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Reasons Why Your Windows 10 PC Slowed Down & 17 Different Ways to Speed It Up

Published: June 18, 2021 By Rakesh Naik

Title Image for 17 Different Ways to Speed up your Windows 10 PC

Is your PC slowing down your work? Does it crash when you try to run a new software or take a long time to open an app or even take too long to start up? Are you frustrated of using a slow computer?

Millions of users around the globe experience such issues with speed on their computers and laptops.

In this article we give you 17 tips and tricks to follow that will help improve your PC speed to perform almost as well as when it was new.

 

It all starts with the operating system of a computer. The operating system is the most basic software on any computer that manages all available hardware to perform tasks as required by the user. The operating system along with various other factors is what determines the performance speed of a computer.

Microsoft, with the launch of its series of Windows Operating Systems hoped to create a user-friendly environment to run on PCs making them easier to use than a DOS fashion system. They have pretty much succeeded in their objective with the IT boom, and Windows is now one of the most popular and common operating systems in the world.

Windows 10 UI with the Start Menu Opened

Image source – blogs.windows.com

However, the glorious operating system has one major issue when compared to its competition such as macOS or even Linux. With the passage of time, PCs running Windows, have a habit of slowing down and producing subpar performance.

Why Is My Computer So Slow?

Snail Moving on PC keyboard mocking the slow PC

Image source – store.hp.com

There are plenty of reasons for your necessarily not very old PC to slow down even though you may have only bought it a year back.

  • The PC’s RAM running low
  • Too many programs running simultaneously
  • Hard disk (or SDD) running out of storage
  • Fragmented Hard drive
  • Viruses and Malware
  • Accumulation of temporary and cache files
  • Lack of latest updates
  • And much more...

While it can be very frustrating to work on a slow PC, don’t list your PC on eBay or Facebook marketplace just yet! We have just the good news you’re looking for! Your PC can be fixed to improve its speed and optimise its performance!  Before you abandon all hopes on your PC, give the tips listed in this article a shot.

How Can I Improve the Speed of my Computer?

  1. Close Unwanted Apps
  2. Uninstall Bloatware
  3. Choose the Right Power Plans to Run
  4. Clean-Up the Individual Device Drives
  5. Go Opaque and Disable Animations
  6. Add More RAM
  7. Disable Programs at System Start-Up
  8. Run an Antivirus/Antimalware Scan
  9. Disable Windows Tips
  10. Regularly Update Windows and Device Drivers
  11. Defragment Your Hard Disk
  12. Install a Solid-State Drive
  13. Disable Search Indexing
  14. Check Your Web Browser
  15. Use Automated Windows Maintenance
  16. Use a Tuning Software
  17. Restart Your PC

Below, we list 17 different methods you can adopt and follow to improve your PCs speed and performance making your PC almost as good as new. These are mainly focused on Windows 10, but can definitely be applied to Windows 7 or 8 with minor adjustments. Also, we won’t be looking into network issues that might be affecting your PC but only the system performance itself.

1. Close Unwanted Apps

Usually, the main issue of a slow system in running too many apps, which saturates the RAM and makes it pull a lot of load. This in turn holds up the RAM and other programs that require the RAM, making the entire system slow.

Trying to Force Quit Google Chrome on Task Manager

A simple way out of this is to manually close each program, or by using the Task Manager. To open the Task Manager, simply press Ctrl-Shift-Esc, and in the task manager, click on the program you want to stop, and press ‘End Task’ at the bottom of the window.

2. Uninstall Bloatware

Your PC usually would come with a lot of unnecessary bloatware and software that the PC makers would have installed in order to promote their in-house software more. Such software usually isn’t quite used as much and just takes up storage space. This consumes hard disk space which could instead be put to better use elsewhere.

Uninstalling Bloatware from Windows 10 Start Menu

It is quite easy to uninstall such bloatware. Most bloatware is usually pinned on the Windows start menu, and a user has to simply right click the corresponding app tile and simply click on uninstall.

