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Top 10 Optimize Windows 7 for better performance

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#1 Asrokhel



  • Joined: 05-April 12
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro x64 (testing to see if I keep it or go back to Windows 7)

Posted 11 November 2012 - 15:05

No matter how fast or shiny computers might be when they’re new, they all seem to get slower over time. That state-of-the-art PC you bought last year might not feel like such a screamer after you install a dozen programs, load it with antispyware and antivirus tools, and download untold amounts of junk from the Internet. The slowdown might happen so gradually that you hardly notice it, until one day you’re trying to open a program or file and wonder, “What happened to my poor PC?”

Whatever the cause, there are lots of ways to help speed up Windows and make your PC work better — even without upgrading your hardware. Here are some tips to help you optimize Windows 7 for faster performance.

1. Try the Performance troubleshooter

The first thing that you can try is the Performance troubleshooter, which can automatically find and fix problems. The Performance troubleshooter checks issues that might slow down your computer’s performance, such as how many users are currently logged on to the computer and whether multiple programs are running at the same time.

Open the Performance troubleshooter by clicking the Start button Posted Image, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting. Under System and Security, click Check for performance issues.

2. Delete programs you never use

Many PC manufacturers pack new computers with programs you didn’t order and might not want. These often include trial editions and limited-edition versions of programs that software companies hope you’ll try, find useful, and then pay to upgrade to full versions or newer versions. If you decide you don’t want them, keeping the software on your computer might slow it down by using precious memory, disk space, and processing power.

It’s a good idea to uninstall all the programs you don’t plan to use. This should include both manufacturer-installed software and software you installed yourself but don’t want any more — especially utility programs designed to help manage and tune your computer’s hardware and software. Utility programs such as virus scanners, disk cleaners, and backup tools often run automatically at startup, quietly chugging along in the background where you can’t see them. Many people have no idea they’re even running.

Even if your PC is older, it might contain manufacturer-installed programs that you never noticed or have since forgotten about. It’s never too late to remove these and get rid of the clutter and wasted system resources. Maybe you thought you might use the software someday, but never did. Uninstall it and see if your PC runs faster.

3. Limit how many programs run at startup

Many programs are designed to start automatically when Windows starts. Software manufacturers often set their programs to open in the background, where you can’t see them running, so they’ll open right away when you click their icons. That’s helpful for programs you use a lot, but for programs you rarely or never use, this wastes precious memory and slows down the time it takes Windows to finish starting up.

Decide for yourself if you want a program to run at startup.

But how can you tell what programs run automatically at startup? Sometimes this is obvious, because the program adds an icon to the notification area on the taskbar, where you can see it running. Look there to see if there are any programs running that you don’t want to start automatically. Point to each icon to see the program name. Be sure to click the Show hidden icons button so you don’t miss any icons.

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Even after you check the notification area, you might still miss some programs that run automatically at startup. AutoRuns for Windows, a free tool that you can download from the Microsoft website, shows you all of the programs and processes that run when you start Windows. You can stop a program from running automatically when Windows starts by opening the AutoRuns for Windows program, and then by clearing the check box next to the name of the program you want to stop. AutoRuns for Windows is designed for advanced users.

4. Defragment your hard disk

Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your hard disk can work more efficiently. Disk Defragmenter runs on a schedule, but you can also defragment your hard disk manually.

5. Clean up your hard disk

Unnecessary files on your hard disk take up disk space and can slow down your computer. Disk Cleanup removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes a variety of system files and other items that you no longer need.

6. Run fewer programs at the same time

Sometimes changing your computing behavior can have a big impact on your PC’s performance. If you’re the type of computer user who likes to keep eight programs and a dozen browser windows open at once — all while sending instant messages to your friends — don’t be surprised if your PC bogs down. Keeping a lot of e‑mail messages open can also use up memory.

If you find your PC slowing down, ask yourself if you really need to keep all your programs and windows open at once. Find a better way to remind yourself to reply to e‑mail messages rather than keeping all of them open.

Make sure you’re only running one antivirus program. Running more than one antivirus program can also slow down your computer. Fortunately, if you’re running more than one antivirus program, Action Center notifies you and can help you fix the problem.

7. Turn off visual effects

If Windows is running slowly, you can speed it up by disabling some of its visual effects. It comes down to appearance versus performance. Would you rather have Windows run faster or look prettier? If your PC is fast enough, you don’t have to make this tradeoff, but if your computer is just barely powerful enough for Windows 7, it can be useful to scale back on the visual bells and whistles.

You can choose which visual effects to turn off, one by one, or you can let Windows choose for you. There are 20 visual effects you can control, such as the transparent glass look, the way menus open or close, and whether shadows are displayed.

To adjust all visual effects for best performance:

7.1: Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start button Posted Image, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.
7.2: Click Adjust visual effects. Posted Image If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
7.3: Click the Visual Effects tab, click Adjust for best performance, and then click OK. (For a less drastic option, select Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer.)

