How to make Windows faster
Do you want to know how to make Windows faster without shelling out on new hardware? Follow our easy to use tutorials and improve your computing experience! The tutorials and tips on this page will show you how to make Windows faster. There are many tips and tricks for improving the speed of your system, some easy, others a little more tricky. Some might have a big impact, others barely noticeable. In this article we will show you some of the more effective solutions for speeding up your Windows box.
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Before we get started, it is highly recommended that you follow our guides on removing viruses and removing spyware. If there are malicious programs like viruses or spyware running on your PC, these could well be slowing your system down, so make sure you remove these first before proceeding with this article.
System all clean? Then let’s begin looking at how to make Windows faster. One of the easiest ways to improve disk performance on Windows is to use the disk defragmenter, or Optimise Drives tool as it is known in Windows 8. The purpose of this tool is to rearrange files and data on your hard disk for quickest access, like tidying up a filing cabinet. Defragmenting your hard drive can produce noticeable improvements in your computers speed if your drive was heavily fragmented. The disk defragmenter is a free tool included with all versions of Windows, so it is worth a try. We have prepared these short tutorials to show you how to use the disk defragmenter:-
How to make Windows faster by moving your virtual memory files
Windows users with two or more hard drives (or hard drive partitions) may wish to try this tweak to improve performance on their systems. Virtual memory files (known as paging files or swap files) in Windows are important areas of your hard disk that Windows uses to store data it is currently processing. Because this data needs to be copied in and out of main memory as quickly as possible, optimising access to it can speed up your Windows PC. We have prepared these tutorials to show Windows users how to move their paging file to another hard drive. Windows can access two hard drives simultaneously, so putting your paging file onto another drive means Windows can read it at the same time as it reads system files or data from your boot drive. Click on the links below to go to the appropriate tutorial:-
How to make Windows faster by removing unnecessary start-up applications
If you are like the majority of Windows users, you probably already have lots of really great software installed on your PC. Software that you purchased either at a store or on-line, or downloaded for free. Many of these programs install components to your Windows start-up. Sometimes these extra components can make using the programs faster or more convenient, for example the popular music player Winamp optionally installs Winamp Agent which gives quick access to your music library. However, having too many of these little programs running in the background can start to slow your computer down and removing them can often help make Windows faster. Windows does come with a utility to remove programs from your Windows start-up, called the “System Configuration Utility”. However, it is somewhat difficult for beginners to use. Click here for a brief tutorial on the System Configuration Utility. (please note: This utility does not manage start-up applications in Windows 8 or 10).
The System Configuration Utility is a little confusing for beginners, fortunately there are several alternatives. If you are a Windows Vista user, you can use the “Performance Information and Tools” section of the control panel to access “Windows Defender Software Explorer”. This utility makes it much easier to manage start-up applications in Vista. See this tutorial for more information.
In Windows 8, Microsoft changed the system configuration utility and moved the option to manage startup applications over to the Task Manager. However, in our tests we’ve not found the Task Manager to perform particularly well in this role, we therefore recommend Windows 8 users see our Autoruns tutorial as detailed in the next paragraph.
For Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows 10 users, Our favourite free alternative to the System Configuration Utility is Microsoft Technet’s Autoruns. Autoruns is a powerful utility, we cover basic usage of this superb tool in this tutorial.
Startup applications can also easily be managed using Startup Delayer, which we cover in the next section.
How to make Windows faster by reducing boot-up times
It is sometimes possible to optimise Windows XP boot times, that is the time it takes for your computer to start up, by using a tool called “BootVis”. This tool used to be provided by Microsoft but is no longer supported. Use of this tool is somewhat complicated for beginners and it did not work on all the systems we tested it on. However, on some systems it reduced start up times dramatically. One for the advanced users to play with!
You can also improve boot-up times by delaying the start-up time of certain programs. By doing this, you can make sure that Windows does not try to load several programs at once, thus potentially delaying them all as they fight to use the hard drive. To help solve this problem, use StartupDelayer. Version 3 of this great little program is better than ever, and includes automatic delay settings. We have prepared three tutorials to show you how to use this program:-
Disable indexing services
The purpose of the indexing services is to speed up searches on your computer. When you search for a file, Windows can use the files the indexing service creates to make the search go faster. However, having this service in use can slow down your PC. If you would rather wait slightly longer for a search and have a slightly faster computer overall, follow this tutorial if you are using Windows XP or follow this tutorial if you are using Windows Vista. You can always follow the tutorials again to re-enable indexing services.
Disable visual effects
if you are really struggling for how to make Windows faster on an older system, consider turning Windows visual effects off. Doing this will make your computer look less pretty (the way it looks may remind you of older versions of Windows) but it may improve the speed of your system slightly. See how to make Windows faster by turning off visual effects or, if you are a Windows Vista or Windows 7 user, see how to make Windows Vista or Windows 7 faster by turning off visual effects. In Windows 8 and 10, Microsoft have gone with a minimalist theme in order to maximise battery life and performance on portable computers, so no tweaking of visual effects should be necessary.
Registry cleaning, uninstalling old programs, tweaking Windows services and more
For more tips on how to keep your PC in tip-top condition, be sure to view our guide to Windows troubleshooting.
If you still don’t get the PC performance you want, even after following all our tutorials, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Adding additional memory to your computer is usually the best place to start.
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