Uninstalling apps from Windows 10 App Settings

In case there are more unused programs on the PC, not seen in the start menu, a user Start Menu-Windows Settings-Apps and uninstall each and every unnecessary app from the list of installed programs.

3. Choose the Right Power Plans to Run

Sometimes, the OS switches a laptop’s power plan into ‘Power Saving’ mode to consume less power. This however, impedes the performance of the system and slows it down. Changing the power plan to ‘High Performance’ or even a ‘Balanced’ mode will increase the system speed and performance.

To do this, simply go to Start Menu-Windows Settings-System and click on ‘Power & Sleep’ on the sidebar and select ‘Additional Power Settings’. Here you will see an option to pick whatever power plan you like. You should choose either High Performance or Balanced from this list to increase the speed and performance of your system.

Searching for Power Plan in Windows Settings

Choosing the Balanced or High-Performance Power Plan from Power Plan Options

An easier way to do this is to right click the battery icon in the system tray and pick ‘Power Options’. Here too, a new window will appear showing the power plans discussed above.

A point to note is that, in case a power setting is missing, the user can always select ‘Create a Power Plan’ and create a plan that is optimal to their need.

4. Clean-Up the Individual Device Drives

It is not always unwanted programs that fill up the hard disk storage, but sometimes, a hard disk may get saturated with temporary and cache files. Unless these are cleared regularly, they will lead to a lot of subpar system performance and slow speed.

Windows 10 has a really helpful utility to help perform this. A user has to simply go to Start Menu-Windows Settings-System-Storage. Here, toggle the button from off to on position. Windows will now automatically monitor the system for temporary and unwanted files and delete them regularly at intervals set by the user.

Open System Options from Windows Settings

Go to Storage Option and Turn on Windows Sense

If such a utility is absent, a user has to simply open ‘My Computer’ or ‘This PC’, right click on a device drive to clean and open Properties. In the new dialogue box, click on Disk Clean-Up, manually select files to delete and click on Ok. This will delete the unwanted and temporary files in that drive, and can be repeated as required.

Open drive properties by Right Clicking the Drive

Click on Disk Clean-Up in Properties

Performing the Disk Clean-Up Process

However, if choosing the manual clean up, make sure you aren’t deleting any important files which may lead to errors in some processes or programs.

5. Go Opaque and Disable Animations

As good looking as the Windows 10 default style is, it is however resource consuming and can take up some RAM memory as well. This can however be altered by turning off their transparency and making the style opaque.

Opening Personalisation Settings in Windows Settings

Toggle Off Transparency Effects in Colours Option

To change the windows style, go to Start Menu-Windows Settings-Personalisation-Colors, and toggle the switch labelled ‘Transparency Effects’ to turn it off.

Advanced System Settings in System Properties

Opening Performance Settings in Advanced System Properties

Selecting Adjust for Best Performance in Performance Settings

To go a step further, you can even turn off special visual effects to save resources as well. For this, navigate to ‘Advanced System Settings’ in the system properties window. In the advanced section, open the Performance Settings and select ‘Adjust for Best Performance’ in the Visual Effects section. You can even select a custom option by selecting individual visual effects.

6. Add More RAM

Sometimes, you will need to run more programs on your system than is allowed by the pre-existing RAM that came with the PC. In such a case, there will be no way to run a program without compromising the execution of the entire system.

A single RAM Chip Inside a PC

Image source – avg.com

In such a case, a user will have to upgrade the system RAM to a larger size, or add an additional RAM chip as allowed by the processor. This will allow more programs to run on the system simultaneously without causing any fall in speed or performance.

However, the one issue a basic user might face while upgrading their system RAM is that, the user might have to open up the PC tower or laptop back panel in order to install the new RAM chip. The user also has to make sure that the new RAM is compatible with the processor.

7. Disable Programs at System Start-Up

When a windows PC starts up, the OS will automatically open and run a few programs. This slows down the entire windows start-up sequence, and slows down the system. Some of these programs are important for the PC such as device drivers, third party software services and even antivirus programs. But a few others will be random third-party apps on the PC that aren’t necessary during start-up and disabling these will help speed up the system.

