Alright. Windows. You know it, you use it, and you probably depend on it – and that can be a bit of a problem. Everyone out there has an experience of using Windows and thinking ‘This is really slow, how on earth can I make this system work faster?’ Or a variation of that with a bunch more swearing.
I’ve thrown together a list of some relatively quick-fix solutions designed to help your operating system run a bit faster and smoother, which are all pretty simple to work through and implement. Specifically, these fixes are for Windows 10 – if you are running a different version of Windows (or even a different OS) then some of these fixes might still apply – but it’s worth checking first.
Restart Your PC
If you read the subheadline there and thought ‘What a waste, that’s dead simple’ then this section isn’t for you, move onto the next and stop cramping our style.
If you weren’t already aware, a PC will continue to run every single process it is asked to until A) you close it or B) it’s forced to close. That means that if you forget to close a program, then it’s going to be chugging away in the background consistently until your PC turns off – and there is the issue.
Lots of people think that when they put their PC to sleep, it is turned off. It’s not. The PC is just powering down elements like visual display and peripheral support and putting its process and applications into suspended animation until the system is awoken again. This means that all those pesky programs that you forgot to turn off? They are still going to be running when you turn the PC back on.
So, one quick way to make your Windows 10 run a little faster is to completely restart your system, which will make sure that any programs you don’t want running are shut down via the PC forcing them to close. Simple stuff that can be a real help if your Windows 10 is acting sluggish.
Restrict The Number Of Start-up Programmes You Have
Let’s say that once you have rebooted your computer, it starts up again only to be just as slow as when you turned it off. Well, that could be down to the number of programs you have starting up alongside your computer.
If you weren’t aware, some programs default to starting up as soon as your machine turns on (or logs in as the case may be). This means that your CPU is immediately under barrage from not only the OS getting itself ready, but also a number of different programs all trying to start themselves up without your consent. What you thought could have been popups could actually just be shoddy file management.
Take Skype for example. Even I didn’t realize it, but when I just checked, this is one program I have that apparently took it upon itself to decide that it needs to boot up alongside my PC. I don’t want it to, so all I need to do to stop it is press control +alt + delete at the same time and open up my task manager, then navigate to the ‘startup’ menu. From here I can pick and choose which programs I do and don’t want running as my PC starts.
Word of warning though. Make sure you don’t accidentally disable anything that contributes to the running of your computer. Something like a TrueColor app or a Steelseries software is going to help your overall PC experience, so it could be wise to let them run with your bootup. Just be smart, and figure out which programs are essential on start, and which you can wait for.
Run A Disk Cleanup
This is a great, easy option for removing unwanted clutter from your drives, that’s only going to make the running of your computer much faster in the long run.
If you want to know how to do it, just head into your file explorer, right-click the drive that you want to clean up, and then select properties. Then, click disk cleanup. Its that simple.
Now for the what. A disk cleanup is going to identify unused and ‘clutter’ files that only serve to slow your PC down, and could be much more useful if they were consigned to the recycling bin. Basically, you are going to be freeing up space on your PC that you might not have even considered freeing up before – temporary files and deleted caches can go a long way in speeding up your system!
Delete Unwanted Programmes
This step kind of goes along with the last step, but with a bit more user input. Check out your PC’s full list of programs in the ‘Add or Remove Programmes’ menu section of your file explorer. Take a good long look.
Now tell me if you genuinely use everything on that list.
The fact of the matter is that no matter who you are sometimes programs fall by the wayside. It doesn’t even take a lot for it to happen either. That one-time download of a third party media player that has since received update after update, swelling in size but being unused and forgotten about deep within your files? That can go.
Similarly, games that you aren’t currently playing and have forgotten about only serve to clutter your PC and slow it down with their hefty file sizes and automatic updates. Remember, if its not in your regular rotation of titles you enjoy, just uninstall it. Most storefronts have those games registered to you, you can download them at any time – what’s the point in slowing down your system just for ease of access to a title you never play?
By far though, one of the biggest culprits of forgotten programs slowing down your OS is the litany of different software bundles that computer stores feel the need to install to your machines before you buy them. One great example is antivirus software.
Often sold as a ‘bonus’ feature in laptops and PCs, some of the more well-known antivirus software has a way of being more intrusive and harmful than some pieces of malware (looking at you Norton). Just look into the different, valid ways of protecting your PC via Windows Security, Malwarebytes or other third-party software, and do away with the often over-inflated pieces of antivirus software than can clog your OS up.
Having said that though…
Remove Any Potential Malware
Yes, I just talked about uninstalling antivirus software. Yes, I’m now talking about removing virus’. Its all very simple, I don’t understand why you are confused.
Basically, if you are in need of decent antivirus software that isn’t going to hog your CPU and throttle your Windows 10 operating speed, there are plenty of options out there. I already mentioned Malwarebytes, but something like Avast works well too, or even AVG. Windows Security does a pretty good job on its own.
The point is, you should be running routine scans of your PC to make sure that nothing has broken through your firewall, and is slowing or damaging your PC. Malware can often be the root cause of a slow Windows 10, and removing it is the only sure-fire way of making sure that it’s gone forever.
Often, the antivirus software’s I mentioned will let you know when a potentially harmful program has been downloaded or detected – but setting up a monthly scan will make sure that once your PC is clean, it stays clean.
