22 things to do to optimize Windows and have your PC fast and stable
A computer, much more than a machine, not only needs regular maintenance, but also to configure some settings to optimize the system and make it faster and less prone to errors in the future.
This general guide can apply to any computer, be it powerful or old and cheap, both with Windows 10 and with Windows 7 and 8.1, both for a work PC and for one used to surf the internet or play games.
The guide, which tries to understand practically everything to do to optimize Windows, is divided into 22 points that can refer to other guides depending on the purpose you want to achieve, which can be to keep the computer stable or to get the maximum of speed, all trying not to use external programs.
The tricks and the more complex procedures that bring few advantages or absolutely negligible results for most situations will be neglected.
1) Disable applications in automatic startup
The main problem of a PC is the programs installed and, specifically, those that start automatically.
While it is right that some of these programs, such as the antivirus, are automatic, others like Skype have no reason to start on their own.
We have seen the guide to turn off automatic program startup in Windows noting how easy this became in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, simply by opening the task manager.
2) Uninstall the Bloatware
In addition to the programs that slow down the startup, it is absolutely necessary to check the list of installed programs and remove all those called bloatware, that is large programs that are never used.
For example, if Skype is never used, why keep it?
For other programs, then, there are many alternatives that are much lighter and faster and you only need to think of Adobe Acrobat reader, since there are many other free lightweight programs to open PDFs that work even better.
In general, go from the Control Panel, then to Programs and Features, select unused programs and uninstall them.
Moreover, in Windows 10 and Windows 8, it is worthwhile to see all the apps installed from the Start menu and remove those never used.
Therefore, install the safe programs that keep the PC fast, avoiding clogging up the computer with programs too big and with virus programs to never install.
3) Keep your PC safe and free of viruses or malicious software
The first cause of slowness of a computer is related to the presence of malware or viruses.
Notwithstanding that you must have an antivirus installed (which in Windows 10 and 8.1 is already present without downloading anything else), you must also use a scanning program to be certain that there are no malicious software that go to occupy the memory and that create instability.
I therefore recommend MalwareBytes Antimalware, free and among the best and most effective.
4) Use the task manager and resource monitoring
Windows, and in Windows 10 even better, lets you control active processes from the Task Manager to control those that occupy more memory, more CPU and more disk.
Furthermore, on the Performance tab, you can see the use of PC resources in real time and click on the Resource Monitoring tool to get all the details on performance drops.
In general, if a process were to use too much CPU, there may be a hardware or security problem and it is better to look up its name on Google to get more details.
If the CPU is used by many programs, there are solutions to force Windows to consume less CPU per process.
As for the excessive use of RAM, there are two solutions: uninstall heavy programs as seen in step 2 or add RAM to the computer if possible.
In another article, instead, we saw what to do when Windows uses the disk at 100%.
5) Optimize computer shutdown
If the PC takes a long time to shut down, there are problems that can be solved by following the guide to speed up the shutdown of the Windows PC to the maximum
6) Activate the quick start of Windows 10 and 8.1
In Windows 10 and 8.1, Microsoft uses a computer boot mode that should greatly speed up computer startup and system loading.
Although it should be active by default, it is worth checking the quick start options in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1.
7) Activate Suspend mode
In Windows 7 and also in Windows 10 and 8 it is convenient to use the suspend mode to make sure that turning on the computer takes no more than 10 seconds.
This mode saves the status of the computer to recharge it as it was left and is very useful if you plan to restart the PC during the day.
You can activate hibernation mode and add it to shutdown options by going to Control Panel> Hardware and Sound> Power Options> specific power button behavior.
From the window that opens, click on Modify currently unavailable settings and activate the box next to Suspend or even the hibernation one.
8) Disable indexing of files for search
Searching for files in Windows requires the system to keep an indexing service active which can slow down performance.
If you have a weak or old PC, you should turn it off and use different programs to search for files.
To disable file indexing, open the Start menu, search for and open Computer Management, go to Services, search for the one called Windows Search, double click on it, click on Stop and then set the startup type to Manual or Disabled.
9) Reduce the web browser load
If you use Chrome or Firefox, be careful with the extensions installed because if they are too many, the browser can become very slow and take up too much memory.
In each browser, you can find the extensions installed from the main menu (in Chrome: Menu> Other tools).
10) Clean the disc
Over time, the computer is filled with a lot of useless or unnecessary data that takes up space, creates instability and slows down read / write operations.
In addition to the Ccleaner download program, which I recommend to everyone, Windows also has a Disk Cleanup tool.
To use Disk Cleanup, go to Start and look for Disk Cleanup from the search bar.
Select the disk to clean and follow the wizard even without making changes.
11) Correct disk errors
This operation, to be done at least every 2 or 3 months, is explained in the guide on how to check disk errors with Chkdsk (Scan Disk) in Windows 7, 8 and 10.
12) Activate system recovery
System configuration recovery is the first tool to use when there are sudden problems, to repair Windows.
Remember to activate the restore points in Windows 10, since they are not active by default.
13) Optimize virtual memory (paging file)
On computers with low RAM, Windows goes to use a part of the disk as a reserve of memory, slowing down every operation a lot.
The general advice is to buy more RAM to improve the most important part of the computer, but if it is not possible, the paging file must be optimized as explained in another guide.
14) Use the troubleshooting tools
Microsoft includes Windows 10, 7 and 8 of Windows troubleshooting tools that you really need to remember to use when there are system errors such as network, printer, screen, audio, hardware connections or other things.
15) Customize the folder options
The folder options allow you to optimize the loading of images, videos or folders full of files, which can take a long time to open.
The folder options are found in the Control Panel (in Windows 10 they are the File Explorer Options).
On the View tab, clear the following options in Advanced Settings:
– Show quick description
– Show preview managers
– Hide empty units
– View file size information.
– Hide file extensions (be careful when renaming files, not deleting extensions, ie the three letters after the dot).
In other articles we have seen the Windows tricks for “exploring resources” and slow folders and folder options in Windows 10.
16) Turn off OneDrive and sync
In Windows 10 and 8.1, Onedrive synchronizes passwords, browser settings, and some system preferences, but for now it is an almost useless feature that is best turned off.
I therefore refer to the guide on how to disable Onedrive in Windows 10 and 8.1
Also, in Settings> Accounts, go to the Synchronization options and disable everything.
17) Turn off Effects and animations
Another reason why an old PC can be slow is that there are too many special effects and animations.
It is therefore worth deactivating the animated effects in Windows to gain speed.
18) Update Windows always
Windows updates cover security bugs and technical instability problems, so they should always be installed automatically via Windows Update.
In the event of problems, see how to resolve Windows Update errors if the system is not updated.
19) Optimize the right-click context menu options
When you right-click on a file or folder, a menu of options and operations opens, which can also become very long depending on the programs installed.
If too long, this menu can become slow.
In another guide, we have seen how to disable the useless entries in the context menus of the right mouse button.
20) Activate Windows backups
There are some automatic backup tools on a Windows PC, which must be activated so that nothing is lost in the event of problems.
The topic is vast, but you can start with this guide to know how to backup Windows 10 automatically.
21) Know that you can restore your PC
The best way to clean up a PC full of problems is to do a reset.
There are easy ways to repair Windows 10 without formatting and, as seen, you can also reset your PC and restore or reinstall Windows without losing personal data and settings.
22) Use automatic external programs
In another article the best free programs to optimize the Windows PC are listed and described.