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  • Tips for speeding up Windows PCs

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Tips for speeding up Windows PCs

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      • #2308775
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        TROUBLESHOOTING By Nathan Segal With each update and upgrade of our Windows machines, overall speed seems to take another hit. Additional memory and a
        [See the full post at: Tips for speeding up Windows PCs]

        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2308813
        bharney
        AskWoody Plus

        I’m using a Toshiba laptop that was purchased around 2008, as I recall, with Windows Vista, 2gb RAM and a 160gb HD.  It has been upgraded to Windows 10 Pro and was slow but usable most of the time, so long as I did not have very many things open.   I just upgraded to a Samsung 2TB SSD and what a difference!    It boots in about 15-20 seconds now, and I have Chrome and Firefox open with about 2 dozen tabs open between them, plus a few other programs, and rarely do I have any hestitation.   I checked to be sure that Windows is not defragging, via the registry query that was in a recent AskWoody newsletter.   I’d tell what that is, but apparently we cannot search the newsletter archive.

        Powerbasic, no software bloat programming for Windows.

        • #2308944
          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          I’m using a Toshiba laptop that was purchased around 2008, as I recall, with Windows Vista, 2gb RAM and a 160gb HD. It has been upgraded to Windows 10 Pro and was slow but usable most of the time, so long as I did not have very many things open. I just upgraded to a Samsung 2TB SSD and what a difference! It boots in about 15-20 seconds now, and I have Chrome and Firefox open with about 2 dozen tabs open between them, plus a few other programs, and rarely do I have any hestitation. I checked to be sure that Windows is not defragging, via the registry query that was in a recent AskWoody newsletter. I’d tell what that is, but apparently we cannot search the newsletter archive.

          If your computer is running well with only 2GB of RAM, that is amazing. Usually you need at least 4GB in order for it to be usable. Are you running 32-bit Windows, or 64-bit? If you are running 32-bit, then that could explain why it is running as well as it is with only 2GB of RAM installed.

          I don’t think the amount of memory has any effect on your ability to search the newsletter archive.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2309069
            anonymous
            Guest

            Using a 32bit OS and browsers nowadays is the way forward.
            The 64bit MS OS opens up bandwidth avenues for user data exploitation
            and certain (nameless) mainstream browsers also use this method.
            There are in-depth articles about this, if you know where to look.

          • #2309081
            bharney
            AskWoody Plus

            Sorry, should’ve said that I’m using Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.  Yeah, I’m also amazed how it performs with just 2gb RAM.

            However, if I want to run HD youtube videos, I have to close most everything else, otherwise I don’t get a good continuous play, and still get a periodic halting.

            BTW, previously I tried a 512GB flash drive (thumb drive) by SanDisk for $99.  It was awful.  I got constant messages re an incomplete ZIP archives.  Windows must be doing some kind extra checks on removable drives because I don’t get that with the SSD installed in place of my old internal HDD with the same ZIP files.   That flash drive was very slow, with sometimes long pauses.  My laptop has USB 2.0 ports and copies to and from an external USB HDD perform very well.

            Powerbasic, no software bloat programming for Windows.

          • #2309245
            Canadian Tech
            AskWoody_MVP

            Jim, that is not all that surprising to me. Providing the user is not using a lot of open tasks at the same time, performance is not all that different. The main difference more memory makes is to allow more freedom to mulit-task.

            CT

      • #2308819
        anonymous
        Guest

        1) Clean Windows 10 2004 install from empty volume (never in-place upgrade)

        2) Scrub through all the startup files (services, reg keys, startup folder, tray, msconfig boot) and turn OFF many unnecessary services

        3) Turn OFF all visual effects expect smooth fonts (can’t live with Windows 3.X fonts)

        4) Turn OFF indexing

        5) Install VLC / configure with hardware acceleration

        6) Enable Edge video hardware acceleration edge://flags and confirm edge://gpu

        7) Enable ONLY H.264/AVC1  videos from YouTube via enhanced-h264ify plugin

        My ten year old 1Ghz (Dual Core) laptop Toshiba Satellite C655D is useful.  DVDs play smooth and it can even play 1080 HD videos from YouTube full screen without skipping!

        • #2308917
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          1) Clean Windows 10 2004 install from empty volume (never in-place upgrade)

          I always use in-place upgrade.

          2) Scrub through all the startup files (services, reg keys, startup folder, tray, msconfig boot) and turn OFF many unnecessary services

          Having setup Startup with Windows 7 Pro and running only in-place upgrades, I haven’t found this step at all necessary.

          3) Turn OFF all visual effects expect smooth fonts (can’t live with Windows 3.X fonts)

          I don’t do this, either.  Not that I haven’t tried it, but it does not produce measurable improvement in performance/efficiency/speed.

          4) Turn OFF indexing

          This, I do, because I don’t need or use Search.

