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Tuning Windows 10 for Slow Machines

Windows 10 on slow netbook

This guide is for those who dares to install Windows 10 on old or slow netbooks (low end memory of e.g. 1GB OR 2GB of RAM).
Though the Windows 7/8 -> 10 upgrade program is over (officially, but it still works), you still may use old Windows product keys from license stickers to install Windows 10 on old machines.

If you want an easier automated way to speed up Windows and disable some unnecessary things, use an app like Privatezilla is the simplest way to perform a quick privacy and security check of your Windows 10 copy.


  • Win ⊞ + R -- Press and hold "Windows" key, then press key R, then relese both keys.
  • Search "FooBar" -- Click searching glass icon in taskbar OR click Windows Start icon and start typing FooBar. You don't need to type all the phrase, only the beginning.

Table of Contents

Windows 10 Performance Checklist:

  1. Reset Windows (Advanced)
  2. Remove Unnecessary Apps/Crapware/Bloatware
  3. Clean System from Viruses/Malware/Adware, etc.
  4. Remove Some Apps from Autorun
  5. Leave Enough Free Space on Your Drives for Windows 10
  6. Tweak Visual Effects
  7. Turn Off System Protection on Disks
  8. Opt Out from Privacy Options/Telemetry
  9. Turn Off Store Updates
  10. Turn Off Windows Components
  11. Tweak Windows Services (Advanced)
  12. Tweak Your Browser
  13. Defragment Your HDDs
  14. Unplug or Turn Off Unnecessary Devices
  15. Tweak Power Options (Doubtful)
  16. Tweak BIOS/UEFI (Advanced)
  17. Optionally

If Nothing Helps:

  1. Check HDD, FileSystem and Windows Files for Errors (Advanced)
  2. Install Other OS or Upgrade the Hardware

Windows 10 Performance Checklist

0. Reset Windows (Advanced)

This involves wiping everything i.e. full data loss. If you don't mind uninstalling all your programs, then move all your precious data to other partition than C:.
Then you may reset Windows to the "just installed" state via: Search "Recovery options" > Reset this PC > Remove Everything > Only the drive where windows is installed.
After re-install you will have to reconfigure Windows and install all necessary programs like word editor/file archivator.
Read more:

1. Remove Unnecessary Apps/Crapware/Bloatware

  • New way: Search "Apps & features" or Settings > Apps & features > Click an app > Uninstall
  • Old way: Win + R > appwiz.cpl
  • Farbar Recovery Scan Tool (advanced)

2. Clean System from Viruses/Malware/Adware, etc.

You may use these programs:

  1. Free Anti-adware Scanners (Not Antiviurses):
  1. Free Antiviruses: Tip: Have only one antivirus installed and running at a time

AV Settings: Newer versions of Antivirus have extra memory hungry processes, e.g. you can turn off Avast's behaviour shield to tradeoff some ram.

3. Remove Some Apps from Autorun

4. Leave Enough Free Space on Your Drives for Windows 10

Subjectivly I think 10GB is enough for Winfows 10 to function properly. PC Advisor recommends to keep 10% of each volume free.
You may free up disk space by running these tools:

  • Search "Disk Cleanup" > Right Click > Run as administrator or Win + R > cleanmgr

  • Settings -> Storage Settings

  • CCleaner

5. Tweak Visual Effects

  • Search "advanced system settings" > Performance Settings > Adjust for best performance
  • Settings > Personalization > Colors > OFF "Make Start, taskbar... transparent" and OFF others of your choice
  • Settings > Ease of Access > Display (or Other options > OFF "Play animation" or "Show animations in Windows" and OFF "Show (desktop) background (image)"
  • Settings > Personalization > Start > Show more tiles OFF, Occasionaly show suggestions OFF
  • Unpin all tiles from Start Menu, and shrink it.

