77 (Step-by-Step) Tips to Speed Up Your Old [Windows] Laptop Right Now

If you want to see the best tips and tricks to speed up your Windows laptop in one place, then you’ll LOVE this (updated) guide.

We personally tested, reviewed and updated these tips for Windows. Both free and paid. 

Contents show

Add An SSD For Faster Boot Up

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • $50 - $250
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Dramatically

Adding a secondary SSD – or replacing the hard disk drive – is a sure fire way to get faster boot time and quicker data access. Most laptops have an M.2 or SATA slot.

Check which kind you have before buying an SSD, as the two are not directly compatible. The steps for installing an SSD vary by model. With some laptops you remove a single screw to access an M.2 slot. In others, you remove up to 10 screws and fully pop off the bottom half of the chassis. 

A run down on specific procedures can be found here.

Check the warranty information first! You may void the warranty when opening the case and replacing factory parts – even if there is an open slot available for upgrades.

Upgrade Your RAM For Better Performance

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • $50 - $300
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Noticable

Upgrading the physical memory is one of the most cost efficient ways to improve overall laptop performance. More RAM means better speed when running multiple tabs or programs.

RAM access points vary by model, and may require removing a single screw or completely disassembling the laptop. Check out a full video run down on the process  

Before buying new RAM, verify the maximum amount your laptop’s motherboard can handle.

Be sure to also check the manual to find out the current RAM configuration. If you have a single 8GB stick for instance, you can double your RAM to 16GB by adding a secondary 8GB module.

Uninstall Unused Apps

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster app lauching & running
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Removing old, unused apps frees up disk drive space to make room for new programs. If any of those apps run in the background or automatically start during the Windows boot up process, you will notice a speed bump after they are deleted.

To remove old programs you don’t need, type “add or remove” in the Windows search bar and click the “Add Or Remove Programs System Settings” icon. Click the name of any program you no longer use and then select “Uninstall.” From there, just follow the prompts to remove that program from your laptop.

Clean Your Laptop And Keep It Dust Free

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • $5
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

You wouldn’t think something as simple as dust might slow down your computer, but dust impedes airflow and keeps your laptop from cooling properly. Overheating can then directly impact overall laptop performance.

Particularly in gaming rigs where heat management becomes an issue, keeping your laptop dust free is critical to maintaining acceptable overall speeds. Using canned air is a simple and cheap way to clean dust from all the ports and openings on your laptop. Check out a full video guide on how to clean your notebook.

Update Your Drivers

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster app lauching & running
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Drivers act as a buffer between your laptop’s hardware and the operating system. If your drivers are out of date, you may experiencing major slow downs. This is particularly true for gaming, but can also affect standard home or office tasks as well.

To update drives, type “Device Manager” into the Windows search box and click the top icon. Click the arrow next to any category, such as Display Adapters, and then right-click an individual piece of hardware and choose “Update Driver” to start the process. Note that some peripherals may have their own software specifically for upgrading drivers. Check your taskbar to find programs like the GeForce Experience or Logitech Gaming Mouse panels for updating drivers.

Update Your Drivers

Defrag Your Hard Disk Drive

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster app lauching & running
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

If your laptop uses an HDD, data can become fragmented across the drive and take longer to be accessed by the operating system. To keep your data speeds up, you should periodically defragment your hard disk drive.

You can start the process by typing “Defrag” into the Windows search bar and clicking the “Defragment And Optimize Drives” icon. Click your hard drive and choose “Optimize” to manually start a defragment procedure. You can also schedule more frequent automatic defrags in this same screen by clicking “Change Settings” and selecting a shorter time period. Note that defragmenting typically isn’t necessary for solid state drives, which arrange data different than traditional hard disk drives.

Defrag Your Hard Disk Drive

Switch To The Linux OS

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • Few hours or more
  • Noticable

Windows 10 may be the most prevalent operating system in the world, but it isn’t the fastest. Free operating systems like Linux are better optimized and feature less bloatware. Completely changing from Windows to Linux is a drastic move, but if you aren’t a gamer and only use word processing tools or watch Netflix, there isn’t much downside. Not only will you get faster speeds, but your laptop will be exposed to far less malware and virus activity.

Mint Cinnamon and Ubuntu are two of the most popular Linux versions available right now. A full guide on creating a Linux boot drive to install the operating system can be found here.

Perfrom A Fresh OS Install

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • Few hours or more
  • Noticable

More drastic than simply uninstalling old unused apps, performing a clean install of Windows is a last resort scenario. Unfortunately, it is a necessary process to perform periodically, especially when a laptop gets bogged down with malware or has extensive registry changes.

A clean install virtually guarantees faster boot up and better overall speeds while using any programs, but it has a major downside. You lose all your data and start over from scratch! The Windows 10 reinstall tool, and a full breakdown on how to complete the clean installation process, can be found at Microsoft’s website here.

Uninstall Bloatware From Your Laptop's Hard Drive

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

To keep profit margins up, laptop manufacturers allow companies to install unnecessary programs – known as bloatware – on budget computers. Bloatware eats up memory while running in the background, and these programs are frequently set to automatically load on startup.

To manually uninstall bloatware, open the Control Panel in the Start menu and click “Uninstall a Program.” From there, any app can be easily uninstalled. If you want to get rid of large amounts of bloatware in a single go, programs like PC Decrapifier and Revo Uninstaller can make the process simpler. Want a laptop that starts fresh with absolutely no bloatware? Look for any modeled labeled a “signature edition.” They cost more, but have no bloatware out of the box.

