Has your Windows PC become incredibly slow and you’re wondering how to make it fast again? Look no further, read this article with links to many of our most extensive guides and registry tweaks for a blazing fast Windows machine in 2015.
Introduction: How to make Windows faster?
Most guides will tell you to turn off all the Windows Aero features and use no background wallpaper to make your Windows PC faster. I agree that you can get some more performance by doing this, but it’s not worth it unless you are on a low-end laptop or mobile device.
First, let’s think about it: What is really consuming a lot of CPU and memory? Right! All the services that are running in the background all the time and all those programs you have installed over the course of months or even years of PC usage. Many sit idle in your tray and consume memory or even perform actions in the background. Luckily there are tools and methods to get rid off them.
1 Remove Malware & Analyze Disk Activity
One of our favorite tools to make your Windows PC faster is to remove any and all malware. Malware bloats up your PC and many malicious programs will work in the background while your computer runs to track your online behaviour or even analyze what programs you use. It is therefore highly recommend to download and install a program such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
If you have already used that program, you may consider the following 3 alternatives to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
If you open up your task manager and you see a lot of disk activity for an executable called MRT.exe, you may have a more serious issue with malware than you thought. It is surprising that even more advanced Windows users tend to forget how important malware scanners are.
When you’re done with running those programs and analyzing mrt.exe, you can go ahead and check what your computer is doing in the background. Here are 5 tools to do just that.
2 Speed Up Video Games:
There are many ways to make your favorite video games fast. We have a bunch of nice guides for various games already including WoW, ArcheAge and popular RPG’s such as Skyrim and Diablo3.
3 Try Beta Graphic Card Drivers
Make sure you have the latest graphic card drivers and if you are having problems with a particular video game, you may want to consider installing a beta driver. Beta drivers often include special tweaks for the most recent video games. NVIDIA and AMD often issue special drivers for games such as Call of Duty.
4 Increase Disk Read Speed
One of the most common bottlenecks in any PC build is the hard drive. Slow hard drives will have a low file read and write rate and these rates are crucial for what we consider a ‘fast’ machine. If your PC is busy writing files to disk a lot (e.g. your PC starts hanging when you copy files) it may be a great idea to invest a little more into a high-performance disks or SSD’s (Solid State Drives)
Western Digital has several performance drives – although these are considerably more expensive than their regular counterparts, the performance boost is quite significant. Please note that a SSD (Solid state drive) will always be faster than a regular SATA drive, even if it’s a performance disk.
If you are looking for a decent SSD, try our SSD Optimization and Buying Guide – although it’s a little dated it will help you to better understand the market and what features you should look for.
5 Faster File Transfer (On A Budget)
File transfers can become quite slow, but if you can’t buy a SSD or performance disk there are some tools you can use to make the file transfer faster without having to invest into better drives. Neat!
6 Speed Up Your Internet Loading Speed
Public DNS servers such as OpenDNS or GoogleDNS can help you to significantly speed up your internet. Internet websites are located on servers that have been assigned an IP address. Whenever you open a webpage the browser first has to look up the web domain in what you could call the telephone book of the internet (called root server) to see what IP address the site is using. However, your ISP (internet service provider) may provide a DNS server that is crippled and slow and then it can sometimes takes ages before a request is processed. To avoid that you can use public DNS servers that are most often faster than the server your ISP provides.
It’s really easy too, simply open your network properties (IPv4 or IPv6) and change the DNS server.
7 Use DLAN adapters for a faster internet
DLAN adapters can help you to speed up your internet. How it works? Basically you are replacing your Wifi router with a DLAN adapter that uses your power lines to send internet packages. All you need is that adapter, plug it into your wall socket and use an ethernet cable to connect your modems, routers, switches and your PC.
This article also talks a little about the latency fix that you can use to speed up video games, MMO’s in particular.
8 Notebook / Laptop Users:
If you’re on a laptop or netbook, there are a bunch of tips you can follow:
9 Adjust Windows For Best Performance (Laptop/Less Than 4GB)
Important: This tip only applies to low-end PC’s with less than 4GB of RAM and/or laptop users.
1. Step Hit Start
2. Step Enter “SystemPropertiesPerformance” into the search field, hit enter
3. Step Select “Adjust for best Performance” or at least uncheck the first two entries
10 Turn off Windows services and boost your gaming performance!
To turn off all those unnecessary services we use a tool called “GameBooster”, it’s obviously only one of the ways to do it, but it’s a lot faster than doing it manually. You can temporarily stop all services (that are not required) while you play. Best of all, you can even edit the services list with just a couple clicks and add more services to get even more performance.
