Speeding Up Windows 7: Everything You Need to Know

Mahendra Palsule 18-02-2010

windows7.jpgNo matter which version of Windows you use, you will find your PC slowing down after a few months of regular use. This holds true for the latest incarnation as well – Windows 7. There are several third-party utilities that optimize Windows, but it is not safe to run system programs from unknown developers.


In this guide, we will cover speeding up windows 7 and how to optimize your Windows 7 PC or Laptop in a safe manner. These steps do not involve any “hacks”, so you can safely use them without harming your system in any way.

#1: Remove Unused Programs & Windows Features

When you buy a PC or laptop, it usually comes pre-installed with a lot of demo-ware, trial-ware, try-before-you-buy kind of software. If you like to play with new applications all the time, you might have yourself installed software downloaded from the Internet. Each program installed on your computer uses system resources that you are wasting if you don’t really need the software. Remove and uninstall all software that you no longer need from Control Panel ““> Programs ““> Uninstall a program. Also see How to Uninstall Applications Efficiently and Remove Obsolete Files How To Uninstall Applications Efficiently And Remove Obsolete Files Read More .

Also, from Control Panel > Programs ““> Turn Windows features on or off, uncheck any Windows features you don’t need.

#2: Review Startup Programs

The most common cause of slowdown are programs that automatically run when Windows starts and keep running in the background consuming precious system memory.


The simplest way to detect which programs are running when you start Windows is to check the notification area on the taskbar. Click the up arrow to show hidden icons. Uninstall any programs you don’t need, or disable the option within that program to start it automatically.


A better way to review startup programs is to use the System Configuration utility. From the Start menu, enter msconfig in the search box and start it from the search result. In this utility, click the Startup tab and review each entry. If you see entries of programs you don’t need, uncheck the box to disable that application from running at startup. Note : this does not uninstall applications from your system, it only disables them from automatically running at startup.

Advanced users should use the free Autoruns for Windows utility from the Microsoft website. This is the most comprehensive monitor of all kinds of startup programs and services you will ever need.


#3: Adjust Visual Effects

A pretty Windows is not the fastest Windows. You can adjust visual effects to get better performance from your system. In Control Panel, search for Performance and select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows from the System category in the results.

Visual Effects

In the popup window, you can choose the Adjust for best performance option or make a custom selection of which visual effects you need.

#4: Adjust Indexing Options

Windows continuously indexes drives and locations where it thinks you search for your files, including all folders in Libraries. You should tweak these settings so that Windows only indexes those locations where you actually search frequently. In Control Panel, search for Indexing and select Indexing Options. Click Modify.


Indexing Options

In the popup dialog, click Show all locations if enabled. Now, clear the check box for those locations where you rarely search, and click OK.

#5: Adjust Power Settings

The default power management setting in Windows 7 is Balanced, conserving power at the cost of performance. If you are not concerned with battery usage and power consumption and more concerned with speeding up Windows 7, you can change the setting for maximum performance. In Control Panel, go to Power Options.

Power Options


Click the down arrow to Show additional plans, and select the High performance power plan.

#6: Disable Sounds

You can disable unwanted Windows sounds to squeeze more performance. Go to Control Panel ““> Hardware and Sound ““> Change system sounds. In the Sound Scheme drop down, choose No Sounds, uncheck Play Windows Startup sound and click OK.

#7: Tweak Windows Services

This step is for advanced users. Windows Services run in the background and provide critical Operating System functions for your computer. However, most users don’t need all the Services that run by default. Since each running Service consumes system resources, tweaking the default settings for which Services run automatically at startup helps with speeding up windows 7. You can view and modify these settings by entering services.msc in the Start ““> Search box.


Each Service can be set to Automatic (auto-start at boot), Manual (start when needed), or Disabled (cannot start). Which Service settings should you change? An excellent trustworthy reference guide is provided by “Black Viper“. Use the Safe configuration in which settings for 19 services have been changed from their default state. If you know what you’re doing, you can use settings from the Tweaked configuration for maximum benefit.

