Slow Computer Windows 10 Feature

How to Speed Up Windows 10 ( 2020 Ultimate Guide)

If your machine is starting to feel sluggish or you just need a few extra frames in your games, you’ve come to the right place. We have collected all the best tips, tricks and hacks on how to speed up your Windows PC to a whole new level.

We have gathered both simple and advanced solutions, best of both worlds. However, we will make sure to explain everything clearly and simply so you don’t need to waste any time and understand how each solution helps make your computer work faster and more efficiently.

If you wish to jump straight into the tips and tricks, we put together a neat list of bullet points below, which will take you to each entry.

If you wish to come back up to this list quickly, click on the little arrow at the very bottom right corner of your screen.


Quick Navigation

Clear out the hidden garbage with CCleaner
Empty out trash and delete files permanently
Optimize & Defragment drives
Remove useless stuff with Windows Uninstallers
Clear out web browser cache
Clean up Windows temporary files and cache
Clear out your game libraries
Remove unwanted startup programs
Update all your drivers
Turn off Windows automatic updates
Utilize Command Prompt to speed up your browsing
Modify Windows Visual Effects for performance
Re-Install the operating system
Modify BIOS settings for faster boot time

All the Possible Hardware Issues Slowing You Down

There is a whole plethora of reasons why your PC or laptop is becoming sluggish and slow over time. They can be a combination of hardware and software issues, which is why tracking down the main culprit is not always an easy task.

Most of the tips and tricks in this guide are related to the software side of fixes and speed-ups, so we will dedicate this short section to all the possible hardware issues that might be slowing down your system.

Sluggish Hard Drives

Old and filled up hard-drives are a very common occurrence as most people don’t realize how important it is to clean them up.

If your operating system is installed on a slow hard disk drive, you might notice very slow load times and annoying lag when starting up apps or loading files. A slow drive will make your Windows boot time rocket sky-high.

In addition to slower speeds, the more files you have on your drive, the more time and resources it will take to index them all and find the files you need amidst all the garbage.

Tech Tip Vault Logo Small WhiteHard Disk Drive vs. Solid State Drive

Thankfully solid-state drives are becoming more common and affordable every day. The difference in speed and performance between SSD’s and HDD’s is huge, so if nothing else, you should definitely get at least one SSD to install your Windows 10 on.

Even with SSD’s it’s still important to keep them clean and up-to-date, so keep reading this guide to figure out some awesome ways to maintain all your drives speed and performance.

Outdated Motherboard

A motherboard is probably not the main cause of your slow computer, but considering the fact that it is the heart of your PC, you should make sure it is up to the task.

If you don’t know what motherboard you have, you can easily find out by typing ‘System Information‘ into your Start Menu search bar and opening it up. Once open, just look for the BaseBoard Manufacturer and BaseBoard Product to see the manufacturer and model of your motherboard.

The main reason you might want to upgrade your motherboard to a new one is to be able to take advantage of all the new technology available.

Motherboard With Tons of Components

You might need a fresh motherboard if you wish to upgrade to a next generation processor or use new and improved DDR4 memory.

Also things like graphics card compatibility and SATA slots for new solid-state drives are something you need to take into account before upgrading anything else in your system.

All in all, before upgrading any components, go to your motherboard manufacturers website and check all the current features and components of the model you have in use to make sure it is compatible with all your hardware.

How much RAM is enough?

The eternal question of how much ram is enough splits opinions and there is no right or wrong answer.

However, there are some generic guidelines you can follow, depending on what you intend to do with your system.

Due to memory becoming more affordable every day and the rest of the components becoming more powerful, games and software are not afraid of requiring and utilizing more RAM to run anymore.

Obviously there are different types and qualities of memory including the old DDR3 and the new faster DDR4 RAM which will make a difference in their efficiency and speed.

However, you should first figure out how much memory you really need, then go for quality over quantity.

If all you do is browse the internet, almost any amount of RAM will do, but we would recommend to get at least 8GB of RAM if you want to do any sort of gaming on your system.

If you wish to do any higher end gaming or any sort of coding, video editing and multi-tasking, you should go directly for 16GB of RAM, as they will eat up your memory fast. Even running an instance of Visual Studio and the Chrome Web Browser with YouTube playing can take upwards of 10 gigabytes of memory.

Finally for high end photo- or video editing, you might want to shell out for 32GB and above, as rendering can require a lot of free memory to perform at maximum efficiency. However, in such scenarios it is more common to become bottle-necked by other components of your system.

Is your CPU a Performance Bottleneck?

It is a very common occurrence for people to just go and buy the latest graphics card and shove a few more gigabytes of RAM into their system in hopes for the ultimate gaming experience.

