Microsoft Windows 10, my personal tips and tricks for tuning your system better

Luiz Carlos Martins
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Even though our computers are rapidly becoming stronger and stronger as time goes by, with that Windows is also becoming more demanding of resources and thus far requires more power to operate your system without experiencing slowness, errors and overall causing an unpleasant experience. Luckily, there are many things you can do to speed up Windows on your computer. These solutions that can solve problems related to slowness and make it easier to use Windows on your computer, without having to try and re-install the entire operating system and risk losing your important data, software and more.

 

 

Let us take a look at some of the things you can do to speed up your Windows 10 system, or simply just eliminate the risk of it ever becoming sluggish and hard to operate.

1. Turn off start-up software

Your computer might become slow simply because there are many programs and software that start simultaneously with your system. This happens because some of the things installed on your system check for updates, or start immediately upon Windows loading and run in the background of your system, thus slowing Windows down not only while it is booting up, but even afterwards while you are using it.

 

It is fairly easy to disable this in most software, though, and it is possible to do from Windows 10 itself without having to use any third-party software. All you need to do is access the Task Manager by pressing down the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard at the same time, or simply right-click on your taskbar and select the Task Manager from the menu.

 

 

By default, the Task Manager displays the currently running processes on your system, however, if you change to the Start-up tab, you can see all of the software that boots up alongside with your computer, as well as how much impact they have - the higher impact, the slower it is for your system to boot up fully. You should review all of the software you can find here and choose if you want them to start up with your computer or not. Sometimes, some applications can be left enabled to star-up with your system, such as anti-virus software or applications you want to have access to quickly such as instant messaging programs or installed utilities. To disable something you can simply right-click on the name of it and choose Disable from the list of options. If you change your mind and want to enable it again, you can right-click again and pick Enable, meaning that the application will start with your system once again.

 

2. Disable visual effects and animations

As always, Windows 10 is packed with interesting visual effects and animations that make the system unique and appealing. They’re smooth and sometimes subtle, like the animation that plays when you minimise or close a window or the clean way the start menu slides up from your tray. You might not even notice these things because you become so familiar with them that it is barely noticeable. However, for those who are running on less powerful systems, these animations can cause problems and cause them to have to wait several seconds before an action is performed all because the animation has to load before it can play, and this takes a toll on their systems.

 

Although not as demanding, some visual effects and animations can make it harder for Windows to run smoothly, thus causing choppy and slow performance. This problem is not very common in newer computers, but if you're running a machine that has outdated specs, this tip can definitely prove useful to you in speeding up Windows 10’s performance. All of these changes can easily be restored, so you can not lose anything by trying to reduce the load on your PC and disable some effects and animations.

 

  1. Right-click on the Windows logo in the bottom-left of your screen, and choose the System option to open the system settings easily and quickly.

  2. Click on Advanced System Settings. If you can’t see it, you can also type it into the search bar on the left side of the window and simply click on it from there. You can also navigate here by opening Cortana and typing in sysdm.cpl and clicking on the first result, then select the Advanced tab.

  3. Inside this window, find the title that says Performance, and in the box under it simply click on the Settings button to open up the Performance Options tab.

 

Inside the Performance Options tab, you can customise a huge amount of settings to optimise your system better for your liking, or simply to reduce the load your computer deals with when used. By default, "Let Windows choose what's best for my computer" is usually selected here, meaning that Windows looks at the components of your system and decides which options should be turned on and off. However, this might not be the best option for you, as Windows can't detect every single thing by itself and might turn on things that demand too much from your PC. You can also select "Adjust for best appearance" or "Adjust for best performance" which are presets that allow users to quickly get the job done and set up the system for your preferences.

 

The last option is Custom. By choosing this, you can pick and choose between the options you want to be turned on and off. To turn off the animations mentioned above, simply un-check the following boxes:

 

  • Animate controls and elements inside windows

  • Animate windows when minimising and maximising

  • Animations in the taskbar

  • Fade or slide menus into view

  • Fade or slide ToolTips into view

  • Fade out menu items after clicking

 

Of course, you don’t have to turn everything off, and you should definitely take a look at the rest of the options inside this window to further tweak the look and performance of Windows 10.

 

Once you are done, click the Apply button, and then the OK button. You should notice the changes right away, however, you might need to restart your computer for every change to come into effect.

3. Remove some applications

Applications are able to slow down your computer in more ways than one. Some applications require a huge amount of disk space which can slow down your system because Windows has less space to work with and store important data on. You should consider checking your installed applications and review whether or not you need all of them. This can also lead to discovering malicious applications that were installed without your knowledge by other applications - you definitely should get rid of those.

 

Simply right-click on the Windows button found in the bottom-left of your screen, and select Apps and Features. Alternatively, you can type in “Add or remove programs” to Cortana and get to the tab quite quickly as well. Here, you can see a list of every single application installed onto your system. It is extremely important that you review these applications and ensure that you don’t remove something that should stay on your computer - carelessly removing important applications can lead to errors and complications. If you are unsure whether or not you should remove something, you can always search the web to find out what an application is used for and if it could potentially be something that harms your computer.

