Record the client's details

Skip this task if troubleshooting your own PC. This task is for tracking a customer's details as received via Zendesk. 

This process is based on the Microsoft help article Tips to improve PC Performance.

Make sure you have the latest updates for Windows and device drivers

One the best ways to get the most of your PC is to make sure you have the latest version of Windows 10 installed. When you check for updates, your PC will also search for the latest device drivers, which can also help improve your PC’s performance.

To check for updates

  1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > Update & security  > Windows Update  > Check for updates.
  2. Look under Update status and do one of the following:
    • If the status says "Your device is up to date," go to the next tip.
    • If the status says "Updates are available," select Install now, and go to the next step in this procedure.
  3. Select the updates you want to install, then select Install.
  4. Restart your PC, do what you were doing before, and then see if your PC is running better.

For more info about updates, including how you can have them installed automatically for you, see the Windows Update FAQ.

If your PC still runs slow, continue to the next tip.

Restart your PC and open only the apps you need

Having more open apps, programs, web browsers, and so on can slow down your PC. If this is happening, restart your PC and then close the apps, programs, and windows you’re not using.

To restart your PC

  1. Select the Start  button > Power  > Restart.
  2. After your PC restarts, open just the apps you need, then close them when you’re done.

Sometimes apps that were made for an earlier version of Windows will still run on Windows 10, but they might slow down your PC. If this happens after you open a certain program, check the software company’s website for an updated version, or run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.

To run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type troubleshoot, and then select Troubleshoot, which has System settings listed underneath it.
  2. In Troubleshoot, select Program Compatibility Troubleshooter > Run the troubleshooter.
  3. Select the program that you’re having problems with, then select Next and continue through the troubleshooter.

PC still running slow? Continue on.

Check memory and memory usage

With memory, one of the first things to do is find out how much memory (RAM) you have and how much of it is currently being used. You can find out these things and much more in Task Manager.

To check memory and memory usage

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, and then select Task Manager.
  2. In Task Manager, select More details > the Performance tab > Memory.

    First, see how much you have total, and then check the graph and see how much RAM is being used.
1. Total amount of memory (RAM) 2. Memory in use

If you find that much of your RAM is regularly being used, consider adding more RAM if possible—especially if your PC only has 1 or 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. To learn more about what kind of RAM your PC model uses, first look at the memory info in Task Manager, and then visit the PC manufacturer’s website for more specific info.

1. Type of memory (RAM) PC uses 2. RAM speed Memory slots used

Here’s some info about the minimum memory requirements for Windows 10:

  • Windows 10 (32-bit) can run on a PC with 1 GB of RAM, but it runs better with 2 GB. For better performance, add memory so you have 3 GB or more.
  • Windows 10 (64-bit) can run on a PC with 2 GB of RAM, but it runs better with 4 GB. For better performance, add memory so you have 6 GB or more.

For more info about the system requirements for Windows 10, see the Windows 10 Specifications page.

Use ReadyBoost to help improve performance

Like earlier versions of Windows, Windows 10 has ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost lets you use a removable drive, like a USB flash drive, to improve your PC’s performance without opening your PC and adding more memory (RAM). To use ReadyBoost, you’ll need a USB flash drive or a memory card that has at least 500 MB free and a high data transfer rate. For more info about ReadyBoost, see ReadyBoost in Windows 10.

To use ReadyBoost

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into a USB port on your PC.
  2. On the taskbar, select File Explorer.
  3. Press and hold (or right-click) the USB flash drive (or SD card if you used one instead), and then select Properties.
  4. Select the ReadyBoost tab, then select Use this device.
    Windows determines if the device can use ReadyBoost. If it can’t, it'll let you know.
  5. After Windows determines how much free space to use to optimize memory, select OK to reserve this space so ReadyBoost can use it.

    When you look at the contents of the USB flash drive in File Explorer, you’ll see a file named ReadyBoost.sfcache on the flash drive. This file shows how much space is reserved for ReadyBoost.