#8: Other Tips To Improve Performance

Apart from the above, the following tips also help improve Windows 7 performance:

These tips cover all the essentials you need to know to speed up Windows 7. There is no need to install any third-party utilities that tweak Windows 7, especially as most of them are not officially supported by Microsoft. Do you have other tips to speed up Windows 7? Share them with us in the comments!

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  1. daron
    February 14, 2017 at 9:37 am

    setting your power setting up wont over heat your power supply ?
    ... and how am i supposed to know what all those file names are ? win this win that , with just numbers after them ?
    you make it sound easy , but ive got 68 things opening at start , and i only know what 7 of them are ??? how do i know what i SHOULDNT eliminate ?


  2. SandeepKuamr
    December 5, 2015 at 9:56 am

    have you something new for speed up windows 7

  3. Joshua Doty
    May 3, 2015 at 9:19 am

    if i have old programs in my programs and features but am unsure if they are important or used how can i tell what is actually needed and should not be deleted? reason being have 2013 programs like intel(R) TV Wizard Bonjour PCIe Soft Data Fax Modem ....& i dont even have a fax machine

  4. How to Defrag
    March 7, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Great Article,

    I find that the best way to speed up a computer is by defragmenting it.

    You can use the Windows Defrag Tool that can speed up your computer by miles, I recently ran it on my five year old Windows XP Machine and now it flys!

    Saves you money as you don't have to buy a new computer.

  5. Tina
    February 25, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Awesome article Mahendra!
    Adjusting the visual effects alone resulted in a huge speed boost for my new netbook.
    Thank you!

    • GoGreeb
      March 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Which netbook u got?

      • Tina
        March 5, 2010 at 1:40 am

        A HP mini. I upgraded from Windows 7 Starter to Pro.

  6. army rations
    February 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    This were really good steps, my win 7 was really slow and i was
    really messed up all the time when i had to work on it. But this
    speed up tricks really made my laptop fast and now its fun to
    work on win 7.

  7. himanshu
    February 24, 2010 at 6:08 am

    nice post man. will be trying these

  8. James
    February 22, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Some of the tips you mentioned is also available in WinXP and it I found it very useful.

    I just wondered if Tweak UI will prove easy to use in Windows 7.

    More Power.

  9. pceasies
    February 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I tried to enable ReadyBoost, but it said it wouldn't offer any performance increase so it didn't start. (6GB), lol

  10. Vivian Daisy
    February 20, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Very nice post! In my opinion, though every computer will become slow, there are still some ways that we can do to fix a slow computer. See more further information here... Good luck every one!

  11. pthesis
    February 20, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Nice article. You mention good points that are relatively easy to access and implement.

  12. Brandon
    February 19, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    A lot of these are bad ideas for most if not all users. Selecting the "Maximum Performance" power plan is a huge waste. It doesn't make your computer faster, it just prevents it from going to sleep and disables CPU throttling.

    Those things will never, ever have a measurable impact on performance, and turning them off permanently (as opposed to temporarily if you have some reason your machine shouldn't go to sleep, like recording a performance or something) is a bad idea.

    Changing the indexed scope isn't going to have a significant effect either.

    Disabling sounds for performance is getting beyond the realm of the ridiculous.

  13. Mahendra Palsule
    February 20, 2010 at 5:27 am

    @Brandon: Looks like you know more about Windows than Microsoft:

    If you think these don't help, would appreciate if you share your tips that don't involve registry hacks and can be easily applied by ordinary users.

  14. Mike
    February 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Excessive sounds to increase performance? Really?

  15. Jonathan Bennett
    February 19, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Yeah, this is a good list of things to check for most Windows operating systems.

  16. Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware
    February 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    This is a pretty comprehensive list. Most of the things are applicable to all version of Windows.

  17. Viki
    February 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    A very well rounded post with some pertinent points specific to Windows 7.

    Especially #4 - Indexing Options and #7 Tweaking services are often overlooked, but can help a lot on slower systems.