How to make Windows 7 or Windows 10 faster on your old hardware laptop or PC? Here are the 30 easy and free steps to make Windows 7/10 run faster. If your PC is is slow while playing the game, or using high-end graphics/processor hungry applications or doing multitasking the below methods will be useful. I combined these methods from my experience and the experiments which worked in improving Windows 7 and Windows 10 performance. These following steps can be done by any home/business user without other third party or paid software and extra technical skills.
The network is a major factor in deciding the performance of a computer. Slowness in networking such as local network or the Internet directly affects the speed of Windows computer. Especially nowadays, we use the Internet and cloud applications lot in our day to day life. Therefore I have added some tweaks to improve network performance also.
The below steps Windows 7 and Windows 10 separately, but most of the steps are common and applicable for all Microsoft Operating Systems including Windows 8.1. If a Windows 7 method can be used in Windows 10 to improve the speed, you can try it.
28 Free Steps to Make Windows OS Faster on old PC or Laptop
Make Windows 7/8.1 Run Faster
1) Make Windows 7 Startup faster by removing unwanted programs and services from startup.
To do this type ‘msconfig‘ in Run or Search box, go to Startup tab and uncheck programs and services not required during startup. The programs and services listed here start with Windows 7 every time, so by removing them we can reduce the startup time. This will boot up your Windows 7 laptop or desktop quicker. Do not remove any important/known and Microsoft Windows related startup programs/services.
2) Disable Aero Experience
If you are not a fancy appearance lover but looking for the better performance then disable aero experience in Windows 7. This method defiantly affects the performance of Windows 7. You can gain some physical memory and display card workload for other programs by disabling Aero. It can boost the gaming experience on your old laptop or PC.
Right Click on Desktop, go to Personalize then select any of ‘Basic and High Contrast Themes’.
3) Increase Virtual Memory (Paging File)
Windows 7 consumes more memory than Windows XP but lesser than Windows Vista. If you are a heavy computer user who opens more programs and screens at the same time, then you can increase Virtual Memory. Virtual memory works with physical memory (RAM). Hard disk space will be used as the virtual memory to keep temporary information which very rarely uses by programs and OS. Increasing the virtual memory in Windows 7 computer can help other programs and OS to work smoothly.
Right Click on My Computer, select Properties. Go to Advanced tab and click on setting button under ‘Performance’.
Go to the Advanced tab in the next window, press the change button under virtual memory.
Here you can see the current virtual memory size. Virtual memory called ‘paging file’ also.
In the next screen under “custom size” enter the size you want to allocate for virtual memory (paging file). It depends on your hard disk size and physical memory. Make sure it’s not less than the system recommended size. Normally recommended paging file is 1.5 of physical RAM (1.5 x RAM size). In this example, the recommended size of virtual memory is 4605MB because my Windows 7 RAM is 3GB. So, enter 4605MB in Initial size and Maximum Size fields.
Press the Set button, you may need to restart the computer.
4) Disable Visual Effects
Again if you are not an appearance lover of Windows 7 then disable visual effects. It will reduce the load on RAM and VGA.
In the same settings tab under performance (mentioned in step 3), go to Visual effects and set for Adjust best performance. It will bring down all visual effects to a very standard level, but improve the PC performance.
5) Windows 7 Disk Clean up
Remove unwanted and temporary files from C drive. It reduces access time in the system and files that make Windows 7 faster.
Right click on each disk, go to properties and press Disk Cleanup button. In the next screen, you can select file types to delete and start clean up. Make sure to remove system files also such as old Operating Systems files, error dumps, etc.
6) Defrag disks
Defragmentation helps to improve access time for each file by managing free space and arranging file locations on disks. It’s recommended to run the defragmentation tool very frequently especially when you have a lot of data. In our case, it is better to run the disk defragment after deleting unwanted files by disk cleanup in the previous step.
Go to Properties of each disk, select defragmentation under tools and start. Defragmentation takes time depending on the size of the partition and data.
7) Run Error-Checking on disks
This is another method to improve the performance of disk. It will check and correct any system files and disk errors on Windows 7 computer.
Select Error-check under tools in each disk with both options selected. If the particular partition is a system, boot or having the paging file, then error-checking will start in the next system reboot.
8) Disable Side Bar (Gadgets)
If you don’t use sidebar and gadgets in Windows 7 then remove them. This helps to gain some resources on RAM, Network, and Processor. Read more about Windows 7 sidebar gadgets and how to remove them.
9) Disable Windows Defender
When you use third-party protection software such as Norton, AVG, MacAfee…etc, then disable the built-in Windows Defender. It does almost the same job. So it’s not required to run two similar programs at the same time which gives unwanted system load for Windows 7.
You can disable Windows defender in control panel.
10) Disable UAC
UAC (User Access Control) is a window pop-up may disturb and slow down your administration tasks. If you are really annoyed by it, you can disable it.
11) Make Window 7 shutdown faster
You can make windows 7 shutdown faster by editing one registry key. Read more here about editing registry key and make windows 7 shutdown faster.
Setting it to a lower 4 digit value, (say 5000) will make your PC shutdown faster, but you could end up losing data.