Just make sure that when you run that first scan, you listen to your antivirus. If it thinks a certain program or plugin is an issue, it probably is – so make sure to deal with it immediately rather than ignoring it.
And don’t download and run dodgy EXE files.
Update Your Windows 10 Operating System
This one is directed at the type of person who when they get a notification for an update routinely clicks the ‘later’ option. Stop doing that. The reason you are reading this article is that you do that. How does it feel to know that you made me include this in my article when it’s really sunny outside, and you could have avoided this by scheduling an update?
Guilt trip aside, there are a couple of reasons that running the most up to date version of Windows 10 is going to speed up its general performance. First and foremost, a big point of most updates is to fix problems that users and developers alike report, so that these problems are avoided in the future. Problems like slow use. See why that could be useful?
Also, if for example a big patch is released for Windows 10, then a lot of the time several different programs and applications will have to update themselves as well, just to keep concurrent with the most recent version of Windows. Step out of line with one update, and you could find yourself with outdated software either on the Windows side, or your programs side, and that’s going to bring you right back to this list asking why your Windows 10 runs slow when you haven’t updated it since day one.
Lastly, a big reason for many updates is to make sure that malware designed to attack previous versions of Windows 10 becomes obsolete. This means that a potential virus on your PC could be stopped in its tracks by a newer version of the Windows OS, immediately speeding up your Windows 10 performance.
Just update it. Click ‘Update and shut down’ when you are done with whatever you are doing, and walk away – the PC will do the rest, and you and I will both be happier for it.
Get New Ram
This might not be the best option for everyone, as it could be potentially costly – but realistically, it could be one of the sure-fire ways to make your Windows 10 system work even faster than it does currently, even after following all of the other steps in this list.
For those that don’t know, RAM stands for random access memory and is used by the PC to accomplish tasks, with the RAM being used as a temporary storage location for packets of data that processes and applications require as they run. Its basically a ‘live’ memory bank, separate from hard drives and solid-state drives.
So, if your RAM is full, or slow, then it can potentially lead to a slow down in your Windows operation, as these data packets that are sent to and from the RAM get slower and slower to move around internally. Basically, replacing your RAM with a newer model can yield quick and easy to see results in the general operation of not just your Windows 10., but your PC as a whole.
This does of cause have a drawback – it’s going to cost you. It’s a quick fix (literally unplugging the old and plugging in the new), but as with anything, buying new hardware has a price tag attached. Its not a big price tag, but depending on the type of RAM that you go for, the cost will fluctuate. Check out our list of the best RAM available right now for some ideas – but upgrading is a good option if you are looking to increase the speed of your Windows 10 operating system.
Disable Any Special Effects
Windows 10 looks great – but that comes at a cost. Basically, all of those cool graphical features and great looks can come at a heavy cost when it comes to performance. Depending on how much you like them though, that’s good news – because disabling them can lead to a faster running operating system.
All you have to do to make sure that Windows 10 is only operating to a graphical standard consistent with your PC is go to the ‘adjust the appearance and performance of Windows 10’ (just search in the start bar), and then select ‘Adjust for best performance’.
All this is going to do is allow Windows to figure out exactly which of its fancy graphics it can keep, and which it can drop in order to give you the fastest version of itself it can be. Its another quick fix that doesn’t change the actual spec of your PC, but if you are looking for something along those lines it’s a great and easy way to do just that.
Sometimes you don’t have any other option than going under the hood and making sure that all the different parts are working as they should. What I’m saying is that every now and then, you should run a quick check on your PC to make sure all of the software is doing its bit.
If you are put off by the idea or scared you are going to break something – don’t be. Its really simple to do, just a few button clicks and it’s sorted. Just go to your system and security settings and then go to ‘security and maintenance’, and click ‘start maintenance’. Boom, your done, and the PC itself will take care of all the fiddly bits for you, diagnosing and potentially automatically fixing any issues you might have,
Buy A SSD
This is another option that is going to cost a little bit of money – but trust me its worth it.
The first question you probably have if you don’t know what an SSD is is ‘what is an SSD. Understandable. An SSD is a solid-state drive, different to a hard drive in that it stores memory on flash chips that retain data even when they aren’t powered. Cutting through all the technical stuff, SSDs are much faster than hard drives and are being adopted across the board as the faster and more reliable replacement for hard drives.
In fact, it’s now becoming commonplace to have two separate memory drives in PCs and laptops for this very reason. Many will come with one SSD, and one HDD (hard drive). The SSD will generally be smaller in capacity than the HDD, and this is because the purpose of the SSD is primarily for it to work as a ‘boot’ drive, or where the operating system is contained.
This means that on start-up, everything runs quicker and smoother than it would with a traditional hard drive, and your Windows OS will be running a lot quicker than it would do on an old hard drive. Sure you have to spend a bit to get an SSD, but a good solid-state drive will take care of you for a long time, and remove a lot of the frustrations you are having about your sluggish Windows 10 holding you back.
There you have it. Ten different ways in which you can speed up your Windows 10 OS right now, either right away via desktop fixes, or by installing a more long term hardware-specific solution – either way, these are all tried and true ways of getting your Windows 10 speed up and running faster than it ever has before.
Any questions? Comments? Lucky you, we have a whole section for that down below – make sure to leave your mark there!