Make your Windows 10 Desktop (possibly) faster

“My computer is too slow.” – This is probably one of the most heard complaints regarding the use of PCs, coming usually from novices or technologically unoriented users. The biggest problem with this issue is that it is obviously so broad that there can be always hundreds of reasons for your computer being slow. That’s why it is hard to help a person that asks for help in speeding up their computer.

Therefore I will show you some standard procedures that are easy to execute on any Windows 10 machine that don’t harm the computer but possibly could speed up your computer. Note that all these methods are not guaranteed to work and to actually speed up your computer noticably. It can be though that it repairs some common error on many Windows machines which would result in your system probably running smoother.


That said, these tips are most suited for Windows 10. They probably should work on Windows 8\8.1, too, but I didn’t check that. Some of the tips might work on Windows 7, as well. But I don’t recommend you to follow every single advice on Windows 7, since that is not guaranteed to do the thing I intended or even worse, could maybe cause another problem. So if you really have not much knowledge about what is shown here, please use it only on Windows 10.

Commands

Here are some commands for you to execute in the PowerShell (new cmd.exe) of Windows 10. Open your Windows PowerShell by pressing CTRL+X and selecting (Admin) PowerShell.

I recommend you to execute each command, wait until it finishes, and then continue with the next one, instead of doing several at once.

chkdsk /F C: (this one will probably ask you to postpone it to the next boot-up, if that happens, agree and it will happen automatically)

sfc /scannow

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth + DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth (use both together; explicitely works only on Windows 8 and up)

Features, Programs or Services to disable

Press WIN+R then type in and enter services.msc.

Now select the entry Superfetch, right-click it then select Properties and change the Startup type to Disabled.

Repeat the same from above with Windows Search.

Now right-click the taskbar on your desktop and select Task Manager. Go to Startup and consequently close as many programs as possible. If you are not 100% sure you need this program EVERY TIME when you boot up the computer, then disable each item of that priority by right-clicking it and selecting Disable. If you don’t know what the program is for, you probably can disable it, except it is for a service like the Steam bootstrapper. But again, it will probably tell you which program the service is for and if you still don’t know the program then most likely you should disable it, too.

Warning to notebook users: don’t disable anything labeled “Synaptics” or “Touchpad” or anything like that or you won’t be able to use your touchpad of your laptop.

Clean your system!

Uninstall programs. It is very crucial and can have a really big impact on your system’s performance, especially if you are strictly banning every program, that you don’t use frequently, from the system. For that go to the Control Panel by pressing WIN+R then typing and entering control. Select the sub-item Uninstall Programs from the Programs category. Then wipe everything you don’t need or know off your system.

Note: Uninstalling Redistributable and similar packages might cause some games or bigger programs not to work correctly or at all.

When we are done with that, press WIN+R once again to type and enter cleanmgr. This will probably take a couple of minutes to load up. The load times are higher, the more crap you have on your system.

Once it finishes and shows you items to clean up, you can basically select all, since none are crucial and can be replaced, if you are going to really need them again. All selected items will be permanently deleted from the system, once
selected and confirmed by pressing OK.

If you want to go more ham on this, then press on the Clean up system files button, too. Once again, it will probably load a bit. There you will see more items to select but now you should be more careful with what you select. You can e.g. delete your crash dumps that are needed for bug diagnostics and even your backups/Restore Points of your system. If you don’t know how all this works, I recommend sticking only to the safe clean up, explained above before selecting Clean up system files.

An important part of keeping your computer clean is also the removal of malware since that most of the times slows down your computer, especially new malicious implementations of cryptocurrency miners on victims’ computers, which usually uses a massive amount of CPU as long as your computer is turned on. Detecting malware is usually not that easy, but with the right tools you can make a good approach and fight the most common threats with ease. For that I recommend my favourite Anti-Virus software that I have posted below in the tools section. It has its own task manager, that shows you exacty which process is using what resources and how it is linked to many other different processes. This is very helpful in finding malicious software that runs frequently in your computer’s background, which automatically results in slowing down your user experience. Especially helpful is also the use of the program’s virtual sandbox that lets you execute suspicious apps in itself and once the execution is finished you can check the VTROOT folder on your C: drive by making hidden folders visible in the settings of the Windows Explorer. Once you get in, you can see the files created after executing the software in the sandbox. If it only installs e.g. into the Program Files folder and doesn’t put in files in any suspicious locations, like AppData\Roaming\Temp or in Windows\System32 then the file is probably safe.

Of course that doesn’t mean that you can remove every malicious software from your computer this way. Sometimes only a complete re-install works, even if that sounds very annoying. The best protection from getting viri on your PC in the first place is a mixture out of keeping your system clean, using tools like the Anti-Virus software and changing your behaviour. The latter is the most important part but also the hardest to achieve for many PC users. I will talk about that in the last section of this article.

