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How to Speed Up Your Computer - Ultimate Guide

Updated on May 27, 2013

How to Speed up your Computer

Is your computer running slow? The following is a guide to changing windows settings to speed up your computer. Each of the changes may not make much of a difference on their own, but if your follow this guide to completion, the changes will compound upon each other, making your computer super fast!

I will make the changes in the following steps:

1. System Settings

2. Services

3. Registry

4. Startup

5. Programs

6. Features

At the end I will go through some windows utilities that can make the computer faster, then I will mention some free third party utilities that are worth considering.

1. System Settings

A) Theme

Windows 7 defaults to the Windows 7 Aero Theme. This theme is very resource intensive, mainly on the GPU. Although the basic and high contrast themes use the CPU, they use much less resources. To change the theme, right click on the desktop and select personalize. Scroll down to basic and high contrast themes and select one. I suggest using the Windows Classic.

B) Performance Settings

There are many appearance options that slow down your computer. To change these, click start, right click on computer, and click properties. Click advanced system settings. Under the performance section, select settings. Select the radio button next to adjust for best performance. Then in the box below, tick smooth edges of screen fonts. Then select any other options that you want. Remember the more you select, the slower your system may be. Then click apply.

C) User Account Control

Your computer constantly checks every change you make to your computer for security purposes, then asks you if the change should actually be made. To stop the computer from doing this, click start, type user accounts and hit enter. Click change user account control settings. Move the slider to never notify. Then click Ok.

D) Aero Snap

To disable aero snap, another appearance feature that slows down the computer, click start, type ease, then hit enter. Click make it easier to focus on tasks. Under make it easier to manage windows, untick prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen. Click apply.

E) Power Plan

To set your power plan to high performance, click start, type power options, and hit enter. Click additional plans and select high performance.

F) Thumbnail Preview

To disable thumbnail preview, click start, type folder and search, and hit enter. Click on the view tab. Tick always show icons. Untick display file icon on thumbnail.Click apply.

2. Services

There are many services that can be stopped that will not disrupt the system. It is important to know what these do before you disable them. Here is a list of what can be disabled:

  1. Application experience
  2. Desktop Windows Manager
  3. Session Manager
  4. Diagnostic Policy Service
  5. Distributed Link Tacking Client
  6. IP Helper
  7. Offline Files
  8. Portable Device Enumerator Service
  9. Protected Storage
  10. Security Center
  11. Tablet PC Input Service
  12. TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
  13. Themes
  14. Windows Error Reporting Service
  15. Windows Media Center Service Launcher
  16. Windows Search

Some of these you may use on occasion but are not essential to your system running. You may look these up before you disable them. If you need some of these after you disable them, you can always temporarily enable them.

To disable services, click start, type services, and select services. Right click on the one you want to disable and click properties. Under startup type, select disabled. If you want it to start after your computer starts to startup your computer faster, select delayed start.

3. Registry

There are a few system changes that you can make that must changed in the registry. To access the registry, click start, type regedit, and hit enter.

Optimize core system performance [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]

"DisablePagingExecutive" = dword:00000001

Prefetcher tweak (faster booting) [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters]

"EnablePrefetcher" = dword:00000003


"Enable" = "Y"

Make your computer shut down faster [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control]

"WaitToKillServiceTimeout" = "2000"

Enable quick reboot [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

"EnableQuickReboot" = "1"

Large system cache [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]

"LargeSystemCache" = dword:00000001

Force windows to unload unused dlls from memory [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer]

"AlwaysUnloadDLL" = dword:00000001

CD-ROM speed up [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem\CDFS]

"Prefetch" = dword:00004000

"PrefetchTail" = dword:00004000

"CacheSize" = hex:ff,ff,00,00

Speed up opening of "My Computer" [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]

"NoRemoteRecursiveEvents" = dword:00000001

Speed up opening of "Start Menu" [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]

"MenuShowDelay" = "4"

Launch Explorer as a separate process [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Advanced]

"SeparateProcess" = dword:00000001

4. Startup

The system configuration utility has a few areas that can be changed to speed up your computer's startup and keep the computer fast. To access the system configuration utility, click start, type msconfig, and hit enter.

A) Boot Tab

Once the window opens, go to the boot tab. Change the timeout to 3 seconds. Then click advanced options. Tick number of processors and maximum memory and select the appropriate settings. Be very careful, if you select the wrong settings, your computer may not be able to boot. If you do not know your computer specs, skip this step. This affects only booting, not system speed.

B) Startup Tab

The startup tab lists all the programs that start with your computer. Many of them do not need to start, or you can start them manually later. To disable these, go to the startup tab. Uncheck the programs you do not need, and click apply.

5. Programs

Often your computer gets full of programs that you do not use. These programs slow down your computer. To remove these programs, click start, type programs and features, and hit enter. Select the program and click uninstall. A wizard will pop up that will guide you through uninstalling the software. Continue this process until all that is left is software that you use.

6. Features

There are many windows features, that like programs, slow down your computer. These features cannot be uninstalled, but they can be disabled. Disabling these will speed up your computer. To disable a feature, go back to the programs and features window. Click turn windows features on or off. It is up to you which features you want to turn off. Ones that I normally turn off are:

1. Games

2. Internet Explorer

3. Media Features

4. Print and Document Services (if you do not print)

5. Tablet PC Components

6. Windows Gadget Platform

7. Windows Search

Windows Utitlities

Two Windows utilities that can speed up your computer are disk cleanup and disk defragmenter. To access these click start, all programs, accessories, system tools, then either disk cleanup or disk defragmenter. Both are fairly self explanatory from here. For more information on how to use these utilities, look at this article: How to Speed up Your PC Without Downloading Anything.

Third Party Software

There are a few programs worth mentioning that can speed up your computer.

A) Disk Cleaners

There are three programs that are free that help clean your PC. They mostly focus on unnecessary files that take up space and temporary files that slow down your computer. They are: CCleaner, Glary Utilities, and Wise Disk Cleaner. Here are their download pages:


Glary Utilities

Wise Disk Cleaner

Read my article on CCleaner here: How to Speed up Your PC with CCleaner.

B) Registry Cleaners

Your registry can become full of broken files and incorrect information making your computer run slower. To fix this, you can use the free utility Wise Registry Cleaner. You can download that here.

C) Disk Defragmenters

Although Windows has a built in defragmenter, there are third party ones that are much better. My favorite is: Defraggler, which you can download here.


Which step made the biggest effect for you?

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