The issue with this is that your CPU is just as crucial to your computers speed and performance as your graphics card is for playing games.

If your processor is old and slow, it doesn’t matter how amazing the rest of your build is, all other components will be bottlenecked by the lack of processing power.

Motherboard with Ryzen Processor

The same obviously goes for your graphics card under-performing, but that will not affect your computers overall performance too much, at least outside of gaming.

Some component will always be the weakest link in your computer so you can never completely eliminate bottlenecking, but making sure your parts are of similar quality is an important factor to make your computer run at peak performance.


Clear Out the Hidden Garbage with CCleaner

CCleaner, formerly known as CrapCleaner, is one of the most well known free maintenance apps for Windows. It gives you tons of great tools to clean up all kinds of temporary files from your PC.

The unique thing about CCleaner is that you can even clean up your registry and hidden Windows files and settings that take up unnecessary space and resources.

In order to access CCleaner, you will first need to download and install the program from the CCleaner Official Website. After installing the program, start up CCleaner and you will be greeted with the screen below.

CCleaner User-Interface

This initial screen will give you access to an array of performance enhancing tools that can be used to speed up your computer. You are now able to get rid of unnecessary files and settings that your computer stores overtime.

To perform the clean up functions that you selected on the left:

  • Click ‘Analyze‘ to see which files CCleaner will safely delete wit the current options.
  • After the Analysis is complete, all you need to do is click ‘Run Cleaner‘ and these files will be deleted, freeing up space on your computer.

Running the cleaner without changing any of the default settings is the safest way to remove files without accidentally removing anything important.

On the other hand, more advanced users can take advantage of CCleaner’s more in-depth cleaning tools. These include features like:

  • Registry Cleaner – Find missing DLLs and clean up any obsolete or broken registry entries. This won’t free up much space but will improve overall performance.
  • Program Uninstaller – Remove programs from your computer that are no longer needed or take up too much space.
  • Start-up Program Removal – Prevent unwanted programs from launching at start-up.
  • Browser Plugins – Shows what Plugins are enabled on different browsers and which will hinder your browsing performance.

For users that do not wish to use CCleaner for uninstalling programs and start-up program removal, Windows has its own integrated way to perform these actions which will be explained later in the guide.

CCleaner also has a pro version for around $20 which contains a bunch of additional features. These include things like software updating, real-time monitoring as well as a PC health checker.

If you enjoy the free version of the software, we recommend supporting the developers by buying the pro version.


Empty out Trash and Delete Files Permanently

Many people forget that simply deleting an item from your desktop or computer does not remove it completely, but sends it to the computer’s Recycle Bin instead.

Files that are in your Recycle Bin still take up the same amount of space as they did before and if your Recycle Bin is never emptied out, it can reduce the performance of your computer and hard-drives.

A simple way to access the Recycle Bin is to use the Windows search bar and simply search for ‘Recycle Bin’.

Recycle Bin Search Bar

After accessing the Recycle Bin, you will see all the files you thought you had previously deleted, but there they are.

It should be noted that the Recycle Bin has a maximum size, usually around 5-15% of your total disk capacity. If your bin is nearly full when deleting another file, then the oldest file will be permanently deleted from your system.

If you wish to increase or decrease the maximum storage space occupied by your bin, you can do this simply by right-clicking on the Recycle Bin icon and going to Properties.

From there you can add any reasonable size into the Custom size text box. We still recommend not to increase the size too much to prevent slowing down your machine by filling it up even further.

Recycle Bin Storage Capacity

Any large files that don’t fit in your bin are also permanently deleted and will not be shown in the Recycle Bin.

From the Recycle Bin window you can restore any files you wish to keep by dragging them out of the bin or by right-clicking on them and selecting ‘Restore’ from the menu.

The majority of these files should be permanently deleted by right clicking the page and selecting ‘Empty Recycle Bin’.

Recycle Bin Window

A good way to make sure you remember to empty the Recycle Bin regularly is to keep the icon on your desktop, this way you will be able to visually see how many items are in there and remove them.

If you can’t see the icon on your Desktop, you can follow these steps:

  • Go to the Windows Start Menu and navigate to Settings by typing it in the search bar
  • Select Personalization > Themes > Desktop icon settings (located under the Related settings tab)
  • Here you can check the Recycle Bin box and press Apply

Now you should see the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and can now Right click > Empty Recycle Bin whenever it gets full.

As a useful tip, you can delete any file permanently by holding down Shift and pressing Delete on your keyboard. This will automatically skip the Recycle Bin, so make sure you don’t want to possibly recover the deleted file later.


Optimize & Defragment Drives

In the age of solid-state drives the need to defrag your computer has become more and more redundant. This is because you should not defrag your SSD as the process can reduce their life span.

