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32 Tips to Improve PC Performance in Windows 10

by Nikhil Vemu 15 days ago in list

The Ultimate Speed-Up Guide for your Windows PC

Me: Wow! It’s a good day. Let’s have some binge.

Or Me: Ach! There’s a lot of work today. Let’s me start it now at least.

A few moments later, The computer staggers…

Frustrated Me: Aargh!! This crazy box thwarts me every time I open it for some purpose! What should I do now?

Inner Cool Me: Don’t panic! You could fix it yourself and most probably succeed.

And I succeeded! Here’s what I’ve personally done, and more.

Brief Contents:

1. Restart the system.

2. Change your Power settings

3. Pause OneDrive sync

4. Defragment and Optimise Drives

5. Clean-up Disks

6. Shut off Windows Tips and tricks

7. Turn off Wi-Fi Bluetooth when not in use

8. Clear Temporary files

9. Close programs consuming Excessive RAM

10. Turn off Startup apps

11. Disconnect peripherals

12. Update windows

13. Uninstall unnecessary programs

14. Disable ‘Hey Cortana’

15. Exit programs that are not required

16. Turn some Windows features off

17. Turn off Background apps

18. Empty Recycle Bin

19. Remove Corrupted files

20. Perform System Maintenance

21. Turn on fast start-up

22. Increase Virtual Memory

23. Turn off search indexing

24. Scan for Malware

25. Remove Unused Browser extensions

26. Disable Touchpad if you use an External mouse

27. Use ReadyBoost

28. Disable Transparency

29. Disable Shadows, Animations, and Visual Effects

30. Upgrade hardware: Add SSD, RAM, and Graphics Card

31. Use a CPU Cooling Fan

32. Reset your PC

Diving in:

1. Restart the System:

Restarting the PC seems like a futile attempt, but often it works like magic. Generally, programs borrow some RAM while in use and return it back after closing. But some glitch programs end up in forgetting to return that memory, which makes the Computer slow.

Restarting clears the RAM and gives you back a fresh memory to reopen your essential programs again.

2. Change your Power Settings:

Click on the battery icon in the System tray to know the Power mode set. If your PC is slow and the Power mode is anywhere less than ‘Best Performance’, switch it to that mode.

This enhances the performance of your system. But you may have to compromise your Battery Life for it.

3. Pause OneDrive sync:

Cloud Drive sync software like iCloud Drive, OneDrive, Google Drive, Mega are one of the major culprits of RAM plummet. Because these constantly check for file changes in the cloud, whether you change or not.

Pausing the sync of these programs temporarily frees you some RAM and speeds up your Computer.

4. Defragment and Optimise Drives:

Auslogics Software Pty Ltd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Defragment: Reduce the fragmentation of (a file) by concatenating parts stored in separate locations on a disk.

The Cyber Phenomenon of Disk fragmentation occurs when a single file is broken into many pieces to fit it in the disk. This bottlenecks the PC from accessing files from various locations at a single time. Defragmentation arranges the files in a particular order of locations, so you don’t need to wait for a longer time to access them.

You could run this every once in a while, or Set an Optimisation Schedule (Recommended — observe the Red mark in the screenshot above).

5. Clean-up Disks:

This gets your Hard Disk rid of huge piles of cluttered, unwanted data. After you open it, make sure you click on ‘Clean up system files’ to remove more files (Check the Red mark in the picture above).

You may safely remove ALL of them. This gives you a significant storage space and speed boost too.

6. Shut off Windows Tips and Tricks:

When this feature is on, Windows suggests you Tips and Tricks as you use your PC in routine. But you rarely find this popping up and being helpful. This feature needs your PC to have an eye over your work, which obviously consumes a bit of RAM.

Therefore, it’s recommended to turn this off to save some Memory space. You could do this in ‘Notifications & actions’ Menu in Settings.

7. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in Use:

Turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not using adds a bit of free RAM for you. This improves your Health too, according to Scientists.

8. Clear Temporary files:

Press ‘Ctrl+R’ to open ‘Run’. There, type ‘temp’ and ‘%temp%’ and delete all the files in both of those folders. Don’t hesitate, it’s safe to do so.

Those files are temporarily created by programs when they run, which aren’t deleted after closure. While deleting, if any error occurs, ignore that particular file. This means that the file is in use by some program.

9. Close Programs consuming Excessive RAM:

Press ‘Ctrl+Shift+Esc’ to open ‘Task Manager’ directly. If you find any program consuming excessive RAM (In the Screenshot above, it’s Microsoft Edge), close it. This gives you a bunch of free RAM.

10. Turn off Startup Apps:

The Startup apps make your PC slow in two situations:

• While Turning on PC

• While Working

This is because, since the Startup, the PC needs to allocate RAM for these programs and maintain it even while you work. So, a ton of RAM isn’t yours from start.

So, disabling unwanted programs at Startup is essential for a Speedy Computer. Also, some programs still stay active in the System tray even after closing. Right-click on them and click ‘exit’ to close them.