Note
If Windows is installed on a solid state drive (SSD), ReadyBoost can’t be used because the SSD drive is already fast and you won’t get better performance by using ReadyBoost.

Change the paging file size to improve performance

The paging file is an area on your hard disk that Windows uses like memory. Increasing the paging file size can help improve your PC’s performance.

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type advanced system, and then select View advanced system settings, which has Control panel listed underneath it.
  2. In System Properties, on the Advanced tab, select Settings in the Performance area.
  3. In Performance Options, select the Advanced tab > Change in the Virtual memory area.
  4. Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.
  5. Select Custom size, then enter an initial size (in MB) and maximum size in the corresponding boxes.
  6. Select Set > OK.
  7. Restart your PC by selecting the Start  button > Power  > Restart.

Use your PC then see if it’s running better. If it’s not, try the next tip.

Check processor and processor usage

Check the performance specifications of the processor are powerful enough for intended use case.

Check for processor hogs:

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, and then select Task Manager.
  2. In Task Manager, select More details > the Performance tab > CPU.

    First, see CPU usage %, and then check the graph and see if CPU % is higher than 20% while idle.

If CPU % is high while idle, investigate which processes (Apps) are using the CPU. Remove them if the App not required.

If the App is required, investigate a solution to resolve the high CPU usage.

Check for low disk space

You may improve performance if you free some disk space on your PC.

To check for low disk space

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > System  > Storage.
    Open Storage settings
  2. Your drives will be listed in the Storage area. Note the amount of free space and total size for each drive.

If your PC is not low on space, try the next tip.

You can use Storage Sense to delete unnecessary or temporary files from your device, which can also free up space. 

If you turn on Storage Sense, Windows will automatically free up space by getting rid of unnecessary files—including files in your recycle bin—when you're low on disk space or at intervals you specify. The instructions below show you how to delete temporary files and how to turn on and configure Storage Sense.

If you can't find Storage Sense on your device using the following steps, see the "Free up space with Disk cleanup" section below instead. 

Note
You may not want to delete temporary files to improve performance. While these files may not be used at the moment, they help your apps load and run faster.

To delete temporary files with Storage Sense

  1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System  > Storage .
    Open Storage settings
  2. Select Temporary files in the storage breakdown. Note: If you don't see Temporary files listed, select Show more categories
  3. Windows will take a few moments to determine what files and apps are taking up the most space on your PC.
  4. Select the items you want to delete, and then select Remove files.

To see what's in your Recycle Bin before you empty it, open it from your desktop. If you don't see the Recycle Bin icon  on your desktop, in the search bar on the taskbar, type recycle bin, then select Recycle Bin from the list of results. 

Note
Windows moves files you delete to the Recycle Bin in case you change your mind and need them again in the future. You might be able to free up a significant amount of space by deleting Recycle Bin files to permanently remove files you've previously deleted.

To turn on and configure Storage Sense

  1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  System  Storage .
    Open Storage settings
  2. In the Storage area, turn on Storage Sense.
  3. Select Configure Storage Sense or run it now.
  4. In the Storage Sense area, choose how often you want Storage Sense to run.
  5. In the Temporary Files area, select Delete temporary files that my apps aren't using
  6. Select which files you want Storage Sense to delete (your choices are files in your Recycle Bin and in your Downloads folder), then select the corresponding time intervals.
  7. Scroll down and select Clean now
  8. Windows will take a few moment to clean up your files, and then you'll see a message indicating how much disk space has been freed up.

If your system doesn't have Storage Sense, you can use the Disk Cleanup tool to delete temporary files and system files from your device.

To run Disk Cleanup

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type disk cleanup, then select Disk Cleanup from the list of results.
  2. Select the checkbox next to the type of files you want to delete. (To view a description of each type of file, select the name.) By default, Downloaded Program FilesTemporary Internet Files, and Thumbnails are selected. Be sure to clear those check boxes if you don't want to delete those files.
  3. To free up even more space, select Clean up system files. Disk Cleanup will take a few moments to calculate the amount of space that a can be freed up. 