To add any other services, click on “Options”-“Edit Service List”. Now, simply add any services using this format: RemoteRegistry=1
What other services should I add to this list?
- Computer Browser (Browser=1)
- Protected Storage (ProtectedStorage=1)
- Remote Registry (RemoteRegistry=1)
- Secondary Logon (seclogon=1)
- Security Center (wscsvc=1)
- Themes (Themes=1)
- Windows Errors Reporting Service (WerSvc=1)
- Windows Media Center Service Launcher (ehstart=1)
- Windows Search (WSearch=1)
- Windows Time (W32Time=1)
We have compiled a list of service that are usually safe to disable. Please note that you may run into errors with certain programs after disabling some services and you may have to re-enable certain services again.
- Link: Complete list of Windows 7 services that are safe to disable
- Link: How to disable Windows 7 services
11 Speed Up Your Boot Up Time
If you are annoyed by a slow starting computer (slow boot time) there are a bunch of things you can try.
Below you will find a bunch of articles covering the basics. There are many tricks you can use to make your PC boot faster. In general it is a good idea to measure the boot time to see how much your improved your boot time:
- 1. Measure + Speed Up Boot Time
- 2. Speed Up Boot Time By Disabling Startup Items
- 3. Change Boot Timeout Value
- 4. Change Boot Default OS</a
Next open the startup programs manager for Windows and remove as many startup programs as you possibly can.
Startup programs will greatly slow down the boot process and makes your machines slow. A lot of programs that run on boot up will sit idle in your system tray and occupy memory and even use a small percentage of CPU. Not a good idea for a fast Windows machine.
12 Change Taskbar Thumbnail Preview Time
Much of what we consider ‘fast’ has to do with delays. The taskbar for example by default may delay the taskbar thumbnail preview and can be tweaked to appear faster.
1. Step Click on Start, enter “regedit” into the search field.
2. Step Goto: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse
3. Step Double-click on “MouseHoverTime” and change the value to 100 or lower:
4. StepVoilà, your thumbnail previews should appear a lot faster now. For another great tweak to speed up the Windows 7 taskbar, click here.
13 Speed Up Windows Shutdown Time
One of the most important tweaks is to improve your shutdown time. Unfortunately, Windows 8 is especially slow when it comes to shutting down your machine, but with this registry tweak you can speed it up quite nicely.
1. Step Open the registry editor (enter regedit into search field)
2. Step Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control”
3. Step Double-click WaitToKillServiceTimeout in the right pane and lower the value (12000 is the default value in Windows 7 = 12 seconds) to a value of your choice e.g. 5000.
Windows 8.1 seems to be using a lower default value and you may not have to modify it if it is already set to 5000, but you can lower it even more if you like.
14 Application Access – Increase your productivity
After you have gone through the steps above, it may be a great idea to start working on your productivity and that means improving accessibility of your programs. Many innovative AppLaunchers can help you to open programs more effectively.
If you don’t want to download and install any additional tools that may slow down your PC, you can try to simply use the built-in Windows feature called QuickStart for your most important programs.
First of all create a folder “QuickStart” somewhere on your PC. Right-click on your taskbar:
Locate the folder “QuickStart” (you just created the folder so yo should know where it is) and then click “Ok”. You are almost done, but we don’t want that ugly text on our taskbar that is using a lot of space, turn it off:
Right-click on the new toolbar and uncheck “Show Text” and “Show Title”! Now drag the toolbar to the left until it’s below the main icons and you will have something like this:
15 Try ReadyBoost On Low-End Machines
Ok, now all unnecessary services are stopped. What would be the next logical step? When AMD and Microsoft were not able to increase the CPU power significantly any more, they simply added more CPU’s, that’s why we have dual and quad-core CPU’s nowadays. So, what you can do is to get more RAM. However, we don’t want to buy anything new, because we’re on a low budget. Although, I am sure that you own an USB-stick , right?
Since Windows Vista there is a little Windows feature called ReadyBoost that allows you to use memory cards as additional PC RAM. Low-End system with less RAM will see a great performance increase and many applications will load faster. Since Windows 7 there is no longer a memory limit of 4GB and you can use several devices for ReadyBoost.
