If you own a windows desktop, laptop, or even server in some of these cases - This is my official "how to" on making the most out of your computer as far as speed and performance. These tips will clean your system of potential threats, inefficiencies, and errors that can make your computer slow and laggy!
Generally speaking, these tips will only pertain to windows systems, sorry macs, you are already pretty optimized through system updates. Unless Apple decides that your computer is no longer worth it and then it will slow down to force you into buying a new one... I digress....
Cleaning and Security
When it comes to privacy, security, cleaning and maintenance - It can be extremely difficult for someone looking at a solution that WONT slow their system down. Generally speaking, if you run an antivirus on your computer, you can guarantee that it's using a good chunk of your CPU and ram on a daily basis. Most antivirus software will constantly be running and scanning, and it takes a huge toll on performance. If you want your system to be safe and not have to constantly be running I would suggest this 2 part combination of cleaning and security.
Cleans and scans for malicious pre-existing software, malware, and tracking cookies
Allows you to uninstall Microsoft proprietary and other applications you normally wouldn't be able to using the regular "add or remove programs"
Removes un-needed registry and duplicate files on system cleaning up space, and therefor making your system faster
Doesn't run in background - only will call - I prefer this for pretty much every single app on my computer
When it comes to anti malware, Malwarebytes has the best performance and reputation
Dynamic setting allow you to meter run time, making things like gaming, steaming, and utilizing other resources elsewhere
Options for quick and deep scanning that you can run overnight (if you are worried about viruses)
Free version available and pretty decent all things considered. Of course the paid versions offer better security and optimization
I have used both of these for many years. However lately, I typically only use CCleaner. I think Malwarebytes is great but I only download it and run deep scans if I think I have a virus, because even though it's great at optimization, it still pulls resources.
Windows being Windows...
This section is brought to you by Microsoft trying to be Apple and changing their software updates to do what they want with it, but ultimately failing because you can still find workarounds to disable things like advertising, privacy, and other tracking software that they implement to try and make a few extra bucks.
Disabling Privacy Settings:
If you navigate your way to privacy settings on windows (I usually just use the Cortana search bar) You will find a plethora of "interesting" advertising settings. Turn it all off. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life trust me, and you will see a better performance!
I won't go through every detail here but I will say at the very least go down to Background Applications - and just disable everything you don't think you will be running on a daily basis. Which for me, is quite literally everything on that list. This list is propagated by Microsoft to ensure when you launch that built in Alarm clock that you didn