    Note
    If it’s been fewer than 10 days since you upgraded to Windows 10, your previous version of Windows will be listed as a system file you can delete. If you need to free up drive space, you can delete it, but keep in mind that you'll be deleting your Windows.old folder, which contains files that give you the option to go back to your previous version of Windows. If you delete your previous version of Windows, this can't be undone. (You won't be able to go back to your previous version of Windows.)

  4. Select the types of files you want to delete, select OK, then select Delete files in the confirmation window to start the cleanup.

If your PC still runs slowly, try uninstalling apps you don't use anymore.

To uninstall apps you don’t use anymore

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > Apps  > Apps & features.
  2. Search for a specific app or sort them to see which ones are using the most space.
  3. When you find an app to remove, choose it from the list and select Uninstall.
  4. Restart your PC and try to reproduce the performance issue.

If your PC still runs slowly, try moving files to another drive.

To move files to another drive

If you have photos, music, or other files that you want to keep but don't use often, consider saving them to removable media, like a USB drive. You'll still be able to use them when the drive is connected, but they won't take up space on your PC.

  1. Connect the removable media to your PC.
  2. Open File Explorer from the taskbar and find the files you want to move.
  3. Select the files, go to the Home tab, and then select Move to > Choose location.
  4. Select your removable media from the location list, and then select Move.
  5. Restart your PC and try to reproduce the performance issue.

Get more info about freeing drive space in Windows 10.

If your PC still runs slowly, try the next tip.

Make sure the system is managing the page file size

The paging file is an area on your hard disk that Windows uses like memory. There's a setting in Windows 10 that manages the page file size automatically, which can help improve your PC’s performance. 

To make sure automatic page file management is turned on

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type advanced system, and then select View advanced system settings, which has Control panel listed underneath it.
  2. In System Properties, select the Advanced tab, then select Settings in the Performance area.
  3. In Performance Options, select the Advanced tab, then select Change in the Virtual memory area.
  4. Make sure the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box is selected. If it is, continue to the next tip. If it's not, select it and then restart your PC by selecting the Start  button > Power  > Restart.

Use your PC and see if it’s running better. If it’s not, try the next tip.

Disable unnecessary startup programs

When you turn on your PC, some programs start automatically and run in the background. You can disable these programs so they don’t run when your PC starts.

Many programs are designed to start automatically when Windows does. Software manufacturers often set their programs to open in the background—you don’t realize they're running, but they'll open quickly when you go to use them. This is helpful for programs you use a lot, but not for programs you don’t use often because it increases the time it takes Windows to start.

Find the programs that start automatically

Sometimes you can determine which programs start automatically by looking at the program icons in the notification area on the far right of the taskbar. Check there first to see if there are any programs running that you don’t want to start automatically. To try to find out the name of the program, point to the icon with your mouse pointer. Make sure you select Show hidden icons , so you don’t miss any programs.

Notification area with mouse pointing to show hidden icons

Even after you check the notification area, you might still miss some programs that run automatically at startup. Here’s how you can find all the programs that start automatically, and stop the ones that you don’t want to start automatically when Windows starts.

To stop a program from starting automatically

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > Apps  > Startup .
  2. Under Startup Apps, find the program you want to stop from starting automatically and set it to Off

If you turn off a program and it continues to start automatically when Windows starts, you should scan for viruses and malware, which is explained in the next section.

To use the procedure above to stop a program from starting automatically, you need to have Windows 10 (Version 1803) installed. To see which version of Windows 10 your device is currently running, select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System > About.

If you have Windows 10 (Version 1709 or earlier) installed, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, select Task Manager, select Startup, select the program you want to stop from starting automatically, and then select Disable.

Remove unwanted ads, pop-ups & malware

If you're seeing some of these problems with Chrome, you might have unwanted software or malware installed on your computer:

  • Pop-up ads and new tabs that won't go away
  • Your Chrome homepage or search engine keeps changing without your permission
  • Unwanted Chrome extensions or toolbars keep coming back
  • Your browsing is hijacked, and redirects to unfamiliar pages or ads
  • Alerts about a virus or an infected device

In the future, avoid unwanted software by only downloading files or visiting sites that you know are secure.

