Windows 10 is pretty fast, but you can make it more faster with a few Windows 10 Operating System Speed Tweaks.
There are three basic categories of speed and performance hacks: operating system (OS) tweaks, software enhancements, and app replacement or removal. You can also make all kinds of hardware upgrades, like buying more RAM or investing in an SSD, but for these tips and tricks, we will skip them.
Let us start with the most effective ways to boost speed on Windows 10 and then move onto the some slower options.
Windows 10 Operating System Speed Tweaks
1. Turn On Game Mode
The latest version of Windows 10, the Creators Update, adds a new feature known as Game Mode. There’s no way to perpetually run in Game Mode, unfortunately, but you can activate it with a simple key combination of the Windows Key + G. However, you must first enable Game Mode.
To enable Game Mode (it’s only available in Windows 10 Creators Update)
- Open Settings -> Gaming
- Choose Game Mode
- Turn on Use Game Mode
It’s only supposed to be used for games, but you can activate it whenever you need to get a little burst of speed. It’s particularly useful if you have a lot of background apps that are dragging down a resource-intensive program.
Unfortunately, Game Mode only improves performance on games by a few percentile points. Even so, some will experience a greater performance boost than others. The reduced number of background apps may improve your performance where no other tricks would help. In theory, Game Mode can function within any application that uses GPU acceleration. So if you want to try it out in Adobe Premiere, give it a try.
2. Disable Visual Effects
Windows offers a really easy way to shut off all visual enhancements. Simply,
- Navigate to System -> Advanced system settings
- Choose Advanced from the tabs above
- Under Performance, choose Settings
- Then check the radio button for Adjust for best performance to shut off all visual effects
Having visual effects disabled seems to make a big impact, particularly on older computers. On the downside, things won’t look as nice. It is advised to leave Smooth edges of screen fonts enabled as it helps when reading text.
3. Speed Up Processor
Windows possesses at lease three predefined settings for how your processor scales its frequency up to run processes. The three defaults are Balanced, High performance, and Power saver. (Sometimes manufacturers also include custom plans here.) You are almost always better off on a laptop using Balanced or Power saver, but High performance — as the name suggests — makes Windows faster. Because it consumes the most amount of power it’s also more appropriate for desktops. Choose it if you want to get the most juice out of your computer.
You can alter your settings by navigating to Power Options in the Control Panel.
4. Turn Off Startup Programs
About half of the programs that I install try to run silently in the background. That’s fine for just a handful of programs, but the effect on performance is cumulative. If your computer has enough programs set to run at startup, the entire system will bog down. Getting rid of non-essential startup software is absolutely essential for performance.
Fortunately, Windows makes it easy to remove most auto-starters. Just follow these steps:
- Press the key combination of Ctrl + Alt + Delete to enter Windows Task Manager
- Choose Task Manager from the menu that pops up
- Then select the Startup tab from the top of the screen
- From the Startup tab, you can eliminate most auto-starting applications
The majority of apps out there don’t need to run in the background, unless they came preinstalled with your computer (and even these are oftentimes bloatware).
Unfortunately, some programs hide in other locations, but you can find and eliminate stealth auto-starters as well.
5. Optimize Your Internet Connection
One of the biggest causes of slow internet speeds isn’t your provider. It’s your Wi-Fi connection. Thanks to common issues like channel congestion and overlapping Wi-Fi signals, it can be difficult getting a stable signal if you live in an apartment complex. Fortunately, most routers offer two features that can improve your connection’s speed and stability: a direct wired connection or you can change your router’s channel.
Configuring a wired connection is simple: just buy an Ethernet cable. Changing a router’s channel, while easy, requires a more in-depth explanation. A quick summary of the process goes like this:
- Use a Wi-Fi analyzer tool to determine which channels work best for your computer
- Go into your router’s settings to change the channel
6. Manage Windows Update for Performance – Change Active Hours
Windows Update, believe it or not, hogs resources when it runs in the background. You can configure it to run only at specific times — such as when the device isn’t in operation — which means no more restarts while you’re in the middle of some important task. To configure Windows Update to run only at specific hours, type Windows Update settings into the Windows Search Bar and run the configuration utility.
Under the heading Update settings, choose Change active hours.
You can change the active hours on this menu. I advise changing it a time period when the computer is on but unused.
Note: This setting only limits the times during which Windows will install updates automatically. Windows Update will still download updates during those hours.
Windows 10 Software Enhancements
7. RAM Disk
Out of all the apps out there that claim to improve performance, no program does it better than a RAM disk. A RAM disk program creates a drive using physical RAM, which is obscenely fast. Users then move parts of essential software to the RAM disk, which results in large gains in speed.
However, it is advised that RAM disk should only be used by those who want to improve the performance of a single application. The most important examples of software that benefit from RAM disks are Photoshop, browsers, and video editing software.
