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Because hardware is constantly accelerating, so is software, and the Windows operating system is no exception. This applies in particular to the time of start-up. However, there are other performance factors to consider when running. Even the latest 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 equally well whether you’re running version 10 or 11.
How To Make Windows 10 Run Faster
The problem with many articles that tell you how to speed up Windows is that they recommend disabling some of the operating system’s more fun features, such as visual animations. Most of our tips show you how to speed up Windows without compromising on appearance and functionality. Most of the advice can be done for free, but some require you to spend a small amount of money on software or hardware. For people with older low-powered machines who want to increase speed but don’t care about extra gadgets, some tips can be found at the end of this list
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Remember to watch out for these “Speed up your PC!” Ads for registry cleaners that often lead to malware. Microsoft categorically does not support the use of registry cleaner (Opens in new window) in Windows 10.
Although we haven’t listed it as a guideline as everyone should be doing it anyway. From time to time, go to Settings > Windows Update to see if there are any security and reliability updates you should install. Your PC may run faster after the update, as it may include hardware driver updates. Do this even if you don’t want a major feature update – you can delay these major updates in the same Settings section.
There are a few third-party system cleaners for Windows 10 that can make your PC run faster, but this category of software isn’t as popular as it used to be. Most of these tools increase the performance of your computer, but sometimes only slightly. There are many malicious downloads that claim to speed up your PC, so stick to a product that has been tested and verified. For example, Iolo System Mechanic is a good solution.
While things are getting better, the problem with some new computers is that they are loaded with a lot of unnecessary software, sometimes called bloatware, crapware, or PUPs for potentially unwanted programs. A few years ago, the Lenovo machine we tested had almost 20 so-called utilities that appeared and interrupted what we were doing from time to time. Even Microsoft is not flawless with this game, as it includes some mixed reality games and software on computers that you may not be interested in.
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Right-click any tile of the unwanted program in the Start menu and select Uninstall. This will uninstall the program immediately. You can also right-click the Windows logo Start button and select the best selection of programs and features. Or just type Programs in the search box next to the Start button.
You can usually find the culprits of crapware by sorting the list of installed applications by computer manufacturer name. Other good options are to sort by recent to see if there are any programs you didn’t know were installed; or by size to get rid of very large items you don’t need. When you find unnecessary programs that you don’t want, select them and click Uninstall. Unfortunately, you can only delete one at a time. Spend about half an hour on this project if you have a ton of bloatware.
Don’t forget to bring the ax to the apps you installed yourself but no longer want — and to the software you don’t want that was installed with the software you
Note that Windows 10 and 11 have two types of apps: traditional desktop apps and modern apps from the Microsoft Store (formerly known as the Windows Store). You’ll see both types on the apps page and features of the modern Settings app. For non-store applications, the control panel opens, where you can uninstall good old desktop programs. In both, you can sort them by size, install date or name, or search for a specific app.
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One of the reasons uninstalling an application improves performance is because many programs load processes at startup and take up precious RAM and CPU cycles. While you’re in the Programs and Features section of the Control Window, you can also click Turn Windows features on or off and scan the list to see if there’s anything you’re not using. For more information on what to remove, read How to Remove Crapware from a Computer.
As mentioned, many programs install side processes that run every time you start your computer, and some of them are not things you need to run on your system all the time. Compared to Windows 7 where you had to run MSCONFIG, newer versions of Windows provide an easier way to limit what starts when you start from the updated Task Manager.
The easiest way to bring up the task manager is to press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Go to the Startup tab and you will see all the programs that load when Windows starts. The dialog even has a column showing the startup effect for each. The status column shows whether the program is running at startup or not. You can right-click on any entry to change this status. It’s usually pretty easy to see things you don’t want to run. For example, if you never use iTunes, you probably don’t need iTunesHelper running all the time.
In the Start menu, type Disk Cleanup to open a reliable tool that has been part of Windows for several generations of the operating system. Disk Cleanup finds unwanted junk like temporary files, offline websites and installation files on your computer and offers to remove them all at once. You may even find that your basket is bulging at the seams – this usually only has a noticeable effect on speed when the drive is almost full.
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If you haven’t scheduled regular disk defragmentation, set it up in the Optimize Disks utility, which you can find by typing its name into the search box next to the Start button. Note that if your main drive is an SSD, you don’t need to bother defragmenting since there are no moving parts to read the drive.
An even newer way to save memory usage is to turn on Storage Sense (see image above). Automatically free up space by deleting temporary files and the Recycle Bin. For a full description of how to use this feature, see How to Free Up Hard Disk Space in Windows.
Both Windows 10 and 11 manage memory more efficiently than previous versions of the operating system, but more memory can always potentially speed up your computer. If you’re still using your desktop computer, learn how to add RAM in this article. The websites of the major RAM manufacturers (Crucial, Kingston, Corsair) offer a product finder that will show you what type of RAM your computer takes, and the prices are quite reasonable. You can get 8GB of high-performance DDR4 RAM for less than $50.
If $50 or more is too much and your PC is old, has a hard drive instead of an SSD (see below), and low RAM, you can try using ReadyBoost with a USB stick. Buffer data in portable storage device memory to speed up memory access that would be slower with a spinning hard drive. Just go to the File Explorer entry on the USB key, right-click to open Properties, and go to the ReadyBoost tab to get started. For most current systems, this feature will not be available and will not provide a performance boost.
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However, adding RAM isn’t always an option, so not everyone will be able to benefit from this tip. With some Windows devices today, such as Surface Pro tablets, this is simply impossible. Gaming and laptops often still allow RAM upgrades, but this is becoming less common. New, slimmer ultrabooks and convertibles usually have a permanent memory.
Installing and running demanding applications like Adobe Photoshop is much faster thanks to the SSD. The SSD is also of great benefit to Windows when it starts up. Microsoft Store apps can be easily moved from a spinning hard drive to an SSD on the Apps & Features page in Settings.
To speed up your system, it’s worth replacing the internal boot drive, and if you’re using a laptop, this may also be an option. But an external SSD with a USB 3.0 connection can also speed up applications that use a lot of memory. For help choosing a device to install, check out our list of the best SSDs.
You can run the built-in Windows Defender or a third-party app to do this, but it’s best to be served by Chief Security Analyst Neil Rubenking, who is the top choice among malware removal programs. Don’t forget to be protected against malware at all times. Some AV products have
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