15 ways to speed up Windows 10


Want Windows 10 to run faster? We’ve got help. In just a few minutes you can try out 15 tips; your machine will be zippier and less prone to performance and system issues.

1.Change your power settings

If youre using Windows 10s Power saver plan, youre slowing down your PC. That plan reduces your PCs performance in order to save energy. (Even desktop PCs typically have a Power saver plan.) Changing your power plan from Power saver to High performance or Balanced will give you an instant performance boost.

To do it, launch the Control Panel app, then select Hardware and Sound > Power Options. Youll typically see two options: Balanced (recommended) and Power saver.” (Depending on your make and model, you might see other plans here as well, including some branded by the manufacturer.) To see the High performance setting, click the down arrow by Show additional plans.

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Change your power settings in Control Panel to give your PC a performance boost. (Click image to enlarge it.)

To change your power setting, simply choose the one you want, then exit Control Panel. High performance gives you the most oomph, but uses the most power; Balanced finds a happy medium between power use and better performance; and Power saver does everything it can to give you as much battery life as possible. Desktop users have no reason to choose Power saver, and even laptop users should consider the Balanced option when unplugged and High performance when connected to a power source.

2. Disable programs that run on startup

One reason your Windows 10 PC may feel sluggish is that youve got too many programs running in the background programs that you rarely or never use. Stop them from running, and your PC will run more smoothly.

Start by launching the Task Manager: Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc, right-click the lower-right corner of your screen and select Task Manager, or type task manager into the Windows 10 search box and press Enter. If the Task Manager launches as a compact app with no tabs, clickMore details at the bottom of your screen. The Task Manager will then appear in all of its full-tabbed glory. There’s plenty you can do with it, but we’re going to focus only on killing unnecessary programs that run at startup.

Click the Startup tab. You’ll see a list of the programs and services that launch when you start Windows. Included on the list is each program’s name as well as its publisher, whether it’s enabled to run on startup, and itsStartup impact, which is how much it slows down Windows 10 when the system starts up.

To stop a program or service from launching at startup, right-click it and select Disable. This doesn’t disable the program entirely; it only prevents it from launching at startup you can always run the application after launch. Also, if you later decide you want it to launch at startup, you can just return to this area of the Task Manager, right-click the application and select Enable.

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You can use the Task Manager to help get information about programs that launch at startup and disable any you don’t need.(Click image to enlarge it.)

Many of the programs and services that run on startup may be familiar to you, like OneDrive or Evernote Clipper. But you may not recognize many of them. (Anyone who immediately knows whatbzbui.exe is, please raise your hand. No fair Googling it first.)

The Task Manager helps you get information about unfamiliar programs. Right-click an item and select Properties for more information about it, including its location on your hard disk, whether it has a digital signature, and other information such as the version number, the file size and the last time it was modified.

You can also right-click the item and selectOpen file location. That opens File Explorer and takes it to the folder where the file is located, which may give you another clue about theprograms purpose.

Finally, and most helpfully, you can selectSearch online after you right-click. Bing will then launch with links to sites with information about the program or service.

Ifyoure really nervous about one of the listed applications, you can go to a site run by Reason Software called Should I Block It? and search for the file name. Youll usually find very solid information about the program or service.

Now that youve selected all the programs that you want to disable at startup, the next time you restart your computer, the system will be a lot less concerned with unnecessary programs.

3. Use ReadyBoost to speed up disk caching

Windows 10 regularly stores cached data on your hard disk, and then when it needs the data, fetches it from there. The time it takes to fetch cached data depends on the speed of your hard disk. If you have a traditional hard disk instead of an SSD, theres a trick that can help speed up your cache: use Windows ReadyBoost feature. It tells Windows to cache data to a USB flash drive, which is faster than a hard disk. Fetching data from that speedier cache should speed up Windows.

First, plug a USB flash drive into one of your PCs USB ports. The flash drive needs to support at least USB 2.0, and preferably USB 3 or faster. The faster your flash drive, the more of a speed boost you should see. Also, look for a flash drive that is at least double the size of your PCs RAM for maximum performance.

After you plug in in the drive, open File Explorer and click This PC. Look for the flash drive. It may have an odd name, like UDISK 28X, or something even less-obvious. Right-click it, choose Properties and click the ReadyBoost tab.

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Turn on ReadyBoost from this screen to speed up your PC.

