There are few things quite as annoying as a computer that’s starting to run slow. As good as the Windows 10 operating system is, Windows computers still have the problem of running much more slowly over time.
Why Computers Slow Down
If you’ve owned your computer for a while, there are any number of issues that can cause it to slow down. Many of these are out of your control, but a few aren’t.
These issues include:
- Memory leaks from software you’ve installed
- Power surges and normal usage degrading system components
- Bad hard drive sectors or bad memory chips due to age and use
- Not installing enough RAM
- Excessive software launching at startup
- Malware and viruses consuming system resources
However, the most significant effect you can have on system performance is making sure your memory usage is fully optimized.
The fastest and easiest way to clear up memory that’s being used is to make sure there are no system processes consuming all the system resources.
Check the system processes listed in the Task Manager and look for problem applications you don’t recognize that are consuming excessive RAM.
- Right click the Windows task bar and select Task Manager.
- Click on the Processes tab.
- Sort the processes by Memory and look for programs at the top of the list that you don’t recognize.
If you spot any problem applications, go into the Control Panel, click on Programs and Features, and uninstall those problem applications.
Unfortunately, resolving memory issues and freeing up your RAM is not usually that easy. Over time, software you’ve installed and forgotten about can get embedded into your system but may not consume RAM constantly.
- Still in the Task Manager, click on the Startup tab.
- Sort the list by the Startup impact field.
- Identify applications you don’t recognize or don’t need.
- Right-click on the application and select Disable.
When each of these programs launch, they devour a bit of memory individually. They all run in the background and consume your RAM. Disabling them from running at startup prevents this from happening.
Whenever you shut down your computer, the system RAM is always cleared. However, the page file that’s stored on the hard drive isn’t.
You can enable this by setting the ClearPageFileAtShutdown registry key to 1. Windows 10 has this set to 0 by default. Enabling this is easy.
- Click the start menu and type Regedit. Click on the Regedit run command.
- This will open the Registry Editor. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management.
- Double-click on the ClearPageFileAtShutdown key on the right.
- Set the Value data field to 1 and click OK.
It’s important to make sure your system is clear of device driver issues. You can check this quickly by using the Device Manager.
- Open the Control Panel and double click Device Manager.
- Expand each branch inside the Device Manager and look for a yellow explanation mark icon. This is an alert for a driver issue.
- If you see an alert, right click on the device and select Update driver.
Try to let the system look for latest drivers online if you can. Otherwise you’ll need to visit the manufacturer website and download the latest driver.
Windows 10 comes with a lot of busy visual effects for windows, menus, tooltips and more. If you have plenty of RAM, these visual effects aren’t an issue.
To disable Windows visual effects:
- Open File Explorer, right-click on This PC, and click on Properties.
- On the left side of this window, click on Advanced system settings.
- In the Performance section, click the Settings button.
- In the Performance Options window, select Adjust for best performance.
You’ll notice that all the animated features are disabled with this setting. If you want, you can instead select Custom, and then enable any of the visual effects that you can’t live without.
When you open and close applications frequently, sometimes certain programs don’t properly release system memory when closing. Over time, these orphan threads consume RAM and lead to slow system performance.
This shortcut is:
If you’re not sure how to configure this shortcut, you can read a guide to flushing the memory cache that’ll walk you through all of the steps.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to free up more memory is to boost the existing amount of RAM you have.
Scans are fast and easy, and the resulting web page will list all memory cards that are available for your system.
Memory Is Important
Of all the things you can do to boost your old computer’s performance, there is nothing as effective as clearing out or boosting your available RAM.
The less your computer needs to rely on your hard drive and the page file because the physical RAM is full, the faster your computer will behave.