Disabling Unnecessary Start-Up programs in Task Manager

These can be disabled in the Task Manager under the Start-up section. To open the task manager, press Ctrl-Shift-Esc and click on the Start-up tab. Now you can individually select each unwanted apps, and click on the disable button.

8. Run an Antivirus/Antimalware Scan

Sometimes, various viruses and malware may affect the performance of a system by taking up too many resources themselves, or corrupting the system resources. If left unchecked, these could cause major harm to the PC making it totally unusable.

The main counter against these is to install an antivirus or antimalware software on your PC that will scan the PC to find any potentially harmful malware or viruses that have been installed in the PC. Some such software even has an additional RAM clean-up feature that helps optimise RAM by closing unwanted programs and garbage from the RAM.

Running a Full System Scan on Antivirus Software

A user is also advised to be sceptical while browsing the internet and websites that seem dodgy and non-trustworthy. These have a chance to infect your PC with viruses and malware that could harm the performance and usability of your PC. To know how a virus or malware works you can visit our blog entitled “How Malware Works”.

9. Disable Windows Tips

Windows 10 has a particularly “helpful” utility that was intended to act as an aid for user unfamiliar with using a computer. Named Windows Tips, this utility scans the entire system to gather data on user function and features used. Such a scan will consume quite some system resources and have an impact on the overall speed & performance.

Open System Options from Windows Settings

Turn Off Get tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows in Notifications & Actions Section

Even though such a utility proves quite useful at times, it is best to turn it off to improve the performance instead. To turn off tips, go to Start Menu-Settings-System-Notifications & actions and toggle the ‘Get tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows’ switch to the off position. While it wouldn’t have a huge improvement on performance, it will add to it combined with the other tips.

10. Regularly Update Windows and Device Drivers

Windows keeps taking feedback from its users to improve the system performance by releasing updates. Microsoft regularly keeps releasing updates for windows to fix pre-existing bugs and maximise device efficiency. While not every system update absolutely raises the speed or performance of the system, some updates greatly advance the performance.

Open Update & Security Option in Windows Settings

Check for Updates button in the Windows Updates Section

Windows by default always keeps looking for any available updates that have been released, and updates when possible. In case a user wants to manually do this process, simply access Windows Update from Start Menu-Windows Settings-Update & Security and click on ‘Check for Updates’. Users can manually adjust various settings related to updates from here such as frequency of updates, when to install updates and such.

11. Defragment Your Hard Disk

If you have a classic hard disk drive, there are a few issues it might have the main of which is disk fragmentation. The fragmentation happens due to a messy and scattered arrangement of data on the magnetic surface of the hard disk. This means that 2 pieces of data required for a program to run might exist in two entirely different location of the disk drive. This obviously leads to programs running slow with poor performance.

Windows has always offered a defragmentation utility to counter the disk fragmentation and can be done through the following steps:

  1. Search for the word defrag in the start menu or search bar
  2. Select Defragment & Optimize drives
  3. On the new window that appears, click on what disk drive to defragment and click on analyse
  4. The utility will analyse the drive to check whether defragmentation is possible or not
  5. Now the user can click Optimize to begin the defragmentation process

Search for Defrag in Search Bar

Select Drive to Defragment and Click Optimise

The whole process will take some time and once it finishes, will show a major improvement in PC performance and speed.

12. Install a Solid-State Drive

Image showing the Samsung Solid-State Drive

Image source – hipwallpaper.com

As described above, one of the major performance issues that can arise in a PC are caused by a hard disk drive due to the fragmentation issue. While most of it can be solved by defragmentation, there are some that can’t be, mainly the booting process. The booting process consumes a lot of space and the hard disk and is therefore quite slow as well as the speed of a hard disk is always limited.

This is where solid-state technology aims to intervene. While it isn’t cheap, solid-state drive due to its use of microchips, greatly improves processing speed making it faster than a hard disk. Loading the boot process of a PC to the solid-state drive, therefore makes the entire process faster and more efficient.

Installing an SSD first requires a check whether the current PC processor and motherboard are compatible with an SSD installation. The SSD is usually installed as an additional disk due to its cost.

