3 ways to speed up Windows 10 without buying new hardware

Why wait? A few simple tweaks will improve Windows 10's performance without an expensive hardware upgrade.

Gabe Gerzevske asked how he could speed up Microsoft’s new operating system.

No one likes to click a weblink, open a program, or type a word…and then wait while their computer ponderously considers performing that task. If Windows is taking too much time to do its job, a few modest setting changes can help speed it up.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

1. Remove unnecessary autostarters

You might be shocked to discover how many programs load automatically every time you boot. Each one slows down the boot process a bit, and some may continue to slow down Windows after the boot, as well.

To see how bad the situation is, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click the Startup tab. (If you don’t see any tabs at the top of the window, click More Details in the lower-left corner.)

The Startup tab will show you all of the autoloading programs. As you examine the list, think about what programs really need to be running at all times. Your antivirus program qualifies, so it’s a valid autoloader. But some programs, even good ones, don’t really need to run all the time. To stop one from loading automatically, right-click its entry on the Startup tab and select Disable.

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If you don’t recognize the name of an autoloader, right-click it and select Search online. That should help you find information on it.

2. Change power settings

Windows may assume that you’d prefer an energy-efficient computer to a fast one—especially if you have a laptop. There are good reasons to go with energy efficiency, but not when the PC’s slow performance is driving you crazy.

Right-click the Start button and in the resulting—but ugly—menu, select Power Options.

In the resulting Control Panel window, pull down the Show additional Plans option.

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Then select High Performance.

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3. Get rid of fancy animations

There’s a lot of code in Windows that just makes things looks nice. If your PC is underpowered, you may want to skip the aesthetics and gain some speed.

Right-click Start, and select System. In the resulting Control Panel window’s left pane, select Advanced system settings.

This brings up the System Properties dialog box. Click the Advanced tab, then the Settings button in the Performance box (the first of three “Settings” buttons on this tab).

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This brings up another dialog box. Select Adjust for best performance.

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I made this adjustment on my own little, underpowered laplet, and the improvement was significant.

For more speed-up suggestions, see Preston Gralla’s article.

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