After using a computer with Windows installed for a couple of months, you will notice that it’s not as fast as it used to be. No matter what specifications your rig has, the more you use it, the slower it gets. There are a lot of reasons for that. It might be clogged with junk files, infected by malware, full of bloatware or simply you have to many programs running that you might have forgot. Let’s go to each of them and see what slows down your Windows installation.
Checking for malware and spyware
Even if you don’t download files from strange website, there is still a good chance you might have one or two viruses slowing you down. Antivirus software such as Bitdefender is crucial to protecting your data, but even they might miss once in a while. To scan and remove malware we are going to use Malwarebytes. This free piece of software has a 99% detection rate and can save your important files from unwanted and malicious software.
Go to https://www.malwarebytes.com/ and select Free Download.
Head to your Downloads folder and look for a file called mb3-setup-consumer-3.1.2. Open it.
Select your desired language and click Ok.
Click Next 3 times. Make sure Create a desktop shortcut is checked and click Next.
After the installation is complete, click Finish.
If Malwarebytes does not start automatically, run it from the desktop shortcut. There a quite a few options available, but you needn’t concern yourself with them. Click Scan Now.
Here you can choose from Threat Scan and Custom Scan, Hyper Scan being premium only. Leave the default Threat Scan and click Start Scan.
Malwarebytes will now scan the places where viruses infect most often, such as RAM, Startup, Registry and C drive files. If the scan finds any malware, it will place it in quarantine and then ask you to restart your computer in order to remove them. Otherwise, click Close.
While Malwarebytes is an excellent tool for removing malware and unwanted programs, its active protection isn’t worth your money. You are better off with complete solutions such as Bitdefender or Kaspersky.
Cleaning Windows of junk files
Windows tends to keep a lot of temporary files, old installations, application cache and so on. When all those useless files clutter together you get a big decrease in both speed and storage space. There are a lot of tools you can use to clean the junk files, even Window’s Disk Cleanup does a decent job. However, we are going to use CCleaner. A very popular program that helps you keep your Windows device nice and tidy.
Head to https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download. In the download section choose Piriform.com.
The download should start automatically. Go to your downloads folder, look for a file called ccsetup531 and run it. From the installation window click Install.
The installation process should take less than a minute. Make sure View release notes is unchecked and then click Run CCleaner.
CCleaner will start. Leave the Windows tab to the defaults and click on the Applications tab.
That’s all you need to know about cleaning junk files. Check everything (green square), then click on Run Cleaner.
You will be asked to close Windows Explorer, Google Chrome, or any other running app which junk will be cleaned. At the end, you will be able to see how much space you’ve freed.
Cleaning Windows Registry
This step is optional. People might argue that cleaning the registry is useless as the performance gain is minimal. But it comes a time when you might want to modify one. It’s better to remove old and unused registry files so that you can easily navigate through them when you might need to.
From CCleaner, go to the Registry Tab. Make sure everything is checked and then click Scan for Issues.
After the search is finished, click Fix selected Issues. A new window will popup asking whether you want to do a backup first. Click No.
From the new window click Fix All Selected Issues. Then click Close.
That’s it for the registry.
Deleting Apps from startup
If your device takes too long to start, that might be because you have to many applications running at startup. Some of which you might not even know of because they came bundled with other software such as uTorrent.
From CCleaner, go to Tools, then go to Startup. From the list (purple square), select the application you don’t want to run at startup and click Disable. Repeat until your startup list is clean. You can always re-enable them.
This should speedup your startup time.
Uninstalling unwanted programs
Even though CCleaner helps you uninstall programs you no longer use, it does not delete the leftover folders, temporary files or registry keys. To do this we are going to use Geek Uninstaller.
Go to https://www.geekuninstaller.com/download and select ZIP.
Head to your Downloads folder and look for geek.zip. Unzip it and run geek.exe. No installation needed. Just pick a program from the list, right click it and select Uninstall.
The uninstallation process will begin. After it finishes, Geek will search for leftover traces. If it finds any, you will be notified and asked whether you want to remove them or not.
Defragmenting the hard drive
Hard drives have spinning platters, with data stored in different places around that platter. When your computer writes data to your drive, it does so in “blocks” that are ordered sequentially from one side of the drive’s platter to the other. Fragmentation happens when those files get split between blocks that are far away from each other. The hard drive then takes longer to read that file because the read head has to “visit” multiple spots on the platter. Defragmentation puts those blocks back in sequential order, so your drive head doesn’t have to run around the entire platter to read a single file.
To solve this, we are going to use Defraggler. Go to https://www.piriform.com/defraggler/download and from the download section select Piriform.com.
The download should start automatically. Go to your downloads folder, look for a file called dfsetup221 and run it. From the installation window, select your desired language and click Next. Then click Install.
After the installation is complete, make sure View Release notes is unchecked then click Finish.
Defraggler will now start.
Select a hard drive from the list (green square) and then click Analyze.
Defraggler will now start analyzing the disk’s fragmentation.
After it finishes, you will get the results of the analysis (green square). If your fragmentation level goes beyond 10%, it should be defragmented. Make sure your close all the processes that run from that hard drive then click Defrag. Wait for the defragmentation to finished before you start using it again.
This is all you need to know about disk defragmentation.
Disabling Windows Animations
This step is recommended on old, slow devices if Windows Explorer keeps lagging on you. If you have a recent rig with a decent GPU, you should skip this step.
Open the Start Menu, and type Advanced System Settings. Click View advanced system settings.
Under the Performance group, click Settings.
Select Adjust for the best performance, then click Apply.
If you don’t notice any performance increase, you may go back and re-enable the visual effects.
Turn off Search Indexer
If you experience CPU or hard drive slowness, you should turn indexing off. Search Indexer is the Windows service that handles indexing of your files for Windows Search, which fuels the file search engine built into Windows that powers everything from the Start Menu search box to Windows Explorer, and even the Libraries feature. However, when it starts indexing it tends to hog more resources than it should. Your device might stutter at critical times because of it.
Open the Start Menu, and type Indexing Options. Click Indexing Options.
We won’t uninstall the service, as it powers a lot of features in the backstage. We will simply remove all the folders from the indexing list.
Uncheck each folder from the list and then click OK.
This is all you have to do to turn it off.
Things to keep in mind
If you still have performance problems, you should consider upgrading your hardware. Adding more RAM and migrating the Windows on a SSD will greatly improve the speed of your system.
Don’t leave your system without protection. Have an antivirus solution installed for your data’s safety. Do a malware scan at least once a week.
You should clean the junk files on your Windows device monthly to ensure the best performance.
Never defragment a SSD! They don’t have any moving parts so they are not prone to fragmentation. Defragmentation will damage them.
Do regular check on your HDD and don’t let it go beyond 30% otherwise your performance will suffer.
Keep only the essential programs running at startup.
Remove any software you are no longer using or you don’t remember installing. Search online the name of anything suspicions. You might be hoarding bloatware or even malware.