Clean Up Your Laptop's Hard Disk

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Over time, your laptop’s hard drive becomes cluttered with unused files and apps. In particular, temporary files created by various programs can clog the hard drive and result in significant speed loss.

Manually uninstalling old programs or bloatware won’t remove these temporary files. To clean them all out in one swoop, type “Disk Cleanup” in the Windows search box and click the icon at the top of the results. For maximum cleaning, click the check box next to each entry and then select “OK” to automatically clear out temporary files, downloaded web pages, unused thumbnails, and so on.

Clean Up Your Laptop's Hard Disk

Restart Your Laptop Regularly

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

It doesn’t take long for an operating system like Windows 10 to get clogged with dozens of processes running simultaneously. The more programs are running in the background, the more memory is used, until eventually you will notice serious reductions in overall speed.

There’s a quick fix for this problem – just simply restart your laptop on a regular basis! Microsoft recommends once a week, but once a day is more helpful. Regularly restarting the OS shuts down any processes running in the background. Make sure to see our tip on stopping programs from running on startup to get even faster speeds.

Repair Your Laptop's System Files

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Noticable

Windows requires a host of different files and settings to work together in harmony to work correctly. If you notice programs frequently crashing or major bouts of lag while performing everyday tasks, then corrupted system files may be the culprit.

To fix these files automatically, type “Powershell” in the search box and then right-click the top result and choose “Run As Administrator.” From there, click “Yes” to open a dialog box. Type the phrase “sfc /scannow” (without the quotation marks) and hit Enter to automatically scan for corrupted files. Follow the prompts to replace any damaged files causing slow downs.

Transfer Your Data To The Cloud

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster app lauching & running
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

Whether you are using an HDD or an SSD, filling your drive to the point of reaching capacity will result in significantly reduced performance. When a drive is nearly full, it takes longer to write data, which means slower speeds accessing your files or saving new files.

To counteract this problem, we recommend transferring data to a cloud-based backup service. Windows 10 automatically includes Microsoft’s OneDrive, program which lets you store 5GB of data for free.

If that isn’t enough space, other free online storage tools like Google Drive or DropBox can offer additional storage capacity, or you can buy much larger cloud backup through services such as iDrive 8.

Transfer Your Data To The Cloud

Check For Replacement Parts Covered By The Warranty

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

When you are consistently experiencing crashes and slow downs, there may be faulty hardware to blame.

Laptop warranties can vary widely, however. Some will be as short as 90 days, while others will go out to 3 years! While repairing a laptop is often so expensive it isn’t worth the effort, your machine may still be under warranty and have replacement parts up for grabs.

To check on your warranty (or see if any part have been recalled), head to the website for your laptop’s manufacturer. Navigate to the “Warranty & Services” section of the site to enter your serial number and find out if you are covered for replacement parts.

Use Microsoft Fix It To To Troubleshoot Problems

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

Previously, Microsoft offered the Fix It tool (later renamed to Easy Fix) for finding and quickly resolving specific problems.Unfortunately, both the Microsoft Fix It and Microsoft Easy Fix tools are no longer supported or offered for download.

There is another option that replaces these programs however, and its built right into Windows 10. Open the Start menu and click the gear icon to access the Settings menu, then select the Update & Security option.

Type “Troubleshoot” in the “Find A Setting” search box, and from there just click any option to troubleshoot performance problems, such as Windows Update or Hardware & Devices.

Clean Up The Windows Registry

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

One area of the Windows operating system that isn’t well understood by users is the registry, which stores information and settings on various programs and drivers. The registry can become cluttered or corrupted over time, which is where a host of registry cleanup programs come into play.

Note that speed gains are typically minimal after running a registry cleaner, unless you have a particularly bloated and messy registry due to frequently installing / uninstalling freeware or moving around files.

If you want to give a registry cleaner a shot, plenty of options are available such as RegSeeker or Registry First Aid. Be sure to to back up your registry before using any registry cleaning software, however!

Use The Performance Troubleshooter

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

Previous versions of Windows included a tool called the Performance Troubleshooter that sought out problems affecting speed or causing crashes. That tool has been split into two areas with Windows 10.

To troubleshoot specific problems with printers, keyboards, or power settings, just type “Troubleshoot” into the search bar and click the icon. From there, follow the prompts.

To run the Windows 10 version of the Performance Troubleshooter, instead access the Control Panel and then click System & Security. Click the Security & Maintenance link at the top and then click Start Maintenance underneath the Maintenance tab.

Use The Performance Troubleshooter

Disable Superfetch

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Superfetch is a Windows process that is meant to help you load your most frequently used programs slightly faster. Unfortunately, it can bog down overall speeds since it loads so much data into memory.

Superfetch in particular should be turned off if you are using an SSD, as it can wear down your drive much faster with constant data writing processes.

To turn off Superfetch, type “services.msc” into the Search box and click the icon. Scroll through the alphabetical list and double-click Superfetch. Click the Stop button to turn the service off, then change the startup type drop-down box to Disabled to prevent it from turning back on.

Disable Prefetch

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Prefetch is a companion process to Superfetch, and is also meant to help programs load faster if you use the same apps constantly. As with Superfetch, it can actually slow down speeds over time as too much data is stored.

To turn off Prefetch, you will need to change a registry value. Type “regedit” into the Search box and click the icon, then choose Yes. Open the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder and then navigate to the file path “SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters.”