Thankfully Microsoft has taken this into account and runs a similar process called TRIM on any SSDs instead.

The clear majority of desktop PC users still have at least one or more the old school HDD in their system.

Whether it’s just for storage or they simply lack the opportunity to upgrade to an SSD, this tool will help boost your performance levels, especially if you have never defragmented your drives before before.

Tech Tip Vault Logo Small WhiteDifference Between HDD & SSD

Before starting, it should be noted that the defragment process can take a very long time, even an hour, so make sure to reserve enough time for it to complete. You should not do anything else on the system during the optimization process.

In order to access the disk defragment tool, simply open up the Start Menu and type ‘Disk Defrag‘ in the search bar. You should now see an app labelled ‘Defragment and Optimize Drives‘, which you should then start up.

Defragment and Optimize Drives Icon

You should now see a window containing a list of all of your available drives. To run a defrag on one or more drives, follow these steps:

  • Highlight all of the drives you wish to defragment.
  • Click ‘Optimize all‘, after which your selected drives will be analyzed and optimized.
Optimize Drives on Windows

If you decide to select any SSDs from the list, a TRIM will be performed on it, rather than a defrag. TRIM is an SSD specific way to remove invalid data which can in some cases speed up the performance of the drive.

You can setup a scheduled disk defrag on a frequency of your choice, it is recommended to run a defrag at least once a month in order to keep your drives performing at peak speeds at all times.


Remove Useless Stuff with Windows Uninstallers

Lack of storage space will often cause a computer’s performance to deteriorate drastically. Often a slow computer can see a large performance boost by simply uninstalling unwanted programs.

This is mostly due to the fact that your drives will perform at higher speeds when they are less cluttered and have fewer files to index through. This is also why you should perform defragmentation on your drives on a regular basis.

We will cover the main ways to remove useless stuff from your drives without the need for any third-party software. As mentioned earlier, you can also uninstall software from your PC using CCleaner but that requires you to download the app first.

Using the new ‘Add or Remove Programs’ Feature

Microsoft wants you to forget about the old Control Panel and move over to the new Settings interface, which is why the primary way to uninstall programs has also been moved there.

To access this uninstaller, navigate to your Windows Search bar and type ‘Add or Remove‘, then select the ‘Add or remove programs‘ option.

Windows Uninstaller Icon

This will open up the Apps & Features tab in the Windows Settings and you will now see all the programs and apps that are installed on your computer.

The list also includes any apps or games that have been installed through the Microsoft Store.

In order to uninstall a program, simply click on one and select ‘Uninstall‘. This will run the official uninstaller for the app, as long as all the files are still intact.

Note that sometimes the uninstaller will just run in the background, so you should wait until the entry disappears from the list before moving onto the next one.

Add or Remove Windows Programs by Drive

The nice thing about the new uninstaller is that you can even filter installed programs by drive, so if your mission is to speed up a specific drive, it is very simple to do. You can also sort programs by size so you can see which ones hog up the most space.

You can also select any Microsoft Store app you have installed and it will have a separate ‘Advanced options‘ hyperlink under the title. Click on it to see how much data and battery the app is using as well as what permissions it has.

If it’s an app that you don’t use regularly but it has high data or power usage, this may be a sign it has been running in the background without you knowing, potentially slowing down your computer.

If you know it’s not going to be of use later, you should definitely remove it.

Classic Control Panel Uninstaller Shows More Information

As mentioned above, the other method is recommended for it’s ease of access and minimal user-interface.

Another thing to note is that the Control Panel Uninstaller tool doesn’t show any Microsoft Store apps so you can’t uninstall them with it, but if you never download Microsoft Store apps anyway, it’s not going to be an issue.

Follow these steps to access the Control Panel Program Uninstaller:

Windows Control Panel View
  • Navigate to the Windows Search bar and type in ‘Control Panel‘. This will bring up the Windows Control Panel that can be used to access many system related settings.
  • If your Control Panel looks different from the image above, select the ‘View by:‘ setting from the top-right corner and change the selection from to ‘Category‘.
  • Select ‘Uninstall a program‘, located under the Programs header.
Control Panel Programs and Features

Similar to the previous method, you should now see a list of the installed programs on your computer. All you need to do now is navigate to the program you wish to uninstall, then right click the program and select ‘Uninstall‘.

Follow the instructions of any potential install wizard that pops up, which can be slightly different for every program, then you’re done.

The reason we wanted to include this in the guide as well, is because this user-interface is preferred by many users due to all the extra information and more compact form factor.

You can see a lot more programs at once in an easy-to-navigate format, which makes the whole process more efficient.

In the end it’s up to you whichever method you like the best, as long as you just remember to clean up your drives every once in a while.