Tools to use for keeping your system clean and smooth

It’s often times ironic to see people on the clearnet say things like “clean up your PC with this tool!” even though part of cleaning the computer is having LESS programs on it, NOT MORE than you actually need…

Therefore I try to make a small collection of pretty slim and/or very worthy tools, that help you a lot in keeping your system nice and dandy while not unintentionally filling up the space you cleaned with this tool.

CCleaner – an absolute must, you probably already heard about it

Revo Uninstaller Pro – completely purges the selected programs from your system

Comodo Internet Security Premium – a free Anti-Virus software that has many different tools for your computer, besides the anti-virus capabilities

CrystalDiskInfo – shows S.M.A.R.T. data for your HDDs/SSDs which could expose a faulty or soon failing storage space that already slows down boot up times and your user experience overall

Speccy – shows the temperatures of your PC hardware. too much heat can cause the performance to lower

Windows Troubleshooter – sounds cheesy, but sometimes it can help in very simple issues you wouldn’t even expect

Web of Trust WEBSITE – BEWARE! this is one of the best website-review platforms, BUT DON’T USE THEIR BROWSER EXTENSION! it breaches your privacy extremely, therefore I only recommend you to use their website for checking single websites regarding their WOT reputations

Browser extensions

Here I collect a couple of browser extensions (certainly
working for at least Chromium) that will improve your browsing experience dramatically:

Adblock Plus – free Adblocker. I couldn’t use the internet without this extension, it is AN ABSOLUTE MUST

uBlock Origin – another Adblocker used as a backup in case Adblock isn’t hardcore enough on a couple of websites (happens very rarely)

Decentraleyes – tracker blocker, more privacy, faster internet speed

Disconnect – tracker blocker, more privacy, faster internet speed

Privacy Badger – tracker blocker, more privacy, faster internet speed

Privacy Possum – tracker blocker, more privacy, faster internet speed

Change your behaviour!

This is probably one of the hardest ways to make your computer faster. But it also can have a pretty huge impact, depending on what kind of messy user you are. If you frequently open a lot of tabs in your browser, keep music and/or other programs running in your background then I especially recommend to you to at least try some of the following suggestions for keeping your system smooth and quick.

The probably most important and helpful change in your behaviour is how you browse the internet. First, make sure you don’t enter sketchy or suspicious websites, except you absolutely must do that. There are many guides out there explaining how to spot a suspicious website very easily, so I won’t enter this very deep topic here for the sake of keeping the scope of this article controllable.

Secondly, keep your tab count low! The more tabs you have open in your browser, the more RAM it uses and if you don’t have 32GB of it then at some point the computer will have to get slower. Additionally, some websites are made poorly and they will draw a lot of RAM, as well. Some even draw more and more RAM the longer they are open, no matter if you use them or not. So try to use as few tabs as possible. Close every tab you don’t use right now.

(Besides that, for laptop users this will reduce the battery power even more drastically, because the harder your computer works, the more power it draws…)

Now let’s focus on the behaviour inside Windows Explorer. I already made clear, that you have to keep your system as clean as feasible, especially regarding useless junk or temporary files and caches. The best thing is if you don’t even start filling up your drive with useless things, then you don’t even have to clean it afterwards. First make sure that you never fill up your hard drive too much. Ideally there should be at least 20% your drive’s usable space empty. Meaning, that if you see your drive in the Windows Explorer and the used space bar is already red then it is already way too full. If you can, keep your drive only half filled, because that ensures that the drive will ever slow down your user experience.

Now try to not let your PC multi-task too much. If it is possible, try to use only a single or maybe two applications at once. If you browse the internet, don’t let a game, image editing or music program run in the background. If you are currenly only making a document in LibreOffice, then don’t let your browser or other programs run uselessly in the background. Try to focus. (Also helps in concentration..)

Upgrading your hardware

If you got some spare coin left, this one is a good choice, as well. The question is now, what to upgrade, when and how. Since choosing the right hardware is a huge topic on its own, I will just summarize briefly what each hardware component can improve.

Storage – Upgrading from HDD to SSHD or even SSD can have a huge impact on boot-up times and load up times of programs inside Windows.

RAM – Increasing your RAM amount can have a huge impact, especially if you use a lot of image/video editing software or if you truly need to use a lot of programs at the same time.

CPU – Upgrading your CPU increases the computation speed of your computer, therefore it will be able to process different applications faster and e.g. may decrease the load-up times of programs. If you have a lot of encryption and decryption or hashing going on, then upgrading your CPU definitely will help.

Written on 2017/08/13-15

Updated on 2017/09/08

Updated on 2019/08/10