 

To remove an application, simply click on it and choose the Uninstall option. This will open up the application’s uninstall wizard, which should walk you through the steps in removing the software from your device. If you want to be sure to delete every trace of an application, you can use trusted and free third-party software such as CCLeaner or GeekUninstaller, as well as paid applications such as CrystalIDEA Uninstall Tool, ChemTable Soft Organizer, and Revo Uninstaller Pro.

4. Run the Disk Clean-up utility

Programs are not the only things that can claim a huge amount of space on your hard disk. As time goes by, Windows 10 eventually builds up a huge library of data that oftentimes ends up being multiple gigabytes large, however, proves little to no use and can be re-built way more efficiently. This data can slow down the reading and writing on your hard drive, so it is recommended to clean them every once in a while with the tool Microsoft themselves include in every single copy of Windows 10, called Disk Clean-up.

 

 

Right-click on the Windows logo located in the bottom-left of your screen, and click on the File Explorer option from the menu. Alternatively, you can access the File Explorer by pressing down the Windows + E keys on your keyboard, or clicking on the File Explorer shortcut found in your taskbar - this icon looks like a folder.

 

On the left side of the window, click on This PC. Here, you can find every drive and device in or attached to your computer. We are going to focus on the drives. Select the drive you want to clean and right-click on it, then choose Properties from the drop-down menu.

 

Within the Properties window, you should see useful information about your drive, such as the claimed and free space, as well as the type of drive and some other options. Near under the Capacity title, you should see a button that says Disk Clean-up. Simply click on the button to start the process. First, Windows will review and calculate things, then you can select which files you’d like to delete and prompt the Disk Clean-up to start. This process might take a long time and takes many resources to run, so it is recommended to leave your computer while the Disk Clean-up is running.

5. Optimise and defragment your drive

After running the Disk Clean-up, you should definitely use another utility provided by Microsoft that allows you to improve the performance of Windows. If your files get fragmented on your hard drive - which frequently happens after using your computer for a longer period of time -, the performance of your system can get worse really fast. To speed up Windows 10, it is recommended to run the tool that lets you defragment your drive. This process is quite long and you should not use your computer while it is running, so make sure you choose an appropriate time to let your system rearrange its files and make an order on your hard drive again.

 

First of all, you need to navigate to the same place where you can find the Disk Clean-up utility. Refer to the previous point for instructions. Once you have the Harddrive Properties open for the drive you wish to optimise and defragment, you need to select the Tools tab instead of General. From here you simply just click on the Optimise button to start the process.

 

 

While you’re here, you might want to run the “Error checking” function as well, which can scan and detect errors on your hard drive. After all, you never know if your drives are faulty until you check them!

6. Background applications

Similarly to applications that run themselves on start-up, there are some applications that run in the background of your system. This demands resources and can severely slow down Windows, so it is recommended to review and disable applications that you do not find any use for.

 

Click on the Windows icon in the bottom-left of your screen and select the Settings button (the icon should be a gear.) Here, click on Privacy to navigate to the tab which holds many settings related to applications and what they are allowed to do on your device. On the left side of the window, scroll until you see App permissions, and under it select Background apps. Here you can turn off certain applications from receiving and sending data in the background even when they aren’t being used by you, thus meaning that they are no longer going to require additional resources from your system.

7. Check for and repair registry errors

The registry is where all configurations within your system are stored. This database can quite easily become a huge, jumbled mess due to many applications being installed and removed from your system, settings being changed and such. This furthermore causes your system to slow down and can lead to even bigger problems later on if the registry isn't cleaned and maintained regularly. Sadly, Microsoft does not provide an integrated tool for this, however many people use the free application CCleaner to get the job done fairly quickly.

8. Change your power options

Sometimes without your knowledge, you might be running Windows on a power plan that limits the performance of your system such as the Power saver plan. On laptops, this is certainly a useful tool that can save your battery life, but if you're not limited by that, it is highly recommended to not use this plan and switch to something else instead, as all it does is try and save battery life even if you are using a PC or connected your laptop to an outlet already.

 

Right-click on the Windows logo located in the bottom-left of your screen, and select the Power Options option from the menu. Alternatively, you can navigate here yourself by opening the Windows menu, then Settings, then System and finally selecting Power & sleep. Under the Related settings heading, click on Additional power settings. This will open up the Control Panel, where you can see the current plan your device is using, as well as change it to something else.

 

The two plans you should choose between are Balanced and High performance. You can even customise these plans to your liking to ensure that your needs are being met properly.

9. No luck? Try reinstalling Windows 10

This should be the last option, but if none of the tips above seemed to improve the performance of your system, you should try to reinstall Windows 10 on your device to safely and surely reset everything to its default values and fix any possible problem within Windows itself that might have caused errors, and allows you to start fresh, thus eliminating any possible errors that might have developed inside your system while you were using it.

 

Luckily, reinstalling Window 10 is an easy task even for those people who aren’t really experienced with handling computers. First of all, navigate to your Settings (gear icon) by clicking on the Windows logo in the bottom-left of your screen, then choose Update & Security. Here, look on the left side of the window and choose Recovery from the menu. To initiate the reinstallation, simply click on Get started.

 

 

Don’t worry, Windows lets you choose whether or not you want to keep your personal files. Although keeping them might not provide an entirely clean system, the vast majority of issues usually originate from Windows itself, which will be a brand-new installation after the reinstall process is done. This usually takes anywhere between an hour to five hours, depending on many factors such as your system hardware, Windows updates and even driver installations.