12) Disable Autotuning in Windows 7 Network
This method helps me a lot in improving the network/data transfer speed in Windows 7 network. If you face slowness in the network then you must do this.
13) Remove RDC to improve Windows 7 Network
Remove RDC additional network feature to improve data transfer speed over the Windows 7 network. The method mentioned in the earlier network improvement guide link.
14) Remove IPv6
Remove the IPv6 protocol from Windows 7 network adapter settings if it’s not required. If you are not using IPv6 on internal or external networks then remove IPv6 to improve Windows 7 network performance.
15) Compatibility of drivers and programs
Prior to installing any drives or programs make sure it’s compatible with Windows 7. It should be officially supported and certified for Windows 7. Installing non-compatible drivers and programs may cause the system performance issue and crash your system.
16) Disable Indexing (Windows Search)
Indexing in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 made for improving the speed of search inside the Operating System. When you search a file or folder in search, if it’s already indexed by indexing service then results will appear immediately from the indexed cache.
When you use third-party indexing search programs such as Ava Finder or Google Desktop then disable the Windows 7 indexing service. This method can eliminate the two programs to do the same duplicate task of indexing your whole data that slows down disk performance.
You can find out indexing options in Control Panel -> Indexing Options -> Modify button.
Also, the Windows search service can be disabled in Computer Services. Go to Computer Management, Services and look for ‘Windows Search’. Set Disable to startup type and Click Apply.
17) Sync Centre Synchronization
If any network shares are set to sync with your Windows 7 computer and when it is happening in the background you will feel the slowness of the PC. During this time the network and disk activity will be very high. Two options are available to avoid this issue.
a) Remove the sync partnership.
b) Let the synchronization complete fully without any errors.
Sync Center is located in Control panel.
18) Remove Unwanted Programs
Sometimes we install programs for testing purpose or for one-time use then forget them. You can uninstall these type of old and unwanted programs from Windows 7 computer. Even though you are not using these programs but some of the services and system files of these programs get loaded in the OS. By completely uninstalling these unwanted programs from your computer can help to improve the system performance. Programs can be uninstalled from the control panel.
19) Speed up Menu Show delay time in Windows 7
Editing a registry key speeds up menu show time in Windows 7. I suggest trying the manual registry editing (2nd) method available here. So next time menus will appear quicker than earlier and improve Windows 7 performance.
20) Change the power plan to maximum performance.
This method is most suitable for laptops. If you don’t use the laptop with battery most of the time then change the power plan to maximum performance. This can be done on desktop computers also. To do it, go to control panel, power options and select ‘High Performance’ plan and press OK.
21) Virus check with Microsoft Security Essential
Make sure your Windows 7/8.1 computer is virus free. Viruses/malware/spyware make any computers slow by giving additional work to processors, memory, and disks. You can run a virus check and clean viruses your existing 3rd party tool. The free version of Malwarebytes is a great option to scan and clean malware and viruses.
22) Malicious software check and Removal
Check your computer for infection by specific prevalent malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) and remove the infection.
Download the free latest malicious removal software for Windows 7/8.1 from Microsoft and scan. It will help in cleaning the system and regain the actual power of the computer.
The all above 22 methods will work on Windows 7 to make it faster. Few steps are applicable for Windows 10 and 8.1.
Additional Steps Make Windows 10 Run Faster If It’s Slow
Whatever version of Microsoft’s operating system is being discussed, one of the most common questions is how to make it run faster. Here, I will talk about why Windows 10 may be slowed down and how to speed it up, what can affect its performance, and what actions can improve it in certain situations.
It will not be about improving your PC’s performance by changing any hardware units, but only about what most often causes Windows 10 to lag and how it can be fixed, thus speeding up the OS.
Automatically running applications at Windows 10 startup are the most common reason for the slower operation.
23) Some Apps that can be run Automatically, Consume resources & Slow Down the PC
- Printer and scanner programs – almost everyone who has a printer, scanner or MFP automatically downloads various (2-4) programs from their manufacturer. Thus, by and large, nobody uses them (the programs), and you can print/scan without them – in your standard office and graphics apps.
- Download apps, torrent clients – if you are not busy constantly downloading any files from the Internet, there is no need to keep uTorrent, MediaGet or something similar on autorun. If needed (when downloading a file that should be opened through an appropriate app), they will start themselves. At the same time, constantly running and sharing torrent client, especially on a laptop with a regular HDD, can lead to really noticeable system lags.
- Cloud storage that you don’t use. Windows 10 runs OneDrive by default. If you don’t use it, you don’t need it to autoload.
- Unknown programs – you may find that you have a significant number of programs in your autoload list that you know nothing about and have never used before. These may be programs from a laptop or computer manufacturer, or maybe some hidden software. Search the Internet for apps by their names – it is very likely that they will not be required to autorun.
24) Slow Interface in Windows 10
According to ItRate.co, with the latest Windows 10 updates, some PCs and laptops have been experiencing interface lags. In some cases, the problem is caused by CFG (Control Flow Guard) feature which stops certain kinds of exploits from working and increases the difficulty in exploiting a PC.