Clear Out Web Browser Cache

Everyone uses the internet daily and in order to browse websites and watch videos, you need to use a web browser. Every time you enter a new website, it is going to store some information in a cookie which takes some amount of space on your drive.

Alongside cookies which usually don’t take up a lot of space, the web-browsers store images, videos and other into your local cache in order to not have to fetch them from a web server multiple times.

This is not a problem in the short-term, but once you’ve watched hundreds of videos and or browsed a thousand memes, more and more junk is going to be stored in your cache.

Clear Browser Cache on Chrome

A lot of this junk is cleared when you restart you PC, but a lot of it stays there due to poor optimization and other issues. This is why you need to make sure to empty out your browser cache manually every once in a while.

The principle is the same, but the navigation varies between browsers, so we listed a way to clear your cache for a few of the most popular browsers.

Chrome Web Browser Logo Chrome

  • In order to get to the browser data settings, you need to copy and paste the following into your browsers search bar: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData
  • At the top of the menu select the ‘Advanced‘ tab.
  • Change the ‘Time Range’ at the top to ‘All time‘ to ensure all, old and new, junk is cleared.
  • Select the following items:
    • Browsing history
    • Download history
    • Cookies and other site data
    • Cached images and files
  • Click the ‘Clear Data‘ button and your cache will be cleared.

Firefox Web Browser Logo Firefox

  • In the top-right corner of your browser, click on the book icon. Firefox History Icon
  • Locate and click on the ‘History‘ sub-menu and select ‘Clear Recent History‘.
  • Make sure to set the ‘Time range to clear‘ to ‘Everything‘, so your entire cache will be cleared.
  • Select which elements of the cache you want cleared, for a full purge, check all boxes.
  • Click the ‘Clear Now‘ and your cache will be fully cleaned out.

Microsoft Edge Web Browser LogoMicrosoft Edge

  • At the top-right corner of the browser, click the star icon, this will take you to the hub.
  • Navigate to the ‘History‘ tab and select ‘Clear all history‘.
  • Select the following items:
    • Browsing history
    • Cookies and saved website data
    • Cached data and files
    • Download history
    • Optionally clear out Website permissions as well, for added security.
  • Click the ‘Clear‘ button and your cache will be emptied.

Clean up Windows Temporary Files and Cache

Programs will often store temporary files on your hard drive in order to take advantage of them later. These files are often small and few in quantity, but they can eventually add up to a significant amount of space.

This in turn results in less hard drive space and potentially slows down your computer. By removing these files you can reclaim some additional storage space and have less files to index through.

The main reason these often end up accumulating is because a lot of apps and programs don’t bother deleting their own temporary files and if you uninstall those apps, sometimes they leave stuff behind permanently.

Wipe the Temp Folder for Fast Gains

Thankfully there’s a simple way to go through your temporary files and cache to delete those files. Note: Make sure you’re deleting only files that you know you don’t need! For example, ones in folders for apps you’ve already uninstalled.

Windows Temp Folder Clean Up

The main temporary file folder in which you can safely delete every file, can be found with the following steps:

  • On a Windows 10, all you need to do is type in ‘%temp%‘ in to the Start Menu and press Enter to open up the temp folder.
  • If on an older version of Windows, press the Windows key + R to open the ‘Run‘ prompt. Then type the same ‘%temp%‘ in the box and click the OK button.
  • Now that you’re in the temp folder, just delete every file and folder within it. You can do it quickly by selecting all by pressing Ctrl + A then press Shift + Delete to delete everything permanently (skipping the Recycle Bin).

While clearing out your temporary folder, make sure to close down your web browser and other running programs as they might be using some of those files currently. You might get an error message saying unable to delete some files due to them being in use, but unused ones will still be safely deleted.

You don’t need to worry as these files are safe to delete and will eventually be replaced again. This means you can repeat this process to keep the size of the folder low, but it will keep going back up fairly fast so this is not a permanent solution.

Clean Up the Local, LocalLow & Roaming Folders

These three folders contain more critical data and require caution when messing with. However, they can contain tons of old files and installers used by software you no longer have installed.

In order to find these folders, you need to locate the hidden AppData folder. To do that, you can use the method above and type in ‘%AppData%‘ into your Search Bar or the Run prompt. This might take you directly to the Roaming folder, but you can click the left arrow at the top left to go back to the AppData folder itself.

AppData Local LocalLow and Roaming Folders

Now all you need to do is browse around those three folders and check if you can find some folders belonging to old programs you no longer have installed and delete those folders.

To make it a little easier, you can also hover your mouse on top of a folder to see how much space it takes on your driver quickly. If it does not occupy much space, there is probably no point in deleting it.

For most users, it is recommended to stick to only deleting the regular Temp folder.