Remove unwanted programs

Before you reset your browser settings, check your computer for unwanted programs.

Chrome can help you find suspicious or unwanted programs on your computer. If Chrome finds an unwanted program, click Remove. Chrome will remove the software, change some settings to default, and turn off extensions.

You can also check for malware manually.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More   Settings.
  3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
  4. Under “Reset and clean up,” click Clean up computer.
  5. Click Find.

If you're asked to remove unwanted software, click Remove

Reset your browser settings

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More   Settings.
  3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
    • Windows: Under "Reset and cleanup,” click Reset Settings  Reset Settings.
    • Mac or Chromebook: Under "Reset Settings," click Reset Settings  Reset.
    • Linux: Under “Reset Settings,” click Restore settings to their original defaults  Reset Settings.

If you removed unwanted programs or reset your browser settings, you might need to turn some extensions back on. To turn extensions on, at the top right, click More   More Tools  Extensions. Only turn on extensions you trust.

Still not working? If the steps above don't work, visit the Chrome Help Forum. You can also report malicious software.

More info about malware

How to spot malware (video, 2:30)
Learn what to look for when you have malware on your computer and how to stay safe online.
How to avoid malware in the future
  • Watch out for things that look too good to be true. Winning a contest or getting expensive copyrighted content for free is sometimes a trick to get you to download malware.
  • If you haven't recently run a virus scanner, be wary of warnings about viruses or infected devices. The site might be trying to scare you into downloading unwanted software.
  • Only download files or visit sites that you know are secure. Learn more about healthy browsing.

If a popup about updating or downloading a program looks suspicious, don't click on it. Instead, go to the program's official website to download it.

Microsoft:

A virus, malware, or other malicious software could cause your PC to run slowly. Some other symptoms include unexpected pop-up messages, programs that unexpectedly start automatically, or the sound of your hard disk constantly working.

The best way to handle viruses and malicious software is to try to prevent them by running antimalware and antivirus software and keeping it up to date. Even if you take precautions, your PC can still become infected.

You can scan your PC for viruses or other malicious software by using Windows Defender, which is included in Windows 10. For more info, see Protect your PC.

If you’re using other antivirus or anti-malware software, see the documentation for that program to learn how to scan for viruses. Also, make sure multiple antivirus programs aren’t running at the same time. If they are, choose the one you want to run, and then disable or uninstall any others.

If you have another antivirus program installed and turned on, Windows Defender will be turned off by default.

To scan for viruses using Windows Defender (Windows 10 Version 1803)

  1. Select Start   > Settings  > Update & Security  > Windows Security   and then select Open Windows Security.
    Open Windows Security settings
  2. Select Virus & threat protection, then select Check for updates under Virus & threat protection updates.
  3. On the Protection updates screen, select Check for updates to make sure you have the most recent updates.
  4. Select Virus & threat protection, then select Quick scan.

Note

If Windows Defender Security Center doesn’t open, can’t update the definition file, or can’t finish scanning for viruses, try running Windows Defender in Offline Mode, which is explained below in To scan for malware and viruses with Windows Defender Offline (Windows 10 Version 1803).

To see which version of Windows 10 your device is currently running, select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System > About

To scan for viruses using Windows Defender (Windows 10 Version 1709)

  1. Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & security  > Windows Defender  > Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  2. Select Virus & threat protection, then select Protection updates > Check for updates to make sure you have the latest definition file.
  3. Select the Virus & threat protection tab and select Quick scan, then wait for Windows Defender Security Center to finish scanning for viruses and malware.
  4. Do one of the following, depending on the results of the scan:
    • Run the recommended advanced scan. This scan takes longer but searches more extensively for threats on your PC.
    • If Windows Defender Security Center finds a virus or malware and can’t remove or quarantine it, contact Microsoft Support for help.
    • If no viruses are found, restart your PC and try to reproduce the performance problem you were having with your PC.

