How to make Windows 11 Faster
How to make Windows 11 Faster

Boost your Windows 11 performance with these proven strategies and enjoy a smoother, more responsive computing experience.

Windows 11, the latest iteration of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, promises a sleeker design and enhanced features. However, like its predecessors, it’s not immune to occasional slowdowns. Whether you’re facing lagging applications or prolonged boot times, this guide will provide actionable steps to make Windows 11 faster and more efficient.

Understanding Windows 11’s New Features

Before diving into optimization techniques, it’s essential to grasp the new features and enhancements Windows 11 brings. From the revamped Start menu to integrated virtual desktops, Microsoft has introduced several changes that can impact system performance.

Optimizing Startup Programs

One of the primary culprits behind a slow Windows startup is the plethora of programs that launch on boot.

  • Accessing Startup Settings Navigate to the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) and select the ‘Startup’ tab to view all programs set to run on startup.
  • Disabling Unnecessary Programs Right-click on any program you deem non-essential and select ‘Disable. This action prevents the program from launching automatically, speeding up the boot process.

Upgrading Hardware Components

Sometimes, software tweaks aren’t enough. Upgrading certain hardware components can provide a significant performance boost.

  • Increasing RAM More RAM allows your system to handle more tasks simultaneously, reducing lag and improving multitasking capabilities.
  • Switching to SSD Replacing a traditional HDD with an SSD can drastically reduce boot and load times, offering a more responsive experience.

Tweaking Visual Effects Windows 11 boasts a range of visual effects, but these can sometimes hamper performance, especially on older machines.

  • Adjusting Performance Options Access ‘System Properties’, navigate to the ‘Advanced’ tab, and under ‘Performance’, click on ‘Settings’. Here, you can adjust visual effects for optimal performance.

Tips to Improve PC Performance in Windows 11

Windows 11, the latest operating system from Microsoft, offers a plethora of features and improvements. However, like any OS, over time, you might experience some slowdowns. If your PC is running slowly, don’t fret! Here are some tried and tested tips to give your Windows 11 system a performance boost:

1. Stay Updated

Always ensure that you have the latest updates for Windows and device drivers. Microsoft frequently releases updates that can enhance performance and fix bugs.

2. Restart Regularly

It’s a simple tip but effective. Restart your PC periodically and open only the apps you need. This can free up system resources.

3. Use ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost is a feature that allows you to use a USB drive or flash memory to cache files and boost system performance.

4. Manage Page File Size

Ensure that the system is managing the page file size. The page file acts as virtual memory, and its proper management can improve performance.

5. Free Up Disk Space

Low disk space can hamper performance. Regularly check for unnecessary files and free up space. This can be done using the built-in disk cleanup tools or third-party applications.

6. Adjust Windows Appearance

The visual effects in Windows can be resource-intensive. Adjust the appearance and performance settings in Windows to strike a balance between aesthetics and speed.

7. Pause OneDrive Syncing

If you use OneDrive, consider pausing its syncing when you need maximum performance. Syncing, especially of large files, can consume resources.

8. Manage Startup Programs

Some programs start automatically when you boot up your PC. Disable unnecessary startup programs to speed up the boot process and free up resources.

9. Stay Virus-Free

Viruses and malware can significantly slow down your PC. Regularly check for and remove any malicious software using trusted antivirus programs.

10. Use System Restore

If your PC was faster at some point in the past, consider restoring it from a system restore point. This can revert changes that might be causing the slowdown.

Cleaning Your Windows 11 System Disk

One of the most effective ways to speed up Windows 11 is by performing regular disk cleanups. This not only frees up precious storage space but also ensures the smooth operation of your system. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve a lean, clean machine:

1. Use Built-in Windows Disk Cleanup Tools

Windows has always provided tools to help users clean up their disk space. The traditional tool is the Disk Cleanup utility, also known as cleanmgr.exe. In Windows 11, a new feature called “Cleanup recommendations” has been introduced.