Remove Unwanted Startup Programs

The main indicator of a PC becoming slow, is that it takes longer to boot up. Although this can be partly due to degrading hardware as well as hard-drives filling up, another major factor is the amount of startup programs you have.

The more start-up programs you have enabled, the longer your computer will take to load up everything. There are tons of small services and programs that have slim to no effect, but some larger programs can add up a dozen precious seconds.

There are a few ways to modify your startup programs, one of them being the native Windows method and the other one being through CCleaner which we mentioned earlier.

Remove Startup Programs with Windows Task Manager

The first and easiest method is to do this through the Task Manager.

You can easily open up the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Escape key combination. Alternatively you can also right-click on the taskbar and click on the Task Manager option.

Task Manager Startup Programs

Now that you’re in the Task Manager, look for the Startup tab at the top on the window. Click on it to open up a full list of all your startup programs.

From the list you can see the name, status and the impact of each program on your boot time. Now all you need to do is right-click on any of them and select the ‘Disable‘ option.

If you would also like to disable automatically scheduled tasks, alongside disabling startup apps, you can use CCleaner with the method showcased below.

Modify Startup Programs Using CCleaner

We went through the features of CCleaner earlier in the guide, which you can check out by clicking here.

There are some pros and cons to using CCleaner to handle your startup programs.

The the nice thing about this method is that you can do so many other things with CCleaner as well, which is why it’s not a big deal that it’s a third-party program.

Another great thing about it is that you can also see any scheduled tasks like automatic updates for certain applications and turn them off. This will prevent any unwanted tasks from starting up in the background. This is not possible to do with the basic Task Manager.

CCleaner Startup Programs

In order to enable or disable startup programs with CCleaner, all you need to is navigate to the Tools menu and select the Startup section.

From there you can select the Windows tab to see the same programs you would see from the Task Manager as well and the Scheduled Tasks tab will let you disable any automated tasks.

The only downside with the CCleaner layout is that it doesn’t show any impact estimates any of the programs have on your startup speed. However, as long as you turn off everything you don’t need, you will surely see a performance improvement.


Update All Your Drivers

As time goes on, manufacturers release new versions of their device drivers to improve performance and functionality as well as reliability.

These driver updates are often published alongside official Windows Updates which get installed automatically, so you won’t even notice that you have gotten updated drivers. This only applies to more popular hardware, so it is more likely that a manufacturer will publish fresh drivers on their own website from which you need to manually look for them.

 A device could be running slow (or not at all) due to a compatibility issue or as the result of a poorly designed driver. To resolve this, you should check the internet for an updated driver in hopes to fix the issues.

To find and update your devices, type in ‘Device Manager‘ into your Windows Search Bar and open it up. You should now see a list of all your connected devices, which can be expanded by clicking the arrows next to the device categories.

Driver Update from Device Manager

Now, in order to update a driver, right click on any device and select Update driver at the top. You will now be asked to either look for an update automatically, or select an installation file from your computer. We recommend the automatic process first and if it doesn’t find anything, move on to the next step.

If the automatic update didn’t work, you need to search for any updated drivers online. To do this, you should first note the name of the device from the Device Manager.

Now that you have the device make and model, write it into Google and type ‘drivers‘ after it to find the appropriate site. If the search query didn’t find accurate results, head over to the manufacturers website and find the support tab.

If you find a proper firmware update, download it and go to your download directory. Most drivers can be directly installed by double clicking on them, but if it doesn’t work, use the previous Device Manager menu to install it manually.

Manual Driver Update

WARNING! Make sure not to download any updates from sites you do not trust, as they may contain malware and other malicious files.

While this method can fix a lot of issues if using older devices, new devices are usually shipped with the newest firmware and this process is not necessary. In most cases updates are released every year or two.


Turn Off Windows Automatic Updates

Windows Updates are notorious for popping up at the most inopportune times, but lesser known issue with them is that by default, they get downloaded and installed in the background while you are working or playing games.

Most updates also install some parts of the software before and after shutting your system down, but a pre-installation takes place beforehand. In many cases this won’t slow down your performance much, but especially downloading can cause huge lag in bandwidth or online gaming.

Another well known issue is the automatic restarts of your system, since if you don’t remember to turn them off, your machine might get restarted suddenly, possibly making you lose hours of work.

In order to access the Windows Update Settings simply type in the Windows Search bar ‘Windows Update’ and click on the aforementioned option.

Now that you are in the Windows Update window, you can scroll down to see a bunch of options. You can change the active hours when the device is usually being used.

Change Active Hours for Updates

The active hours will prevent any interruptions or updates being downloaded or installed during the set time period. This will also prevent any automated restarts during that time.

