Windows is a popular OS when it comes to desktops. But, the popular OS has its own fair share of problems. Due to the diversity in hardware and the amount of built-in bloat, Windows has never been as stable as macOS. To add to that, unnecessary background services which you cannot disable. All of these leads to an underperforming system and that’s why you see so many articles around the web stating “How to make Windows 10 faster”. Well, I am not gonna talk about disk fragmentation, use your Pen Drive as a RAM, Uninstall apps and all those tricks.
We will talk about some strong software changes and hardware upgrades on Windows. So, here are 8 hacks to speed up your Windows 10.
How To Make Windows 10 Faster?
Turning off Cortana?
Now, I don’t really like when companies start pushing services on you. There is no problem with Cortana but it’s not fair when you don’t have the choice to disable it. With Cortana on, you have constant services running in the background. Not only that, it does affect the search results. For example, I wanted to search for an application called “iSpring Free Cam”. Below is how the search results look with Cortana and after Cortana disabled.
Now, Windows doesn’t let you disable Cortana after the recent update. But, you can still do it by editing the registry entries. But, before you do that I recommend you take a backup first. In case, you end up with an issue, you can always roll back to the previous backup point. Now, to edit the registry entries, go to the run menu and type “regedit.exe”.
Alternatively, you can also type Registry Editor in the Start Menu and click on it to open the Registry key menu.
In the Registry Editor Menu, navigate to the following path
We have to create a folder under Windows. To do that, right click on Windows and select New and Click on Key. Name the key as “Windows Search”.
Now, in the Windows Search folder, create a D-Word entry. Name it as “Allow Cortana” and put the value as 0. Once done, click on OK and restart Windows.
In case you are too lazy to do all of these, here is the link to a zip folder which has 2 registry entries: Allow Cortana and Disable Cortana. Just double click on Disable Cortana and it should do the job for you. Restart your PC once and post that you should have Cortana disabled. The search bar for Cortana will be invisible now and the web results and suggestions during the search will also be disabled.
Disable native Indexing?
After you have switched off Cortana, let’s move to Windows Search. It isn’t the best out there. Plus, you have the Search services continuously running in the background. It searches for emails, indexes files, and other contents. This consumes a lot of resources in the background and slows down your startup time even further.
So, if the native Windows search isn’t any faster so why not just turn it off and save some resources. To do that, we need to remove entries from the Indexing list. Go to the Windows Search for the last time and search Indexing options.
In the Indexing Options menu, we need to remove all the entries. For that, click on the “Modify” button.
Now in the Modify Indexed Locations menu, uncheck all the Selected Locations. You can leave Program Files if you want because of its a habit of jumping to Start Menu to open apps. This will remove the folders from being indexed. If you can’t find the folders, click on the Folders under “Summary of selected Locations” section below and it will redirect you to the Location in the “Change selected locations” section. Once you have unchecked everything, click on OK to save the changes.
Once you have saved the changes, the selected folder will reflect on the Indexing Options menu. Close the Window and now Windows Search won’t index any files. But it’s still running in the background, you can stop it altogether from Services.msc by disabling the service “Windows Search”.
Right click on the Windows Search service and click on Properties. In the Properties window, select Startup Time as “Disabled”.
Now that you have disabled native Indexing on Windows, it’s time to switch to a better Window’s search app called Everything.
Everything is a popular Window’s utility that replaces the native Windows search. Compare to Windows search, Everything is way faster and lets you perform all the functions that you can go through the Windows Search.
Analyze Startup Impact?
Most Windows system take a lot of time to boot up. The factor which has a direct impact is Startup Programs. Unlike most people, I wouldn’t recommend you to disable all Startup Programs. That’s just being naive! I recommend you check the startup impact and disable the apps with higher impact. To do that open the Task Manager. You can right click on the taskbar and click on “Task Manager”. Alternatively, you can also press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to trigger Task Manager.
In the Task Manager, navigate to the Startup tab. In the Startup tab, you will see the Startup programs and corresponding to it the “Startup Impact”. If you see some program’s impact as not measured, reboot the system once and it should be measured. Now, If the Startup Impact is High, then the program consumes more time and resources during the startup. We need to disable these programs and to do that, click and select the program and hit the Disable button at the bottom-right.
Post this, you should see a significant improvement in the response time after the Windows startup.
Best Performance Mode?
Now, these are some drastic measures. If you are system is behaving too sluggish and jittery with the graphics, I would recommend switching to Best Performance Mode. However, this will cut down several animations and graphics options. To switch to the Best Performance Mode, go to the Start Menu and type “Adjust appearance”. You will see a setting pop up called “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows”, click on it.