  • How to Use Disk Cleanup: Simply type disk clean or cleanmgr.exe into the Start menu search box. When the Disk Cleanup desktop app appears, select ‘Run as administrator’. This allows you to clean up redundant or outdated OS files. After the scan, you can select the files you want to delete. Remember, don’t delete old OS versions or updates if you think you might want to revert to an earlier version.
  • Windows 11 Cleanup Recommendations: Navigate to Start > Settings > System > Storage > Cleanup recommendations. Here, you can select the files you want to delete. This feature is quite similar to Disk Cleanup and is user-friendly.

2. Run UnCleaner for Additional Cleanup

UnCleaner is a free utility developed by Josh Cell that can identify and remove temporary and obsolete log files that even the built-in Windows utilities might miss. Running UnCleaner after Disk Cleanup can help you identify additional files that can be safely removed.

3. Use DriverStore Explorer for Obsolete Device Drivers

DriverStore Explorer (RAPR.exe) is a free tool that helps you manage and delete old device drivers. Over time, as you update drivers, the old versions can accumulate and take up space. With DriverStore Explorer, you can easily identify and remove these outdated drivers.

4. Clean the Component Store with DISM

The Component Store, also known as the WinSxS folder, contains most of the Windows OS files. Over time, after updates, this store may have duplicate or obsolete elements. The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool can be used to check and clean the Component Store. Running the command dism /online /cleanup-image /analyzecomponentstore will analyze the store and recommend if a cleanup is needed.

5. Inspect the System Drive with WizTree

After performing all the above cleanups, it’s a good idea to inspect your system drive to identify large files that might still be taking up space. Tools like WizTree or TreeSize Free can provide a graphical representation of disk contents, making it easy to spot and manage large files.

Regular Maintenance and Updates Keeping your system updated and performing regular maintenance can prevent many performance issues.

  • Installing Windows Updates Regularly check for and install Windows updates. These often contain performance enhancements and bug fixes.
  • Disk Cleanup Use the built-in Disk Cleanup tool to remove temporary files, system cache, and other unnecessary data that might be slowing down your system.

Using Built-in Optimization Tools Windows 11 comes with several tools designed to enhance system performance.

  • Defragment and Optimize Drives Over time, data fragmentation can slow down your HDD. Regularly defragmenting and optimizing your drives can improve data access speeds.
  • ReadyBoost If you’re using a USB drive, the ReadyBoost feature can use its storage to boost system speed, especially if you’re running on limited RAM.

Best Ways to Make Windows 11 Faster

Windows 11, with its refreshing UI and improved features, has been a welcome upgrade for many. However, if you’re using an older laptop or PC, you might notice some performance issues. Let’s dive into some effective ways to speed up your Windows 11 experience:

1. Restart and Update

A simple restart can often resolve many performance issues. Additionally, always ensure your system is up-to-date. Navigate to Settings > Windows Update > Check for updates to keep your system optimized.

2. Disable Startup Programs/Apps

Startup programs can significantly slow down your boot time. To manage these:

  • Open Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).
  • Click on ‘Startup’ to see a list of programs.
  • Right-click on any unnecessary programs and select ‘Disable’.

3. Debloat Windows 11

Debloating refers to removing unnecessary features and apps. This can include disabling Cortana, uninstalling apps like OneDrive, and more. There are scripts available that can help you debloat Windows 11 with a single click.

4. Change Power Mode

For those who prioritize performance over battery life, adjusting the power mode can make a noticeable difference. This involves tweaking settings to get the most out of your machine.

5. Defragment Hard Disk

Over time, files on your hard disk can become fragmented, slowing down performance. Use the built-in defragment tool to optimize your hard disk. However, avoid defragmenting SSDs as it can reduce their lifespan.

6. Upgrade Memory (RAM/SSD)

Consider upgrading your RAM or switching to an SSD for a significant performance boost. SSDs, in particular, offer faster read/write speeds compared to traditional HDDs.

7. Disable Restartable Apps

Windows 11 has a feature that restarts background apps upon sign-in. While this can be beneficial for newer PCs, older machines might benefit from disabling this feature.