Double-click the Enable Prefetcher option and change the Value Data field to “0,” then hit OK. Do the same thing for the Enable Superfetch option, and then restart your computer.

Disable Prefetch

Disable Cortana

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Cortana monitors your habits and saves search settings to offer more relevant results. An unfortunate side effect (besides privacy concerns) is that Cortana can cause serious slow downs in overall speed.

Turning off Cortana completely requires changing the registry. We recommend backing up your registry before turning off Cortana.

To get started, type “regedit” in the Search box and click the Icon, then choose Yes. Navigate to the registry file path “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows.”

Right-click the Windows entry and select New and then DWORD (32Bit Value). Type the phrase “AllowCortana” and hit Enter to make the new value. Double-click the new AllowCortana entry then enter “0” in the ValueData field and click OK. Restart your laptop to complete the process.

Disable Cortana

Go Opaque

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

The transparency effects that come standard with Windows 10 sure look cool, but they also hog resources. If you have a slower processor or less RAM, its worth going opaque and turning transparency off for a slight speed boost.

To switch from transparent to opaque, open the Start menu and click the gear icon. Click Rationalization and then select the Colors tab at the left side of the menu. From there, scroll down to the More Option heading and toggle off the option labeled Transparency Effect. You may need to restart your laptop for the change to fully take effect.

Go Opaque

Turn Off Windows 10 Tips

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Since its aimed at the largest possible user base, Windows 10 wants to be helpful to new users who don’t understand basic tasks. That’s why it often pops up tips with information you probably already know.

To offer tips that are helpful, Windows scans your hard drive for past behavior, which does take up memory and CPU cycles. Turning off this feature can give you a slight speed bump and is commonly referred to as “no tipping”

If you want to turn off tips, open the Start menu and click the gear icon. Click System and navigate to the Notifications & Actions tab at the left side. Toggle off the blue button labeled Get Tips, Tricks And Suggestions.

Turn Off Visual Effects

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Much like the Start menu transparency option, Windows 10 offers a host of interesting visual effects that look cool, but can be a drain on system resources. If you prefer performance over all other considerations, it isn’t hard to turn off all the Windows visual effects at once.

To get started, type “advanced” in the Search box and click the View Advanced System Settings icon. Navigate to the Advanced tab and click the Setting button beneath the Performance heading. Click the radio button labeled Adjust For Best Performance (or de-select the check marks manually next to each visual effect you want to turn off) and click OK.

Turn Off Visual Effects

Change Windows 10 Privacy Settings

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

By default, Windows collects an absurd amount of data to provide targeted advertising and suggest content in your searches. Not only are there serious privacy concerns with that policy, but these data collection processes take up memory since they are constantly running in the background.

Ideally you would de-select all the relevant privacy options when setting up Windows for the first time. Since you probably don’t want to perform a clean install, you can turn off some of these settings anytime.

Open the Start menu and click the Gear icon, then click Privacy. Under the General heading, deselect all four blue buttons to enhance your privacy and stop data collection.

Stop Programs From Running On Startup

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Dramatically

When Windows gets cluttered with dozens of programs launching at startup, you will notice major reductions in overall speed and performance. Many times, you may not even be aware a program decided to turn on the auto-startup feature.

To see what programs are clogging up your boot sequence, open the Start menu and click the gear icon. Click the Apps option and then select the Startup tab at the bottom-left side. Scroll through the list and toggle any program to Off that you don’t want to automatically launch on startup. Turning off several programs listed as High Impact will give you a noticeable speed boost.

Start Your Laptop In Safe Mode

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster app lauching & running
  • 30 minutes
  • Noticable

Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. After the restart process begins, tap F4 to boot in Safe Mode.\n\nTeam Macbook\nIf Safe Mode sounds scary for you and you have never used it, you have nothing to worry about. Using Safe Mode on your Mac can help you troubleshoot some of the problems including apps, stalled start-up, or a slow running system.\n\nStarting your Mac in a Safe Mode will clear the memory cache and therefore it could speed up the things.\n\nTo boot your Mac into Safe Mode, turn off your Mac. Turn it on again, and as soon as you see the white screen, press and hold the Shift key.\n\nWhen you see the Apple logo, you can release the Shift key and your Mac will take you into Safe Mode.”}” data-sheets-userformat=”{“2″:8448,”11″:3,”16″:8}” data-sheets-ischild=””>Team Windows

When you experience long boot times and major lag running basic applications, starting in Safe Mode is an excellent way to troubleshoot problems. Safe Mode boots your laptop in a very basic state with an extremely limited number of programs and drivers.

If Safe Mode runs faster than normal operation, that’s an indicator you need to uninstall programs, update drivers, or run an anti-malware tool.

To boot in Safe Mode, open the Start menu and click the gear icon. Select Update & Security and then click the Recovery tab on the left side. Click the Restart Now button underneath the Advanced Startup heading.

On the Choose An Option screen, navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. After the restart process begins, tap F4 to boot in Safe Mode.

Start Your Laptop In Safe Mode

Delay Windows Services That Run At Startup

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Besides the actual apps you’ve installed that may load at boot up, Windows features several services that automatically load and run in the background. Delaying these services from loading immediately can give you a speed boost, especially if you have a slower processor or a small amount of RAM.

To get started, type “Services” in the Search box and click the top icon. Double-click any service that is listed as Automatic (rather than Manual or Disabled). Open the Startup Type drop down box and choose the option labeled Automatic (Delayed Start). Repeat the process for any other services you want, then click OK and restart your laptop.

