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This article is part of our Essential Guide: Windows 10 guide for IT administrators

Six Windows 10 performance tweaks to make the OS faster

With a few minor tweaks, such as maximizing RAM, disabling visual effects and getting rid of unnecessary services, you can make Windows 10 run even faster.

As an IT professional, you can make a few Windows 10 performance tweaks to enable the OS to run faster. It's as easy as changing a few settings and adding some hardware and memory.

Maximizing the amount of physical RAM can dramatically improve Windows 10 performance. A 32-bit system running Windows 10 can accommodate up to 4 GB of RAM, and a 64-bit system can handle 128 GB or more depending on the version of Windows 10 you install and your computer's motherboard.

Memory modules are inexpensive, so consider installing the maximum 4 GB of RAM on a 32-bit system and at least 16 GB on a 64-bit system for everyday use. You should also buy the fastest RAM that the system will support. Check the computer or motherboard manufacturer's specifications.

Minimize the paging file

The Windows paging file, or pagefile, supports system crash dumps and enables the system to use physical RAM more efficiently by writing some file content to a hard disk if the main memory is near capacity.

On most Windows 10 systems with 8 GB of RAM or more, the OS manages the size of the paging file nicely. The paging file is typically 1.25 GB on 8 GB systems, 2.5 GB on 16 GB systems and 5 GB on 32 GB systems. For systems with more RAM, you can make the paging file somewhat smaller. You could trim the paging file to 2 GB on a 16 GB system, for example, or to 3.5 GB on a 32 GB system without running into any noticeable performance problems.

As a result, one of the Windows 10 performance tweaks you can make is to reduce the size of the paging file on such systems. You should avoid altering the paging file on 32-bit systems, however.

You can minimize the size of the paging file using the following steps:

  1. Open System Properties. Right-click the Start button, select Control Panel > System and then click Change Settings.
  2. In the System Properties dialog box, in the Advanced tab, click the Settings button in the Performance section.
  3. In the Performance Options dialog box, in the Advanced tab, click the Change button in the Virtual Memory section.
  4. In the Virtual Memory dialog box, jot down the minimum allowed, recommended and currently allocated paging file sizes in the last section. Then, uncheck the box that says Automatically manage paging file size for all drives. If more than one drive appears in the available drives list, click your system drive, which is the one you installed Windows 10 on -- usually C:.
  5. Click Custom Size, and then type values into the Initial Size (MB) and Maximum Size (MB) boxes. Make the maximum size 1 GB or up to 4 GB depending on the amount of RAM you installed -- 64 GB or more.
  6. Click Set, then OK.

After these steps, close all the open dialog boxes and restart your computer.

If you have multiple physical drives -- not just multiple partitions of a single drive -- you can increase the system speed by splitting the paging file across two drives. Allocate about 300 MB of the paging file to the system drive, select the second drive in the Virtual Memory dialog box, set the initial size and maximum size values, and click Set.

Use an SSD

Other Windows 10 performance tweaks include using a solid-state drive (SSD) for the system/boot drive, rather than an ordinary hard drive. This dramatically reduces startup time. The faster your SSD, the better.

When Microsoft first released Windows 10, you could improve performance by splitting paging files across multiple drives or working with Intel Rapid Start to speed things up. But modern, nonvolatile memory express SSDs offer sufficient speed and space at reasonable prices, so that is no longer necessary.

The only way to go faster is to invest in Intel Optane memory -- a system accelerating tool that stores a user's most used data and programs close to the processor for quicker access.

Disable visual effects in the UI

Animations and shadows make the UI look great, but they can consume significant CPU and memory.

To turn off these features, open System Properties. In the System Properties dialog box, in the Advanced tab, click the Settings button in the Performance section. In the Visual Effects tab, you can uncheck all the options highlighted in yellow in Figure A.

Turn off visual effects.
Disable visual effects in Windows 10.

Weed out unneeded services

Other Windows 10 performance tweaks, such as turning off unneeded system services, can speed up the OS. You can safely disable services such as ASP.NET State Service, Portable Device Enumerator Service and Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service.

Even though Windows 10 versions since 1607 haven't benefitted much, if at all, from service grooming, with underpowered 32- or 64-bit systems, disabling some services can still provide a modest performance boost.

To disable services, open the Services console by entering services.msc in the Run box. Right-click the Start menu and select Run, or press WinKey + R. In the Services console, right-click the service you want to turn off and select Properties. In the Properties dialog box, click the Stop button and then select Disabled from the Startup type drop-down menu as seen in Figure B.

Be sure to disable one service at a time, reboot the computer and use it for a while before disabling another service. This way, if something goes haywire, you'll know which service you must enable again to fix the problem.

