How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Windows 8 Logo   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving PerformanceWhatever you think of Windows 8 (at MakeUseOf, our opinions are mixed), it’s certainly speedy. Windows 8 boots faster than previous versions of Windows, has lower memory usage, and has a desktop that feels nice and snappy. Like all versions of Windows, Windows 8 has a variety of settings you can tweak to speed things up and make it even faster. You can learn a whole lot about tweaking the OS in our Windows 8 guide.

Some of the tips here also apply to previous versions of Windows, but Windows 8 has some new tricks up its sleeve. As always, there are trade-offs when using some of the below tricks – there’s no magic “Go Faster” button.

Disable Time-Wasting Animations

Windows 8 (and Windows 7) display animations when you minimize, maximize, open, or close application windows. The animations are slick eye-candy, but they do introduce a delay. You can disable the animations and window transitions will happen instantly, eliminating the delay.

To disable the animations, press the Windows key, type SystemPerformanceProperties, and press Enter. Uncheck the Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing option. You may also want to disable some of the other animations, such as the Fade or slide menus into view and Fade or slide ToolTips into view. This will make menus and tooltips snap to attention instead of fading in with an animation.

disable animations in windows 8   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Pinpoint Apps Using Lots of Resources

Windows 8’s new task manager allows you to easily pinpoint the programs slowing down your computer. To open the Task Manager, right-click the desktop taskbar and select Task Manager.  Click the More details option if you don’t see the full interface.

Applications using a lot of resources will be highlighted, making it easy to see which programs are using up your computer’s resources. This list also shows a simplified list of applications, which is easier to understand and skim than the old-style processes list (if you prefer the old-style process list, it’s still available on the Details tab).

windows 8 task manager6   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Manage Your Startup Programs

The Windows Task Manager now allows you to easily disable programs that start with your computer. Click the Startup tab in the Task Manager to access these options.

Windows also analyzes how long each program takes to start and displays this information in the Startup impact column. Select a program and click Disable to prevent it from starting with Windows, speeding up your startup process.

windows 8 task manager startup programs   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Use Included Security Programs

Instead of installing third-party security suites that often slow down your computer, try using the included security applications. Windows now includes an antivirus – while it’s named Windows Defender, it’s basically the same as the popular Microsoft Security Essentials application.

windows defender on windows 8   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Windows 8 also includes a SmartScreen feature, which analyzes how trustworthy programs you download are. As in previous versions of Windows, Windows also includes a firewall that blocks incoming connections. If you want more settings and options, you may want to install a third-party security suite – but most users will find that Windows 8’s included security programs are finally complete enough to rely on.

Modify Power Settings

Windows 8 uses power plans to determine whether battery life or performance should be prioritized, just as previous versions of Windows do. To view your power plan settings, press the Windows key, type Power Plan, click Settings, and press Enter.

In the default Balanced mode, Windows automatically reduces your CPU’s speed when maximize speed isn’t needed. This saves power. To squeeze all the performance you can out of your hardware, you may want to try High performance instead. In High performance mode, your CPU’s speed is never reduced. It runs at full speed all the time.

However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Even high-performance gaming PCs are used for web browsing some of the time and it doesn’t make sense to run the CPU at full throttle while browsing the web. This just wastes power and generates additional heat.

Whichever plan you choose, make sure you aren’t using Power saver. This is only useful if you want to squeeze as much battery life out of your laptop as possible.

windows 8 power options   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Put Your Computer To Sleep

One of Windows 8’s most controversial aspects is the way it buries the Shut Down option in a hidden menu. Microsoft wants to encourage you to use Sleep mode instead of shutting down your computer. When you use Sleep, your computer goes into a very low-power state that uses just enough power to keep your programs and open files active in your computer’s RAM. When you come back to your computer, it will resume from sleep almost immediately. Using Sleep instead of Shut Down can dramatically speed things up when you sit down at your computer.

You’ll find a Sleep option under the power button in the Settings charm. (Press Windows Key+C, click Settings, click Power, and select Sleep). Your computer’s power button may also be configured to use Sleep automatically. You can change this option by clicking the Choose what the power buttons do option in the Power Options window mentioned above.

windows 8 settings charm   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Optimize Your Hard Drives

Windows 8 includes the standard Disk Defragmenter, now named the Optimize Drives tool. To access it, press the Windows key, type Defragment, click Settings, and press Enter. Note that Windows 8 automatically optimizes (defragments) your drive once per week by default. However, if you move a lot of files around, you may want to optimize your drives sooner.