Delay Windows Services That Run At Startup

Change Your Boot Menu's Timeout Values

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

By default, your laptop is set to wait to see if you plan to boot an alternate operating system. This is really only helpful if you use a dual boot system and frequently switch between two different operating systems.

If you almost exclusively use one OS, you may want to reduce the wait time to get faster boot speeds. To change the boot menu timeout setting, type “systempropertiesadvanced” (all as one word) in the Search box and click the icon.

On the Advanced tab, click the Settings button beneath the Startut And Recovery Heading. Change the Time To Display List Of Operating systems setting to however many seconds you want, then click OK.

Change Your Boot Menu's Timeout Values

Remove Unnecessary Fonts

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Besides the dozens of fonts Windows comes with on every new laptop, there are thousands of fonts available to download on the web.

While having a huge font collection can be helpful, it can also cause speed reductions when first booting up or when loading image editing or word processing programs that have to access all those fonts.

To cull down unnecessary fonts you never use, simply type “fonts” in the Search box and click the Font Preview And Settings icon. Click the name of any font you want to remove, then choose Uninstall. Repeat the process as necessary for any other fonts you no longer need.

Remove Unnecessary Fonts

Turn On The Fast Startup Feature

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Power Options > Choose What The Power Buttons Do (located on the left hand side).\r\n\r\nUnder the Shutdown Settings heading, check the box labeled Turn On Fast Startup. From that point forward, Windows will save a kernel of your current session so it can boot back up faster when you turn the laptop back on.”}” data-sheets-userformat=”{“2″:8448,”11″:3,”16″:8}” data-sheets-ischild=””>You might be surprised to learn Windows actually has a setting specifically for increasing boot up speed. All you have to do is find it and toggle it on!

To turn on fast startup, open the Control Panel, and then navigate to Hardware And Sound > Power Options > Choose What The Power Buttons Do (located on the left hand side).

Under the Shutdown Settings heading, check the box labeled Turn On Fast Startup. From that point forward, Windows will save a kernel of your current session so it can boot back up faster when you turn the laptop back on.

Change The Size Of Virtual Memory

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Installing additional RAM is generally your best speed solution, as physical memory such as RAM works much more efficiently than virtual memory. If you frequently run into lag when running certain programs however, you can try increasing the default amount of virtual memory Windows uses.

Type “System” in the Search box and click the View Advanced System Settings icon. On the Advanced tab, click Settings beneath the Performance heading. On the new window, navigate to Advanced
and then click Change beneath the Virtual Memory heading.

Remove the check box from the Automatically Manage setting, and you can know change the virtual memory size to anything you want.

Change The Size Of Virtual Memory

Change Your Laptop's Current Power Plan

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Your laptop has probably defaulted to a balanced power plan, which exchanges some performance in order to get a longer battery life. If you prefer speed over battery life and don’t mind plugging in more often, you can switch the power plan so your laptop performs better.

To change this setting type “Sleep” in the Search box and click the Power & Sleep Settings icon. Scroll down to Related Settings and click the Additional Power Settings link. Click the Show Additional Plans arrow, then toggle on the High Performance power plan. Restart your laptop and you should notice immediate speed improvements!

Change Your Laptop's Current Power Plan

Close System Tray Programs

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Not all programs that are running will show up directly on the Start bar. Some are instead hidden in the System Tray area, and they may be eating up memory without you even knowing!

To see what programs are on the System Tray notification area, just click the Up Arrow icon at the far right side of the Start bar.

If you don’t want programs to be hidden here by default, right-click the Start bar and click Taskbar Settings. Scroll down to the Notification Area heading and click and click Select Which Icons Appear On The Taskbar. From there, toggle off any of the apps that you don’t want to be hidden in the System Tray.

Close System Tray Programs

Install The Latest DirectX Version

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 30 minutes
  • Noticable

DirectX consists of a series of interfaces that work between hardware and software to render graphics, stream video, or produce audio. If you are using an outdated version of DirectX, you may notice performance problems when trying to play games or stream YouTube clips.

To see if you are using an older version of DirectX, simply type “dxdiag” in the Search box and click the icon. The bottom of the System tab will list your current version.

If you have a version older than DirectX 12, type “update” in the Search box and click the Check For Updates icon. Click the Check Updates button at the top and a new version of DirectX will automatically download.

Employ Game Mode

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

If you struggle with frame rates while gaming due to low RAM or an older processor, the Windows 10 Game Mode feature can provide a faster, smoother experience.

This mode must be activated for each individual game that you play. When you have a game open, tap the Windows icon and the G key to bring up the Game Mode bar. Click Yes and then tap the gear icon on the bottom of the bar.

Make sure the box labeled Remember This Is A Game is checked, and from that point on Windows will give you enhanced performance with that program.

Employ Game Mode

Close Background Apps

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

When gaming, especially with games that are always online, Windows background apps can be a big drain on system resources. By default, Windows 10 allows certain apps to always be online and always download updates – even if you haven’t turned them on lately!

To disable these apps, open the Start menu and click the gear icon, then choose Privacy. Scroll down the list of options on the left side and click Background Apps. Toggle off the option labeled Let Apps Run In The Background to turn them all off at once, or instead toggle individual programs in the list of apps.

