Many users feels that Microsoft Windows performance degrades over time. Extremists tend to format disks and reinstall Windows completely, but that is hardly the correct choice.
Follow these guides to speed up Windows:
- Free up disk space in Windows - when available disk space is insufficient, Windows always slows down. You can also use free CCleaner for removing unneeded files, cleaning Windows Registry and disabling some startup programs.
- Set paging file to a fixed size in Windows - if paging file (virtual memory) is adjusted dynamically, the file gets fragmented and this will hinder Windows performance. This step is not needed if Windows is installed on SSD (Solid State Drive).
- Use Defraggler for defragmenting disks in Windows - fragmentation is the most common cause of sluggish performance. Defraggler is much faster and gives much better results than the default Disk Defragmenter in Windows. It also provides boot-time defragmentation and is able to defragment only selected items. This step is not needed if Windows is installed on SSD (Solid State Drive).
- Troubleshoot performance in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 - Event Viewer in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 contains information on which applications and drivers cause slow performance, startups and shutdowns.
- Use ReadyBoost in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 - if properly configured, ReadyBoost can improve boot time and application response times a lot. You need a high-performance USB flash drive for this. ReadyBoost is disabled if Windows is installed on SSD (Solid State Drive).
- Update drivers with SlimDrivers - outdated drivers can often cause slowdowns and errors. Free SlimDrivers can update, backup and restore driver software.
- Disable visual effects in Windows - if nothing helps, try turning some or all eye-candy off to improve Windows responsiveness.
Windows XP users can also read the Use UPHC for faster logoffs in Windows XP article to get rid of sluggish log off times.
Using Windows Experience Index (WEI) in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 for identifying weak points in hardware
Windows Experience Index rates performance of your computer's processor (CPU), memory (RAM), graphics adapter (video card, aka GPU) and primary hard disk (the drive where Windows is installed). The index can reveal slow hardware that should be upgraded to enhance Windows performance. You can also use it to determine if using ReadyBoost is necessary.
Windows Experience Index is displayed in System Properties window of Windows Vista, 7 and 8. The easiest way to access it is to use keyboard shortcut Windows Key+Pause/Break. You can also right-click Computer in Start menu or on Desktop and click Properties; or type "wei" into Start menu/Start screen Search box and click the appropriate result.
In the System Properties/View basic information about your computer window, see the Rating line in System section.
If the line states Windows Experience Index: Unrated (in Vista) or System rating is not available, you need to run the assessment tool first by clicking the link. System Assessment Tool actually runs automatically from time to time, so your PC might have a score even if you have not run the tool it manually.
Otherwise, a number is displayed with Windows Experience Index link. If the number's background is gray, hardware configuration has changed and you need to update WEI. Click the link to see individual subscores.
The Rate and improve your computer's performance window opens. In Windows Vista, Windows Experience Index gives ratings from 1.0 to 5.9; in Windows 7 from 1.0 to 7.9; and in Windows 8 from 1.0 to 9.9. The higher the score, the better the performance.
If WEI has not yet been established, click Rate this computer. The Windows System Assessment Tool will take a few minutes to complete.
If there is a rating, check the subscores for each component. The final result (Base score) is always determined by the lowest subscore - so even if only one component is rated at 1.5 and all others at 5, the Base score will still be 1.5.
In the example above, it is clear that graphics card needs to be replaced. This is quite easy on desktop computers, but impossible on most laptops (and tablets).
After you've replaced some hardware, click Re-run the assessment to update Windows Experience Index.