Now, in the Performance Options window, select “Adjust for Best Performance”. By default, the selected option will be “Adjust for best appearance”. After you have selected Adjust for Best Performance option, you will see animations and graphics options which will get disabled in the below section. In case, you want some specific graphics like “Show Thumbnails instead of icons”, you can check on it and enable the graphic. Click on the Ok button to register the changes
Once you have enabled the Best Performance Mode you will see a few graphics changes. The noticeable ones would be icons instead of Thumbnails and no shadow under window and mouse pointer, etc. The graphics difference in this mode is huge but it speeds up the native File Explorer as well as reduces the stress on the graphics rendering.
Windows by default run the system at mediocre settings to save battery. Turning it to the highest setting may cause your battery to drain faster. But, it does improve the performance of your system. Here’s a quick way to toggle Battery modes, click on the Battery icon on the bottom-right of the taskbar. It will bring up a Battery optimization menu wherein the default mode is set for Better Performance. Drag the slider to the extreme right to set it to Best Performance mode.
Turn off Windows Defender?
Windows Defender is baked into Windows 10. It runs several services in the background to ensure the system is protected against malware and viruses. Recently, Windows Defender also brought the sandboxing feature which ensures that a virus-infected app doesn’t corrupt other files. Windows Defender is a good native service to use but if it’s causing a toll on your system or you get annoyed by the frequent notification you can turn it off.
However, like Cortana, there is no direct way to do it and you have to edit Registry keys. But, before you do that I recommend you take a backup first. In case, you end up with an issue, you can always roll back to the previous backup point. Now, to edit the registry entries, go to the run menu and type “regedit.exe”.
Alternatively, you can also type Registry Editor in the Start Menu and click on it to open the Registry key menu.
In the Registry Editor Menu, navigate to the following path:
You will already find a file called Default. Now, to disable Windows Defender we have to create a new D-Word file. To do that, right click on the empty space in the right and select New. Under New, click on “D-WORD (32-bit) value”.
Name the key as “DisableAntiSpyware”. Change the value to 1 by double-clicking on the key. Once done, click on the Ok button
Restart your PC for the changes to take effect. After the restart, Windows Defender services should not be running.
Turn off One Drive Sync?
Microsoft added One Drive Sync in Windows 10 which automatically backs up your data. But, it continuously tries to sync files from windows to the cloud which takes a fair bit of resources. In my case, I use Google Drive so I don’t need One Drive sync. Hence, I turned it off. To do that, click on the One Drive icon at the bottom-right of the taskbar.
In the One Drive menu, click on the More button at the bottom-right. From the extended menu, click on Settings.
In the Microsoft One Drive settings menu, go to the Account Tab. In the One Drive Storage section, you will see a hyperlink titled “Unlink this PC”. Click on it and it will pause all the syncs from your system forever.
Now, the sync is stopped but One Drive will still run every time you restart your system. To disable that, go to the Settings tab and uncheck the first option under the General section. After that, click on the Ok button to register the changes.
You might already know about OverClocking. But, Overclocking is not always supported by every BIOS and there are several consequences you need to consider. So, here is another concept called Undervolting. Before, we begin with Undervolting we need to understand what it actually is. The CPU and GPU are often supplied with a slightly extra voltage which they don’t actually need. Now, this extra voltage leads to the generation of Thermal energy which causes thermal throttling. In simple words, when your CPU is heated up to the max temperature it tries to return to normal temperature by shedding load.
So, if your PC does get heated up a lot while doing normal stuff, you should try undervolting. To undervolt, you can use the Intel’s XTU app for Intel processors. If you use an AMD processor you can use a third-party app called Throttlestop. I am on an Intel i5-7200U, so I am using the Intel XTU app.
To undervolt your CPU, open the XTU app and go to the Core section
Now what you can do is, decrease the amount of voltage being supplied to your CPU. To decrease the voltage, we have to go towards the negative side. Please be careful while doing this and make sure you don’t go to the positive side as this would lead to overvolting. Overvolting causes more voltage to be supplied and thus frequent heating of your PC. In my case, the processor is Intel i5-7200U, so I have undervolted it to -0.1 V. You can google your CPUs Undervolt limit or just try decreasing it stop-by-stop and see where your PC freezes. The previous voltage point should be the sweet spot. If at any step, your system freezes just restart your PC and it would reset the undervolt limit.
You can stress test within the app and see the before and after difference. I have got almost a 10-degree temperature difference after Undervolting. This not only stops thermal throttling but also increases the life of your processor.
But don’t overdo this and I wouldn’t recommend doing this for your GPU. Undervolting is less complicated than overclocking but does give long term benefits.
So, these were some of the ways to significantly boost your windows performance. If you want to switch off all Windows activities including Windows Defender, Firewall, Update services, etc, you can use this GitHub script. However, I would recommend that you read the Instructions and understand what services you are disabling.
Let me know in the comments below if you are stuck at any step or have further more questions on Windows.