10 Quick Steps to Increase PC Performance

An Asus laptop running Windows 10.Wachiwit / Shutterstock.com

We live in the future. The living room enclosure turns on the coffee maker, a robot empties the house and the thermostat knows when you get home. But even in this amazing era of automation, your PC still needs manual help when it slows down.

Check your startup programs

Windows 10 Task Manager, four column text list on white background

When a computer is slow to start, a common disease is having too many startup programs. To resolve this issue in Windows 10, press the Windows key, then type (and select) Task Manager.

When Task Manager opens, click on the “Startup” tab. Here you will see all the programs configured to activate when Windows starts. Take a look at the far right column titled Startup Impact. Examine any item assessed as having a “high” or “medium” impact and decide if it is really important.

Do you really need Steam to start when you log into your PC, for example? If everything you do on this PC is a game, then the answer could be yes. If it is a versatile PC, the answer is almost certainly “no”. You don’t want to deactivate everything that is essential to the mission, even if it has a “high” impact, but watch everything.

Once you have decided what will be disabled, select them one by one with your mouse and click Disable in the lower right corner.

RELATED: How to manage startup applications in Windows 8 or 10

Adjust your restart settings

When your computer restarts automatically due to a system or program update, Windows 10 attempts by default to reopen everything that was open on the desktop before shutdown. It’s a cool feature, but it can also affect performance, and turning it off is easy.

A Windows 10 on / off cursor button with a red arrow pointing to it

Open the Settings application (click on “Start” then select the cog of settings) in the lower left corner of the Start menu. In the Settings app, select Accounts> Sign-in options. Then, under Privacy, deactivate the slider entitled “Use my connection information to automatically complete the configuration of my device and reopen my applications after an update or a restart”.

RELATED: How to prevent Windows 10 from reopening your previous apps after restarting your PC

Remove Bloatware and Unnecessary Applications

Startup applications are only half the problem. Some programs have small helper utilities that run in the background even when an application is not running. You don’t want to turn them off manually unless you know what they’re doing. A better approach is to simply unload applications that you never or rarely use, including bloatware applications preinstalled on your PC.

Right-click on any superfluous Windows 10 Store apps in the Start menu and select “Uninstall”. It also works for standard desktop applications, but we still recommend the old school control panel method to remove them.

RELATED: How to open the control panel on Windows 10

Check your storage space

Windows 10 storage settings. A blue bar graph showing the amount of storage used

Windows 10 provides more integrated information for viewing and manage your PC storage. To find it, open the Settings app again and select System> Storage. This section provides a summary of your main system storage usage, including space used by applications and features, as well as your large files and folders, temporary files, etc. As a general rule, storage usage should have a blue bar indicating how nearly full it is. When the bar turns red, you have a problem and need to start uploading files to (or deleting) other drives.

Using this feature can help you determine what you want to delete (or unload), but there are some things you don’t want to touch. First of all, even if you see a ton of them in the “Applications and Features” section, don’t uninstall any of the Microsoft Visual C ++ Redistributables. It seems redundant, but different programs depend on different versions.

Also, if you see something in the “Other” section, all folders labeled AMD, Nvidia or Intel should be left alone. You also don’t want to touch the System and Reserved section.

In general, if you don’t know what something is doing, don’t uninstall it or delete it.

In this section, you can also activate a feature called Storage Sense, which automatically deletes temporary files and other junk files when they are not needed.

RELATED: Use Windows 10’s new “Free Up Space” tool to clean up your hard drive

Tweak the Power Plan

Three radio buttons showing power plan options in Windows 10 control panel

By default, Windows 10 uses a “Balanced” energy consumption plan this can sometimes affect performance. The balanced plan keeps your processor speed lower when not in use and places key components in their respective power saving modes during periods of low demand.

You can click things by opening the control panel (click “Start” and type “Control Panel”), then select “Power Options”. In the next panel, click on “Show additional plans”, then select the “High performance” option.

RELATED: Do you need to use the balanced, energy-saving or high-performance diet plan on Windows?

Stop OneDrive

If you’re not using OneDrive, this is a simple way to reduce the use of unnecessary system resources. The easiest thing to do is to disable OneDrive under the Startup tab in Task Manager, if it exists. You can also open the Start menu and, in the “O” section, right-click “OneDrive” and select “Uninstall”. This will remove OneDrive from your PC, but all of your files will still be on OneDrive.com.

It is a good idea to copy your OneDrive files to another section of your PC before proceeding.

RELATED: How to disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer on Windows 10

Stop background updates

There is something you can do to thwart Windows Update and other background download features in Windows. Without control, these processes can reduce the performance of your connection, as well as that of the machine. Configure your home Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet connection as measured in Settings> Network and Internet> Wi-Fi or Settings> Network and Internet> Ethernet.

This tells Windows 10 not to download important updates during this Wi-Fi connection, at least for a short while. Eventually, this will force an upgrade, but this setting helps most of the time. It also prevents certain applications from pinging servers, which can help reduce the performance of background processes.

RELATED: How, when and why set a connection as measured on Windows 10

Speed ​​up menus and entertainment

Like other versions of the operating system, Windows 10 uses visual effects that can reduce performance. These are things like entertainment, translucency of windows, shadow effects, etc.

To open this search for “Performance” in the taskbar, then select “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows”.

By default, Windows 10 tries to choose the settings that best suit your PC, but you can also select the option that says “Adjust for better performance”, then click “Apply.” Another alternative is to browse the list manually and uncheck what you don’t want to use.

This change probably won’t do much for mid-range and high-end machines, but low-cost devices with limited ram and weaker processors can benefit.

RELATED: How to speed up menu animations in Windows

Recovering from a sudden slowdown

A red arrow pointing to the Update history option in the Settings application

If your PC suddenly slows down, there are two culprits to watch immediately. First, open Settings> Update & security> View update history. Were any updates installed when your PC started to slow down? If so, search online based on the knowledge base number of the update (it is in parentheses at the end of each update title) and see if anyone else complains about it on PC news sites, forums or Reddit publications.

If a good number of people have had problems since this update, you may need to uninstall it or wait for Microsoft to send a patch, which may take a while.

RELATED: How to restore versions and uninstall updates on Windows 10

Then run a standard malware scan and then perform an offline scan with Windows Defender to make sure everything is fine.

RELATED: How to Find and Remove Malware with Windows Defender Offline

Hard drive tips

This last tip does not affect PCs equipped with SSD disks (by the way, if you don’t have an SSD yet, we strongly recommend that you get one), but it is good advice for those who have hard drives.

Rotating discs can sometimes require a little extra maintenance. These are good old-fashioned moves that longtime PC users should know about.

First, use the Defragment and Optimize Disks utility. Look for it in the taskbar and it will appear. Select the disks you want to process, then select the “Optimize” button. You can also activate automated optimization. Windows automatically defragments and optimizes your disks, but it’s a good idea to check it out and run it manually if your PC is slow.

Then is disk cleaning utility– Again, search for “Disk Cleanup” in the taskbar or the search box on the Start menu. Choose the drive you want to clean and run it.

There is also ReadyBoost functionality, which uses a USB key as a cache. However, as we have already discussed, we are not convinced that this will significantly improve performance.

These tips are only a small part of what you can do. Other good ideas, including look at the page file, disabling search indexing, and component driver update.

Consider upgrading your PC hardware

If these steps do not show enough performance improvement, it may be time to look upgrade your PC hardware. Switching to an SSD or M.2 drive offers the most noticeable improvement, while installing more RAM if your PC has 8 GB or less is also a good idea.

RELATED: The five best PC upgrades to improve performance

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