In the ‘Advanced Options‘ menu you will be able to choose how and when updates are delivered to your computer. This includes automatic downloads and installations, update notifications and scheduled updates.

You can even pause any ongoing update processes on your device, which will prevent any potential updates from being installed for up to 35 days.

Windows Updates Advanced Options

You can also install Windows updates without an internet connection by using other devices on which you might have downloaded them previously.


Double Check Your Screen Refresh Rate

Nowadays a monitor will more often than not have a higher than 60 hertz refresh rate. This is due to constantly increasing specs and overall performance, so more and more machines are able to run games at higher frames and high fps video editing is very common.

However, the most common mistake a lot of new high-end monitor buyers face is that they forget to change the refresh rate.

If you have a monitor with higher than 60 hertz maximum refresh rate, you need to change it manually before you can take advantage of the awesome smooth performance that the higher refresh rate offers.

This can sometimes be set automatically, but for most users it will remain at 60hz by default, making the computer seem sluggish and its performance seem slower than it should.

Tech Tip Vault Logo Small WhiteTips for Buying a Gaming Monitor

In order to check and change the refresh rate for your monitor(s), you need to first right-click on your desktop and select the ‘Display Settings‘ option at the bottom.

Now scroll down until you see a link saying ‘Advanced display settings‘ and open it up.

Advanced Display Settings

You should now see a drop-down menu of all your monitors and their resolutions and refresh rates. If you notice the refresh rate shown says 60hz or if it’s just lower than your supposed maximum refresh rate, click on the ‘Display adapter properties‘ link at the bottom.

A new window will pop up showing more information about your graphics card and monitor. Click on the ‘Monitor‘ tab at the top and change the refresh rate from the drop-down menu. Finally just click OK to save any changes.

Advanced Display Adapter Screen Refresh Rate

If you don’t see additional refresh rates in your monitor settings, then your monitor either doesn’t support higher refresh rates or your PC is not recognizing the monitor properly.

If this is the case, check out the driver update section of this guide to update your monitors firmware.

Remember to repeat this step for all your monitors, as each one needs to be separately. Don’t worry, you can have all your monitors be running at different refresh rates simultaneously without any issues.


Clean Up Viruses and Malware

Viruses and malware have been around as long as computers and are often treated only as a security risk. However, alongside being a risk to your private information, they can often try to utilize your PC’s performance for malicious means.

There are tons of different types of viruses, malware, adware and injections that you don’t even know are hogging up a massive portion of your performance.

This is why it’s crucial to keep your security up to date and run scans for all the different types of threats regularly to prevent your system from becoming a sluggish security risk.

Even if you don’t think you have been infected, it is never a bad idea to run a full security scan.

Thankfully, Microsoft’s own Windows Security has been improved immensely over the years and is now largely regarded one of the best possible anti-virus program for Windows systems, competing with the massive players like Avast and AVG Antivirus.

To perform a virus scan using Windows’ own tools, you will first need to access Windows Security. To do so, simply search up ‘Windows Security‘ in the Windows Search bar.

Windows Security Overview

Now that you see the security window, the first thing you want to do is make sure your Windows Security is up-to-date. To do this, simply open the ‘Virus & threat protection‘ tab and look for the ‘Check for Updates‘ button.

After you have updated your Windows Security, go back to the Virus & threat protection page and select ‘Scan options‘ under the ‘Current threats’ section.

Here you can choose to run a full scan that will check all files and programs on your hard disks, which will take a long while, sometimes even hours. We recommend not to mess around the computer much during the scan to avoid any file locks or collisions.

Windows Security Scan Options

Alternatively you also have the option to create a ‘Custom scan‘ that can be used to scan specific folders and drives if you do not think a full scan is needed. This is a great time saver if you don’t wish to scan your storage drives or external hard disks.

Finally, you have the option to perform a ‘Windows Defender Offline scan‘, which should be used if you think your computer is infected with aggressive malware not allowing you to access the internet or need to run in safe mode.

By selecting this option, your device will automatically reboot and perform an offline scan to scan and remove any threats.

If you decide to use a third-party anti-malware software, ensure you follow the instructions listed on their website on how to remove viruses and other malicious programs as they will all be slightly different depending on the software.

Some anti-virus and -malware programs are dedicated to only removing normal viruses or malware and might not scan for other types of threats. Windows Security scans and detects every kind of threat, which is why it’s so convenient, and best of all, free.


Utilize Command Prompt (CMD) to Speed Up Your Browsing

Command prompt is an extremely versatile, yet underused app that has been an integral part of the Windows operating system since the beginning.

Command prompt has tons of useful commands and features that most users don’t know about. We will showcase a few of them here, which should help speed up your Windows 10 and especially help make your internet browsing experience a lot faster and smoother.

