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Tech tips

Improve your Windows PC’s performance with these pro tips

When using Windows 10 (or any other PC, for that matter) you may occasionally run into roadblocks. Your computer might start slowing down, programs might cease to work properly, or maybe you start running into errors more than usual. This is a common problem for most PC users, regardless of whether they use Windows or Mac operating systems.

The good news is you don’t have to worry too much about these little problems individually — it’s when they all start piling up that they become an issue.

Thankfully, you can fix many of these issues without having to take your computer to be repaired or even to see a technician. There are several simple ways you can resolve small hangups and other frustrations, so put together a cheat sheet as a reminder to take care of these issues often. Your computer and its overall capability will thank you!

Let’s speed this up

Turn off the apps that run in the background

Aside from the apps that load when you start up your computer, there are also apps that constantly run in the background. You can give your computer a much-needed boost by disabling the apps that sit and toil away in the background without affecting your everyday performance — because half of those apps you don’t even need.

To do this, go to Settings, then Privacy, and click Background apps. Turn the toggles to “off” for any apps you don’t want running.

Restart your PC often and use only essential apps

This is one tip everyone needs to hear. Leaving your computer on for long periods of time isn’t a great idea. Doing this could let apps you’re not using pile up and consume resources unnecessarily. When you have too many apps going at once, it can slow down your PC. It’s the same with browser tabs.

If you don’t want to restart your computer or turn it off and on every time, start by closing out browser tabs and apps you aren’t currently using. If you’ve been experiencing slowdown issues, this simple practice should get you back in tip-top shape, at least for a while.

Turn off the startup apps you’re not using

Your computer is likely set up to open a variety of apps when you turn it on — half of them you probably don’t even use. If you want to cut down on the time it takes to start up the computer, as well as de-clutter your system, turn off startup apps.

Head to Settings, then Apps, and click Startup. Choose the Sort by menu and choose Startup impact. You can go down the list here and toggle off any app you don’t want to automatically open when the computer loads up. This alone should give you a decent boost in performance.

Clear your computer of viruses and malware

Your computer may not be slow due to any sort of app or startup issues. Sometimes you might just have viruses or malware bogging down your system. Both viruses and malware are hard on computers and can eat up a lot of space, too.

To run a virus scan and start the process of removing harmful programs, go to Settings, then Update & Security, click Windows Security, then Virus & threat protection. Ensure it’s up to date, then choose the Scan options button under the Current threats section. Run a Full scan. Your computer will begin scanning all of your files and report back with its findings.

Make sure Windows 10 has been updated

Like any program, you’re going to want to make sure Windows 10 has been updated to the newest version available. Otherwise, you could be leaving yourself open to exploits, bugs and other frustrating issues that you might not be able to workaround.

It’s easy and quick to make sure your software is up to date. Just go to Settings, Update & Security, Windows Update, then Check for updates. If any are found, you can install them easily. You’ll need to restart right after so your computer can apply the updates, but you’ll be all set after that. Just remember to do this regularly.

Change up the way your computer uses power

If you notice your computer is unusually slow, it could be because of the way it’s set to consume power. Windows 10 has three power options: Balanced, Power saver and High performance.

If you want better performance, go ahead and select the High-performance option, which will enable your computer to use additional power to run faster. The opposite is true if you choose Power saver, where performance will suffer in exchange for conserving battery. Leaving it on Balanced is a good option to stay right in the middle.

Turn off extraneous visual effects on your computer

Windows 10 is all about the fun little effects here and there and making a visual spectacle of itself. You can turn all of this off for quicker and better performance.

You can disable animations, smooth fonts and remove a litany of other effects by going to Settings, then System and clicking About.

Check out the Related settings section, then the System info option. Choose Advanced system settings, then the Performance tab from there. Click Settings and Select Visual Effects. Check the “Adjust for best performance” radio button and voilà! All the extra animations will now be turned off.

Getting the best possible performance

Turn off search indexing to boost performance

Windows 10 always compiles search results by way of “search indexing” to ensure potential items you need to look for are at your fingertips at all times. Unfortunately, this can slow down your machine. Just turn it off to give your computer a much-needed boost.

Go to Settings, then Search, and click Search Windows. Choose More Search Indexer Settings, then Advanced Search Indexer Settings. Choose Modify, then Show all locations. Clear every location listed there. Click OK, then close, and Windows Search will no longer index the locations you selected, which should bump up your machine’s speed considerably.

When all else fails, reset your PC

Resetting isn’t the same thing as restarting. But if you want to start with a fresh copy of Windows 10, this makes things feel faster and perform better overall.

Head to Settings, then Update & Security, and click Recovery. Opt for “Reset this PC” and then click Get started. Select Keep my files (or Remove everything to delete everything) and click Reset. Windows 10 will be reinstalled fresh. This should fix many issues you find yourself dealing with.

Still having trouble with those pesky PC problems? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with Kim’s NEW weekly Windows Scoop newsletter, designed to help you master your Windows gadgets.

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