How to combine a RAM disk with the Chrome Browser?
It is recommended to have least 1 GB of RAM free. Users should have at least 8 GB of RAM for a 64-bit system and at least 4 GB of RAM on a 32-bit system. But you can get away with less.
A lot of RAM disk software exists. SoftPerfect RAM Disk is a good Paid version. However, if you just want to get your feet wet, give DataRAM’s RamDisk a try. The free version is limited to 1 GB in size, but if you own an AMD-based system, you get a 4 GB maximum instead.
Setting up a RAM disk just requires downloading and installing the software. After running the software, you need to configure it with the following options:
To recap, you should choose the maximum RAM disk size, which is around 1 GB. You can use any size but a smaller capacity limits its utility. Also, check the box for Set Disk Label. That way, you can identify the disk in the next step. Then choose Start RAMDisk.
The next step is to configure your browser to read and write cache files to and from the RAM disk.
- Right-click on your browser shortcut
- Then, choose Properties from the context menu
Windows 10 makes it easier than ever to access a browser shortcut. You can do it directly from the Taskbar.
From Properties, choose the Shortcut tab. Then within the Target: text input field, append the following code to the end of the text, where “R” is your own RAM disk drive letter:
The complete line of code should look something like this:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --disk-cache-dir=R:\
Your own code may differ, depending on Chrome’s configuration.
Finally, choose OK and restart your browser. From now on, Chrome will read and write cache files to the RAM disk.
8. Malware Scanner
9. Registry Cleaner
The Windows registry keeps a manifest of settings for Windows and other programs. Oftentimes, programs make changes to the registry when installed but when uninstalled fail to remove those changes. Over time, thousands upon thousands of registry modifications slow system performance. A registry cleaner removes those changes. However, in my opinion, registry cleaners cause more problems than they solve. While you might see a tiny amount of performance improvement, for the most part, you’re likely to see glitchy OS behavior after running a cleaner.
The best program out there for cleaning your registry is CCleaner.
10. Windows 10 App Replacement or Removal
A lot of users install horrible software, thinking that they need it. Some of the worst offenders include PDF readers, music and video players, browsers, and BitTorrent software. Fortunately, lots of great alternatives exist.
PDF Reader Replacement: Sumatra PDF
Lots of internet users believe that Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader is the only program capable of reading PDF files. That’s a myth. Because Adobe Acrobat can spread malware, you might want an alternative. A far better program, for the majority of people, is Sumatra PDF Reader. On top of that, most browsers can read PDF files. You may not even need a dedicated PDF reader.
Music and Video Players: VLC Player
VLC Player is one of the best — if not the best — media players around.
You could make the argument that better music players are out there. But for video, few can top VLC. On top of that, it is open source, supports keyboard shortcuts, plays almost any video file, and costs nothing.
Browser Replacement: Mozilla Firefox
Firefox is perhaps the fastest alternative to Microsoft’s Edge or Internet Explorer browsers.
Overall, Firefox offers everything that Edge doesn’t: extensibility, security, and speed. If you use the internet often, Firefox ranks among the first apps you should install.
BitTorrent Replacement: qBittorrent
For those of you using a horrible, malware-like BitTorrent client, there is hope. Check out the open-source qBittorrent. It receives regular updates. On top of that, qBittorrent is more fully featured and includes all the extras of its competitors, without the crazy malware infections.
11. Debloating Windows 10 With the In-Place Upgrade and unnecessary apps
The three best are 10AppsManager, Windows 10 App Remover, and Windows X App Remover. Take your pick, all of them work great for getting rid of the crapware. I experimented with 10AppsManager and found the tool extremely easy to use. On top of that, it’s also portable, meaning it doesn’t require installation.
To de-crap your computer, simply tap on the app you want to remove. For example, if Solitaire gets on your nerves, just left-click on it in the user interface and you’ll receive a prompt asking whether you intend on removing the app. Confirming this removes the application. The amazing thing is that 10AppsManager allows users to reinstall removed software.
You might notice that there’s a Removal All option that’s available at the bottom-left side of the screen. I don’t advise using this option, but in case you don’t use any Micorsoft products, it’s there.
How Do You Make Windows 10 Faster?
Aside from the standard recommendations of uninstalling malware and bloatware or stopping autostarting programs, a RAM disk helps Windows 10 run much faster. In fact, I would say that it makes the biggest difference out of all the options out there — particularly so if your computer uses a hard disk drive. On the other hand, a RAM disk provides the best results for those who use a browser, or video editor. For those who rely on their computer for relatively simple tasks, you may want to use a variety of methods from this roundup of speed enhancing tips.
Anyone have any speed hacks for Windows 10? Please let us know in the comments.