For Command Prompt basics (alongside some more advanced commands) click the button below to check out our guide on how to use CMD properly.

Tech Tip Vault Logo Small WhiteUltimate Command Prompt Guide

Clear or Refresh the DNS Cache

The Domain Name Server (DNS) Cache is basically a series of files cached on your system into which your web browsers store information like the host-names and IP-addresses of all the websites you visit.

This can speed up the access to sites that you visit constantly as the information doesn’t need to be repeatedly looked up from the internet.

The issue with this is, you end up visiting potentially hundreds of websites a day that you will never use again, while leaving a footprint into the DNS Cache.

Also, as the data gets older, there’s a higher chance it becomes outdated or corrupted and may lead to some connectivity issues.

This is why it’s good to clear up the cache occasionally to give your system less records to scan through and make your browsing more snappy.

To do this, first open up your Command Prompt as administrator. If you don’t know how to do this, check the guide linked on the button above.

Then all you need to do is type in ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter. This will clear your entire DNS cache and start from scratch.

Alternatively, you can use the ipconfig /registerdns to not empty your cache, but automatically lookup potential updated information for all current entries in your cache.

Finally, you can type in ipconfig /displaydns to see all the records that are currently stored in your systems DNS cache.

Display DNS Records

Reset your Windows Network Sockets

Windows Network Sockets, shortened to Winsock, are basically a means for your operating system and various programs and apps to exchange information through the network and internet. This way traffic and data is redirected correctly to their destination.

Sometimes it is possible for these sockets to have issues or become corrupted, which can result in a sluggish internet connection and things like repeated redirections as your system is trying to send data through broken paths.

If you notice similar issues happening on your system, it might be a good idea to reset your sockets back to their default settings. Don’t worry, this won’t break anything, just start redirections from functional base settings.

To reset your Windows Network Sockets back to default settings, open up your command prompt as admin and type in netsh winsock reset and press Enter. You should restart your system after this is done.

In case you encounter any connectivity issues due to the sudden socket reset, restart your PC and flush your DNS cache with the method showcased above.


Modify Windows Visual Effects for Performance

Windows 10 has many system effects that look fancy but can take a toll on system performance. By disabling or reducing the quality of these effects users can notice a boost in performance of their system.

Most people don’t even realize the amount of different effects there are within Windows, but things like dragging, minimizing, mouse movements require their own graphics or animations.

In most cases disabling or lowering these effects wont have a huge improvement in your general PC performance, but most likely will give you a noticeable increase in response times and “snappiness” of your operations when browsing the internet or shuffling around your files.

To manage your Windows 10 visual effects, you need to navigate to the visual effects options using the following steps:re

  1. Type ‘Run‘ into your Windows Search Bar and open up the Run prompt.
  2. Type in ‘sysdm.cpl‘ and click OK to open up the System Properties window.
  3. Now navigate to the ‘Advanced‘ tab at the top-middle and click ‘Settings…‘ in the Performance section.

You should now see a long list of all the effects and features you can toggle in order to improve your Windows speed and performance.

Windows Visual Effects

The easiest way to do this is select the ‘Adjust for best performance‘ selection to automatically turn off the most taxing settings.

If you would rather have specific settings enabled or disabled, you can choose the ‘Custom‘ option and clear all settings except for the ones you wish to keep.

For optimal performance, all settings should be cleared except for ‘Smooth edges of screen fonts‘, so your fonts will still be rendered correctly.

Navigating through Windows should now feel much faster and more fluid as there are less animations and effects to render. This will also free up additional system resources which can be allocated to perform other tasks.

Feel free to go mess around with the visual effects if you feel like something is missing, you can easily test each option with the Apply button.


Optimize your Power Options

Windows 10 has a few different types of power plans built-in and a ton of different features and limitations that can be toggled on or off.

Most of these limitations can have a huge impact on your machines performance, yet a lot of people completely forget that these exist.

You may have come across these settings if you’re using a laptop, due to their power-saver mode. However these power plans are used on all Windows operating systems, albeit not toggled around as much on desktop machines.

There are multiple pre-made power profiles including ‘Balanced‘, ‘Power Saver‘ and ‘High Performance‘ to allow for quick switching between different power usage on your device.

Thankfully, you can customize all of these plans manually in order to have multiple different options according to your own needs.

In order to change and modify power plans, you need to navigate to Power Options:

  • Open up your Windows Search Bar from the Start Menu and type in ‘Edit power plan‘ and open it up.
  • Click on the ‘Change advanced power settings‘ hyper-link.
Windows Power Options

If you don’t see the above option in the search results, you can find the same options manually:

  • Search and open Control Panel in your Search Bar.
  • Sort by ‘Category‘ at the top-right and click on the ‘Hardware and Sound‘ title.
  • Click on the ‘Power Options‘ title and click ‘Change plan settings‘ next to a plan.
  • Finally select ‘Change advanced power settings‘ to open up the Power Options window.