11. Disconnect Peripherals:

Having everything ready for your PC is cool, but not when it’s staggering. Peripherals do add load to your CPU, because they need to be constantly monitored for any I/O.

Make sure you ‘Safely Remove’ them.

12. Update Windows:

The culprits of a slow PC need not be programs that consume Excessive Memory. Little bugs here and there may slow down your PC too. Windows updates pack improvements that fix them. These make significant changes that enhance your PC.

The latest one is the Windows 10 October 2020 update a.k.a Version 20H2.

13. Uninstall unnecessary programs:

There might be Out-of-date software, finished games, or trial Software that came when you bought your Laptop, still lingering in your PC without your notice. It is recommended you uninstall these and save vital space.

14. Disable ‘Hey Cortana’:

Cortana, Microsoft’s Digital Assistant, may be good at serving users but it’s RAM hunger is inevitable. Cortana was easy to remove in the previous versions of Windows before 1809. But now, it’s a little trickier and is difficult explaining it here.

Mladjo123, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, disabling its response to ‘Hey Cortana’ shows a significant boost of your system performance. Because then, it would stop listening for the call at constant, leaving some free Memory for us.

In the Search box, type ‘Cortana’. Click on ‘Change how you talk to Cortana’ in the search results. In the ‘Hey Cortana’ section, turn off ‘Let Cortana respond to ‘Hey Cortana’ by setting the button to the Off position.

15. Exit programs that are not required:

Why do I need to leave these many programs open when I’m using only a couple of them?

16. Turn some Windows features off:

To access this menu, search for the same.

Windows brings many optional features, which may or may not be used by you, nevertheless, they occupy memory and disk space. So, if there are Windows features that you don’t use, make sure you turn them off to make your Windows speedier.

Here’s the guide that explains all the Windows features, so you could have an idea whether you need to disable them or not.

17. Turn off Background apps:

Some programs are given the access to run in background by default. However, this consumes power and Memory. So, you could disable the permission for unwanted apps to Speed up your System.

18. Empty Recycle Bin:

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Most of the cases, we delete a file not to store it again in Recycle bin. A file staying in the Recycle bin demands the same space as a file in your Drive. So, NOW, empty your Recycle bin and from next time, use ‘Shift+Delete’ if you want the file to be permanently deleted.

19. Remove Corrupted Files:

The System File Checker (SFC) built-in tool scans your Windows for corrupted files or any other fatal changes. If a file is found to be modified, it will automatically replace that file with the correct version, in turn, caring for your PC.

To do this, open Command Prompt as Administrator. Type sfc /scannow and hit Enter:

There’s another tool called the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool. You normally need not run this unless there’s an error with the SFC Command. To run this, go to the same place where you’ve been for the previous command. Paste this line and hit Enter:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

20. Perform System Maintenance:

Windows Maintenance service performs the tasks of Software Update, Security Scanning and System Diagnostics without the need to perform them individually.

It is recommended you turn on Automatic Maintenance (Notice the Red mark in the Screenshot above) and set some mid-night’s time, so you PC stays always healthy.

21. Turn on Fast Start-up:

When you shut down a PC with Fast start-up enabled, it doesn’t shut down completely. Instead, it takes it to a state in between Complete Shut-down and Hibernation.

So, when you restart your Device again, it does not have to reload the kernel, drivers, and system state individually. Instead, it just refreshes the RAM with the previously saved image. This technique saves considerable time at the start-up. (Notice the Red marks for reference)

22. Increase Virtual Memory:

Virtual Memory is the Memory which is used if the Computer runs out of its Physical RAM of 4GB or 8GB. It would be a Life-saver that prevents System crashes there’s no free RAM left.

However, it’s not relevant to the newer models as they’re being equipped with tons of RAM and its management. But is highly recommended for the older models.

• Search for ‘Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows’ in the Search bar.

• Switch to ‘Advanced’ tab and under Virtual Memory, click on ‘Change’.

• At the bottom, compare the ‘Recommended’ and ‘Currently allocated’ Memory.

• If the current one is significantly lesser than the recommended one, uncheck the tick mark at the top.

• Now, check the ‘Custom size’.

• Enter the value of ‘Recommended’ in ‘Initial Size’ box and a larger figure in the ‘Maximum Size’ box.

• Now, Apply the changes and It’s done!

23. Turn off Search Indexing:

Search Indexer indexes all your files to avoid late while searching for them. However, it demands some CPU and RAM. So, switching it off saves you some resources. Remember, you’ll still be able to search for files after turning it off, but with a longer time.

For turning it off, search for ‘Indexing Options’ in the Search bar. Select the locations and click ‘Modify’ and uncheck on the locations.

24. Scan for Malware:

Malware is one of the common reasons for a Slow PC. You may have unknowingly clicked a notorious link or installed some cracked software previously. That must have pushed your computer into jeopardise and you into dismay. Removing malware definitely gets your PC into good health.