Close Background Apps

Tweak the AMD / ATI Control Center

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 5 minutes
  • Dramatically

If you have a dedicated graphics card, there’s always ways to achieve slightly more performance by changing settings. This is true whether you go with NVIDIA or AMD.

For the AMD crowd, right-click the desktop, click Radeon Settings, and then navigate to the Gaming tab. In the Global Settings area, you can tweak individual options to either get improved graphics or better performance.

If you want speed over high graphics settings, turn off features like Anisotropic Filtering and Morphological Filtering, or turn the Anti-Aliasing option down to a lower setting.

Adjust Texture And Shader Settings

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Running high quality textures and using advanced shader settings for cool effects will bog down your graphics card quickly. Unless you are running a very high end machine, you may want to turn down these settings to get better frame rates and more speed while gaming.

For AMD users, you can change these settings by right-clicking the desktop, clicking Radeon Settings, and navigating to the Gaming tab. Either select a specific game you want to modify, or choose Global Settings.

Click Texture Filtering Quality and choose Performance, then click Shader Cache and select AMD optimized to get the best speed.

Upgrade your Graphics Drivers for an immediate FPS boost

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 30 minutes
  • Noticable

Having a high end graphics card doesn’t mean much if you don’t also have the latest driver. Each manufacturer releases new drivers periodically to improve performance on the latest games and fix compatibility issues with different kinds of hardware.

If you notice sluggish frame rates, always check to see if there’s a new driver for your card. While you can typically do this through your card’s software suite, you can also just simply download the latest drivers immediately.

The most up-to-date drivers for each type of graphics chip are available at the GeForceAMD, and Intel websites.

Tweak The NVIDIA Control Panel

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

If you have an NVIDIA video card, you can tweak the card’s settings to get better perfromance. If you notice frame rate drops frequently, turning down some of the 3D effect settings will give you a big speed boost.

To get started, open the arrow icon at the far right side of the start bar, and then right-click the green NVIDIA icon. Choose NVIDIA Control Panel and then click the Manage 3D Settings link on the left side

From there, select the Performance setting (instead of Quality) on any options you want, and be sure to set any of the high graphics settings to Off. Click Apply to get more speed while gaming.

Tweak The NVIDIA Control Panel

Manage Automatic Updates For More Bandwidth

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

If you play games online frequently, you may notice major lag due to automatic updates running in the background eating up your bandwidth.

To pause these updates and save them for later in the Home version of Windows 10, you have to tell the operating system you use a metered connection so it won’t automatically download every update.

Open the Start bar and click the gear icon, then click Network & Internet. Choose either Wi-Fi or Ethernet on the left depending your connection type, and then click your network’s name. Scroll down to the Metered Connection setting and toggle the switch to On.

Check For Network Speed Issues

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

When you’ve updated your drivers and turned down graphics settings but still get poor frame rates while playing games online, the culprit may be your service provider.

Checking your network speeds is incredibly easy, thanks to a host of free tools available. You can either download the official Microsoft Network Speed Test app or instead using an online tool like speedtest.net.

These apps work by uploading and then downloading a small amount of data to see how quickly the transfer takes place. If your speed is slow, you may have an issue with your modem or router, or you may need to upgrade your service packing through your Internet provider.

Change the WaitToKillService Timeout Value For Faster Shut Down

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster shutdown
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

By default, Windows 10 waits for programs to shut down on their own before automatically killing them during the shut down process. If you want them to close faster, you need to change a registry entry.

Type “regedit” into the Search box and click the icon, then navigate to the path HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Right-click the Desktop folder and select New and then String. Set the name of the new String as “WaitToKillAppTimeout.”

Double-click the new string entry and set the value data to however many milliseconds you want Windows to wait before closing programs on shutdown, such as 5000 for 5 seconds or 2000 for 2 seconds.

Change the WaitToKillService Timeout Value For Faster Shut Down

Modify the ClearPageFileAShutdown Regisry Value

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster shutdown
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Windows utilizes a feature called a page file that stores data in virtual memory when the computer is turned off. Some laptops are set by default to clear out this page file at shutdown, which makes the process much slower.

If you want faster shut downs, you should turn this feature off so the page file isn’t purged every time you turn off your laptop. To make the change, type “regedit” in the Search box and click the icon.

Navigate to the path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management and double-click the entry on the right side labeled ClearPageFileAtShutdown. Change the ValueData field to 0, then click OK and restart your laptop.

Check Shut Down Events In Event Viewer

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster shutdown
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

If you experience constant sluggish performance and frequent crashes, there may be specific hardware or software issues to blame. To see what’s happening, advanced users can look through the list of shut down events in the Event Viewer.

Type “event” in the Search box and click the Event Viewer icon. In the panel on the left side, open Windows Logs and then click System. In the panel on the far right side, click Filter Current Log.

Underneath the Includes/Excludes Events heading, type the phrase “1074, 6006, 6008” and click OK to filter only the shut down events. In the middle panel, scroll through the list of events and look for anything marked as Error to find info on unexpected shutdown causes.

Check Shut Down Events In Event Viewer

Create A Windows Shut Down Shortcut

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster shutdown
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

If your laptop’s power button is in an odd position, or you don’t like have to go through three separate clicks to close Windows, you can create a shortcut to speed up the shutdown process.

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select New, and then click Shortcut. Type the phrase “%windir%\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0” in the text box and click Next. Type a name for your shortcut and then click Finish. Now you can easily shut down straight from the desktop.

