5 Tweaks to Make (Almost) Any Computer Faster
Slow, lagging, unresponsive computers can drive anybody crazy! Computers need ample processing speed and memory space to keep applications running smoothly, and computer upgrades can be expensive.
Don’t settle for a sluggish computer. There are a few tweaks you can do to turn your snail into a cheetah. If the apparent tune-ups such as removing bloatware and cutting down on browser extensions don’t work, we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves to help you.
Here are our top 5 tweaks to make almost any computer faster.
1. Turn Off Windows Animations and Visuals
Rich animations, smooth renderings, and sleek user elements may look nice, but it does nothing for performance gains. The few moments it takes for the Start menu tiles to animate can slow down a computer. Likewise, launching new apps, minimizing programs, and sliding windows all create additional animations that can be easily disabled to boost computer speed.
The visual effects are on by default and can even impact battery life. Fortunately, Windows animations are easy to turn off. Search for Adjust the Appearance and Performance of Window from the Start Menu. Select the Visual Effects tab and Adjust for best performance – or select Custom to manually disable/enable visual effects.
Regarding animations, we recommend disabling:
- Fade out menu items after clicking
- Fade or slide menus into view
- Fade or slide ToolTips into view
- Animate controls and elements inside windows
- Animations in the taskbar
- Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
Note: Visual Effects will also impact the way fonts are displayed. To see formatted fonts correctly, make sure to leave Smooth edges of screen Fonts check-marked.
2. Free up your hard drive
Unnecessary files can burden the hard drive and slow down the system when indexing them (more on indexing later). Before defragging, cleaning up unnecessary files can do wonders for your computer and the performance of your hard drive. By default, Windows 10 automatically defragments the computer regularly. Still, if you’ve disabled defragmenting or recently deleted/moved a lot of files, a fresh defrag could help chop a few seconds off any processes that access lots of files.
Many cleanup tools are available and can remove unnecessary files like the browser cache, temporary files, and cookies. Not sure where to start? Find the screen that breaks down exactly where your disk space is going. Launch Settings from the Start menu, click System, and then choose Storage. Here you find a breakdown of how much space each category of files takes up. Of course, we don’t need to remind you to back up first, do we?
Fortunately, Windows comes with a Disk Cleanup utility that can remove basic clutter. Search for it in the Start Menu and choose the drive you wish to clean. For hard drive defrag, navigate to System and Security in the Control Panel. From here, click Administrative Tools and then click Defragment and Optimize Drive. Here the drive can be Analyzed (to determine how fragmented it is) or Optimized (to defragment the drive).
3. Get Rid of Start-up Programs
Do a bunch of applications open when you turn on your computer? Sure, this is meant to make your life easier, but memory and process-intensive applications can drain your computer of resources and delay your boot up. Worse yet, bloatware, spamware, and other unneeded applications can stay running in the system tray – further draining resources.
Time to take control. On your Task Manager, switch to the Startup tab, and you’ll notice all the applications and programs that are scheduled to start up when Windows does. Click on the ones you’d like to stop, and choose the Disable button. This will prevent them from automatically launching in the future.
Are there apps on the list that you don’t recognize? Before disabling these, do a quick google search to learn more about them to ensure they are not necessary for your operating system’s launch. If in doubt, don’t disable them.
4. Run ReadyBoost for Faster Performance
ReadyBoost was introduced with Windows Vista. With ReadyBoost, a computer can use a USB flash drive to increase its virtual memory and it functions much like RAM (it’s just a bit slower than ram).
There are a few caveats to keep in mind:
- The biggest performance gains will be seen on a computer completely maxed out on memory
- Not all USB drives are compatible with ReadyBoost
- ReadyBoost is significantly slower than RAM
How to Run Ready Boost
- Install a flash drive and open File Explorer.
- Right-click your flash drive (in our case, it is drive E) and select Properties.
- Click the ReadyBoost tab and Use this device. Move the slider to allocate or deallocate flash drive space to ReadyBoost (more is better).
- Apply your settings and enjoy a slightly faster computer!
5. Limit Windows File Indexing
Windows 10 search indexing allows you to find files quickly but can slow down the system. Instead of having to wait the few seconds it takes for your hard drive to find a file, indexing lets your hard drive shuffle through thousands of file entries near-instantly (just like a database). Unfortunately, near-instant search queries can come at the expense of faster system performance. Fortunately, system indexing can be disabled quite easily.
How to Limit File Indexing?
- Search and open Indexing Options on the Search bar.
- A list of currently indexed files is displayed. On the Indexing Options, window click Modify.
- Uncheck the folders that you do not wish to index and click OK.
Note: You’ll notice that not all files are indexed, purposely Intended for system performance. Only a few select folders are indexed by the system’s default settings, which can still lead to hundreds of thousands of entries. It is recommended that unused folders are deindexed first.
Extra Quick and Easy Tweaks to Note:
Turn off Tips and Notifications: Simply open the Settings app’s Notifications and Actions page to change the notification settings. Uncheck those that you don’t want notifications from anymore.
Run Troubleshooting: In Settings, search for Troubleshoot. You can choose to run troubleshooting utilities automatically or manually.
Virus Check: Run your built-in Windows Defender or a third-party app to do a virus and spyware check. Of course, we recommend using ongoing anti-malware protection too.
Add more RAM: More memory can always speed up PC operations. Unfortunately, many newer computers don’t allow the addition of RAM, but if you can, go ahead and add more RAM.
Tune-Up Utility: This will take a bit of research. But once you have found a reputable third-party tune-up utility at your price point, install it. Most of them will boost performance, even if only by a small degree.