As on previous versions of Windows, click the Analyze button to see exactly how fragmented your file systems are.

windows 8 optimize drives   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Control Windows Indexing

The Windows indexing service automatically scans the files on your computer and monitors them for changes, allowing you to quickly search for files without waiting. Indexing uses some CPU time (and uses more CPU time if you frequently change a lot of files) so disabling it can help you reduce CPU usage.

Bear in mind that indexing speeds up searches. If you regularly use the Files search feature on the Start screen or the search feature inside Windows Explorer, you won’t want to disable indexing. You should only disable indexing if you don’t use the search feature.

To disable Windows Search, press Start, type services.msc, and press Enter. Scroll down in the list, locate the Windows Search service, right-click it and select Properties.

windows search service   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Set the Startup type box to Disabled, click the Stop button to stop the service, and click OK.

windows search service properties   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

Instead of disabling the indexing service entirely, you may also want to control which folders Windows Search indexes. By default, it indexes your Users folders. if you have some folders full of files you don’t want to search, especially ones that frequently change, you may want to exclude these folders from being indexed. To control these settings, press the Windows key, type Indexing, click Settings, and press Enter.

windows 8 indexing options   How To Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance

For more information about Windows 8, be sure to download our free guide to Windows 8.

Do you have any other tips for improving Windows 8’s performance? Leave a comment and share them!

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If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

46 Comments -

Arun Vishnu

thanks for your very good in detail explainations about these handy tools in windows 8,it will be very helpfull to me because i am using windows 8 proffessional.but there is a question and i found some answers for some problems that why third party app developers are taking long survays about windows 8 like anti virus companies.will they lost their chance with windows defender pre-installed?

FĂ©lix S. De JesĂşs

What about MSCONFIG to start up your system fast??

Hugo

It sends you to startup manager in the task manager.

mmaduekwe stanley

Thanks for such wonderful tips.

Hugo

Defrag is a great idea, but if you have an ssd, you better disable it, the ssd drives have a number of times that could be recorded before die, and defrag is actually pretty hard on write times.
And, it doesn’t help in anything on a ssd.

Douglas Mutay

Good to know. thanks

Rick Harris

Is the reason it doesn’t help on an ssd simply/only because there’s no physical hardware involved? There’s no efficiencies gained when accessing large files that are all located in a contiguous block?

Hugo

That’s one of the reasons, the other is that ssd’s have a great random lecture speed.

Rick Harris

I’m not sure I know what “random lecture” speed is, but have an idea based on context. So would it be safe to say that contiguous blocks might actually be accessed a little faster, but not to any degree that is noticable, and certainly not worth the wear/tear and reduction of useful life? Thanks for the tutelage.

Hugo

There are basically two types of data reading/writing on any drive.
1.- The secuential. Is when two or more blocks of information from the same file are physically next to each other. (In hard drive disk, this is the optimum type of reading and writing).
2.- The random: This is where the blocks of the file are dispersed in the disk.

The defrag theory is that for a hard drive, who has mechanical parts, is better to read the files in a sequential way, for the “needle” who has to move severall times in a random data operation.
This doesn’t make any sense in a ssd drive, for the reasons that i’ve explained in a previous answer.

(By the way, sorry if my english lacks a little, i’m chillean)

Jim

Is this your pawn shop?

odiebugs

Win 8 will not defrag a SSD, win 8 has optimize for SSD’s, what optimize does is sends TRIM command to the SSD, no one has to worry about defrag with SSD’s.

Anyone running a RAID 0 array only has TRIM working, if they have a 7 series chipset. They can use a modded Intel option ROM for 6 series and X79 chipsets, And you must also use a RST driver with a version higher then the 11.6 version for win 8.

Do you have any clue of the life of a SSD. People don’t even need to worry about TRIM, the newest SSD’s, they have such a fast GC (garbage collection) that the LBA’s get cleaned at idle points, it doesn’t degrade the SSD having GC and not TRIM clean.

For the person who mentioned Windows Defender. Windows defender is the worst garbage on the planet, micro bought it when it was giant anti, since then micro has turned it into absolute garbage.

Please, anyone post the wild’s that this junk has picked up.

Gdata, Bit defender, Avira, F-secure, Kaspersky, Norton, Eset, Avast, these are the top anti-virus out. There are a few free, like Avira and bit, avast, if you can’t afford it.

MS config, working MS config to save CPU, go to the application, use their options and turn them off from startup.

Sebastian Hadinata

Nice tips as always.

Kenice Noel

Awesome tips.

pp potana

Nice article….For defrag do you suggest windows software ?

Chris Powell

I would never have known about this, great tips and thanks for the snapshots!

Chris Powell
DailyDealBuilder.com

Giggity Goebbels

Anybody can hack the desktop window manager?i want my windows classic back

Junil Maharjan

have tried some of these and it works great especially my boot up and shut down time has gotten pretty fast after deleting my antivirus to use windows defender.