You can also drag the icon to the taskbar and pin it there for 1 click shut down (just be careful not to accidentally click it when you want something else on the taskbar).

Run Your Laptop's Power Troubleshooter

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Laptops function differently from desktops in that their power settings have a direct impact on performance. If you are running on battery (rather than plugged into an outlet) your settings may purposefully throttle memory and CPU cycles to save battery life.

If you experience slow performance on battery power, running the Power Troubleshooter can find specific problems to fix. To get started, open the Start menu and click the gear icon. Click Update & Security and then select Troubleshoot in the left panel.

Scroll down to Find & Fix Other Problems, choose the Power heading, and then click the Run The Troubleshooter button.

Overclock Your Laptop's GPU

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster gaming
  • 30 minutes
  • Dramatically

Overclocking provides even more power out of your graphics card, but the specific steps vary between manufacturers. AMD for instance has built-in overclocking available by downloading AMD’s Overdrive tool.

After installing the tool, click the option to enable Overdrive and then increase the power control settings and GPU frequency with the slider. Make sure to test games and tweak as necessary so you don’t get any crashes.

The new RTX line of NVIDIA cards will come standard with a Scanner program to automatically overclock with 1 click. For now though, its quite an involved process for NVIDIA cards. Check out a full rundown on the tools you’ll need and list of settings to tweak over here.

Change Your Browser

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Each browser uses differing system resources, especially when you get bogged down with add-ons and extensions. While Chrome is an efficient browser, it is quite system-hungry and go be slower than the competetition.

If you don’t have the RAM or processor required to get the best Chrome experience, you may want to simply switch to a different browser to increase your speed.

Depending what kinds of sites you most frequently visit and what your system specs look like, you can get better speeds by using Microsoft Edge, Opera, or Mozilla Firefox.

Remove Unused Extensions

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Extensions offer increased functionality to your browser, but they also eat up more memory and CPU resources. When you have multiple extensions running at the same time on websites with tons of graphics and video files, you will notice major lag.

To get your browser back up to speed, be sure to remove old extensions you don’t use. In Chrome, click the Menu icon then choose More Tools and click Extensions. Simply click Remove beneath the name of any extension you want gone.

In Firefox, instead click Menu and then Add-Ons and select Remove next to the name of any extensino you don’t need.

Remove Unused Extensions

Clear Out The Cache And Cookies

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Your browser stores small amounts of data for each website you visit, known as cookies and cache. While these can speed up re-loading a page on subsequent visits, eventually having a large amount of data saved will result in overall slower speeds.

To clear out the cache and cookies in Chrome, press CTRL+H to open the History tab and then click Clear Browsing Data on the left side. Make sure both Cookies and Cached Images are selected and then choose Clear Data.

Specific instructions can also be found for Mozilla Firefox here and Microsoft Edge here.

Clear Out The Cache And Cookies

Uninstall And Reinstall Your Browser

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

In some cases, simply clearing out the cache or disabling extensions may not be enough to solve slow web browser issues. As a last ditch effort, you may want to totally uninstall and then re-install the browser.

Make sure to download the installation file first so you have it handy after completing the uninstall process. You can find the installation files here: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge.

To uninstall, open the Start menu and click the gear icon, then choose Apps. Click the name of your browser and choose Uninstall. When the process finishes, double-click the installation file to re-install.

Uninstall And Reinstall Your Browser

Limit Your Browsing Tabs

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Dramatically

No matter which browser you’re using, if you have too many tabs open at the same time, your browser might not be working at its full speed. The more tabs you have, the slower it will run. However, limiting your tabs will allow your laptop to process the open tabs easily without any complications and slow issues.

To limit your tabs, simply pay attention to the number of tabs you have open when you’re using your browser. If you find yourself with too many tabs open, make sure to clear some out by closing tabs you aren’t using or you don’t need open at all.

It’s something you should do constantly to keep your browser and laptop optimized so it can reach the potential speed you will benefit from.

Install Speed Managment Plugins

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

While browsers like Chrome and Firefox come loaded with a variety of features for speeding up web browsing, there are always additional tweaks to be made to get slightly better performance.

Depending on your hardware setup and the types of sites you visit, a handful of speed management plugins may give you a boost while surfing the web.

In particular, you may want to try Speed Tweaks, which disables inactive tabs and loads the mobile versions of pages for better performance. Clean Chrome is another solid option that clears out history, cache, cookies, and other saved data for you at regular intervals.

Change Channels To Speed Up Your Internet Connection

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 30 minutes
  • Sightly

Whether you are currently using a 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz router, your network can operate on multiple channels. If other devices and networks in the area operate on the same channel, you may experience interference that will slow down your connection.

Changing the wireless channel requires logging into your router and modifying settings, which is a rather involved process that varies drastically depending on your router’s manufacturer.

You can find specific instructions for your router via the Netgear, D-Link, or Linksys websites.

Use a VPN

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Anyone browsing the web in the 21st century knows that public wi-fi networks can be dicey. If you want to browse securely while avoiding malware and tracking programs that can reduce your speed, we recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Make sure to pick a VPN server close to your actual location, as latency will increase the further away your device is from the VPN. This may not always be possible however, especially if you are using a VPN to access region-locked content.

There are a multitude of free and paid VPN options available out there. Check out this rundown to get started using a private network.

Use Google For Reading HTML Documents

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Opening giant PDF files can very quickly eat up your web browser’s memory. If you frequently read large documents online, keep in mind that you can preview PDFs as an HTML file through Gmail for quicker loading!