Disable a Windows 10 service.
How to disable a service in Windows 10

Manage Windows startup entries

Whittling down the programs that launch automatically when Windows 10 starts can get you from the power-off state, or a restart, to the desktop more quickly. To manage Windows 10 startup programs, open the Task Manager and click the Startup tab. Select the programs you don't want to launch automatically and click Disable. If you really want to get down and dirty with startup items, use the Windows Sysinternals Autoruns utility instead.

At Windows 10 startup, apps that the Startup folder loads are delayed to allow the OS to load its processes first.

Windows 10 also has a built-in internet lookup for process names, which makes it easy to decide which processes to leave enabled and which ones to disable. To use the internet lookup, right-click any entry and select Search Online. Your default browser opens with a list of results for that particular program.

At Windows 10 startup, apps that the Startup folder loads are delayed to allow the OS to load its processes first, which keeps things orderly and makes for a speedier experience. You can reduce startup time even more by minimizing the app startup time delay, which requires using the Windows Registry Editor:

  1. Open the Registry Editor -- regedit.exe.
  2. Drill down to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Serialize
    If the Serialize key does not exist, create it by clicking the Explorer key in the left pane, selecting Edit > New > Key from the menu bar, typing Serialize to name the key and pressing Enter.
Change the app startup delay.
Adjust the app startup delay in the Windows Registry.
  1. Create a new DWORD value called StartupDelayInMSec and set the value to zero. To create the DWORD value, right-click the Serialize key in the left pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename the value to StartupDelayInMSec. The value is set to zero by default as shown in Figure C.
  2. Exit the Registry Editor.

The next time you reboot, your computer should start up faster.

Reduce the boot delay timeout value

In Windows 10 the boot delay timeout value is set to 30 seconds by default. You can find the boot delay timeout value in the Boot tab in msconfig.exe.

You can add to your Windows 10 performance tweaks by reducing the boot time value to 10 seconds -- which still leaves enough time to boot in Safe Mode if you need to. Alternatively, you can set it to zero seconds and use msconfig -- the Boot tab -- or Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced Startup to force Windows 10 to boot in Safe Mode on the next restart.

The Settings method forces an immediate restart, so don't do this until you save your work and are ready to reboot. The msconfig method requires you to uncheck the Safe boot checkbox before your next reboot.

If you implement all these Windows 10 performance tweaks to reduce startup times and increase memory, you should notice a much faster operating system. Even a few of the recommendations will earn you a more responsive and enjoyable computing experience.

Next Steps

What's new in Windows 10?

