Optimising the performance of your PC
It’s been almost two years since we published the article “Basic PC performance tips and troubleshooting” in response to the frequently asked question of our Support Department “Is there a way to ensure my computer always runs at peak performance?” With Spring approaching, now seems an appropriate time to revisit the subject, and with its launch in the meantime, to see which of Window 11’s features assist in improving PC performance.
Do you ever feel like your PC is running slower than it should be? If so, you’re not alone. Over time, computers can become overloaded with clutter and unnecessary programs, leading to slower performance. However, by tuning your PC, you can make it run faster and more efficiently. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks for tuning your PC and optimising its performance.
1 Cleaning your hardware
The first step to tuning your PC is to clean it. Over time, dust and debris can build up inside your computer, causing it to overheat and slow down. To clean your PC, you’ll need a few tools, including compressed air, a microfibre cloth, and a screwdriver. Start by turning off your computer and unplugging it from the wall. Then, use the compressed air to blow out any dust or debris from your computer’s vents and fans. Next, use the microfibre cloth to wipe down the exterior of your PC. Finally, open up your computer using the screwdriver and use the compressed air to blow out any dust or debris from the inside.
2 Removing unwanted programs and files
Removing unwanted programs and files from your PC is an important task that can help free up disk space and improve performance. Here’s how you can do it:
Removing unwanted programs:
1. Open the Control Panel on your PC.
2. Click on Uninstall a Program under the Programs category.
3. Scroll through the list of installed programs and select the one you want to remove.
4. Confirm that you want to Uninstall and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the uninstallation process.
5. Repeat this process for all the programs you want to remove.
6. Some programs may have their own uninstaller, so you can also check the program’s documentation or website for instructions.
Removing unwanted files:
1. Open File Explorer on your PC.
2. Navigate to the folder where you want to delete files.
3. Select the files you want to delete by clicking on them while holding down the Ctrl key or by clicking and dragging the mouse to select multiple files.
4. Right-click on the selected files and choose Delete.
5. Alternatively, you can press the Delete key on your keyboard.
6. If you want to permanently delete the files, bypassing the Recycle Bin, press Shift + Delete.
7. Repeat this process for all the files you want to delete.
8. You can also use disk cleanup tools like the one built into Windows (see below) to help identify and remove unnecessary files, such as temporary files, system files, and old Windows installation files.
By regularly removing unwanted programs and files, you can free up valuable disk space and improve the performance of your PC.
Disk Cleanup is a built-in tool in Windows that allows you to remove unnecessary files from your PC. To use Disk Cleanup, follow these steps:
• Type “Disk Cleanup” in the search bar
• Select the drive you want to clean up and click OK
• Check the boxes next to the types of files you want to delete and click OK
Defragmenting your hard drive is another way to optimise your PC’s performance and can be set to run on a scheduled basis. When you save and delete files on your hard drive, the data can become fragmented, which slows down your PC’s performance. Defragmenting your hard drive reorganises the data on your hard drive, making it easier for your PC to access the files it needs. To defragment your hard drive, follow these steps:
• Type “Defragment and Optimise Drives” in the search bar
• Select the drive you want to defragment and click Optimise
3 Updating your drivers and software
Updating your PC drivers and software is important to ensure optimal performance and security. Here’s how you can update your PC drivers and software:
1. Open the Device Manager on your PC. You can do this by typing “Device Manager” in the search bar
2. Expand the category of the device you want to update, such as Display Adapters or Network Adapters.
3. Right-click on the device and select Update Driver.
4. Choose to automatically search for updated driver software or manually browse your computer for the latest driver software.
5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
1. Open the software you want to update.
2. Look for an option to check for updates, usually located in the Help or Settings menu.
3. Click on the Check for Updates button.
4. If updates are available, follow the on-screen instructions to download and install them.
5. In some cases, you may need to download the latest version of the software from the manufacturer’s website and install it manually.
6. It’s important to keep all of your software up to date, especially your operating system, web browser, and antivirus software, to ensure the best performance and security.
In some cases, you may want to use a third-party tool such as Driver Booster or Driver Easy to update all of your PC drivers at once. These tools can automate the process and make it easier to keep your PC up to date.
Keeping your PC up-to-date is crucial to maintaining its performance. Windows 11 automatically updates your PC with the latest security patches and features, ensuring that your PC is running at its best. To check when Windows last checked for updates, go to “Settings” then “System”.
4 Optimising startup programs
Startup programs are applications that are automatically launched when you start your PC. These programs can include antivirus software, messaging apps, and other applications that you use frequently. However, having too many startup programs can slow down your PC’s boot time and use up valuable system resources, so it’s important to optimise them for optimal performance, done in the following way:
1. Open Task Manager on your PC. You can do this by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting Task Manager.
2. Click on the Startup tab. This will show you a list of all the programs that start when you turn on your PC.
3. Review the list of startup programs and identify the ones you don’t need or use frequently.
4. Right-click on the program you want to disable and select Disable. This will prevent the program from starting automatically when you turn on your PC.
5. Be careful not to disable any essential programs or drivers, as this can cause problems with your PC’s functionality.
6. You can also use third-party tools like CCleaner or Autoruns from Microsoft to manage your startup programs.
7. It’s a good idea to regularly review and optimise your startup programs to ensure optimal performance and reduce boot times.
By optimising your startup programs, you can improve your PC’s boot time and free up system resources for other applications.
Windows 11 comes with a variety of services that run in the background. While some of these services are necessary, others can be disabled to improve performance. To disable unnecessary services, open the Windows Services console by typing “services.msc” in the start menu. From there, you can see a list of all the services that are running. To disable a service, simply right-click on it and select “Properties,” then set the “Startup type” to “Disabled.”
5 Adjusting visual effects
Windows comes with a variety of visual effects that can make your computer look smarter, but the downside is that they can also slow it down. Adjusting these visual effects can improve your PC’s performance. To adjust visual effects, go to your computer’s control panel and select “System and Security” then “System.” From there, select “Accessibility” and then “Visual Effects”. From there, you can choose to adjust visual effects for best performance or choose custom settings.
6 Overclocking your PC
Overclocking is the process of increasing the clock speed of your computer’s CPU, GPU, or RAM to achieve better performance than the manufacturer intended. This can result in faster processing speeds, smoother gameplay, and improved performance for resource-intensive applications. However, it also increases the heat generated by these components, which can lead to damage if not properly managed.
To ensure that overclocking does not damage your PC, you should take the following precautions:
1. Research: Before you begin overclocking, do your research on your particular CPU, GPU, or RAM model, as well as the motherboard you’re using. Make sure you understand the risks and benefits of overclocking and have a clear idea of the specific settings you need to adjust.
2. Use a quality cooling system: As mentioned, overclocking increases the heat generated by your components, so it’s important to have a cooling system in place that can handle the extra heat. A good cooling system will help prevent damage to your components and ensure stable performance.
3. Test gradually: When overclocking, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase clock speeds while monitoring the performance and temperature of your components. Running stress tests and benchmarking tools can help you identify any stability or temperature issues.
4. Monitor temperature and voltage: Keep a close eye on your component temperatures and voltages as you overclock, using software tools like MSI Afterburner, HWMonitor, or CPU-Z. If temperatures or voltages start to exceed safe limits, scale back your overclocking or adjust your cooling system accordingly.
5. Don’t push too hard: Remember that every CPU, GPU, and RAM chip is unique, and not all of them can be overclocked to the same extent. Don’t try to push your components beyond their limits, and be prepared to scale back your overclocking if you encounter stability issues or other problems.
By taking these precautions, you can safely overclock your PC and achieve improved performance without risking damage to your components.