re better served by Principal Security Analyst Neil Rubenking’s top picks for malware cleaners. Don’t forget to use running anti-malware protection as well. Some AV products have a
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