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As computer hardware continues to accelerate, software and the Windows operating system are no exception. This is especially true at the beginning. There are other performance factors that come into play when you’re done. Even the most current version of Windows isn’t slow, and not everyone is ready to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11. These tips for speeding up Windows apply whether you’re running version 10 or 11.
How To Make A Computer Startup Faster
The problem with many articles on how to speed up Windows is that they tell you to turn off some interesting features of the operating system, such as visual animations. Many of our tips show you ways to speed up Windows without compromising on appearance and functionality. Many tips can be done for free, but some involve a small investment of software or hardware. For those with older, less powerful cars who want to increase speed but don’t mind the extras, here are some tips toward the end of this list.
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Note that you will be prompted to “Speed up your computer!” Ads for registry cleaners, which often lead to malware. Microsoft does not support the use of registry cleaners for Windows 10 (opens in a new window).
, we didn’t recommend it because everyone should do it. Go to Settings > Windows Update periodically to see if there are security and reliability updates that you should install. Your computer may run faster after an update because it may include hardware driver updates. Even if you don’t want a major feature update, you can disable those major updates in one of the settings sections.
There are several third-party system cleaning software for Windows 10 that can speed up your PC, but this category of software is not as popular as it used to be. Many of these utilities improve computer performance, but sometimes only by small amounts. There are many malware downloads that require you to speed up your computer, so stick with a product that’s tried and tested. The iolo system mechanic, for example, is a good option.
Although the situation is improving, the problem with some new computers is that they come with a lot of unwanted software, sometimes called blockware, crapware, or PUPs for potentially unwanted programs. A Lenovo PC we tested a few years ago had about 20 utilities that would pop up from time to time and interrupt what we were doing. Even Microsoft isn’t guilty of this game, as it has introduced several games and mixed reality software on PC that you might not be interested in.
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Right-click the unwanted app tile on Start and select remove. This will remove the program immediately. You can also right-click on the Windows logo on the Start button and choose the best selection of programs and features. Or type Programs in the search box next to the Start button.
You can usually find the culprits by sorting through the list of installed applications named after the computer manufacturer. Another good option is to sort by Recent to see if there are any programs you don’t know you’ve installed. or to get rid of bulky items you no longer need. When you find any unwanted apps, select them and click the uninstall button. Unfortunately, you can only delete one at a time. If you have a bunch of blockware, set aside half an hour or more for this project.
Don’t forget to take the Hatch to any apps you’ve installed but don’t want, and you don’t want any software bundled with the software.
Keep in mind that Windows 10 and 11 have two types of apps: traditional desktop apps and modern Microsoft Store (formerly known as Windows Store) apps. You’ll find both types on the Apps & Features page of the Advanced Settings app. For non-Store apps, the Control Panel opens, where you can uninstall old desktop programs. In both, you can sort them by size, date installed or name, or search for a specific app.
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One reason for uninstalling apps is that many programs load processes during download and take up valuable RAM and CPU cycles. While you’re in Control Programs and Features, you can also click Turn Windows features on or off and scan the list to see if there’s something you’re not using. To learn more about what to remove, read How to Rid Your Computer of Crapware.
That said, many programs install side processes that run every time you start your computer, and some of them don’t need to be running on your system all the time. Compared to Windows 7, where you had to run the MSCONFIG program, newer versions of Windows provide an easier way to restrict activity, starting with the updated Task Manager.
The easiest way to access the Task Manager is to press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Go to the Startup tab, and you’ll see all the programs that are loaded at Windows startup. The dialog box even has a column that shows you the initial effect of each. The status bar indicates whether the program is running. You can right-click on any entry to change this status. It’s usually very easy to see things you don’t want to do. For example, if you never use iTunes, you probably don’t need iTunesHelper running all the time.
From the Start menu, type Disk Cleanup to open the reliable utility that has been part of Windows for several generations of the OS. Disk Cleanup finds unnecessary items such as temporary files, offline web pages, and installation files on your computer and recommends removing them at once. You may even find that your Cleaning Cloth is bunched up at the seams – usually this affects speed significantly if your storage is full.
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If you don’t have a regularly scheduled disk defragmentation, install the Optimize Drives tool, which you can find by typing it into the search box next to the start button. Note that if your main drive is an SSD, you don’t have to worry about breaking it, since the drive has no moving parts.
Another new way to use save is by enabling the Save Sense option (see image above). It automatically frees up space by deleting temporary files and cleaning items. For details on how to use this feature, see How to free up hard drive space in Windows.
Windows 10 and 11 both manage memory more efficiently than previous versions of the OS, but more memory can always speed up PC operations. If you’re using a desktop tower, this article can show you how to add more RAM. The websites of the major RAM manufacturers (Crucial, Kingston, Corsair) offer product finders that show you what type of RAM your computer is getting, and the prices are quite reasonable. You can get 8GB of high-performance DDR4 RAM for less than $50.
If it’s $50 or more and your computer is older, has a hard drive rather than an SSD (see below), and is low on RAM, try using ReadyBoost with a USB stick. A removable drive stores data on a storage device, speeding up access to memory that is slower than a spinning hard drive. Go to the USB flash drive’s File Explorer entry, right-click to open Properties, and go to the ReadyBoost tab. For most modern systems, this feature will not be available and will not improve performance.
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Adding RAM isn’t always possible, so not everyone can use this tip. With today’s Windows devices, such as Surface Pro tablets, this is not possible. Gaming and business laptops often allow you to upgrade the RAM, but this is rarely the case. Newer, sleeker ultraportables and converters typically sport mainstream memory.
Installing and running demanding applications like Adobe Photoshop is much faster with an SSD. SSDs also benefit Windows greatly at startup. Apps from the Microsoft Store can be easily moved from the spinning hard drive to the SSD in the Settings Apps and Features page.
To speed up the system, it makes sense to replace the internal initial hard drive, and if you use a laptop, this may also be an option. But an external SSD with a USB 3.0 connection can give you a speed boost in applications that use a lot of storage. Check out our list of the best SSDs to help you decide which device to install.
You can use the built-in Windows Defender or a third-party app to do this, but top security analyst Neil Rubenking recommends the best anti-malware software for you. Remember to use regular anti-malware protection. Some AV products are a
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