8. Uninstall Unwanted Software/Bloatware

Regularly review and uninstall software that you no longer need. This can free up valuable system resources.

9. Delete Temporary Files

Temporary files accumulate over time and can take up disk space. Periodically delete these files to keep your system optimized.

10. Use Storage Sense

Storage Sense is a feature in Windows 11 that automatically cleans up your system at regular intervals. Enable it to keep your system in top shape.

11. Adjust Visual Effects

Windows 11’s visual effects are stunning but can be resource-intensive. If performance is a priority, consider disabling some of these effects.

12. Manage Notifications

Regular notifications can be distracting and resource-intensive. Navigate to Settings to manage and disable non-essential notifications.

13. Manage Background Apps

Some apps run in the background, consuming resources. Regularly review and manage these apps to ensure optimal performance.

14. For Gamers: Disable VBS and Game Mode

Virtualization-based security (VBS) can impact gaming performance. Consider disabling it if you’re a gamer. Additionally, if you’re not gaming, disable Game Mode to free up resources.

15. Rely on Windows Security

Windows 11 comes with robust built-in security features. Avoid installing third-party antivirus software, which can slow down your system. Instead, rely on Windows Security for protection.

Conclusion

Windows 11, with its modern design and features, offers a fresh computing experience. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your system runs at peak performance, allowing you to make the most of what Windows 11 has to offer.

Speeding up Windows 11 involves a combination of regular maintenance, disk cleanup, and using the right tools to optimize performance. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your Windows 11 system remains fast, efficient, and free of unnecessary clutter.

FAQs

  • Why is my Windows 11 system running slow after an update? Some updates might introduce bugs or conflicts. Ensure all drivers are updated, and consider rolling back the update if issues persist.
  • Can third-party optimization tools help? While there are many third-party tools promising performance boosts, it’s essential to choose reputable ones and always backup before making significant changes.
  • How often should I perform system maintenance? Regular maintenance, such as disk cleanup and defragmentation, should be done monthly or whenever you notice a significant performance drop.
  • Will resetting Windows 11 improve its speed? A fresh install or reset can improve speed, but it’s a drastic step. Ensure you’ve backed up all essential data before proceeding.
  • Are there any features I should avoid to maintain speed? Features like transparency effects, live tiles, and some background apps can impact performance. Consider disabling them if you notice slowdowns.
  • What is the difference between Disk Cleanup and Cleanup Recommendations in Windows 11? Disk Cleanup is a traditional tool that has been part of Windows for a long time. Cleanup Recommendations is a new feature in Windows 11 that offers similar functionality but with a more user-friendly interface.
  • Is it safe to delete old device drivers? Yes, using tools like DriverStore Explorer, you can safely remove outdated drivers. However, the tool ensures that drivers currently in use are not deleted.
  • How often should I perform a disk cleanup? It’s a good practice to perform disk cleanups at least once a month. Regular maintenance ensures optimal performance and prevents unnecessary files from accumulating.
  • What is ReadyBoost and how does it improve performance? ReadyBoost is a Windows feature that uses flash memory, like a USB drive, to cache files and speed up your system.
  • How often should I check for Windows updates? It’s a good practice to check for updates at least once a month. However, setting your system to automatically download and install updates can ensure you always have the latest patches.
  • Can viruses really slow down my PC? Yes, viruses and malware can consume system resources and cause noticeable slowdowns. Regular scans and having a reliable antivirus program can help prevent this.
  • How can I speed up Windows 11 for gaming? For gamers, disabling VBS can offer a performance boost. The steps are provided above.
  • How can I improve Windows 11 startup speed? Manage your startup programs and consider upgrading to an SSD for faster boot times.
  • Are there any other ways to speed up Windows 11? Yes, you can also unsync OneDrive, troubleshoot Windows 11, and more. However, avoid modifying Registry settings as they can impact Windows components.
Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at GadgetMates.com.  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at ericchan@gadgetmates.com if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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