You’d love to get more speed out of your PC, but don’t have a ton of time to spend. Some of the most important speed benefits, like upgrading your hardware, can take hours to shop, ship, and physically replace.
That’s why we want to show you quick tricks to speed up Windows in no time at all. Here are 10 different ways to squeeze a little more speed out of your system without investing hours of your time.
1. Remove Some Startup Programs (5 Minutes)
To view what programs run at startup on Windows 8.1 or 10, right-click an empty spot on the Taskbar and click Task Manager. Select the Startup tab to review everything. On the rightmost column, you’ll see the Startup impact of each item. Windows determines this and it isn’t always accurate, but it gives you an idea. Windows 7 users can access the Startup menu by typing msconfig into the Start Menu and selecting the Startup tab.
2. Disable Windows Visual Effects (2 Minutes)
If Windows is running slowly, you can speed it up by disabling some of its visual effects. It comes down to appearance versus performance. Would you rather have Windows run faster or look prettier? If your PC is fast enough, you don’t have to make this tradeoff, but if your computer is just barely powerful enough for Windows 7, it can be useful to scale back on the visual bells and whistles.
You can choose which visual effects to turn off, one by one, or you can let Windows choose for you. There are 20 visual effects you can control, such as the transparent glass look, the way menus open or close, and whether shadows are displayed.
To adjust all visual effects for best performance:
- Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start button
, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, typePerformance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.
- Click Adjust visual effects
. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- Click the Visual Effects tab, click Adjust for best performance, and then click OK. (For a less drastic option, select Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer.)
3. Check Your Power Plan (3 Minutes)
To check your power plans, open the Settings app and navigate to System > Power & sleep. Select the Additional power settings link to open the Power Options entry in the Control Panel. Here, check to see that you’re using the Balanced plan.
Windows, by default, also offers a Power saver plan and High performance option under the bottom drop-down menu. The Balanced plan is the best option for most users, as it automatically adjusts power usage based on what you’re doing. Selecting the High performance plan doesn’t really provide any additional benefits.
4. Uninstall Old Apps and Bloatware (5-10 Minutes)
Uninstalling programs won’t make your computer faster on its own. However, removing unnecessary apps can have a positive effect on performance if those apps are running in the background, accessing the internet, using Windows services, etc. This is especially true for bloatware programs that nag you to buy their premium product.
To review your installed software, open Settings, select the Apps entry, and scroll through the list of programs you have installed. When you find an app you haven’t used in forever (or a program you don’t need), click it and choose Uninstall.
5. Clean Up Your Hard Drive (5 Minutes)
Like uninstalling programs, cleaning up old files doesn’t instantly speed up your computer. But if you have tons of files filling up your hard drive, giving it some breathing room can indeed improve performance.
You don’t need to install any new software to clean up old files. Type Disk Cleanup into the Start Menu and let Windows scan for unnecessary data. To find more files, select Clean up system filesonce you see the Disk Cleanup window.
Take a look through here to see what you’d like to remove and how much space this can free up. Most of them, like Temporary files and error logs, are safe to remove. However, you should think carefully before removing the Previous Windows installation and Windows upgrade log filesentries.
Thus, we recommend waiting until you’re sure that you have no issues with a new Windows 10Update before cleaning these options.
6. Replace Some Software (5-10 Minutes)
Perhaps it’s not Windows that’s slow, but the software that you’re using.
Replacing a few programs with lighter alternatives could increase performance.
7. Check Your Internet Speed (5-10 Minutes)
Testing your internet connection’s performance is a straightforward exercise. You don’t need any extra software—all you need is a computer with a web browser. But there are also a few things you can do to make sure you are getting the most accurate reading of your internet connection. Here’s what to do.
Test your connection
All you have to do at this point is click the green “Begin Test” button, andwill check both your download and upload speed. This may take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on your network speed.
Those aren’t your only options for testing your broadband connection; MegaPath also offers a speed test, as well as what it calls Speed Test Plus, which evaluates the quality of your connection in addition to its raw speed. Your ISP might also offer a speed test tool, though you may need to do a little poking around for it. And router manufacturers are increasingly including speed tests in their products’ firmware and/or the mobile apps they distribute with their products (although in that latter case, you’ll be using a wireless connection).
8. Let Windows Look for Problems (5 Minutes)
Did you know that Windows includes built-in troubleshooting tools? While they’re not always successful, these can scan for and detect common issues, like problems with Windows Update.
To access the performance troubleshooter, type Control Panel into the Start Menu to open it. In the upper-right corner, change the View by entry from Category to Small icons. Select Troubleshooting and under System and Security, click Run maintenance tasks.
You’ll see the troubleshooting window pop up. Select the Advanced link and make sure the Apply repairs automatically is checked. Also, choose Run as administrator so the tool can fix additional problems. Then click Next, and give the tool a few moments to run. If it detects any issues, you’ll see a summary of them at the end.
9. Scan for Malware (10 Minutes)
Beware the signs of a potentially malware-infested PC: slower-than-usual performance, the recent occurrence of lots of pop-ups, and other weird issues. It’s possible your system has been infected by a virus, spyware, or other nefarious entity—even if you have an antivirus program installed. Yes, out-of-the-ordinary behavior is sometimes the result of hardware issues, but it’s best to first rule out malware if your PC is acting up. Here’s a step-by-step guide for taking action.
If your PC drastically slowed down all of a sudden, you might have a malware infection. Install the free version of Malwarebytes and run a scan to find any threats.
Once you’ve confirmed your system is malware-free, make sure you’re using the right security software to prevent issues in the future.
10. Restart! (2 Minutes)
Note that thanks to Windows 10’s Fast Startup feature, which makes booting up from scratch faster, shutting down and rebooting isn’t a proper restart. Make sure to select Restart from the power menu to do it correctly.
How Do You Speed Up Windows?
While you’re tweaking Windows, you should avoid making maintenance mistakes that could cause more problems.
What quick tweaks do you use to make Windows run faster? Did these tips boost your PC’s performance? Tell us what you think, and add your own tricks, down in the comments!