Qin Tang

Great article, thanks for the tips, it will help me much.

VS Vishnu

disable the lock screen, sign in screen..saves time.

susendeep dutta

Nice article.Only power users won’t like to have a tradeoff.

Gordon Hay

The search term given for disabling animations doesn’t produce any results in Windows 8 – what you want to do is press Winkey, type “adjust”, click on “settings” then click on “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows” to get the Performance Options dialog box shown above.

Carolyn Barnett

I think you have the best tips. I do not have windows8 yet but will soon.

Alan Wade

Add a shortcut to the Start and Desktop screens to shutdown. Then its only one click to close Windows, saves a few seconds!

Adam Basha

Alternatively, you can use Alt+F4 to bring up shutdown screen

Ishan Gunawardana

But I don’t think windows defender is useful.. coz it cannot detect small viruses…

Noer Wahid

is there any pdf format ???

Marko D

I still whink that win7 is better. Cant get over the fact that they removed start button. (Yes i know i can download it from third party developers, but i want it by default, officially supported).

Rick Harris

I like most things about Win 8 so far–yes there are the little annoyances like the missing start menu and lack of easy to access shut-down/re-start, etc. But a little tweaking and searching for work-arounds fixes those. The thing I find most disturbing is that even after several weeks of working with it I still feel “in the dark” a great deal of the time as to where things are and how things are set up and working. Much the way I do when working in Apple OS–everything is hidden, behind the scenes, and I’m just supposed to “assume” that it’s all ok and working (and will continue to work). One of the key beauties about MS (vs Apple) is the openness that has always been inherent in the Windows environment, and I miss it. Maybe it’s because I still remember the good(?) ‘ol days of DOS with a certain degree of fondness. It feels like the weather is changing at MS and those in charge are caving in to the pressure to make things more “Apple-like.”

Brandon Lockaby

Really no need for me, I have a Solid State Drive. But these tips are great.

TANNU TANZAKS

I like it easy to access start and shut down process,firstly. It’s an great experience to work with win 8,. it is an extraordinary , i like just because of their processing period ,it’s really rocking, and their feature is unpredictable, and easily apps are available their, the more you have,the more you can do…..It’s awesome !!!!!!!.

TANNU TANZAKS

I like it easy to access start and shut down process,firstly. It’s an great experience to work with win 8,. it is an extraordinary , i like just because of their processing period ,it’s really rocking, and their feature is unpredictable, and easily apps are available their, the more you have,the more you can do…..It’s awesome !!!!!!!.

TANNU TANZAKS

NORJISH NABIL

I like it easy to access start and shut down process,firstly. It’s an great experience to work with win 8,. it is an extraordinary , i like just because of their processing period ,it’s really rocking, and their feature is unpredictable, and easily apps are available their, the more you have,the more you can do…..It’s awesome !!!!!!!.

SOFTWARETERRA.COM

Actually I’m using windows 7 and was looking for more information about windows 8, so when I started reading your article found a very valuable information. Thanks

David Yaroshevsky

thanks for the tips! i definitely noticed that my computer became a lot more active after the upgrade (a lot more of the processor has been active even when i don’t have many programs doing anything), which means that there have been lots of background programs eating at my battery.

Kade Musgita

lets give it a try…

Ben Hayes

These are some very helpful tips, I plan to try some of these out, Thank you very much!

Nik KAsar

The Articles Awsome,You may also like this, it states such great reason that will simply tempt to go for windows 8 . http://www.thetechaddas.com/2012/12/top-7-reason-to-switch-to-microsoft.html

Viril Johnny

Thanks man! my pc flies now. Coupled with some of the steps from http://www.computingunleashed.com/speed-up-windows-8-pro.html , windows 8 speed on my pc and laptop is now on niro.

Yamini Guptha

i am also starting to use windows 8.I have seen some tips over http://www.windowstips.in .And now this one also helped me so much.Thanks Chris and MUOf people. :)

Yamini Guptha

i am also starting to use windows 8.I have seen some tips over http://www.windows8tips.in .And now this one also helped me so much.Thanks Chris and MUOf people. :)

JP

The tips were very useful to me.. Now, the performance is a bit faster. Thanks a lot!

Chrissy

Pressing the Windows key in 8 gets you the 8 tile screen. It also renders this article useless to basic users.

:/

Ethan Waterman

Don’t defragment your drive if you have a Solid State. It dramatically reduces the lifespan, and does more harm to the drive than good.

TheMoondoggie

Thanks for your guide. I ran windows 8 on a new ASUS laptop. But I ran into problems when it ran Excel 2010 so slow. I found that Power Saving reduces processing power thanks to your guide.