While Windows 11 has been released and is being installed on many PCs throughout the world, Windows 10 remains an extremely popular operating system. The fact that it has been in use since 2015, however, means that many of the PCs that still use it are becoming outdated. This can result in poor performance and other issues that can make using the computer very frustrating.
While the ideal option is to buy a new laptop with Windows 11 to get the latest features, that is not always practical for many businesses. If you want to help improve the performance of your Windows 10 systems so that they will work well for as long as possible, there are some simple things that you can do. Read through the following five tasks that you can attempt to get noticeable improvements to the performance of your Windows 10 computers.
Update Windows and All Device Drivers
Keeping your Windows operating system up to date with the latest patches is one of the most important things you can do. This will not only help to optimize the performance of the computer, but it will also help to maintain its security so that you will be less likely to get a virus, malware, or other issues. Windows 10 updates are generally going to be applied automatically by default, but if you have disabled them in the settings, you may be several updates behind, which could cause issues. Take the time to check for Windows updates on each computer to make sure you are using the latest versions.
In addition to updating Windows itself, you will want to make sure you are using the latest drivers and software updates. Companies that make things like graphics cards, applications, and other things regularly release updates that can improve the way they function. Keeping a system fully updated will help to get the best performance possible.
Use ReadyBoost Feature
Windows comes with a powerful feature designed to improve performance on systems that do not have enough memory (RAM). Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the feature, which makes it one of the most often overlooked options. This feature is known as ReadyBoost and it allows you to use a USB drive for page files, which is much more efficient than using most types of hard drives.
If you believe your performance issues are related to insufficient RAM, and you don’t want to buy and install more RAM, this feature may be the perfect option. To use ReadyBoost, follow these simple steps:
- Insert a USB flash drive into any USB port on the computer
- Open File Explorer
- Right Click on the USB flash drive, then select properties
- Select ReadyBoost, then ‘Use This Device’
- Windows will determine how much free space is needed to optimize your memory usage
- Click “OK” to confirm
Once this is done, your computer will use that thumb drive whenever it needs to cache files from your RAM. You will see a file named ReadyBoost.sfcache on the drive. In some situations, this can result in a significant boost to your performance.
Disable Unnecessary Programs in Startup
When you first turn on a computer and Windows 10 boots up, it will automatically start a number of programs. Some of these are essential programs and services that are needed for Windows 10 to run properly. Many others, however, are optional programs or may be apps that you installed and selected the option to open on startup.
These programs can take up a lot of system resources, which can cause poor performance. To check which programs are opening automatically, click on the Start button, then Settings, then Apps, and finally Startup. This will display a list of the programs, which you can then either remove from startup or simply disable temporarily to see if it improves performance. Removing or disabling programs here will ensure your have as much system resources as possible available for using your computer, which should boost performance.
Upgrade Your Hardware
If you want to get your computer running as fast as possible, but you don’t want to upgrade the entire device, consider upgrading specific components. This is often a very easy and affordable way to extend the usable life of a PC by several years. While there are many different components in a computer, there are really three main options that you can upgrade to optimize the performance for your users:
- RAM – When a computer is running slowly, upgrading RAM is often the most effective solution. RAM is also a very easy to install component, and is also very affordable, making this a great place to start.
- Hard Drive – If your computers are running on a traditional spinning disk hard drive, upgrading to a solid-state drive will give you a dramatic performance boost. SSDs operate far faster than older drives, making them an obvious choice when it comes to upgrading components. Since most computers made in the first years of Windows 10 had spinning disk drives, this is likely a great option to consider.
- Graphics Card – If users do a lot of work that requires complicated graphics processing, upgrading your GPU can give you a huge boost. Modern GPUs are not cheap, but they can dramatically improve performance in these specific types of situations.
Optimize Your Storage
Whether you are using a traditional hard drive or a solid-state drive, you will want to make sure that it is properly optimized. There are two main things that you need to worry about when it comes to optimizing your hard drive. First, you do not want to keep your drive at or near its capacity. It is generally recommended that you keep about 30% of your drive free so that the computer can use it for temporary files, paging, and other functions. If your drive is more than 30% full, look for programs and files that you don’t use and can be removed.
The other thing to look into is defragmenting your drive. While defragmenting hard drives is not as important today as it was a generation ago, it is still something that you should do every year or two. To defrag your drive, run through the following simple steps:
- Open Settings
- Click on System
- Click on Storage
- Under More Storage Settings, click on Optimize Drives
- Select Your Drive
- Click Optimize
Your computer will defrag the drive automatically. It may take several minutes to complete depending on what needs to be done. When completed, reboot your computer and see if there is a notable improvement in performance.
Understand the Limitations of a Computer
While these simple tips can really help to improve the performance of your Windows 10 computer, make sure that you have realistic expectations on what older computers can do. At some point, it will be necessary to upgrade to more modern equipment to get the best possible performance.