Turn Off Lock Screen

  • Settings > Personalization > Lock screen > Show lock screen background picture... > OFF
  • Settings > Personalization > Lock screen > Background = Picture
    • Settings > Personalization > Lock screen > Get fun facts, tips, tricks > OFF (after previous point)

Extreme Measures

  • Settings > System > Notifications & actions > Get tips, tricks, and suggestions OFF, Get notifications from apps OFF

6. Turn Off System Protection on Disks

System protection feature tells Windows to record changes made during software installations for purpose of rolling back when system fails to operate. If you feel brave, you may turn it off:
Search "advanced system settings" > Choose disk > Configure > Disable

7. Opt Out from Privacy Options/Telemetry

Settings > Privacy >:

  • General > OFF "Send Microsoft info about how I write..." and OFF others of your choice
  • Speech, inking and typing > Stop getting to know me
  • Location > Change > OFF if you don't need location tracking
  • Background apps > OFF all except "Settings"
  • Feedback and diagnostics > Windows should ask for my feedback: NEVER, Send your device data to MS: BASIC
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection\ AllowTelemetry: 0
  • In PowerShell:
    stop-service diagtrack
    set-service diagtrack -startuptype disabled

8. Turn Off Store Updates

  • Open Microsoft Store > user icon > Settings > Update apps automatically > OFF
  • Microsoft Store > user icon > Settings > Show products on tile > OFF
  • Win + R > regedit:
    1. By easeus

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsStore Create a new 32-bit DWORD value named AutoDownload and set it to 2;

    1. By winaero

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CloudContent Create a new 32-bit DWORD value named DisableWindowsConsumerFeatures and set it to 1

    1. Restart Windows 10.

9. Turn Off Windows Components

  • Uninstall and Disable OneDrive

  • Disable Cortana

    Create new folder (key) in regedit: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search New > DWORD (32-bit AllowCortana. Double-click it and set the value to 0.

  • Settings > System > Notifications & actions > Show me tips about Windows > OFF

  • Win + R > appwiz.cpl > Turn Windows feartures on or off (advanced)

    • or Settings -> Apps -> Optional Features
  • Settings > Apps > Offline maps > Automatically update maps > OFF

  • Settings -> Gaming -> Xbox Game Bar -> OFF

10. Tweak Windows Services (Advanced)

Open services by Win + R > services.msc. There you may change some services from automatic startup to manual (when needed) or turn off services completely. If you turn off some important services your system may become unfunctional. You may get some insight from Black Viper manual.

I usually set as manual services (but don't trust me: I have little experience): Themes, IP Helper (I don't use IPv6), TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper (I don't use local network), Fax, Print Spooler (I don't use printers/fax).

11. Tweak Your Browser

12. Defragment Your HDDs

Search "Defragment and Optimize Drives"
You may read more about defragmentation on the internets.

13. Unplug or Turn Off Unnecessary Devices

  1. Win + R > ncpa.cpl OR Settings -> Network & Internet -> Status -> Change adapter options
  2. `Right click on unused network interface > Disable``

14. Tweak Power Options (Doubtful)

I doubt this option, but some resources mention it:
Search "Power Options" > Show additional plans > High performance

15. Tweak BIOS/UEFI (Advanced)

In BIOS you may:

  1. Enable virtualization and other CPU facilities.
  2. Turn off power saving.
  3. Remove DVD from booting devices.
  4. Disable devices that are not used or broken (e.g. NIC, floppy).

16. Optionally

Antivirus may be an excess for a slow PC, better to use standard MS defender.
In this case you'd better turn off AutoPlay on external drives:
Settings > Devices > AutoPlay > Use AutoPlay for all media and devices > OFF

If Nothing Helps

1. Check HDD, FileSystem and Windows Files for Errors (Advanced)

If your HDD is old it may slow down the whole system, however it may be checked and healed.

  1. Find HDD diagnosic tool (with SMART feature) and check drive's health, e.g. MHDD is an old tool for advanced users.
  2. Remap bad or slow HDD sectors, e.g. Low Level Format Tool remaps slow sectors while deleting all data.
  3. Fix filesystem errors, e.g. with Win + R > cmd.exe > CHKDSK C: /F
  4. Fix corruped Windows files: Win + R > cmd.exe > sfc /scannow (details)

2. Install Other OS or Upgrade Hardware

You may install Windows 7, lightweight Linux (e.g. Lubuntu, LXLE, Linux Mint: Xfce Edition), CloudReady or Android for PC (not stable yet, RemixOS, PhoenixOS, Android-x86). Or you may add more RAM, switch to SSD, upgrade other hardware or buy a new notebook. An SSD instead of HDD, as well as more RAM, makes the biggest difference to performance.


No Warranty

I'm not responsible for any data loss or damage to your device caused by following instructions in this article.

UPD Oct 2020 Links updated, and made some clickable links to specific Settings to get to the setting faster while viewing this page.

UPD Jan 2019
This article is quite old, some instructions may be obsolete.

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