Previously, Windows Defender wasn’t able to perform at par with the third-party Anti-Virus programs like McAfee and Kaspersky. But now, Microsoft has enhanced it to its best, with regular definition updates and features. So, in my opinion, you need not consider paying for an Anti-Virus program.

Just think. Why do you need to pay again for some essential software when you buy a laptop paying a fraction of a fortune?

25. Remove Unused Browser extensions:

Browser extensions do help you in making your work easier. But the dreaded downside is that they too consume a bit of your system’s resources and make your browser slow. So, if you don’t use an extension more often, it’s a good idea to remove it.

26. Disable Touchpad if you use an External mouse:

Do you use a Wireless mouse? Yes?

Of course it’s much handier than using a Touchpad. But leaving the Touchpad on even when you using an external mouse consumes a little bit of System’s resources. This is because it still needs to constantly monitor the Touchpad for an input, even when you don’t use it.

27. Use ReadyBoost:

Sources: Left — Wikipedia ; Right — Wikipedia

ReadyBoost is a feature introduced first in Windows Vista. It basically uses a part of your SD card, or USB device as an external RAM. By Machine Learning, it learns about which programs you frequently open, and stores them in the external RAM. So, when you open them from the next time, it would be quicker.

28. Disable Transparency:

It takes a surprising amount of work for Windows to show Transparency effects. Because, while working for you, it needs to monitor what’s behind it too. Disabling it would reduce a considerable amount of load.

29. Disable Shadows, Animations, and Visual Effects:

Windows isn’t such an Eye candy as the Mac is, but is still an eyesome OS. This step makes Windows look boring, but we have no other go if the Computer repudiates to work fast.

• Use ‘Win+R’ to open ‘Run’.

• Type sysdm.cpl and press Enter.

• Under ‘Advanced’ tab, click on ‘Settings’ under ‘Performance’.

• Check on ‘Adjust for best performance’, and Apply.

30. Upgrade Hardware: Add SSD, RAM, and Graphics Card:

• SSD (Solid State Drive):

The probably gonna be-obsolete HDD’s (Hard Disk Drives) is made of a number of spinning magnetic platters that store data, and a number of read/write heads that move over the surface. To read or write data at a specific location of a platter, the head has to move to that particular position, and then wait for that sector to pass underneath it as the platter rotates.

machu., CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Whereas SSDs uses a Solid State storage medium, and data is written to or read by a controller. With an SSD there is no waiting time or rotational latency, as every part of the SSD can be accessed in the same amount of time.

So, when you plan to buy a new Drive, consider buying an SSD. However, it costs more per GB of storage than a HDD.

• RAM (Random Access Memory):

Laserlicht, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If your Computer feels sluggish when you open multiple Programs, or Browser tabs at once, that means your RAM isn’t sufficient for your work. Then, you’ll need to consider increasing your RAM.

P.S.: You could do it yourself!

• Graphics Card:

If you’re a Savvy Gamer and you experience lags while Gaming, it’s time you increase your Graphics memory, and stop cursing your PC for it.

If you choose the latter one, you could choose to open up your PC and fit in a Graphics card, or use an External Graphics card. This improves your Gaming, and even your System animations too.

31. Use a CPU Cooling Fan:

When you perform huge tasks like Gaming, Video Editing, Disc burning etc… with an older processor, it tends to overheat. This is because they are pushed beyond their factory specifications. This damages the CPU in the long run and makes it slower.

The latest ones come with good internal cooling systems. However, for older ones, you could provide external cooling with Cooling fans.

32. Reset your PC:

Remember, this should be your last option. If you have installed and uninstalled many programs, you’ll not be able to delete them from the roots. They still linger in your PC, demanding some attention and resources. And that slows down your PC too.

The best way you could get rid of that is to reset your PC to factory settings. This removes Malware too.

Three things to consider while buying your next PC:

1. Processor:

2. RAM:

• 1 GB — Lightweight usage like Web-surfing, emails or photo editing etc…

• 2 GB — Basic activities like simple Video editing, minor gaming, working smoothly on Microsoft Office, etc…

• 4 GB — A multitude of the programs mentioned above can be run simultaneously.

• 8 GB — For a faster Photo or Video editing.

• 16 GB — Heavy-duty software for Video editing, Image editing, Gaming, and 3D modelling.

• 16 GB+ — Can do anything. Often underused and waste of money.

3. SSD:

As already mentioned, these are way better than HDDs as they have Greater Reading/Writing speeds and they don’t make the the incessant grrrrrrrrr… sound from the system, unlike HDDs after using it for a couple of years.

Has your PC got a Shot in its Arm now?

This story was originally published on Medium in 'Technology Hits'. 

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Nikhil Vemu
Nikhil Vemu
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Nikhil Vemu

A hobby writer who never leaves his readers discontent.

University Student | NCC Cadet | Hobby Writer | Curious Experimenter | 🇮🇳

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