Youll come to a screen that asks whether you want to use the flash drive as a cache and recommends a cache size. Leave the cache size as is or change it if you like. Then select Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost and click Apply and then click OK.

(Note that if you see the message, This device cannot be used for ReadyBoost when you click the ReadyBoost tab it means your flash drive doesnt meet ReadyBoosts minimum performance standards, so youll have to insert a new one.)

As you use your computer, ReadyBoost will start filling the cache with files, so you may notice an increase in disk activity. Depending on how much you use your PC, it can take a few days for your cache to fill and offer maximum improved performance. If you dont see an increase in performance, try a flash disk with more capacity.

4. Shut off Windows tips and tricks

As you use your Windows 10 PC, Windows keeps an eye on what youre doing and offers tips about things you might want to do with the operating system. In my experience, Ive rarely if ever found these tips helpful. I also dont like the privacy implications of Windows constantly taking a virtual look over my shoulder.

Windows watching what youre doing and offering advice can also make your PC run more sluggishly. So if you want to speed things up, tell Windows to stop giving you advice. To do so, click the Start button, select the Settings icon and then go to System > Notifications & actions. Scroll down to the Notifications section and uncheck the box marked Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows.

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Turning off Windows’ suggestions for you should help things run more smoothly (and give you back a measure of privacy). (Click image to enlarge it.)

Thatll do the trick.

5. Stop OneDrive from syncing

Microsofts cloud-based OneDrive file storage, built into Windows 10, keeps files synced and up to date on all of your PCs. Its also a useful backup tool so that if your PC or its hard disk dies, you still have all your files intact, waiting for you to restore them.

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Heres how to turn off OneDrive syncing temporarily, to see if that boosts system performance. (Click image to enlarge it.)

It does this by constantly syncing files between your PC and cloud storage something that can also slow down your PC. That’s why one way to speed up your PC is to stop the syncing. Before you turn it off permanently, though, youll want to check whether it is actually slowing down your PC.

To do so, right-click the OneDrive icon (it looks like a cloud) in the notification area on the right side of the taskbar, then click the More button at the bottom of the screen. From the popup screen that appears, click Pause syncing and select either 2 hours, 8 hours or 24 hours, depending upon how long you want it paused. During that time, gauge whether you’re seeing a noticeable speed boost.

If so, and you decide you do indeed want to turn off syncing, right-click the OneDrive icon, and from the popup, select Settings > Account. Click Unlink this PC, and then from the screen that appears, click Unlink account. When you do that, youll still be able to save your files to your local OneDrive folder, but it wont sync with the cloud.

If you find that OneDrive slows down your PC but prefer to keep using it, you can try to troubleshoot OneDrive problems. For info on how to do that, check out Microsofts Fix OneDrive sync problems page.

6. Use OneDrive Files on-Demand

Some users may not want to stop OneDrive from syncing; doing so defeats its purpose of making sure you have the latest files on whatever device you use. And it would also mean you wont be able to use OneDrive as a way to safely back up files.

But theres a way to get the best of both worlds: You can keep syncing to an absolute minimum and only do it when absolutely necessary. Youll speed up performance, and still get the best of what OneDrive has to offer.

To do this, you use Windows OneDrive Files on-Demand feature. With it, you can choose to keep only certain files on your PC, but still have access to all your other OneDrive files in the cloud. When you want to use one of those online files, you open it directly from the cloud. With fewer files on your PC synch, you should see a performance boost.

Right-click the OneDrive icon on the right side of the Taskbar and select Settings, then click the Settings tab on the dialog box that appears. Check the box next to Files On-Demand. Now click the OneDrive icon and select Open Folder. OneDrive appears in a File Explorer window. Right-click a folder whose files you want stored only in the cloud, but not on your PC, then select Free up space. Files from that folder will be removed from your disk, but still kept in OneDrive in the cloud.

For every folder whose files you want kept on your PC, right-click the folder and select Always Keep on this Device. You can change the options on any folder at any time by right-clicking it and choosing what you want done.

onedrive files on demand Microsoft

Use this dialog box to turn on OneDrive Files on-Demand

If you change your mind and want all your files stored locally and kept in sync via OneDrive, go back to the OneDrive settings dialog box and uncheck the box next to Files on-Demand.

Note that OneDrive Files on-Demand is available only on Windows Version 1709 and higher.