Windows 10 testing problems

Changes to the Windows 10 Command Prompt

Ways to improve Windows 10 battery life

Improvements to the Windows 10 OS help it meet enterprise needs

This was last published in July 2018

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What settings will you change to improve Windows 10 performance?
Good tips - I've been doing similar things with every version of Windows (I am currently still on 7, both at home and at work). It's a shame that it's such a bloated OS. I wish it would run with minimal features by default, so that all of these tweaks to the settings wouldn't be necessary.
I would go inside the Storage Sense, which shows you everything that fills your storage and take the action to get rid of programs to increase speed. I would also minimize animations in Windows 10 to free up space so that my system could work faster.
these all steps are always follow in all OS. Nothing new in this
True but he took the time to write it so lets show appreciation for it and something are got to differently than other OS's also.
I agree with the previous commenter that these are all steps to take in any Windows operating system (not ALL operating systems). I wish that Windows was not so heavy and resource hungry, but it is what it is. I am sticking with Windows 7 for now. 
Terrible article, I wouldn't suggest more then 8GB ram is needed for a 64bit system and proof of that is PhotoShop running on my system with 8Gb.
The start up delays are BS, my system boots very quickly with no tweaks needed.
Why would you want to turn off UI elements that make using windows more pleasurable when the system runs beautifully all by itself.
The only decent advice here is run an SSD but that's true for any computer as it is the single biggest performance boost you can provide to any PC running Anny OS (except pre win 7 as there is not TRIM support); and the disabling of start up apps/services. Simple enough to manage from task manager, things like adobe updaters etc that really don't need to be running.
Old man,you know nothing about "windows performance"..You just write down things that are exists all around net since 1995... My suggestion: Go back to 1960, finish some more scientific school,then start all over with computer tecnhology. Salam.
Ignore the previous comments from pretenious trolls. Good advice on all grounds. Keep up the good work.
I know a great deal about all sorts of stuff; I just have trouble remembering all of it when I need it. This is a nice, if very simple, set of steps to take. While I've already done most, a few have escaped me. Now's the timel
These are all applicable to my Windows Vista laptop.
The best way to get the most out of Windows 10? Use Windows 7.
DMBrody, where's the LIKE button when you need one...? 
1. Do NOT use SSD's for long term storage of critical data
2. Do NOT put the pagefile on a secondary drive as doing so adds latency lag.
3. If you are not using your PC/Laptop for gaming, a paging file of around 3 GB is plenty. If you make your paging file too small, Windows will simply tell you it just made the PF bigger. lol. Making it too large will slow your system down. Set the OS to DEFRAG the PF on shut down. This makes turning the unit off slower, but makes it boot faster and better and also reduces the risk of malware breeding in your files. Srt your PF to a FIXED size such as minimum 3000 and maximum 3000 and the read and write times will be more controlled.
4. The ultimate performance improvements are simply TURNING ODD Windows services you never use. Turning OFF automatic updates and doing update checks manually once every 90 days is usually a huge all-around performance boost.
Okay, I cant edit my previous post? WTF kind of crap is this comment plugin? I wrote ODD instead of OFF buy y'all are smart enough to figure out what I meant. Whomever wrote the article doesnt know much about windows.
Some good points but a lot more can be done. 
First === Storage. Delete all temp files as windows 10 can store high volumes of these. Last time I looked there were over 100gb in mine. Check by Hitting windows key then typing storage. To delete these temp files run the following 3 tasks. 
Step 1 = Press Windows key + R, Type temp and click OK, Press Ctrl + A (select all) and click Delete.
Step 2 = Press Windows key + R, Type %temp% and click OK, Press Ctrl + A and click Delete.
Step 3 = Press Windows key + R, Type prefetch and click OK
Press Ctrl + A and click Delete. (If you have upgraded from older versions of windows also hit windows key, type disk cleanup, after this loads hit "cleanup system files" towards bottom of window. delete all check boxes.)
Second === Right click the windows icon > power options > hit show additional plans > choose high performance.
Third === Programs like Ccleaner by piriform can help sluggish machines a great deal sometimes. These are good for keeping all browsers clean and tidy also. I would recommend.
Fourth === Check bios settings for your specific motherboard. Many have one click overclocking features like asrock etc. AMD do a simple overclocking utility called overdrive, etc. Most systems can be overclocked. Even a safe slight tweak will boost performance without going crazy using desktop software.
Remove Background Apps and Settings === Settings > System > apps and features. Remove all you dont want. Spend time going through all settings removing what you do not need. camera, location data, ad tracking, etc. Remove all background apps from these settings too which can be a big burden on resources. 
Fifth === Keep windows, antivirus and all programs and drivers up to date. If you do not regularly update this will surely be the reason for low performance and compatibility issues.

As you have stated in your article remove items from start up. Probably the best thing you can do to speed up windows if you have installed lot of programs to windows in the past and windows has become slow.
File management really sucks in W10. Files randomly disappear when copied or moved. When copying music files to a micro SD card, I'm constantly getting interrupted with error messages about the files, and have to click try again. Such a waste of time! Then when I examine the files, some folders never copied!
How to reduce Services Timeout? Since anniversary updates, some services timeout at 30000ms. Not always the same, but I am tired of waiting 10 to 20mn before boot up. 
I did create the ServicesPipeTimeout in the registry but it does not help...
My intel core i5, 4GB RAM machine has slowed down considerably after upgrade to Windows 10. None of the above and other suggestions are of any help. Someone tells me that BIOS settings need to change since the original settings of the machine relate to Windows 7. Anyone having any advice?
Yes, ; download and run Ccleaner; 'registry' cleaner 
(2nd column down)
Your drive will be full of bad addresses (like a library with the books all in then wrong place)
Bios settings remain the same (you should only mess about here for overclocking where applicable,changing drive boot order or changing the ram allocation to the on board graphics,perhaps)
 W10 is faster than 8 is faster than 7. 
 Any i3 or better cpu from sandy bridge onwards (i3 2100) you should aim at using 8 gig ram ,pref dual channel (2 x4 gig ddr3 sticks) But it will work fine with any 4 gig config., unless gaming.
I suspect you have fixed this by now, but
Ignore this site; the guy is a numpty and so are many of the people proposing disk management Ccleaner will do in an instant (as will many free antivirus options once a year).
 Guess the drivers have caught up now too.
I call BS on the last one. Windows 10 doesn't need to be defragged manually anymore as it does it on it's own. Not to mention more and more PCs now have SSDs which don't require defragging at ALL and it could, in fact, damage them.
what should I enter in the Initial size MB <first topic> as I have 4 GB of ram installed on my PC Windows 10, Please help...
These tips are great, but you left out some important items. For example: Allotting extra memory to an app or a set of apps. I have windows 10 pro and kicked the RAM up as far as my rig can handle and the extra RAM is mostly just sitting there. What I need is to put it to work. I have used the advanced performance boost, but that of course uses the HDD not the RAM to do things.
Complete waste of time unless you run W10 on a calculator.