8. Restart regularly

This tip is simple. Restart your PC at least once a week, especially if you use it a lot. Restarting a PC is a good way to clear out its memory and ensure that any errant processes and services that started running get shut down.

Restarting closes all the software running on your PC — not only the programs you see running on the taskbar, but also dozens of services that might have been started by various programs and never stopped. Restarting can fix mysterious performance problems when the exact cause is hard to pinpoint.

If you keep so many programs, e‑mail messages, and websites open that you think restarting is a hassle, that’s probably a sign you should restart your PC. The more things you have open and the longer you keep them running, the greater the chances your PC will bog down and eventually run low on memory.

9. Check for viruses and spyware

If your PC is running slowly, it’s possible that it’s infected with a virus or spyware. This is not as common as the other problems, but it’s something to consider. Before you worry too much, check your PC using antispyware and antivirus programs.

A common symptom of a virus is a much slower-than-normal computer performance. Other signs include unexpected messages that pop up on your PC, programs that start automatically, or the sound of your hard disk constantly working.

10. Check your computer’s speed

If you try these tips and your computer is still too slow, you might need a new PC or some hardware upgrades, such as a new hard disk or faster video card. There’s no need to guess the speed of your computer, however. Windows provides a way to check and rate your PC’s speed with a tool called the Windows Experience Index.

The Windows Experience Index rates your computer on five key components and gives you a number for each, as well as an overall base score. This base score is only as good as your worst-performing component subscore.

Base scores currently range from 1 to 7.9. If your PC is rated lower than 2 or 3, it might be time to consider a new PC, depending on what tasks you want to do with your computer.

For more information, see What is the Windows Experience Index?


#2 Phouchg


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 19:52

6. Run fewer programs at the same time

Windows 7 X64 SP1

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*cough* :laugh:

#3 n_K


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 20:00

ROFL @ that screenshot! Oh god

#4 Semtex


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 20:02

10,5. Buy SSD :p

#5 Javik



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Posted 11 November 2012 - 20:16

10,5. Buy SSD :p

This, Windows 7 absolutely zips along on an SSD

#6 Knife Party

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 21:15

Top 10 most well known facts for the past 8 years, congrats to 2012 /s On another note, what an useless article, it's stating some of the most obvious things ever....what's next? Want multiple screens, get 2 screens or more /s.

#7 primexx


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 22:33

Top 10 most well known facts for the past 8 years, congrats to 2012 /s On another note, what an useless article, it's stating some of the most obvious things ever....what's next? Want multiple screens, get 2 screens or more /s.

not to mention half the tips aren't even useful.

disable visual effects? that does nothing these days. don't use multiple programs? what year is this?

#8 bjoswald


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 22:37

This list of "tips" is the same you find in every PC magazine since Windows 98.

#9 Kaze23


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 22:53

not to mention half the tips aren't even useful.

disable visual effects? that does nothing these days. don't use multiple programs? what year is this?

No kidding. Disabling visual effects just offloads the work from the GPU back to the CPU. What benefit does that serve? Also, don't use multiple programs? Superfetch is a GOOD thing. Maybe if you've got like 1 GB of RAM, it's not so great, but this isn't 2005.

#10 Raa


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 22:54

All of these tips should be done on any computer, not just Windows 7 ones! ;)

#11 +Brando212


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 23:03

All of these tips should be done on any computer, not just Windows 7 ones! ;)

except the 'disable visual effects' one, that's just putting more on the cpu

#12 singularity87



  • Joined: 10-February 10

Posted 11 November 2012 - 23:16

Defragmenting will do nothing on an SSD since it uses random rather than sequential access. The location of the fragments doesn't affect performance.

#13 +jamesyfx


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 23:24

I remember on an earlier version of Windows (it may have been Windows XP?) disabling the startup sound made your computer boot quicker as the system waited for the sound to finish playing before it continued loading. :rofl:

#14 ArialBlue


    var lulz;

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 23:31

Don't use antivirus software.

Instead, lock down your computer hard,
You can prevent executable programs from launching via policies - just block places that should not contain executables like %TEMP%
Many viruses save themselves to folders like TEMP - but having a group policy which dissalows executabes from that directory - well you will be very secure.
use hosts and filtering lists to filter out advertisements - advertisements are one of the primary infection vectors.
Don't use administrator account for normal work.

Only disable UAC driver if your system is sufficiently secure. Disabling UAC will speed up applications by removing the sandbox.
The issue is, say IE9/10 is extremely unsecure. Microsoft has NO NEED to make IE secure. Instead they sandbox it, ignoring XP-era exploits.
If you disable UAC, you will get infected with XP-era viruses unless your are extremely locked down.

#15 McKay


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 23:35

Why does Chrome do this crap?

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