Use a Flash Drive with Ready Boost
If your computer just doesn’t have enough memory to keep up with today’s Memory hungry applications, you might give Ready Boost a try. Simply plug in a flash drive, and in the Autoplay dialog under general options click “Speed up my system”. Then in the Properties dialog box click on the Ready Boost Tab choose how much of the flash drive to use and then click “OK”. Your system will start using the flash drive as extra memory.
Disk Cleanup to Remove Old Files
The Disk Cleanup utility removes old temporary files that are taking up space that could be used by the operating system to improve performance. If you have used your system a lot than you probably have a lot of temporary files just taking up space.
To remove these files click on the Windows button and type Disk Cleanup. Then open the Disk Cleanup application. Windows will ask you which disk to run the cleanup utility on. Select your Operating System drive (usually c:) and click “OK”. Windows will then analyze your disk drive and show you how much space can be reclaimed using the Disk Cleanup utility. Select the temporary items you want to remove and click “OK”. Windows will ask you for a confirmation and then will go to work. When the cleanup utility finishes you should have more disk space for your Operating System to use.
Disable Fancy Visualizations
Windows 10 has very fancy visualizations such as transparent window boarders and fading system messages. Your computer has to render all these visualizations. This is ok if your system is higher end, but if your computer is on the older side you might want to disable these visualizations to gain back system performance.
To disable the Windows Visualization effects and speed up your computer click on the Windows button and type “sysdm.cpl” without the quotes. Then click on the Advanced tab. Then click on the Performance Box Settings button. Finally, select “Adjust for best performance” and click ok. Alternatively, you can deselect each item manually if you want to fine tune your optimization. Windows won’t look as pretty, but it should run faster.
Windows now has a built in tool to find and fix common problems. Since it’s already installed and available for use it’s worth a try. If you experiencing stability problems or noticing system errors, it could be caused by a system configuration issue or a corrupted file.
To run through the built in Windows troubleshooting software click on the Windows Key and type “find and fix” (without the quotes) and click on the “Find and fix problems” link. Then click through the category and descriptions to try and resolve any system issue you may be experiencing.
Uninstall Unneeded Software
Installed software takes up resources such as disk space. Also if the program has a service that runs a process on boot up it is taking up CPU time that could be used for other things. One or two applications aren’t too bad, but when you have 20-40 applications they add up.
To remove unneeded applications, click on the Windows button and then click on settings. Next click on System, and finally click on Apps & features. Look through the list of all the installed software and remove anything you don’t need anymore. After you are done give your system a fresh reboot to ensure your System memory gets cleared out.
Get an SSD
So one of the biggest thing I noticed about Windows 10 so far is that it can be very disk active. After upgrading a Windows 8.1 laptop to Windows 10 I discovered the disk usage was getting 100% use almost all the time. This laptop had a magnetic based platter style hard drive which are a lot slower than system memory. This caused it to have trouble keeping up with the demanding Operating System. If your system is on the older side, you are probably in the same boat and have a magnetic based platter hard drive too.
Solid State Disks (SSDs) use non-volatile flash memory to store information. Basically they are fast really big USB Flash drives. If your system disk is causing your operating system to slow down than you can definitely notice an increase in system performance. Your system will boot way faster and will be more responsive.
To see if your system is suffering from high disk usage open Task Manager by holding down Ctrl+Alt+Delete (without the + signs) then click on Task Manager. Then click on the Performance tab. If your disk drive/s show close to 100% most of the time than you will benefit from a SSD upgrade.
Disable any Unneeded Processes on Startup
It seems like every piece of software wants to run a process on startup to you know “update”. How often do you think updates come out? All the other time the process is checking for updates, checking for updates, and who knows what else. You don’t need it running all the time especially if you are low on system resources already.
To disable processes from running on startup open the task manager by holding the keys Ctrl+Alt+Delete (without the + signs). Then select Task Manager. Click on the Startup tab. Now review the list of software and disable as needed. Hopefully this will buy you back some system resources and cause your system to become more responsive.
Disable Unneeded Services
This is a big one. Enabled services means processes running all the time and taking system resources away from the user. Not only are they running on startup, but they keep the process going even if it gets stopped from Task Manager or crashes. A lot of services are necessary for the operating system, but third party applications can setup services when they are installed. If you are not running a server of some sort than you most likely don’t need that software running all the time.
To disable services from running automatically click on the windows button and then type msconfig and hit enter. Click on the Services tab. Then I recommend checking the box to “Hide all Microsoft Services” to ensure you don’t stop a critical service that the Operating System depends on. After hiding the Microsoft services, you will get a list of services to go through. Most of these can be safely disabled. If you are in doubt leave it enabled, or disable it and see what happens. You can always re-enable the service using the same process. Once you are done click on the OK button. Windows will prompt you for a reboot. This is necessary for the changes to take effect, so go ahead and reboot. After a reboot you will get a pop up indicating that system settings were changed. Since you caused the changes you can safely ignore that message. If you were able to disable a decent amount of services, you should notice a bump in system performance.
Use a Different Browser for Internet Surfing
So far my experience with Microsoft Edge (the new built in Web browser in Windows 10) is that it’s buggy and slow. So much so that I have begun using Google Chrome for all my web browsing. It doesn’t have to be chrome, but if you are frustrated with a slow buggy internet browsing experience you might try installing a third party browser.
Upgrade versus a Fresh Install
So you took Microsoft up on the offer for a free upgrade and now your system is slow? If you have ever had any experience with Windows upgrade installations, you might have experienced a slow system or errors that popped up for seemingly no reason. I have never had great luck with Windows upgrades and if you ask any IT guy they will probably tell you to avoid them and opt for a full fresh install. Windows 10 appears to be no different to its predecessors. Using a fresh install versus an upgraded install can improve your system performance, and if you have exhausted all other options you might want to give it a try.