How to Speed Up a Slow Windows Computer

About: Victoria Concordia Crescit

This article will teach you a few tricks to help improve the speed and performance of a Windows computer. For this walk through I will be using Windows 8 operating system however, the steps can be easily applied to Windows 7 OS as well. Each step should only take a few minutes. The following methods should be used as often as once every week in order to maximize your computer's performance and capability.

What You Will Need: Access to a computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS

Time: Each step shouldn't take more than a few minutes

Difficulty: Beginner

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Delete Any Unnecessary Programs

Keeping old programs on your computer is a good way to take up space and memory. Soon after deleting a few big programs that you do not need, you will notice the increase in speed.

1. Click the windows button (the start menu found in the bottom left hand corner)

2. Search "uninstall" in the search bar, select "uninstall a program" in the menu of options found

3. The programs will be automatically listed in order of largest size to smallest. Take a look through these programs and try and find a few that you either haven't used in awhile or do not plan on using in the future

4. Select the program you have chosen with a single mouse click, then select the "uninstall" button that will appear

5. The program will guide you through an installation wizard, just follow it through until the program has been completely removed

6. Go through and repeat steps 4-5 for any program in the list you feel that you do not need

WARNING: ONLY delete programs that you have installed whether it be on purpose or by accident. Deleting a program that you just do not recognize may cause serious problems elsewhere on your computer.

Step 2: Change Your Start Up Programs

Start up programs are applications that begin to run as soon as you turn on your computer. This can cause problems due to the fact that many of these are not needed and leaving them running in the background will take up memory and space that your machine could be putting to better use.

1. Click the windows button

2. Type "msconfig" in the search bar, select the first option

3. Select the "startup" option from the top tabs

4. Click the "Open Task Manager" link

5. Task Manager will now display a list of programs that are set to run upon start up. Read through this list and decide which ones(if any) you would be able to run your computer without

6. Remove any chosen programs by clicking on the program's name, then clicking the "disable" button that will appear

Step 3: Run Disk Defragmenter

Disk Defragmenter is a Windows tool that automatically unclutters and reorganizes the data stored in your hard drive. Defragmenting allows the computer to be able to find and access any requested data faster, therefore improving overall speed.

1. Click the windows button

2. Type "defrag" into the search bar

3. Select "Defragment and Optimize Drives" option from menu

4. Make sure the C: drive is highlighted, then click the optimize button in the bottom right corner

5. Windows will now defragment your C: drive and show completed when it is done

Step 4: Clean Up the Hard Disk

Disk Cleanup is a tool that quickly and easily deletes files on your computer that you may no longer need. This tool empties folders that most users do not even know exist. These folders can be filled with files, downloads, or cookies that you may have never even seen before. Deleting these files this provides more disk space which can improve speed as well.

1. Click the windows button

2. Search "cleanup" in the search bar, then select "Disk Cleanup"

3. Select OK to continue using the C: drive

4. Make sure that "Download Program Files", "Temporary Internet Files", "Offline Webpages", and "Recycle Bin" options are all checked then click OK to clean disk

5. Disk Cleanup will run and the program box will disappear once complete

Step 5: Adjust Computer to Best Performance

One of the big things that can slow a Windows computer down is all of the visual effects. These effects do make a much more appealing graphical environment for the user, but sacrificing them is a great way to improve speed and performance. The only place these effects will show is your start menu, icons, desktop, windows, etc. It will not affect any visual effects or graphics for websites, programs, or games.

1. Select the windows button

2. Search "appearance" in the search bar then select "Adjust Appearance and Performance of Windows"

3. Select the option "Adjust for best performance" then click apply

4. The changes will take a moment to take effect. After they have been applied click OK to exit

Step 6: Monitor Devices Using WiFi

The more devices that are connected to a WiFi network, the slower your connection speed will be.

1. Check to find any internet devices that could be currently connected to your WiFi

2. If you find a device connected that you aren't immediately using, disconnect the WiFi. This can include laptops, tablets, phones, and devices such as Roku or Chromecast. The easiest way to make sure devices like Roku or Chromecast aren't using up any speed is to turn them off completely

3. Disabling any extra devices helps improve connection speed in almost any situation.

TIP: The fastest connection will always be gained by connecting your computer directly to the internet with an Ethernet cable. If this isn't an option then try to make sure the router is located as near as possibly to your computer. The closer a computer is to the internet router, the better.

Be the First to Share


    • Assistive Tech Contest

      Assistive Tech Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest

    10 Discussions


    Wndows and mac are better than linux for the average person, the reason for that is that they work. Straight up. Out of the box. Point on the icon and click. No typing in commands, no configuring anything. No going to the linux forum to ask and hopefully get answer to how to do things that arent wizarded out/automatic like in Windows. No need for any tech savyness whatsoever. Theres a babillion people using mac and Windows and they both works really well because people are paid to make them work really well. Even Linux Mint isnt as easy to use as windows.

    3 replies

    I completely agree with this! I have two computers, one with Windows and one with Linux. I only use Linux when doing complicated programming, for any light or basic usage I prefer Windows :)

    I know, right? I so wanted to be like 'F the man, long live freeware! and then ditch Windows and go linux, Windows just works so dang And youre saying that as someone who actually has knowledge of how to do programming, think about the average facebooker, the somebody's grandmas of the world out there.

    I will say though, if you've got a real old computer running vista that sucks real bad, linux mint could be a lifesaver. True story. It happened to me. Mint ran better off the cd than a clean install of vista did off the hard drive so I ditched Vista on my old laptop. Vista is the blacksheep of Windows, worst windows ever. Mint, while slightly less intuitive to me since I have been using it since grade school, actually works and is 90% as user friendly as windows.


    4 years ago

    I agree with dan3008
    I've used windows for many years, all the way back when windows 3.1 was still being used. I've made the switch to Ubuntu (linux) and will NEVER go back.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah and Ubuntu isn't even a particularly good Linux distribution. It is still way better than Windows.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This one's easy. Erase Windows, and install Linux. haha!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice ible. Very helpful for people who arnt as good with computers :)

    I so wanted step one to be "install linux" though lol...

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    There's only one necessary step as far as I'm concerned. 'Install Linux over everything else and call it a day :P'