In the older version of Gmail you had to actually right-click and select the View option to load a file as HTML. That is no longer the case, as Gmail now automatically renders previews as HTML.

Simply click anywhere on the PDF attachment in your email (so long as you don’t click the Download or Organize In Drive buttons) and an HTML preview version will appear that loads much faster.

Use Google For Reading HTML Documents

Use An Automatic Download Manager

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

If you need to save multiple files from a single web page – such as a bunch of different images or a large number of MP3 files – you may not want to spend all that time right-clicking and choosing Save As repeatedly. Instead, you can use a browser extension to automatically download everything from a page all at once.

In Firefox you can grab an add-on like the aptly named Download All Images or in Chrome you can grab the Fruumo Download Manager.

Bump Up Your Browser's Cache Size

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

As we’ve discussed in other types, your web browser caches certain web page components so they load faster when you return to a page. If you constantly go to the same pages, or frequently hit the back and forward buttons, having a large cache size can mean increased load times.

To change your cache size in Firefox, type “about:config” in the URL bar and hit Enter, then click I Accept The Risk. Scroll down the alphabetical list until you see the option labeled “browser.cache.disk.capacity.”

Double-click the entry, and then change the cache size to whatever you size you want (in bytes, so you’ll have to do the math to convert from bytes to megabytes).

Bump Up Your Browser's Cache Size

Skip image heavy sites and use RSS feeds instead

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

When you frequently check one particular site over and over, you may not want to load that site’s various graphics and scripts repeatedly. If you want the fastest, leanest way to browse new content, we recommend using an RSS feed instead.

RSS feeds essentially give you a text rundown of new articles, rather than seeing the entire graphics-heavy web page, and they let you quickly check overviews of new content on sites you love. You can collect feeds with an RSS reader, such as the web-based Feedly or the browser add-on Feedbro.

Replace The Battery

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • $20 - $200
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

All hardware components wear down over time and stop functioning at 100% efficiency. Your laptop’s battery is no exception, and eventually it won’t hold a full charge.

What does that have to do with speed? Depending on your settings and what kind of programs you use, some laptops throttle performance when the battery is fully charged or the laptop isn’t plugged into an outlet.

To get better battery life and boost your speeds, it may be time to simply buy a new battery and swap out the old one. Replacement batteries are readily available at outlets such as Amazon.

Cool Down Your Laptop Physically

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • $12 - $35
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Computer components generate heat while they operate, which is why your laptop has a heat sink, cooling fan, and exhaust ports. Some notebook computers are better designed than others however, and many of them are prone to overheating.

This tends to be more of an issue for gaming rigs, but any laptop is susceptible to overheating. If your computer isn’t properly ventilating heat, you will suffer on the performance front and notice slow speeds and frequent crashes.

If your laptop gets very hot frequently, try buying a cooling pad with extra fans to keep the temperature down to an acceptable level.

Install the NeverWare OS

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • Few hours or more
  • Dramatically

For some aging laptops, there isn’t much that can be done to increase speeds without drastically upgrading the hardware. If you aren’t willing to go that route and just want better performance while browsing the web, you may want to try switching from Windows to the NeverWare CloudReady OS.

Essentially, CloudReady strips out Windows and gives you a sleeker operating system much like Chrome OS. Best of all? It’s free for personal use.

If your old laptop no longer runs Windows well and you don’t need all the extra bloat of a full operating system, you can download NeverWare and find the install instructions over here.

Use a Patented Method Such As Sleep Mode To Speed Up Your Laptop

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster boot time
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

While you can manually find and turn off services that open at startup or run secretly n the background with our other tips, you may want to make things easy on yourself and get a program that does all that for you.

Tools such as AVG’s PC TuneUp provide an option to turn on Sleep Mode, which lets you quickly disable programs eating up resources in the background. By using a method such as Sleep Mode, you don’t need to actually uninstall anything, and those programs will remain available if you want them back on later.

Use a Patented Method Such As Sleep Mode To Speed Up Your Laptop

Tweak Your BIOS Settings

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Noticable

Your laptop uses a tool known as the BIOS to issue commands while the operating system is first booting up. The BIOS is often used for overclocking components, but it can also be utilized to speed up the entire boot process.

By default, your laptop checks a variety of different components to find the OS in case you’ve inserted a re-install disc or are trying to boot from a USB drive. If you don’t ever do those things, you can get faster boot speeds by setting your hard drive as the first boot device and then deactivating all other devices.

The specific steps for accessing and modifying the BIOS vary radically between laptop models. Check out a rundown on the process over here.

Run Regular Malware Scans

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • Few hours or more
  • Noticable

Just simply browsing the web these days can lead to reduced performance as your laptop gets bogged down with tracking software, viruses, and other kinds of malware.

Running a regular malware or anti-virus scan is critical to keeping your laptop running at peak efficiency. These scans locate and remove known sources of malicious software that tweak your operating system’s settings.

For Windows users, free programs are readily available such as Spybot Search And Destroy or Malware Bytes.

Use Lighter Alternate Programs That Run Faster

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster app lauching & running
  • 30 minutes
  • Noticable

No matter what kind of hardware your laptop sports, you may still notice sluggish performance if you are using software that eats up all the resources. Rather than upgrading RAM or tweaking settings, you can just simply try using alternate programs that achieve the same results but use less memory.