          5) Install VLC / configure with hardware acceleration

          I’ve tried VLC, but I don’t care for the interface and don’t see any measurable improvement over Windows Media Player, which is still my default.  I prefer to rip my DVD’s and Blu-ray discs with MakeMKV Beta to my NAS as .mp4 files.  Using that and Plex Server on my NAS, Plex Player on my TV’s, I can watch from anywhere.

          6) Enable Edge video hardware acceleration edge://flags and confirm edge://gpu

          I don’t use Edge at all.  Firefox is my default browser.

          7) Enable ONLY H.264/AVC1 videos from YouTube via enhanced-h264ify plugin

          Not an issue.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2309205
            anonymous
            Guest

            Step 1:  Needed for clean install otherwise lots of accumulated garbage all over the volume and registry.

            Steps 2 and 3 :  Make a HUGE performance difference for 1 Ghz machine with 3 Gig of RAM!  Step 2 has to be done otherwise the machine is non stop HD swapping.  Step 3 is needed otherwise the 1Ghz CPU is pegged/lagging resizing a window.

            Step4:  We agree and it a huge performance improvement both for memory and CPU usage.

            Step 5: Windows Media skips due to excessive memory usage.  Again I have 3 Gigs of memory!  VLC uses far less memory for DVD playback.

            Step 6: Firefox performance is dismal and videos skip compared to Edge Chromium due to memory usage.

            I’m sure you have modern i7 Skylake+ or later with 16GB of RAM so of course these steps make no measurable difference on modern machines.   Here is link to the old laptop specs from the manufacture:  https://support.dynabook.com/support/staticContentDetail?contentId=3054414

            I listed the steps I needed to make an ancient 10 year old laptop work very well playing DVDs and modern videos.

          • #2309691
            doriel
            AskWoody Lounger

            VLC is nice and slim tool, which allows me to play at 200% volume (extremely usefull with small laptop speakers), thats the main reason why I install them on NTBs. It can also convert/roatate/crop video.
            Inceredibly usefull and compact tool.

            Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

            HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2308874
        gregcbrown
        AskWoody Plus

        I ran the suggested tool Perfmon /report while reading the article. It said “collecting data for 60 seconds…” but it was still collecting data 5 minutes later…

        I’ll kill it and try again…

        • #2308877
          gregcbrown
          AskWoody Plus

          No joy, it runs but never ends. Oh well…

        • #2309688
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Basicaly said: Time estimation was never good in Windows as a whole. I saw 0sec remaining for quarter an hour on the display while copying files or when performing Defender scan.
          But in this case, it took 62 seconds – thats pretty accurate 🙂 I ran that command from CDM with elevated rights. May be stupid question, but did you run that command with administrator rights?

          Windows 1809 17763.1518 Enterprise 64 bit.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          • This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by doriel.
      • #2308884
        agoldhammer
        AskWoody Plus

        My experience is the same as @gregcbrown.  I ran it twice and it just hung.  Win10 2004

      • #2308897
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        With each update and upgrade of our Windows machines, overall speed seems to take another hit.

        This has not been my experience.  Nearly all of my routine maintenance is taken care of using Task Scheduler, and I don’t have performance/efficiency/speed falloff with each successive upgrade/update.

        Having kept records of performance through various software/hardware updates/upgrades, my systems have only improved.  And by improved I mean measurable improvement, not just “feels like” improvement.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2308899
        anonymous
        Guest

        If perfmon /report fails to display, you can still view the report from within perfmon:

        1. Press the Win+R keys to open Run, type perfmon into Run, and click/tap on OK to open Performance Monitor.

        2. Expand open Reports, System, and System Diagnostics in the left pane of Performance Monitor. (see screenshot at link below)

        3. Under System Diagnostics, click/tap on a report that was created (collected) on the date and time you want to view.

        To View a System Diagnostics Report in Performance Monitor [TenForums.com]

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2309030
        RebusCom
        AskWoody Plus

        On my Win10 Pro systems the performance monitor hangs at the 60 second dialog forever and going into reports afterwards reveals a report placeholder but it’s blank.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2309124
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        I’ll bet you could find 8GB of RAM for your computer really cheap on Ebay. I’ve done that on a few computers. I paid about $20 each time.

        BTW, previously I tried a 512GB flash drive (thumb drive) by SanDisk for $99. It was awful. I got constant messages re an incomplete ZIP archives. Windows must be doing some kind extra checks on removable drives because I don’t get that with the SSD installed in place of my old internal HDD with the same ZIP files. That flash drive was very slow, with sometimes long pauses. My laptop has USB 2.0 ports and copies to and from an external USB HDD perform very well.

