How to speed up Windows 10 | How to make Windows 10 faster

Windows 10 is a fast and stable operating system, but over time it can pick up a number of drag factors that cause performance to slow down. We show you some simple ways to speed up your Windows 10 PC, including a great clean-up tool download

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  • Identify apps 1
  • Malware 2
  • Free up storage 3
  • Startup apps 4
  • Virtual memory 5
  • Visual effects 6
  • Upgrade hardware 7
  • Download CCleaner 8
  • More stories
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Step 1 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Check which programs are slowing your PC down

Sometimes programs can be affected by an update, develop faults, or are just plain badly written. This can cause them to monopolise your system resources, which of course leads to stuttering performance. To see which programs are currently having the most impact on your PC open the Start Menu and type Task Manager.

Pick the top result and then when the window appears click More Details and you’ll see a list of all the processes running on your machine. Look in the CPU and Memory columns to see if there is one in particular that dominates the statistics. If you want to stop any program just click on it then click the End Task button in the bottom right corner. Also see: How to speed up any laptop or PC and How to speed up Windows 7

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Sometimes programs can be affected by an update, develop faults, or are just plain badly written. This can cause them to monopolise your system resources, which of course leads to stuttering performance. To see which programs are currently having the most impact on your PC open the Start Menu and type Task Manager.

Pick the top result and then when the window appears click More Details and you’ll see a list of all the processes running on your machine. Look in the CPU and Memory columns to see if there is one in particular that dominates the statistics. If you want to stop any program just click on it then click the End Task button in the bottom right corner. Also see: How to speed up any laptop or PC and How to speed up Windows 7

Step 2 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Check for malware and other nasties

Before you start searching for various system tweaks, it’s advisable to run a system scan to ensure that there are no erroneous pieces of software causing harm and slowing down your machine. If you rely on Windows Defender for your security then you’ll need to go to the Start Menu>Settings>Update and Security>Windows Defender then in the right hand panel scroll down until you see Open Windows Defender. Click this and then in the next window on the right hand side there are options to run a Quick, Full, or Custom scan. Make sure you won’t need your PC for a little while and opt for the Full version. Then click on Scan now. If Windows finds anything untoward it will let you know and suggest ways to deal with the issue.

If you use another security package, such as AVG, Norton, McAfee, or similar, you’ll need to launch the program and find the option to perform a system scan. They are usually very easy to discover.

Step 3 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Clear space on the hard drive

Operating systems tend to borrow parts of the hard drive to give themselves a bit of thinking space, so if your storage is pretty much maxed out it can actually cause performance issues. To check how much room is left on your drive go to the Windows Start Menu > Settings > System > Storage and you’ll be shown the current usage on This PC. Clicking on This PC will open a breakdown of all the types of data that are using up your storage. It’s generally a good idea to have at least ten percent of the total HD space free - so on a 128GB drive you’ll want the minimum of 12.8GB free - and obviously a bit more will give you room to still add files without the same problem appearing.

If your drive is full then a spot of spring cleaning will need to happen. Try looking in your Downloads folder, as this can often get piled high with stuff that you really don’t need. After that try removing applications you never use, backing up photos and videos to external drives, and generally giving your system a bit of a clear out.

One good tool that you’ll find in Windows is Disk Cleanup, which quickly removes temporary files and other data that the tool deems unimportant. To access it open the Windows Start Menu then search for Disk Cleanup, click on the top result, then select which drive you want to clean. The tool will do the rest itself.

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Step 4 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Restrict the amount of programs that run at startup

When you install new programs they often want permission to start running as soon as you boot your machine. This means they continue to run in the background, using up resources, even if you don’t use them. Fix this by following our step by step guide on How to change Windows 10 Startup programs.

Step 5 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Adjust the amount of Virtual Memory Windows uses

Another quick fix for a PC that’s slowing down is allowing Windows to use more Virtual Memory. Follow our How to Adjust the amount of Virtual Memory your system uses guide to address this common problem.

Step 6 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Tame the visual effects

Windows 10 is quite a pretty operating system, with various animations used throughout. While these visual effects afford a sense of style they can also be a source of ponderance on machines that are a little older. Thankfully they are easy to turn off.

Open the Windows Start Menu and type advanced system settings and select the top result. In the window that appears there is a section marked Performance, with a button for Settings. Click this and a list of the various visual effects will appear. You can either untick the ones you think might be problematic, or simply select the Adjust for best performance option at the top. Remember to click OK to save the changes.

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Step 7 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Upgrade your hardware

Obviously as a PC gets older it’s likely to feel a little sluggish when compared to newer models. This doesn’t have to be the case though, as a few hardware additions can give many machines a new lease of life.

On desktops, and some laptops, you can fit new, higher capacity RAM modules for a boost, but probably the best upgrade these days is replacing your old hard drive with an SSD. These solid state models are much faster than the old style HDs, and really can make dramatic improvements to slower systems.

Check YouTube for various instructional videos on how to make this upgrade and read our reviews of the Best SSDs for 2015/16 to ensure you get the right one.

Step 8 of 8: How to speed up Windows 10: Download a PC cleaner

Even after all these steps, you may want to download a piece of software that cleans your PC for you. There are many, many out there but not all of them are safe to use given the malicious nature of some rogue programmes masquerading as useful tools.

We thoroughly recommend CCleaner, which you can download here for free. It's the latest version, 5.17.

It removes all unwanted info like temporary files and dead directory links, as well as tidying up complicated log filesm web browsing histories and registry cleaning.

It's very easy to use and a great way to automate the process of speeding up Windows 10.

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