There are many reasons why your PC may be running slow, but there are practical steps you can take to speed it up.
If you are running Windows 10 as your operating system, there are lots of different settings you can change and practices you can employ to give your machine that extra little boost it needs to perform at the level you need it to.
Here are some of our top picks for optimising your Windows 10 PC…
Disable Startup Programs
We mentioned this in our “Why is My PC Running Slow?” blog, but we thought it worth mentioning again. Sometimes, having programs you use regularly automatically start when you turn on your PC is useful. It saves you having to find and open them manually each time you log on. However, many programs and processes do not need to run automatically, and only serve to slow your machine down. To check which programs automatically run when you boot up your PC, right-click the Taskbar and select “Task Manager”. Click on the Startup tab and select the Status column to sort the applications and see which are currently enabled to run on startup. Right-click the app, and select the Disable option to stop it from opening automatically. If you are able to do this for a lot of large applications, you should notice a significant speed boost when restarting your computer.
Install Windows 10 Updates
Another point worth repeating is making sure you are running the most up-to-date versions of software, particularly Windows 10. To check you are running the most recent version of Windows, go to the Start menu, select Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update then Check for Updates. If your device is up-to-date, you don’t need to do anything else, if not, install the available updates then restart your PC.
Change Your Power Settings
Windows 10 has different power saving settings which help to conserve electricity. While this is beneficial for a number of reasons, you are limiting your machine’s power. It’s not advisable for desktop users to be using anything less than “High Performance” settings, so to check your own settings, head to the Control Panel, then Hardware and Sound -> Power Options. In terms of speeding up your machine, you should select the highest possible performance option here.
Disable Visual Effects
One of the nice things about Windows 10 is the way it looks, with lots of shadows, animations and visual effects. On lower specification PCs however, all the nice looking stuff can affect performance. Turning them off won’t affect your PC operates, but it could drastically speed things up for you. To turn visual effects off, go to the Windows 10 search box and enter “sysdm.cpl”. Click the Advanced tab that becomes available, and click "Settings" in the Performance section. You will see a list of various animations and effects options. The Performance options can be turned on and off individually and tweaked to your preferences. You can select an option called “Adjust for Best Performance”, and Windows 10 will remove all of the animations that are slowing down your system.
Windows 10 has in-built tools that can help you identify and rectify performance issues. Go to the Control Panel, select System and Security -> Security and Maintenance -> Troubleshooting -> Run maintenance tasks. Follow the instructions on the troubleshooter (note, you must have administrative rights to the machine to be able to do this), and it will find files and shortcuts you don't use, identify any performance issues, report them to you, then fix them.
Turn it Off and On Again
We know, we know. It’s a cliché, but you would be surprised how often a simple restart can fix things. Restarting your PC clears out any excess use of RAM. kills processes that are no longer needed, and completes installation of any updates you might have. Leaving your PC on for days on end without turning it off leads to all sorts of performance slowing issues, so be sure to restart regularly.
You can find out more on why your PC is running slowly here, and take a look at Microsoft’s advice on speeding up your PC’s performance.