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't even know existed it launches a little faster than usual. It does this by running a part of the application in the background of your idle system - making it slower. It's counter productive and stupid IMO. Beware: As soon as your computer updates, these settings are toggled back on. So you will be on an uphill battle disabling these settings. I experience a reset myself once every 2-3 months.
On the topic of Windows Updates...
If you are a site member, and I hope you are ;) , then chances are you have probably seen a lot of posts about Windows updates, specifically ruining or destroying computer along the way. There is just a general rule of thumb, because updates are a good thing. That rule is change your update settings to manual. Check TTB for updates or another source, and update with caution. Do a little research, it will go along way. Especially in today's world of constant updates and annoying bugs. Even bugs that could threaten your entire system or other computers on your network. Check out our latest post on the most recent bad windows update here.
Additional Speed Enhancements
Here are a few little tricks to squeeze out some additional speed and performance from your computer:
Your computer can actually draw power directly from an outlet to enhance performance, to do this right click on the power icon on the bottom right, or navigate settings > Power Options. Then create a new profile and customize the settings for "best performance" or "High performance" - I typically change the plan settings based on my individual needs, but selecting the High performance option is usually fine.
Virtualize more RAM:
There is actually a lot of debate and controversy about this. I have personally used it on many systems and have not experienced much of speed performance but I'd be interested in seeing if a system with very minimal ram would make a difference. To do, Navigate to "Advanced System Settings" > Advanced Tab > Settings under performance. Once you get there you will see a few options for virtualization. Bear in mind that this can only be done to a system with a HDD and not an SSD. Chances are if you have an SSD, your system should be running pretty fast anyway.
From settings: You will see all your drive partitions. If you have Raid, stay away from your raid partitions and drives, select the main partition usually labeled (C:) and use an initial and Maximum paging size for RAM. This process will split a piece of your ram and use it as if it were RAM. To my understanding, it does not replace or even technically add in the RAM to your system. It utilizes this portion when you are maxed out only and a critical or high program is called in addition to your background apps. So needless to say, this typically wont make gaming or streaming faster, but surely you have experienced your computer freezing, and maybe you tried to run a Ctl+Alt+Del to launch task manager and even that is frozen.... This would call on the VRAM to use the task manager and possibly unfreeze your system. So it is helpful!
Maintain a Clean Computer
Just like your room at home, after a lot of use, abuse, and moving things around, your computer can get cluttered and dirty. This immensely affects the speed and performance of your computer. Just organizing and cleaning out old files, pictures, videos and other misc files off your computer can make a world of difference. I personally utilize things like Google Drive and Google Photos for storing data on the cloud, but if you aren't comfortable with that, you can setup a NAS device or just purchase and external HDD and store it locally and off your computer.
A good place to start is your download folder - this is always full of junk, .exe's, photos, and random crap you probably will never use. If you ever find yourself with too much crap and you just want to start over, flash install windows 10 and start fresh. This is always a great way to ensure your computer is running optimally ad without viruses and clutter bogging things down.
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