For Windows users, a variety of free programs are available that are less resource-hungry than their standard counterparts. For instance, you could use GIMP or Pixlr rather than Photoshop for image editing. If Adobe Acrobat always runs slowly, you could open PDFs with Sumatra instead. Web-based programs like Google Docs or Word Online can also offer a smoother experience for making word documents.

Run Fewer Programs At The Same Time

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster app lauching & running
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

This may seem obvious, but the more programs you have running, the less physical memory and CPU cycles are available for each of those programs to use.

If you want better performance, shut down some of your apps so that fewer are loaded into memory at the same time. While of course you can simply close down most programs from the Start bar, others are more stubborn.

If you notice slow speed, hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and click Task Manager. Click the name of any program that is using the most CPU or memory percentage, then click End Task to force that app to close.

Run Fewer Programs At The Same Time

Block Flash Or Javascript

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

As the web becomes more advanced, websites can bog down your laptop with tons of scripts and videos running at the same time. While you lose functionality for many websites, if you are using an older laptop with less RAM, you may want to simply turn off Flash and Javascript.

In Chrome, this is achieved by opening the menu and clicking Settings, then scrolling down to the bottom of the page and choosing Advanced. Near the bottom of the Privacy & Security section, click Content Settings and then click Javascript and choose Block. Go back to the Content Settings and choose Flash and then Block again.

Increase Raster Thread Count

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Google Chrome has a series of experimental features that can be changed by end users to tweak their overall browsing experience. One of those features is the number of raster threads, which controls how quickly images are loaded.

If graphics load slowly while you surf the web, type the phrase “chrome://flags/#num-raster-threads” into the URL bar and hit Enter. Scroll down to the entry labeled Number Of Raster Threads and change the setting from Default to 4.

Note that if you don’t have a quad core processor (or higher), this won’t give you much of a noticeable change in speed.

Enable Simple Cache For HTTP

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Like with the raster thread count feature, Google Chrome includes other experimental features that can give better speeds with certain types of hardware. If you’re willing to try a feature that isn’t fully supported yet, you can change to the Simple Cache setting, which will offer slightly better speeds when reloading pages.

To turn on this feature, type the phrase “chrome://flags/#enable-simple-cache-backend” into the URL bar and hit Enter. Scroll down to the entry labeled Simple Cache For HTTP and change Default to Enabled. Restart your browser to enable the change.

Enable Simple Cache For HTTP

Install Chrome's Data Saver Extension

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

A wide variety of extensions and add-ons are available for any given browser to modify your web surfing experience. Some of those extensions come straight from the browser developers themselves, and can offer significant speed boosts.

One of those useful tools is Google’s Data Saver extension, which uses Google servers to compress a page before any data is downloaded. This means that pages that normally use tons of system resources will instead load in stripped-down, more streamlined versions much faster than normal.

Save Some Content For Later

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

With the sheer amount of content available across the web, sometimes the best way to conserve data usage and prevent slowdowns due to huge data downloads is just to save pages to browse later.

If you don’t want dozens of tabs open at once and prefer to parcel out your browsing into smaller chunks, there are a multitude of tools available to save content and remind you to view it down the line.

On the free side, you can try out web-based tools like Instapaper or Evernote’s WebClipper. There are even extensions and programs to add to your browser for saving content, like Google Keep or Pocket Chrome.

Be Selective With Your Flash Permission Settings

  • Windows
  • Novice
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Noticable

Flash can be a very useful feature, especially if you like to stream videos regularly on websites, but many users don’t need it to be constantly active. Culling down the amount of Flash content that sites can use will give you faster browsing speeds.

You don’t have to fully disable Flash, either. In Chrome, you can choose to force Flash to ask for permission before being utilized on any tab. To change this setting, type the phrase “chrome://settings/content/flash” into the URL bar and hit Enter. Click the Flash entry, and then toggle on the option labeled Ask First (Recommended).

Be Selective With Your Flash Permission Settings

Making Plugins Click To Load

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster web browsing
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

Extensions offer a variety of excellent features, but they also tend to slow down your browsing. If you don’t want to delete extensions and add-ons, there are ways to make them less intrusive.

The previous tip explains how to force Flash to ask permission to load, but you can set websites to ask your permission to utilize any plugin before accessing your computer.

Open the Chrome menu and select Settings, then scroll to the bottom and click Advanced. In the Privacy & Security section, click Content Settings, then select UnsandbonxedPluginAccess. Toggle on the button labeled Ask When A Site Wants To Use A Plugin.

Making Plugins Click To Load

Run With The Default Theme

  • Windows
  • Beginner
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 5 minutes
  • Sightly

While the various apps you use generally take up the majority of your laptop’s memory, simple elements such as your operating system’s background theme can also use up resources. To get the best performance on older machines, you should go back to the default theme and turn off any extra bells and whistles.

In Windows 10, right-click your desktop and select Personalize, then click Themes. From there, you can turn off background slideshows and disable extra features like start bar or file folder transparency effects.

Run With The Default Theme

Overclock Your CPU

  • Windows
  • Guru
  • Free
  • Faster overall performance
  • 30 minutes
  • Dramatically

Overclocking is a method of manually tweaking hardware settings to get increased performance, but usually at the cost of extra heat or reduced stability. While overclocking used to be a very complicated task, now processor manufacturers actually release their own tools for helping user overclock very easily.

You can download the Extreme Tuning Utility and find instructions on overclocking Intel processors over here, or grab the OverDrive tool and find info on overlcocking AMD processors at this location.

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