7. Turn off search indexing

Windows 10 indexes your hard disk in the background, allowing you in theory to search your PC more quickly than if no indexing were being done. But slower PCs that use indexing can see a performance hit, and you can give them a speed boost by turning off indexing. Even if you have an SSD disk, turning off indexing can improve your speed, because the constant writing to disk that indexing does can eventually slow down SSDs.

To get the maximum benefit in Windows 10, you need to turn indexing off completely. To do so, type services.mscin the Windows 10 search box and press Enter. The Services app appears. Scroll down to either Indexing Service or Windows Search in the list of services. Double-click it, and from the screen that appears, click Stop. Then reboot your machine. Your searches may be slightly slower, although you may not notice the difference. But you shouldget an overall performance boost.

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Heres how to turn off Windows 10 indexing. (Click image to enlarge it.)

If youd like, you can turn off indexing only for files in certain locations. To do this, type indexin the Windows 10 search box and click the Indexing Options result that appears. The Indexing Options page of the Control Panel appears. Click the Modify button, and youll see a list of locations that are being indexed, such as Microsoft Outlook, your personal files, and so on. Uncheck the box next to any location, and it will no longer be indexed.

8. Clean out your hard disk

If youve got a bloated hard disk filled with files you dont need, you could be slowing down your PC. Cleaning it out can give you a speed boost. Windows 10 has a surprisingly useful built-in tool for doing this called Storage Sense.Go to Settings > System > Storage and at the top of the screen, move the toggle from Off to On. When you do this, Windows constantly monitors your PC and deletes old junk files you no longer need temporary files, files in the Downloads folder that havent been changed in a month, and old Recycle Bin files.

You can customize how Storage Sense works and also use it to free up even more space than it normally would. Underneath Storage Sense, click Configure Storage Sense or run it now. From the screen that appears, you can change how often Storage Sense deletes files (every day, every week, every month or when your storage space gets low).

You can also tell Storage Sense to delete files in your Download folder, depending on how long theyve been there, and set how long to wait to delete files in the Recycle Bin automatically. You can also have Storage Sense move files from your PC to the cloud in Microsofts OneDrive cloud storage if theyre not opened for a certain amount of time (every day, or every 14 days, 30 days or 60 days).

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Heres how to customize the way Storage Sense works, and to tell it to delete old versions of Windows. (Click image to enlarge it.)

You can also delete old versions of Windows that might be hogging space. At the bottom of the screen, check the box next to Delete previous versions of Windows. Storage Sense will then delete old versions of Windows ten days after youve installed an upgrade. Note that if you do this, you wont be able to revert to the older version of Windows.

9. Clean out your Registry

Under the Windows hood, the Registry tracks and controls just about everything about the way Windows works and looks. That includes information about where your programs are stored, which DLLs they use and share, what file types should be opened by which program, and just about everything else.

But the Registry is a very messy thing. When you uninstall a program, for example, that programs settings dont always get cleaned up in the Registry. So over time, it can get filled with countless outdated settings of all types. And that can lead to system slowdowns.

Dont even think of trying to clean any of this out yourself. Its impossible. To do it, you need a Registry Cleaner. There are plenty available, some free and some paid. But theres really no need to outright buy one, because the free Auslogics Registry Cleaner does a solid job.

Before using Auslogics or any other Registry Cleaner, you should back up your Registry so you can restore it if anything goes wrong. (Auslogics Registry Cleaner does this for you as well, but it cant hurt to have it backed up twice.) To do your own Registry backup, type regedit.ext in the search box, then press Enter. That runs the Registry editor.From the File menu, select Export. From the screen that appears, make sure to choose the All option in the Export range section at the bottom of the screen. Then choose a file location and file name and click Save. To restore the Registry, open the Registry editor, select Import from the File menu, then open the file you saved.

Now download, install and run Auslogics Registry Cleaner. On the left-hand side of the screen you can select the kinds of Registry issues you want to clean up for example, File Associations, Internet or Fonts. I generally select them all.

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Auslogics Registry Cleaner scans for and fixes problems in your Windows Registry. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Next, tell it to scan the Registry for problems. To do that, click Scan Now, and from the drop-down menu that appears, select Scan. That lets you first examine the Registry problems it finds. If you instead choose Scan and Repair, it makes the fixes without you checking them.

It now scans your Registry for errors, then shows you what it found. It ranks the errors according to their severity to help you decide which to fix. Click Repair when youve made your decision, and make sure that Back Up Changes is checked, so you can restore the Registry easily if something goes wrong.



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