Whether you’re planning to optimize Windows 10 performance for your work or want to speed up Windows for gaming, there’s a list of ways to do it.
Microsoft Windows established itself as the ideal workforce computer with Windows 98, and the spell continued for decades. Generation after generation, Microsoft has delivered an operating system that isn’t just a workhorse, but suitable for personal computer machines. Apart from the fumble that was Windows 8, Microsoft has been on point when it comes to coupling the best in software optimization with modern user experience.
Windows 10 is going strong for 5 years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit the wall from time to time. Even with plenty of hardware prowess, users all across the board have reported sluggish performance over time. The cursor becomes unresponsive, certain apps seem to crash, or games just aren’t smooth as they once used to be. Apart from disk fragmentation, which is a common occurrence, unwanted software installations, and faltering hardware components can collectively make you wish for a certain way to speed up your computer or laptop running Windows 10 operating system.
How to Optimize Windows 10 Performance
When you’re trying to figure out what’s causing the system to slow down, there are three major factors to consider:
- The operating system
- Installed apps and games
- The hardware components
Below, we take a closer look into the problem of mediocre software performance on Windows 10, and what you can do to resolve it.
1. Tone down the visual effects
Although the animations and transition effects in Windows 10 are minimal, they still exist and can affect the performance. However, you can easily limit these visual effects such as shadows, blur effects, and more to free up system resources.
- Open the Windows search bar and look up View advanced system settings.
- Under the Advanced tab, find the Performance section and click Settings.
- Using the Visual Effects tab, choose the option to Adjust for best performance from the list.
- To keep the fonts more readable, check the box next to Smooth edges of screen fonts from the list and press OK to confirm.
2. Disable startup programs
If the bootup process of your Windows 10 computer is taking too long, it could be due to the startup apps that are hogging the resources. To limit the apps and processes that are allowed to auto-start when booting up, here’s what you need to do:
- Press the Windows Start button and look up the System Configuration.
- Pick the Services tab to view all of the apps and services that have permission to run during startup.
- Using the checkbox on the left, start unchecking the services which aren’t bare essential.
- We recommend leaving every service from Microsoft Corporation enabled if you aren’t too sure what it does.
- Once you press the Apply button, the system will ask you to Restart to bring the changes into action.
3. Remove bloatware and unwanted apps
Uninstalling apps from the system will not only free up crucial storage space but improve the performance of the device too.
- Click on the Windows search icon and look up Add or remove programs.
- Under Apps & features section, you will find the entire list of apps installed on your computer.
- Look for unwanted apps or bloatware that came preinstalled with the device and click on the app icon.
- Press the Uninstall button and continue the on-screen process to remove the app.
4. Enable Ultimate Performance in Power settings
By default, the Windows 10 system is set on a Balanced Power Plan, and to the layman user, there’s no way to change it. However, with some good-old tinkering, you can enable the Ultimate Performance to get the most out of the processing power.
- Open Command Prompt and right-click on it to Run as administrator.
- Type the following code and press enter:
powercfg -duplicatescheme e9a42b02-d5df-448d-aa00-03f14749eb61
- You will see the Ultimate Performance message now appear in Command Prompt, so go ahead and look up Choose Power Plan in the search menu.
- Select the Ultimate Performance plan and you will now be able to use the system under 100% processor state.
5. Disable background apps
Similar to mobile devices, background apps also hog on to the resources without even appearing to do so. Windows 10 provides a quick and easy method to shut down background processes and conserves the processing power for the more demanding tasks.
- Use the Windows Start menu to search for Background apps.
- Here, you can choose to turn off all background processes by disabling the toggle switch.
- Secondly, there’s the option to Choose which apps can run in the background and hand-pick the ones you will keep active in the background.
6. Clean out the storage drives
Apart from the storage space, you’ll recover by removing unused apps and bloatware, there’s plenty of Gigabytes to reclaim from unimportant files too.
- Open the Storage app from the Windows Start menu.
- Under the OS (C:) drive, you will be able to see Apps & features, System & reserved, Temporary files, Documents, and more.
- Click on Temporary Files and then select Remove files to flush them out.
- In the previous menu, you can delete other large unwanted files in the secondary drives by selecting View storage usage on other drives
- The content in the other drives will also be segmented into Videos, Apps & features, Documents, Music, and more.
7. Update to the latest version
As annoying as Windows updates can be, they are essential to keep the gears turning smoothly, and if you have the bad habit of delaying updates, it could cause the system to act up.
- Head to the Start menu and find Check for updates
- Press the Check for updates button and wait for the system.
- If an update is available, press the Download button to begin.
8. Use a third-party cleanup app
While you’re better off dumping all unnecessary third-party apps, there are certain exceptions, that can help you optimize Windows 10 performance. One such app is Piriform CCleaner, which not only allows you to clear out temporary files, uninstall apps, and even fix registry errors.
- Download and Install the Piriform CCleaner app from the official download page.
- Launch the CCleaner app and use the Health Check feature for a quick system scan.
- Additionally, you can use the Registry section to Scan for Issues and resolve them right away.
- There is also the Tools section to manage installed apps, startup apps, browser plugins, duplicate file finder, and so much more to further improve the device performance.
9. Make use of ReadyBoost
If you’re using a reasonably older Windows 10 computer or laptop with an HDD storage drive, there’s a feature to speed it up. The ReadyBoost option allows you to use an external flash drive as an additional source of system memory, adding to the overall performance.
- Plug in an external USB thumb drive into the computer.
- Open the File Explorer and right-click on the USB drive icon to open the Properties
- Select the ReadyBoost tab and select Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost from the options.
- Using the slider bar, you can select the Space to reserve for system speed from the available storage on the USB drive.
- Press Apply and OK to confirm your action, and the system memory will now be increased for better performance.
10. Consider a hardware upgrade
Even with all of the above tricks to optimize Windows 10 performance, you might not be able to enjoy a buttery smooth experience. At the end of the day, software tweaks can only get you so far, if the hardware isn’t equipped to support it. Even if you aren’t planning to let go of your current PC, upgrading the hardware elements such as the storage drive and RAM can make all the difference.
One major performance upgrade can be done by switching out the old HDD (hard disk drive) with the next generation SSD storage. Removing the mechanical element from file storage, the electrical SSD offers a faster computing time, with writing speeds of 500 MB/s, compared to a maximum of 150 MB/s offered by HDDs.
Thanks to the high demand, you can get a 1TB SSD for around $100 online, which can be your primary storage for the system OS files. Additionally, added more RAM to the computer is always a welcome addition, and even though the minimum system requirement is 2GB of RAM, it certainly isn’t enough. Upgrading to a larger capacity RAM chip will provide the system with a buck load of system memory to handle demanding apps and background services.
At a glance, there are several moving parts coming together for the smooth performance of the operating system. Apart from features that are baked into the software, we’ve highlighted some lesser-known tweaks to speed up Windows 10. However, not all the optimization in the world can fix the aging hardware of a computer or laptop. Chances are that you started experiencing app crashes and sluggish user interface only recently, which should be resolved by the solutions we’ve listed above. But when the CPU just doesn’t have the firepower to run the sizably large OS, you might just have to consider getting a new one.
Which of the best tips to optimize Windows 10 performance in the list above would you recommend your fellow users? We’re excited to hear your thoughts, so reach out to us in the comments section below.