Does a slow PC have you down? If so, try some of the following suggestions to help make your Windows 10 PC run better. The tips are listed in order, so start with the first one, see if that fixes the problem, and then continue to the next one if it doesn’t.

 

1. Make sure you have the latest updates for Windows and device drivers

One the best ways to get the most of your PC is to make sure you have the latest version of Windows 10 installed. When you check for updates, your PC will also search for the latest device drivers, which can also help improve your PC’s performance.

To check for updates

  1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > Update & security  > Windows Update  > Check for updates.
  2. Look under Update status and do one of the following:
    • If the status says “Your device is up to date,” go to the next tip.
    • If the status says “Updates are available,” select Install now, and go to the next step in this procedure.
  3. Select the updates you want to install, then select Install.
  4. Restart your PC, do what you were doing before, and then see if your PC is running better

2. Restart your PC and open only the apps you need

Having more open apps, programs, web browsers, and so on can slow down your PC. If this is happening, restart your PC and then close the apps, programs, and windows you’re not using.

To restart your PC

  1. Select the Start  button > Power  > Restart.
  2. After your PC restarts, open just the apps you need, then close them when you’re done.

Sometimes apps that were made for an earlier version of Windows will still run on Windows 10, but they might slow down your PC. If this happens after you open a certain program, check the software company’s website for an updated version, or run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.

To run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type troubleshoot, and then select Troubleshoot, which has System settings listed underneath it.
  2. In Troubleshoot, select Program Compatibility Troubleshooter > Run the troubleshooter.
  3. Select the program that you’re having problems with, then select Next and continue through the troubleshooter.

PC still running slow? Continue on.

3. Check memory and memory usage

With memory, one of the first things to do is find out how much memory (RAM) you have and how much of it is currently being used. You can find out these things and much more in Task Manager.

To check memory and memory usage

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, and then select Task Manager.
  2. In Task Manager, select More details > the Performance tab > Memory.

    First, see how much you have total, and then check the graph and see how much RAM is being used.

Total amount of memory and how much in use
  1. Total amount of memory (RAM)
  2. Memory in use

If you find that much of your RAM is regularly being used, consider adding more RAM if possible—especially if your PC only has 1 or 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. To learn more about what kind of RAM your PC model uses, first look at the memory info in Task Manager, and then visit the PC manufacturer’s website for more specific info.

Find out what kind of memory (RAM) you have
  1. Type of memory (RAM) PC uses
  2. RAM speed
  3. Memory slots used

Here’s some info about the minimum memory requirements for Windows 10:

  • Windows 10 (32-bit) can run on a PC with 1 GB of RAM, but it runs better with 2 GB. For better performance, add memory so you have 3 GB or more.
  • Windows 10 (64-bit) can run on a PC with 2 GB of RAM, but it runs better with 4 GB. For better performance, add memory so you have 6 GB or more.

Use ReadyBoost to help improve performance

Like earlier versions of Windows, Windows 10 has ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost lets you use a removable drive, like a USB flash drive, to improve your PC’s performance without opening your PC and adding more memory (RAM). To use ReadyBoost, you’ll need a USB flash drive or a memory card that has at least 500 MB free and a high data transfer rate.

To use ReadyBoost

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into a USB port on your PC.
  2. On the taskbar, select File Explorer.
  3. Press and hold (or right-click) the USB flash drive (or SD card if you used one instead), and then select Properties.
  4. Select the ReadyBoost tab, then select Use this device.
    Windows determines if the device can use ReadyBoost. If it can’t, it’ll let you know.
  5. After Windows determines how much free space to use to optimize memory, select OK to reserve this space so ReadyBoost can use it.

    When you look at the contents of the USB flash drive in File Explorer, you’ll see a file named ReadyBoost.sfcache on the flash drive. This file shows how much space is reserved for ReadyBoost.

Change the paging file size to improve performance

The paging file is an area on your hard disk that Windows uses like memory. Increasing the paging file size can help improve your PC’s performance.

