7 easy ways to speed up your Windows 10 computer, from disabling unneeded effects to upgrading your hardware

It’s easy to speed up a Windows 10 computer, no matter how old it is. Hollis Johnson
  • To speed up your Windows 10 computer, you should uninstall programs you don’t want, turn off special effects, and change your startup settings.
  • The single most effective way to speed up Windows 10, however, is to use a Solid State Drive.
  • You should also make sure Windows 10 is up-to-date, and that your computer is running at full power.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

People sometimes wonder how it was possible for the guidance computer in Apollo 11 — a computer with less memory than the cheapest Windows 10 PC in use today — to reach the moon.

The answer: It didn’t waste any processing power on a fancy interface, or multi-tasking.

You can eke some extra performance out of your own Windows 10 computer by making it a little more minimalist, like that original Apollo 11 computer. You can also give it a straight upgrade.

Here are seven ways you can speed up your Windows 10 computer right now.

Reduce the amount of apps that open at startup

You can disable slow startup programs in the Task Manager. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

If your computer takes a long time to boot, the most likely culprit is that you have too many programs slowing down the startup process.

This means there may be a lot of unnecessary programs running in the background, which continue to slow things down even after Windows is fully booted. Here’s how to fix it:

1. Right-click the Start button and choose “Task Manager.”

2. In Task Manager, click the “Startup” tab.

3. If you see a program you don’t want to run at startup, right-click it and choose “Disable.”

Uninstall bloatware and other unwanted programs

Windows computers come preloaded with tons of proprietary software. Shutterstock

There’s a good chance your computer came with a number of unwanted programs that run in the background and slow things down. Often called “bloatware,” they rarely serve a useful purpose.

You should take a few minutes to uninstall programs you don’t want or need from your computer.

To do that, follow the steps in our article on how to properly uninstall programs on Windows 10.

Disable Windows special effects

You can disable special effects to improve your computer’s performance. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Windows 10 has a lot of special effects – some very obvious, others quite subtle. They make the experience of using your computer more fun and enjoyable, but they might also be slowing your PC down, especially if it’s older or has a slow processor.

Here’s how to turn off some of these special effects.

1. Click the Start button and start the Control Panel.

2. Click “System.”

3. Click “Advanced system settings.”

4. On the System Properties window, make sure you are on the Advanced tab and click “Settings.”

5. Here you can manually turn off special effects or just click “Adjust for best performance.”

Turn off window transparency

The transparency effect is so subtle you might not notice it’s been turned off. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

You might not have noticed, but there are some subtle transparency effects built into Windows. Open the Start menu, for example, and you should see a faint, blurred impression of whatever lies behind it.

If you don’t want to sacrifice processing speed for such a small effect, you can turn it off entirely (and probably not notice the aesthetic difference).

1. Click the Start button and click the Settings icon, which is shaped like a gear and is right above the Power icon.

2. Click “Personalisation.”

3. Click “Colours.”

4. Scroll down and turn off “Transparency effects” by sliding the switch to the left.

Run your computer at full power

Unless you often use your laptop on battery power without a charger, you can probably choose the ‘high performance’ power plan. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Your computer might be running at less than full speed, depending upon how your power management controls are set.

Designed to make your laptop battery last longer, Windows offers several power plans that deliberately slow down your PC to save power. Here’s how to choose a higher power plan:

1. Click the Start button and start the Control Panel.

2. Click “Power Options.”

3. For the best overall processing speed, choose “High performance.”

If you’re not on a laptop, you probably won’t see these options.

Keep Windows up to date

Make sure your computer is up to date for the best performance. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Make sure your computer stays up to date. Microsoft issues regular patches and updates for Windows, and while many of these are related to improving your computer’s security (which is also important), some also improve performance.

To see if there are updates waiting to be installed:

1. Click the Start button and click the Settings icon, which is shaped like a gear and is right above the Power icon.

2. Click “Update & security.”

3. You can check for updates or install and updates waiting to be installed.

Use an SSD or install additional memory

Installing a solid-state drive into your computer will give its performance a boost. WD

Finally, you can dramatically improve the performance of your computer by increasing its memory and storage.

If your computer has a traditional hard drive – one with spinning metal platters – replacing it with a solid-state drive (SSD) can make a world of difference. An SSD has the same kind of memory as a USB flash drive (though much, much faster) and it will allow Windows to boot several times faster, and programs to start in a fraction of the time.

Adding an SSD is the single biggest improvement you can make to a PC, and it can even make a bigger difference than upgrading to a computer with a faster processor.

In addition, if you use your computer for a lot of resource-intensive tasks, like photo editing, video production, or gaming, adding additional memory can help as well.

You should have no less than 4GB of RAM in your computer for Windows to run efficiently, but adding additional memory can improve performance.

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