The threat, though, is not too frequent, and if getting rid of lags is more important than providing additional security features, you can disable CFG.
a) Go to the Windows 10 Defender Security Center (use the icon in the taskbar or via Options – Updates and Security – Windows Defender) and open the section “App and Browser Control”.
b) At the bottom, find Exploit protection and click Program Settings.
c) In the Control Flow Protection (CFG) field, set “Off by default”.
Disabling the CFG should work immediately, but I would recommend that you restart your computer (keep in mind that in Windows 10, shutdown and turning on your PC are not the same as a reboot).
25) Background Processes in Windows 10
Sometimes it happens that incorrect operation of some background process causes system lags. You can detect such processes using the Task Manager.
a) Right-click on the Start, then “Task Manager”. If it is displayed in a compact form, at the left bottom l click “More details”.
b) Open the Details tab and sort by the CPU column (by clicking on it).
Pay attention to the processes that use the maximum CPU time (except for “System Idle”).
If among these processes there are those that are always actively using the processor (or a significant amount of RAM), search the Internet for what kind of process that is and, depending on what is detected, take action.
26) Windows 10 Tracking Features
Many people have read that Windows 10 spy on its users. And while I am not personally concerned about this, these features may have a negative impact on the system’s speed. For this reason, disabling them may be a good idea.
Immediately after installing or upgrading to Windows 10, you will find a set of Live Tiles of apps in the Start menu. They also use the system’s resources (albeit insignificantly) to update and display the information. Do you use them? If not, it’s a good idea to at least remove them from the Start menu or disable Live Tiles (right-click Unpin to remove from “Start”) or even delete them.
Another reason for a slow Windows 10 is the lack of original hardware drivers, and that’s for more users than can be expected! This is especially true for graphics card drivers, but can also apply to SATA drivers, the chipset in general and other devices.
Despite the fact that the new OS seems to have “learned” to automatically install a large number of original hardware drivers, it is not superfluous to go to the Device Manager (right-click on “Start”), and look at the Properties of all the key devices (graphics card first) in the “Driver” tab. If Microsoft is a supplier, download (update) and install the drivers from your laptop’s/PC’s official manufacturer website, and if it’s a video card matter – from NVidia, AMD or Intel, depending on the model.
Non-Recommended Actions for Boosting Windows 10
And now a list of some things often recommended here and there on the Internet to speed up your OS that I would NOT advise.
- Disable the Windows 10 Paging File. It is often recommended if you have a significant amount of RAM to extend the lifespan of SSDs and similar things. I would not do this: first of all, with a high probability there will be no performance gain, and some apps may not run at all without the Paging File, even if you have 32 GB of RAM. At the same time, if you are a novice user, you may not even understand why, in fact, they do not start.
- Constantly “clean your PC from junk files.” Some clean up the browser’s cache on a daily basis or with automatic tools, clean the registry, and temporary files using CCleaner and similar apps. Although the use of such utilities can be useful and convenient, your actions may not always lead to the desired result – you need to understand what is being done. For example, clearing the browser cache is needed only for problems that, in theory, can be solved with it. By itself, the cache in browsers is designed specifically to speed up the loading of pages and it actually speeds them up.
- Disable unnecessary Windows 10 services. Same as with the Paging File, especially if you are not very good at it – when there is a problem with the Internet, an app or something else, you may not understand or remember that it was caused by the absence of once disconnected “unnecessary” service.
- Keep apps running on startup (and use them as well) “to speed up your PC.” They are not only able to boost your OS, but also slow down its work.
- Disable file indexing in Windows 10. Except, perhaps, in those cases when you have an SSD installed on your PC.
- Disable services.
Keep Windows 10 updated (it is not difficult since updates are installed involuntarily), monitor the status of your PC, programs in a startup, and malware alerts.
If you feel confident, use licensed or free software from official sites only, have not encountered viruses for a long time, then it is possible to consider using only the built-in Windows 10 protection tools instead of third-party antiviruses and firewalls which will also speed up the OS.
Keep track of free space on the system partition of the hard disk. If it is small (less than 3-5 GB), it is almost guaranteed to lead to problems with speed. Moreover, if your hard disk partition
Keep an eye on the free space on the system partition of the hard disk. If there’s less than 3-5 GB, it is almost guaranteed to cause performance problems. Moreover, if your hard drive is divided into two or more partitions, I recommend that you use the second of these partitions only for data storage, but not for software installation – it is better to put them on the system partition (if you have two physical disks, this recommendation can be ignored).
Important: do not keep two or more third-party antivirus programs on your PC – most people know about it, but it became impossible to work with Windows after installing two antivirus programs on your computer on a regular basis.
You should also keep in mind that the reasons for a slow Windows 10 can be caused not only by some of the above but also by many other problems, sometimes even more serious: for example, a failed hard drive, overheating and others.
The above 28 free and easy tips can help you to make Windows 7/8.1 and Windows 10 run faster on any old laptop or desktop PCs. As mentioned, few steps help to reduce the workload on RAM and display card to play computer games better. I combined the above steps which really worked in my experience and experiments.