No, you’re not imagining it. Your PC probably is running slower than it used to. It happens. Sure, you could just go buy a new PC or completely reinstall Windows. Or you could try the tips below, and maybe you’ll get a little more use out of that older PC. Keep in mind that some of these changes require administrator privileges.
1. Turn Off Visual Effects
Typically, newer PCs handle visual effects without even trying. However, those pretty effects can turn older PCs into the reason you take so many coffee breaks.
Hit the Windows key, type sysdm.cpl and hit Enter. You should see the System Properties dialog box. Click the Advanced tab and then the Settings button within the Performance area at the top.
This dialog box contains a lot of the various animations and effects that make Windows look better. You can disable these individually to find the best combination of looks and performance. Alternatively, you can just select “Adjust for best performance,” and Windows 10 will disable the effects that slow you down.
2. Disable Startup Programs
Many applications try to “help” you by starting up when Windows starts up. You may not see them, but they’re running in the background. Windows 10 makes it easier to manage these compared to previous versions. Right-click on the taskbar and click Task Manager or press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
By default, the task manager opens in “Fewer details” mode with a simple list of open apps. Clicking “More details” will expand the window and show you much more information. Click on the Startup tab to find a list of all programs that launch when Windows starts.
Most likely, you only need a few of these programs running. For programs you’re not sure about, a simple Google search can provide more information. You can disable any of them and re-enable them if needed later. Disabled programs will still be available to launch manually at any time. “Disabled” just prevents it from utilizing resources on startup. Rebooting your system will activate any changes.
3. Change Your Power Settings
Windows power settings might be slowing down your computer in an effort to save energy. The Settings app varies across Windows 10 versions and won’t give you full control. The classic Control Panel offers the easiest place to adjust these settings completely.
Once again, hit the Windows key and type Control Panel. Select Hardware and Sound and then Power Options. Typically, you’ll only see “Balanced (recommended)” and “Power saver” in this area. Click “Show additional plans” to view the “High performance” setting.
Choose the setting that you’d like to use. “Power saver” reduces performance in an effort to use as little energy as possible. “High performance” provides the most speed but uses more energy. “Balanced” works to improve speed without using a lot of energy. For laptops, you could benefit from using “Balanced” on battery power and “High performance” while plugged in. Desktops will see the most improvement from “High performance.”
4. Turn Off Tips, Tricks, & Suggestions
Windows 10 often provides tips while you’re working. It accomplishes this by watching everything you’re doing. It can be helpful, but it also uses resources (plus it feels like spying).
You can simply tell Windows to stop doing this. Launch the Settings app and click on System, then Notifications & actions. Within Notifications, uncheck “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows.”
5. Disable Search Indexing
Windows 10 constantly catalogs the contents of your hard drives. As a result, search performance should go up. However, slower PCs can benefit greatly from disabling this service completely. Searching your drive will take a little longer, but performance should go up.
Hit the Windows key and type services.msc to launch the Services app. Scroll down, look for Windows Search (Indexing Service on older versions), and double-click it. Click “Stop” to turn the indexer off temporarily. Disable the service permanently by changing “Startup type” to “Disabled.” You can change this back at any time.
6. Clean Up Your Drives
A drive reaching capacity can also slow your PC down. Windows 10 includes a tool called Storage Sense to help with this. Open the Settings app. Click on System and then Storage. Simply toggle this feature to On. By default, Storage Sense will automatically remove temporary files and old Recycle Bin files. Click “Configure Storage Sense or run it now” to customize when it runs and what else the service can remove.
Yes, we’re serious. Rebooting remains one of the best weapons against slow PCs. Surprisingly, this simple step often resolves a lot of issues. It clears RAM and kills any lingering processes from previous tasks. It’s often one of the first questions asked by the support department.
Combine this with the previous tips and you may find that your PC still has a little life left. If all else fails, you can always give us a call. We’re more than happy to help!
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