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Because computer hardware and software are constantly accelerating, and the Windows operating system is no exception. This is especially true for launch time. 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 just as well whether you’re using version 10 or 11.
How To Make Your Windows Run Faster
The problem with many articles on how to speed up Windows is that they suggest disabling some of the funniest features of the operating system, such as visual animations. Most of our tips show you how to speed up Windows without compromising its appearance and functionality. Most tips are 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 the extra gadgets, some tips you’ll find at the end of this list
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Remember, you should watch out for these “Speed up your PC!” Ads for registry cleaners that often lead to malware. Microsoft strongly discourages the use of registry cleaners (opens in a new window) in Windows 10.
Although we haven’t listed it as a guideline because everyone should do it regardless. From time to time, go to Settings > Windows Update to see if there are any security and reliability updates that you need to install. After updating, your computer may run faster because it may contain hardware driver updates. Do this even if you don’t want a major feature update—you can defer those major updates in the same Settings section.
There are some third-party system cleaners 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 tools increase your computer’s performance, but sometimes only slightly. There are many malicious downloads that claim to speed up your computer, so use a product that has been tested and verified. For example, Iolo System Mechanic is a good option.
Although the situation is improving, the problem with some new computers is that they contain a lot of unnecessary software, sometimes called bloatware, crapware or PUPs. A few years ago, a Lenovo computer we tested had nearly 20 so-called helpers that would pop up from time to time and interrupt what we were doing. Even Microsoft isn’t without fault in this game, as it includes some mixed reality games and software on PCs that you might not be interested in.
Windows 10 Lite
Right-click any unwanted application tile in the Start menu and select Uninstall. This will uninstall the program immediately. You can also right-click the Start button on the Windows logo and choose the best selection of programs and features. Or just type Programs in the search box next to the Start button.
Usually, the culprits of crapware can be found by sorting the list of installed applications by the name of the computer manufacturer. Other good options are to sort by recent time to see if there are any programs you didn’t know were installed; or by size to get rid of extra large items you don’t need. When you find unnecessary applications that you don’t want, select them and click Uninstall. Unfortunately, only one can be deleted at a time. Spend about half an hour on this project if you have a lot of bloatware.
Don’t forget to give the ax to programs you installed yourself but no longer want, and software you don’t want that was installed with your software.
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 in the modern Settings app. Non-Store apps will open a Control Panel where you can uninstall the good old desktop apps. In both cases, you can sort them by size, install date or name, or search for a specific app.
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One of the reasons why uninstalling an application improves performance is that many applications load processes at startup and take up valuable RAM and CPU cycles. You can also click Turn Windows features on or off in Control Panel under Programs and Features and scan the list to see if there’s anything you’re not using. For more information on what to remove, see How to Rid Your Computer of Crapware.
As mentioned, many programs install side processes that run every time you start your computer, and some of them aren’t things you need running on your system all the time. Compared to Windows 7, which required you to run MSCONFIG, newer versions of Windows provide an easier way to limit what starts at startup from the updated Task Manager.
The easiest way to open the task manager is to press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Go to the Startup tab and you’ll see all the programs that load when you start Windows. The dialog even has a column that shows the effect of each startup. The Status column shows whether the program is running at startup. You can right-click on any entry to change this status. It’s usually pretty easy to spot things you don’t want to run. For example, if you never use iTunes, you probably don’t need iTunesHelper running all the time.
Type Disk Cleanup in the Start menu to open a reliable tool that has been part of Windows for several generations of the operating system. Disk Cleanup finds unwanted junk on your computer, such as temporary files, offline web pages, and installation files, and offers to remove them all at once. You may even notice the basket seams bulging – this usually only affects speed significantly if your drive is nearly full.
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If you don’t have regular disk defragmentation scheduled, set it up in the Optimize Disks tool, 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 worry about defragmenting as there are no moving parts to read the drive.
An even newer way to save memory is to turn on Storage Sense (see image above). Automatically frees up space by deleting temporary files and Recycle Bin items. For a full description of 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 make your computer run faster. 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 shows what type of RAM your computer uses, and the prices are quite reasonable. You can get 8GB of high-performance DDR4 RAM for under $50.
If $50 or more is too much and your computer is old, has a hard drive instead of an SSD (see below) and is low on RAM, you can try using ReadyBoost with a USB flash drive. Stores data in the memory of the portable storage device to speed up access to memory that would be slower if the hard drive was spinning. Just go to the File Explorer entry on your USB key, right-click to open Properties, and open the ReadyBoost tab to get started. Most current systems will not have this feature and will not increase performance.
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However, adding RAM isn’t always an option, so not everyone will benefit from this tip. With some modern Windows devices, such as Surface Pro tablets, this is simply impossible. It’s still often possible to upgrade RAM on gaming and business laptops, but it’s becoming less common. Newer, thinner ultrabooks and convertibles usually have non-volatile memory.
Thanks to the SSD, installing and running demanding applications like Adobe Photoshop is much faster. An SSD is also a big boon for Windows when it starts up. Microsoft Store apps can easily be moved from a spinning hard drive to an SSD using the Programs and Features page in the settings.
Replacing the internal startup drive is worth replacing to speed up your system, and if you’re using a laptop, that might be the solution. But an external SSD with a USB 3.0 connection can also speed up memory-intensive applications. For help choosing which device to install, see our list of the best SSDs.
To do this, you can run the built-in Windows Defender or a third-party app, but it’s best handled by Principal Security Analyst Neil Rubenking, who is the top choice among malware removal programs. Also, don’t forget to always be protected against malware. Some AV products have
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