Now you can easily customize all the settings from each of your separate power profiles to optimize your system for maximum performance, while still maintaining the option for a power-saver mode if using a laptop.

We recommend you set the High performance plan as the active one, then double-check all the options to ensure they’re set to Maximum performance. You can also modify any settings like sleep timers to your liking.


Re-Install the Operating System

If nothing seems to work and your device is still feeling slow, it might be time to reset your whole operating system with a clean installation of Windows 10.

This might seem like an extreme option, but it is by far the most effective solution especially if you haven’t done so for a few years.

This is due to the amount of useless garbage that has gathered on your drives is massive and even with all the methods showcased in this guide, you can’t possible get rid of it all manually.

If you are deciding to fully nuke your computer and start with a clean slate, it is highly recommended to back up your files before the reset, so you do not lose any important files.

Reset Windows without Deleting Files

The first thing you need to do is go the the Recovery options. To find them, type in ‘Recovery options‘ to your Windows Search Bar and open it up.

You can do a few things in the Recovery window like rollback to a previous Windows version if an update messed something up or if you wish to reset your Windows from a separate USB-drive.

However, we are interested in the ‘Reset this PC‘-section in order to speed up your computer. Click on the button to get started.

Windows Recovery Reset Options

If you choose to keep your files, only your installed apps and software will be deleted and Windows will be set back to it’s original settings.

You will see a list of all the apps that are going to be deleted, so you can double check nothing important will be removed.

Once you click on one of the options above, it will take a while to gather all the needed information and if you are certain you wish to proceed, click on the Reset button on the next page.

After the process is complete, Windows 10 will be reset and any configurations, settings, apps, and programs will be removed which should boost your performance significantly.

If you decided to remove everything, you are now able to restore any required files from the backup made earlier.


Clear Out Your Game Libraries

Although this might have come across while you were going through previous steps about uninstalling software and apps, it’s easy to go skip past your installed games.

This is why we recommend you go manually check all your game launchers to see which games you have installed and uninstall any that you haven’t played for a long time.

This is a very useful thing to do because most games nowadays occupy tons of space and have thousands of files that your hard-drive needs to read and index needlessly if you never play that game anyway.

There are tons of different launchers nowadays, so make sure to check them all. Steam being the overwhelming favorite user-base wise, we will show a quick method to find all your currently installed games.

Steam has a very convenient new feature where you can easily filter all your games in your Library according to specific criteria.

Installed Steam Game Filters

All you need to do is go to your Library and click the little sliders to open up the Filter menu.

From the Filters tick the ‘Installed locally‘ option to only show all the games currently installed. You might also want to add more filters like unplayed games or a specific genre that you might want to uninstall.


Modify BIOS Settings for Faster Boot Time

If you are not familiar overclocking or have never assembled your own computer, you might not be familiar with BIOS. It stands for Basic Input/Output System and it is basically a firmware on your motherboard which is used for hardware initializing and possible tweaking of your hardware settings.

It is completely safe to use the BIOS interface, but we don’t recommend messing around too much with any advanced settings to avoid any complications.

In order to open up your BIOS interface, you need to first power on your PC and while it’s booting up, press either the Delete or F2 key when you see your motherboards logo on the monitor.

A menu should then open up with all kinds of settings. The BIOS interface will look different depending on your motherboards manufacturer and some older models don’t even support mouse operations, only keyboard navigation. However, the settings and options should be more or less the same across the spectrum.

The next thing you need to look for is the Boot settings. It might be located in a different sub-menu, but should be quite straightforward to find.

Next look for an option called Fast Boot and make sure it is Enabled. Once you have enabled Fast Boot, your computer will always start up all the critical hardware first and once your system has booted, only then will all the USB devices and peripherals be started up.

Enabling Fast Boot alone can speed up your boot time by multiple seconds.

The other thing you should change in your BIOS is the driver boot order. As seen in the image above, all the drives have a boot priority and you need to make sure the drive on which your Windows 10 is installed, boots up first.

If it’s not set as Boot Option #1, your system will initiate other drives first which will delay startup time by quite a bit.

There are a bunch of other options you can modify to make your system faster, but we won’t go into detail in this guide to keep things compact.


As you may have noticed, there are a million different things you can do to improve your computers speed and performance and they can’t all possibly be listed into one guide.

We hope you found some useful information from this guide and managed to get more juice out of your system. If nothing helped, it might be time to upgrade your components.

If you have any suggestions, complaints or things we could add, don’t hesitate to contact us through our About Us page.

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