13. Disable Search Indexing

This is usually applicable to low spec PCs, where performing a search will cause the PC to slow down. Indexing basically involves searching and documenting various files and folders on a system based on their type, format and frequency of access. This is usually done to speed up the process of searching. So, if the user performs a lot of searches, this won’t be a problem.

Searching for Indexing on Search Bar in Windows 10

Selecting Locations to Index in Indexing Options

Turning off search indexing can help speed up other processes due to those same resources being unoccupied. To turn indexing off, type index in the windows search bar and select Indexing Options. Click on Modify to select what locations the user doesn’t want indexed. The user can even specify file types to exclude from indexing by clicking on the Advance option in the same dialogue box.

14. Check Your Web Browser

Sometimes, web browsers can cause a lot of lag and slow down PC performance due to their high RAM consumption. This can be flaw can be compounded with the use of plugins and addons within the web browser as well as various temporary files saved by the browser.

Viewing Google Chrome RAM Usage using Task Manager in Windows 10

The main solution to this issue is by using a browser that consumes less RAM such as Mozilla Firefox or Opera browser while Google Chrome is notorious over-consuming RAM. You can also regularly clear browser cache, cookies and browsing history to help the process along. The clear history and cache option could generally be found in the settings of the browser.

15. Use Automated Windows Maintenance

Windows has its own software utility that acts as a system maintenance program running to optimise the system performance. It usually runs in the background by scanning various files, documents, security settings, as well as system settings to find any faults and fix them. It reduces the burden on the user to go through the whole detail manually in case of an error. This software utility ensures that the system performs at optimum efficiency to output maximum performance.

The maintenance utility can be found by typing maintenance in the windows search bar and selecting ‘Security & Maintenance’. Here, you can turn on automated maintenance if it was off. By default, the pre-set time for windows maintenance is set as 2 am and the user simply has to leave the PC turned on, with power attached, for this software utility to run automatically.

Search Maintenance in Search Bar on Windows 10

Turn on Automatic Maintenance

The user can even alter the settings to ensure that the maintenance runs everyday or as regularly as the user requires.

16. Use a Tuning Software

As the name suggests, this is a software that scans your PC and tunes it up to improve its performance as well as speed and efficiency. These are widely available on the market a large range of prices making it affordable to the most basic PC users.

Comodo PC TuneUp Graphical User Interface

Image source – downloadcrew.com

A tune up software utility automatically performs a number of the methods listed above such as defragmentation, deleting unwanted files, clearing registries and much more. This not only improves the performance of the PC but also improves the life of the PC by detecting critical faults early on, and avoiding them.

While the good ones are quite expensive, a basic user can do with a free Tune-up software which is widely available on the internet. We wouldn’t be recommending any here; perhaps that would happen in a future article.

17. Restart Your PC

The holy grail of cheap PC speed-up methods, restarting a PC is guaranteed to speed up your PC. Sometimes after a PC has been in use for a prolonged period without a proper restart, the memory becomes saturated due to all the processes that have been run on the RAM some of which might still be allocated some resources. This makes these resources unavailable for use by other programs and results in the performance slowing down.

Restart Option in Windows 10 Start Menu

Restarting the PC will help clear the RAM and reallocate all resources as well as terminate all previously running programs and processes. This makes all resources and the RAM free to be allocated to new processes that might require it and improves performance.

Care should be taken before restarting the PC to save all important work so that it isn’t lost after the restart. Restarting the PC regularly (once a day) is a good practice and keeps the PC optimised at all times without over-saturating any resources.

Conclusion

While some of these methods might not work for everyone, a combination of these is bound to help improve your PC speed and make it much more convenient to use. It is to be noted that using these methods on very old systems might not help speed them up if the hardware wasn’t meant to support modern apps and software.

If you have any queries or edit suggestions or tricks to speed up the PC that aren’t listed above, please leave a comment below.

Tags: 
Technology
Author
Rakesh Naik
Freelance Cyber Security Analyst and Writer practicing in Infosec Assessment.

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