What can I do to speed up my computer?

If you find that your computer’s performance is slow and not working as well as it used to, tweaking your Windows settings can help you increase the speed and increase the efficiency of your computer.

Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems are one of the most efficient operating systems today, but they come with several features that consume a lot of system resources and can slow down your computer’s performance. Microsoft constantly updates Windows, adding productivity features to increase its efficiency. Despite this, your computer may still be affected by slow performance.

Suspected slowing down of system operation include lack of storage space, poor maintenance and underpowered hardware. From cleaning up unused programs and applications to hardware upgrades, there are several steps you can take to speed up Windows and get your computer back to optimal working order.

1. Check for Latest Updates

One of the best ways to get the most out of your computer is to have the latest Windows update installed. Microsoft frequently releases updates to fix system flaws and bugs that disrupt performance. Some updates may be minor, but others contain major system changes that require you to search for the latest device drivers that can help improve your computer’s performance.

To check for updates, open the Windows menu and then select Settings > Windows Update > > Check for Updates. If updates are available, select Install Now. Restart your computer and see if it works better.

2. Restart your computer

Restarting your computer periodically can help speed up your system. Many people keep their computers running uninterrupted for weeks and put them to sleep instead of shutting them down. This piles up programs and workloads in your computer’s memory, which can slow down everyday tasks like launching programs and accessing files.

If you shut down your computer every day, your computer can improve its memory and be ready to work at its best the next day. If you’ve noticed that your computer is slowing down with simple daily tasks such as opening programs or accessing files or documents, try shutting down or restarting your computer. Make sure to save your work before shutting down or restarting.

3. Disable Opening Programs at Startup

If too many programs and applications are opened at the same time, your computer’s performance may be affected. Many programs include instructions for Windows to run programs when you start your computer, slowing down your system.

To turn off opening programs at startup, open Task Manager, and then click the Startup tab. Look at the ‘Start-Up Impact’ column: it shows which programs have high or low start-up impact. Those with high influence are responsible for slowing down the performance of the system.

To stop a program from opening at startup, right-click on it and then click ‘Disable’.

4. Disk Cleanup

One of the built-in features in Windows is Disk Cleanup. It allows you to get rid of unused temporary files that accumulate on your PC, including thumbnails, downloaded program files and temporary Internet files.

Open the Windows menu and search for ‘Disk Cleanup’ in the search bar. This will bring up a list of program files you can delete. Select the files you want to delete by checking the checkbox next to their names. Once you’ve selected all the ones you want to remove, click ‘Clean System Files’. Disk Cleanup calculates the amount of storage space you can free.

Take the opportunity to delete other files or applications that take up memory or additional disk space. It’s an ideal place to look for old and unused files to delete from the Downloads folder.

5. Delete old software

Typically, your computer comes with pre-installed third-party software that you won’t necessarily use. It is called bloatware that can take up a lot of storage space and is often unused.

There may be other programs installed that are never used but are causing the computer to slow down. To check your installed apps, go to Settings > Apps. Right-click on the programs you no longer need and then click ‘Uninstall’.

6. Turn Off Special Effects

Windows includes a multitude of special effects designed to enhance the user experience and aesthetics of your applications. They come built into Windows by default, as do other features programmed to intensify and darken the screen. Other special features that help slow down the pace include translucent images and animations.

Open the Windows menu and search for ‘System’. Then, under the ‘Advanced System Settings’ tab, open the ‘Advanced’ tab and select ‘Performance Settings’. Click on the ‘Visual Effects’ tab and then click on the ‘Customize’ radio button. This will bring up a list of visual effects that you can turn off by unchecking the boxes. Click ‘Apply’ to confirm the changes made.

7. Turn Off Transparency Effects

In addition to consuming system resources to deliver features such as animations, Windows also uses transparency effects for certain features such as the task menu. These seemingly simple effects are actually quite complex and require more resources than you might think.

To turn off transparency effects, open the Windows menu and type ‘color settings’ in the search bar to go to Windows color settings. From there, scroll down until you find the ‘Transparency Effects’ button. Click the button to turn transparency effects on or off.

8. Perform System Maintenance

Windows includes a feature that runs routine tasks for system maintenance. It includes tasks such as defragmenting the hard drive, checking for updates, and detecting viruses and malware.

Normally, system maintenance runs in the background while your computer is in sleep mode, but you can run it manually if there is an issue you want to check.

To do this, open Control Panel and select ‘Security and Maintenance’. Click the arrow to display maintenance options and then select ‘Start Maintenance’. This allows you to perform a manual system health check.

9. Upgrade RAM

A drastic method to increase the speed and performance of your PC is to upgrade the RAM, which will increase the volume of system memory. Windows requires at least 4 GB to function properly. If you use your computer for intensive workloads like gaming or media production, having more memory will benefit you.

Upgrading RAM can greatly increase a computer’s speed and performance. To see what kind of RAM your computer specifically needs, open Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Delete) and then click ‘Performance’. You will see how many memory slots your computer has and the type of RAM installed, such as DDR4. Learn more about RAM upgrades.

10. Upgrade Storage

Upgrading your storage can greatly increase your computer’s speed and performance. Most computers have built-in spinning hard disk drives (HDDs), but using a solid-state drive (SSD) turns your system into a more powerful machine.

SSDs are generally more expensive than HDDs, but the improvement in boot times, program loading times, and overall system responsiveness make them a very profitable investment.