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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Use ReadyBoost as explained in #7 of 12 More Windows 7 Tips & Hacks.
- Use CCleaner as described in Freeware to Speedup Your Computer.
- Use a good Anti-Virus program like Microsoft Security Essentials.
- Restart Windows 7 at least once a week.
- Do not change the default disk defragmentation auto-run schedule.
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!