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type advanced system, and then select View advanced system settings, which has Control panel listed underneath it.
  2. In System Properties, on the Advanced tab, select Settings in the Performance area.
  3. In Performance Options, select the Advanced tab > Change in the Virtual memory area.
  4. Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.
  5. Select Custom size, then enter an initial size (in MB) and maximum size in the corresponding boxes.
  6. Select Set > OK.
  7. Restart your PC by selecting the Start  button > Power  > Restart.

Use your PC then see if it’s running better. If it’s not, try the next tip.

4. Check for low disk space and make some room

You may improve performance if you free some disk space on your PC.

To check for low disk space

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > System  > Storage.
  2. Under Storage, your drives will be listed. Note the amount of free space and total size for each drive.

To empty the recycle bin and delete temporary files

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > System  > Storage.
  2. Under Storage, select This PC > Temporary files.
  3. Make sure that Recycle Bin and Temporary files are selected in the list of files, and review any other files types that are selected.
  4. Select Remove files.
  5. Restart your PC and try to reproduce the performance issue.

If your PC still runs slowly, try uninstalling apps you don’t use anymore.

To uninstall apps you don’t use anymore

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > Apps  > Apps & features.
  2. Search for a specific app or sort them to see which ones are using the most space.
  3. When you find an app to remove, choose it from the list and select Uninstall.
  4. Restart your PC and try to reproduce the performance issue.

If your PC still runs slowly, try moving files to another drive.

To move files to another drive

If you have photos, music, or other files that you want to keep but don’t use often, consider saving them to removable media, like a USB drive. You’ll still be able to use them when the drive is connected, but they won’t take up space on your PC.

  1. Connect the removable media to your PC.
  2. Open File Explorer from the taskbar and find the files you want to move.
  3. Select the files, go to the Home tab, and then select Move to > Choose location.
  4. Select your removable media from the location list, and then select Move.
  5. Restart your PC and try to reproduce the performance issue.

Get more info about freeing drive space in Windows 10.

If your PC still runs slowly, try the next tip.

5. Restore your PC from a system restore point

Restoring your PC undoes recent changes that might be causing problems. If you think a recently installed app, driver, or update for Windows could be causing problems, you might get things running normally again by restoring your PC to an earlier point, called a restore point.

To restore your PC from a restore point

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type restore point, then select Create a restore point from the list of results.
  2. On the System Protection tab, select System Restore.
  3. Select Next, then choose the restore point related to the app, driver, or update that might be causing the problem. Then select NextFinish.
  4. Restart your PC. Do what you were doing before to see if performance has improved.

If you don’t see any restore points, it might be because system protection isn’t turned on.

To turn on system protection

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type restore point, then select Create a restore point from the list of results.
  2. On the System Protection tab, select Configure.
  3. Select Turn on system protection > OK.

If your PC still runs slow, try the next tip.

6. Disable unnecessary startup programs

When you turn on your PC, some programs start automatically and run in the background. You can disable these programs so they don’t run when your PC starts.

Many programs are designed to start automatically when Windows does. Software manufacturers often set their programs to open in the background—you don’t realize they’re running, but they’ll open quickly when you go to use them. This is helpful for programs you use a lot, but not for programs you don’t use often because it increases the time it takes Windows to start.

Find the programs that start automatically

Sometimes you can determine which programs start automatically by looking at the program icons in the notification area on the far right of the taskbar. Check there first to see if there are any programs running that you don’t want to start automatically. To try to find out the name of the program, point to the icon with your mouse pointer. Make sure you select Show hidden icons , so you don’t miss any programs.

Show hidden icons in the notification area

Notification area with mouse pointing to show hidden icons

Even after you check the notification area, you might still miss some programs that run automatically at startup. Here’s how you can find all the programs that start automatically, and stop the ones that you don’t want to start automatically when Windows starts.

To stop a program from starting automatically

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > Apps  > Startup .
  2. Under Startup Apps, find the program you want to stop from starting automatically and set it to Off.