1. Step Plugin your USB-stick
2. Step Move all your files on that stick into a folder on your hard drive to make room.
3. Step Start the Explorer (Windows + E), do a right-click on your drive and select properties.
4. Step Open the tab ReadyBoost and pick Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost. Click on Apply.
5. Step Repeat the steps 1-4 for all other devices (unlimited)
Ok, so we added a ReadyBoost device. Let’s see what it looks like:
On the drive you can find a cache file now that should be pretty big. I still had some other files on the stick, because this is my MP3-player.
What’s next? Right, did it really improve my performance or is a USB-stick (not even USB2.0) insufficient? First of all, I did a check to see if the ReadyBoost drive is working.
1. Step Goto “Start” – Enter “Performance” into the search field
2. Step Click on “Performance Monitor”
3. StepAdd “ReadyBoost Cache”
I started the game “Command&Conquer Red Alert 3”. I thought if my drive is working, I should be able to see something now – and I was right: Click here to open the results in a new windows .
According to Tom Archer, your card is supposed to have the following requirements:
2.5MB/sec throughput for 4K random reads and 1.75MB/sec throughput for 512K random writes
Tom also put together a great list that will answer any question you might have about ReadyBoost, for example:
Q: Aren’t Hard Disks faster than flash? My HDD has 80MB/sec throughput. A: Hard drives are great for large sequential I/O. For those situations, ReadyBoost gets out of the way. We concentrate on improving the performance of small, random I/Os, like paging to and from disk.
Make sure to visit Tom’s Blog if you want to know anything about ReadyBoost.
Speed test your SD Card, CF Card, Flash Drive, HDD
Next, I downloaded a tool called “Crystal Disk Mark”, which is pretty cool to speed test your sd cards, flash drives and any other disk. In the meantime, I added my USB2.0 Card Reader, one 2GB CF Card and one 2GB SD Card (lucky me), because I was pretty sure that my MP3-Player wouldn’t perform very well.
Unfortunately, the results were very close to the requirements, but still below:
Next, I tested my SD Card. I supposed it would be a lot slower – how wrong I was!
Last but not least, I tested my 1TB HDD to compare the three drives:
Conclusion? The SD card is performing really well and is my best choice for a ReadyBoost drive.
Can ReadyBoost really help me to boost my performance?
Is the performance boost notable? It is only a viable choice for low-end systems and systems with less RAM. On systems with more RAM than 2GB it will be only notable if you run some resource-hungry programs or programs that run a lot of small, random I/Os.
16 Do benchmarks regularly!
You found a great tweak, but you don’t know how much it really boosts your performance? Do some benchmarks! I stumbled on a great benchmark software called “Performance Test” by “PassMark”, you can download it here, it fully supports Windows 7. It’s not as fancy as 3DMark, but the Directx10 demo isn’t too bad (I only had 1 fps on my machine).
Post your benchmarks on our forums and share your results with us
17 Tweaking Tools
There are many tools available aside from the great Game Booster. Many tools already support Windows 7. Here are the Top5:
One of the top picks. Great GUI and lots of possibilities to customize your system. Even advanced users can use this tool. For example, you might want to redefine the waiting time before your system kills an application – with this tool it’s possible.
TweakNow Power Pac
This tools includes much more than just tweaking tools. You can get more information about your system, clean your disk and access useful system settings directly through a very intuitive GUI.
Ultimate Windows Tweaker
The Ultimate Windows Tweaker offers some basic tweaking tools, for example to add more options to your context menu or to customize the Windows Explorer. This is only a very simple tweaking tool, but surely it can come in handy anyway.
Windows 7 Manager
This tool is not freeware, but offers a lot of options to speed up your system.
Another very simple tool – if you want to customize a few settings only this is a good choice.
You can find an extensive review of the tweaking utility Flary Utilities here.
18 Windows Registry Tweaking:
Registry tweaks are a great way to speed up your computer:
19 Clean Your Disk Properly & Use Defrag Tools
A full disk does not run any slower than an empty disk, but disk fragmentation can slow down a drive over time. Before running a disk defragmentation, you should consider cleaning your disk. A clean disk
Use the Windows task scheduler to schedule a weekly disk defragmentation
Disk cleanup tools can help you to free additional disk space.
20 Clean Your PC Interior
PC’s and laptops are attracting a lot of dust. If you rarely clean your fans, they may collect so much dust that the heat will increase the temperature of your CPU and motherboard. The higher the temperature the worse your hardware will perform.
Let Us Know Your Favorite Tweak
Know of any other good tweaks or tools that should on this list? Let us know in the comments below! Many of you have already contributed a great deal to this article, thank you for that and keep it coming.