        This external USB drive is intriguing:

        It is really small, costs about $50, and it’s about the same capacity as your thumb drive.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #2309132
        anonymous
        Guest

        Unless you’ve never gone into Windows and actually swipe the screen phone style, that MS article is useless.  It starts by giving a “secret” shortcut to Programs and Features (uh, oh, revealed control panel in path by mistake, AAAIIIEEEE!!!), then tells you to first remove extra AV programs, then, oh, forget it!

        🙂

      • #2309243
        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody_MVP

        I have done this on literally hundreds of Windows 7 computers. I can say with confidence with great success. I have done this so many times that I detailed the procedure and posted it in this forum:

        Most important is to do a complete re-installation of Windows 7. https://www.askwoody.com/2019/canadian-tech-how-to-rebuild-a-win7-system-with-minimal-snooping/

        I most cases, performance will be very much improved by replacing the hard drive with either a SSD or a 7200rpm drive. To ensure the future of your system, make a system image after all updating is done according to my procedure and before any data or dynamic applications are installed. By NOT installing all the garbage that came with it on the OEM system, you will be improving performance.

        In all cases, the systems perform afterwards at least as well as they did when new, and in many, if not most cases even better.

        I have 120 win7 client machines that run extremely well day in day out. Actually what I call Final State. They are in effect steady state, unchanging systems that change little. My clients are delighted. NOt one of them has had a Microsoft update in 3 1/2 years now. Not a single instance of any kind of a problem. Not one! After 5000 computer use months now.

        CT

      • #2309269
        sb06794
        AskWoody Plus

        I ran the suggested tool Perfmon /report while reading the article. It said “collecting data for 60 seconds…” but it was still collecting data 5 minutes later…

        I’ll kill it and try again…

        I’m also having the Resource and Performance Monitor hang and never finish.  Does anyone know why ours is hanging and the author’s is not?  I’m running Windows 10 Home 20H2, 64-bit, and Kaspersky Free anti-virus.

        • This reply was modified 4 months ago by sb06794.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2309275
        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        Have you tried using the Perfmon app as described at How to Generate System Diagnostics Report in Windows 10 to generate and view the report rather than just the command line?

        --Joe

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2309685
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thanks for the article, nicely sumarized!

        Recently, a colleague replaced a relatively new 1TB hard-disk drive with a 500GB SSD in an eight-year-old MacBook Pro.

        I would NEVER NEVER NEVER run Win10 with classic HDD. Just never.

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2334637
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Nathan, thank you so much for this helpful, easy to understand article. As you can tell, it’s taken me quite a while to sit down and read it!

        The best hint you offered for me was the advice to turn off defragmentation on our 9 year old Windows 7 HP laptop with an SSD. I’d installed the new SSD about 3 years ago and couldn’t figure out why its rating dropped from 100% to 90%. I’d installed a new HDD in my PC about 4 years ago and it was still getting 100% ratings.

        Well, now I know. Duh. Wish there had been a note in the SSD package warning me about that. Or maybe it just means non tech types should not attempt such tech tasks! 😉

        Regardless, thank you so much. Defrag is now off, thanks to your instructions, and I’ve even gone in a stopped a few more startup items. It was interesting to see that some I’d stopped several years ago had reinserted themselves into activate at startup column! Sneaky.

        With appreciation,

        Linda

        • #2334643
          joep517
          AskWoody MVP

          You should not turn off Windows defrag. Windows detects SSDs and does something different than just a defrag. Besides in spite of what people say a defrag is useful on an SSD in some limited circumstances that Windows will manage.

          --Joe

      • #2334644
        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody_MVP

        I do not believe Windows 7 or maybe 9 detects SSD’s and shuts down defrag.

        CT

        • #2334645
          joep517
          AskWoody MVP

          Everything I can find says Windows 7 is supposed to detect an SSD and make the appropriate changes to defrag and superfetch. Defrag is not turned off but is changed to do what Microsoft is calling optimization.

          Here’s an old article which may help – The real and complete story – Does Windows defragment your SSD?.

          --Joe

          • #2334732
            Alex5723
            AskWoody Plus

            I have installed a 128GB M.2 Nvme SSD drive in my Windows 7 laptop ~8 years ago.
            TRIM was ON.

            • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Alex5723.
      • #2334648
        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody_MVP

        I’ve installed SSD’s on a number of Win7 machines.  I have not seen an instance of Win7 making adjustments.  My strategy is to disable the defrag service.

        CT

      • #2334664
        RebusCom
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ve installed SSD’s on a number of Win7 machines.  I have not seen an instance of Win7 making adjustments.  My strategy is to disable the defrag service.

        Indeed, and don’t count on Win7 to perform TRIM on it’s own automatically following a conversion from HD to SSD.

      • #2334758
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Window 7 understands and manages SSDs correctly, but if you upgrade an HDD to SSD you have to ensure W7 knows by running Windows Experience Index.

        Do not turn off defrag.

        cheers, Paul

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