Many of us welcomed Windows 10 when it first entered the scene. We anticipated a product superior to the universally hated Windows 8, and we got it. And while the new iteration of Microsoft’s famed Operating System is a big improvement, it’s not perfect.
From aggressive data collection to forced updates, Windows 10 has rightfully drawn a lot of criticism from both reviewers and ordinary users. Despite its sleek new layout and updated features, it can also suffer from slow performance. If you’ve turned on your PC only to wait an absurdly long time to load your desktop, or have discovered applications are running slowly, don’t fret. You’re not alone.
I’ve been frustrated on multiple occasions by slow performance, so I’ve compiled a list of several reasons you may be having a slow Windows 10 experience and what you can do about it.
Reason 1: You Have Too Many Startup Programs
Symptoms: Your PC takes a long time to start up and even freezes up during boot.
How to Fix It: To fix this issue, you’ll have to disable some applications that automatically run on startup.
Step 1: Hit Windows Key + X to bring up the Quick Link menu. Click on Task Manager.
Step 2: Once Task Manager opens, click on the Startup tab.
Step 3: Look through the list of programs which run on startup, and find the programs you don’t necessarily need or never actually use. Right-click on the unhelpful program, then click Disable. Repeat this for all programs that are using up extra resources on startup.
Reason 2: Corrupted Windows System Files
Symptoms: Your PC experiences driver errors, blue or black screens, and other problems that severely impact your daily use.
How to Fix It: The Windows 10 OS gives you two major tools to combat this issue. The first is the Deployment Image Service and Management Tool (DISM). The second is the System File Checker (SFC).
Step 1: Type powershell in the Windows search bar. Once the desktop application pops up, right-click and click Run as Administrator.
Step 2: Type in dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth in the Window which appears. Hit Enter and DISM will begin finding corrupt files and replace them.
Step 1: Open PowerShell from the Windows search bar. Make sure to run as administrator.
Step 2: Type sfc /scannow and hit enter.
This process will find and replace corrupt files. When it’s done, restart your PC. If corrupt files were the cause of your slow experience, your PC should run a lot more smoothly.
Reason 3: You’re Running Too Many Programs at Once
It may sound too simple to be true, especially if you’re running a powerful computer with a quad or octa-core i7 processor. There’s no way a few extra windows can be slowing down your PC, right? Check the Task Manager to make sure.
Symptoms: Slow browsing. Applications take a long time to start or load. Application screens freeze frequently.
How to Fix It: Use the Task Manager to find applications using too much memory and close them.
Step 1: Type Task Manager in the Windows Search bar and open it.
Step 2: Once you have opened Task Manager, find programs that are using the most memory. You can sort programs by memory use simply by clicking on the top of the Memory column. Right-click the offending programs, then choose End Task.
Also, close any extra tabs on your browser and quit any applications which are running in the background. This will free up RAM and CPU bandwidth so your PC will run faster.
Reason 4: Your Antivirus Software Is Extremely Active
Symptoms: You notice your PC slowing down at random times.
How to Fix It: Your antivirus may be taking up processing power while running a background scan. Change your antivirus settings.
Step 1: Open your antivirus software from Windows Search bar. For example, I’m using Malwarebytes.
Step 2: Click Settings. Then click Scan Schedule. Select the box of the Scan you wish to change, then click Edit.
Step 3: Change the time and date of the scan to your convenience, as well as its frequency, if you’re given the option.
These screenshots demonstrate the process for Malwarebytes, but there are many other antivirus programs out there. However, the procedure for changing scheduled scans is similar to most of them.
Reason 5: Your Hard Drive Is Low on Space
Symptoms: Your PC can run as much as half its normal speed if your hard drive reaches 95% capacity. The lack of storage for temporary files used by programs causes your OS to run improperly.
How to Fix It: Find out what’s taking up the most space on your C Drive and delete or transfer those unnecessary files. You may use a PC cleaner program to speed up the process.
Step 1: Open Storage in Windows Explorer.
Step 2: Click on This PC. Also, to get rid of temporary files automatically and ensure you save more space, turn on Storage Sense (highlighted in yellow below).
Step 3: Select a Folder from those that pop up. Temporary Files, Apps & Games, and Other are usually among the categories which take up the most space. Continue clicking until you reach a folder in Windows Explorer. Delete the appropriate files by selecting them and clicking delete.
Open the subfolder.
A Windows Explorer file will open. Delete the files you don’t need.
Reason 6: PC Power Plan
Symptoms: Your laptop has a decent, even great battery life, but does not perform well when you use a lot of applications or browsers.
How to Fix It: There is a possibility your laptop’s Power Plan is on Battery Saver or Recommended. To maximize performance, you’ll have to change this to High Performance mode.
Step 1: Type in Power Options in your Windows 10 Search bar. Open Edit Power Plan in the Control Panel.
Step 2: Click Change Advanced Power Settings in the lower left corner.
Step 3: Choose High Performance, then hit enter or click OK.
This will boost your PC performance. As it increases your CPU speed, though, it will drain your battery at a faster rate.
There are times when you have no idea what the cause of your slow computer is. You don’t have too many tabs open in your browser, you have enough space on your disk, your antivirus is working perfectly, and you seem to have done everything correctly — yet for some reason, your PC still runs slowly.
Luckily, Windows 10 has two tools that can help you figure out what’s going on. The first is the Windows Troubleshooter. The second is the Performance Monitor.
Step 1: Open the Control Panel through the Windows Search field.
Step 2: Click on System and Security, then Security and Maintenance.
Step 3: Click Start Maintenance under Maintenance.
Type in perfmon /report in the Windows Search box and hit enter.
The Performance Manager will automatically run a report and diagnose issues that are impacting your PC.
Luckily for you, it will also recommend solutions for each problem found.
A Final Word
Using a slow computer is a frustrating experience. Hopefully, the tips provided here will make that an issue of the past. Some of these tips — such as deleting extra files, disabling Startup applications and running Windows Troubleshooter — can also expose other issues you may not have seen, such as malware. Hopefully, you’ll now have a great browsing experience. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or concerns.