If Windows Defender Security Center doesn’t open, can’t update the definition file, or can’t finish scanning for viruses, try running Windows Defender in Offline Mode, which is explained below in To scan for malware and viruses with Windows Defender Offline (Windows 10 Version 1709).

To see which version of Windows 10 your device is currently running, select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System > About

To scan for malware and viruses with Windows Defender Offline (Windows 10 Version 1803)

  1. Save any documents or anything else you might have open on your PC.
  2. Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & security  > Windows Security  > Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  3. Select Virus & threat protection, then select Run a new advanced scan > Windows Defender Offline scan > Scan now.

    Your PC will restart, and Windows Defender Offline will run and scan for viruses and malware. The scan might take 15 minutes or so, and your PC will restart again after that.
  4. Try to reproduce the performance issue.

If your PC still runs slow, continue to the next tip.

To scan for malware and viruses with Windows Defender Offline (Windows 10 Version 1709)

  1. Save any documents or anything else you might have open on your PC.
  2. Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & security  > Windows Defender  > Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  3. Select Virus & threat protection, then select Advanced scan > Windows Defender Offline scan > Scan now.

    Your PC will restart, and Windows Defender Offline will run and scan for viruses and malware. The scan might take 15 minutes or so, and your PC will restart again after that.
  4. Try to reproduce the performance issue.

If your PC still runs slow, continue to the next tip.

Run malware scans

  • 1
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  • 2
    If possible, run offline (otherwise, online) scan with one of these trusted malware scanners: Microsoft Defender, Bitdefender Internet Security, Kaspersky Internet Security or Norton Security
  • 3
    Google Chrome

Check for corrupted Windows system files

The Deployment Image Service and Management Tool (DISM) is a utility  that scans for corrupted Windows system files. If it finds a problem, it will try to replace the problematic system files from a cached version that’s on your PC. If DISM can’t replace the files, the System File Checker (SFC) can check the corrupted files then download and replace the files through Windows Update.

To use the Deployment Image Service and Management Tool (DISM)

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type powershell, press and hold (or right-click) Windows PowerShell, and then select Run as administrator > Yes.
  2. At the prompt, type dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth (note the space between "dism.exe" and "/" and each switch (/)).
  3. If DISM finds corrupted files and replaces them, restart your PC and see that improves performance.

You must be connected to the Internet to use DISM, and it might take several minutes to finish.

For more info about DISM, see Fix Windows Update errors by using the DISM or System Update Readiness tool.

To run System File Checker (SFC)

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type powershell, press and hold (or right-click) Windows PowerShell, then select Run as administrator > Yes.
  2. At the prompt, type sfc /scannow (note the space between "sfc" and the "/").
    Scanning will take a few minutes.
  3. Do one of the following, depending on the results of the scan:
    • If SFC finds corrupted files and replaces them, restart your PC and see if that improves your PC’s performance.
    • If SFC doesn’t find corrupted files or finds corrupted files but can’t replace them, try using the Deployment Image Service and Management Tool (DISM).

For more info about System File Checker, see Use the System File Checker tool to repair missing or corrupted system files.

Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows

Windows 10 includes many visual effects, such as animations and shadow effects. These look great, but they can also use additional system resources and can slow down your PC—this is especially true if you have a PC with a smaller amount of memory (RAM).

To adjust the visual effects in Windows

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type performance, then select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.
  2. On the Visual Effects tab, select Adjust for best performance > Apply.
  3. Restart your PC and see if that speeds up your PC.

If your PC still runs slow, continue to the next tip.

Adjust or turn off OneDrive sync

Your PC settings let you choose where files will be saved by default. You can save files on your PC or to OneDrive by default and sync files between the two locations. This lets you get to your files from any device that can connect to the internet, and it helps make sure your files are backed up in case your PC is ever damaged or lost. However, files must sync between your PC and OneDrive, and syncing can slow down your PC.

To stop syncing to OneDrive

  1. On the taskbar, select File Explorer.
  2. Press and hold (or right-click) OneDrive - Personal, and then select Choose OneDrive folders to sync.
  3. Clear the Sync all files and folders in OneDrive check box, then select OK.
  4. Restart your PC and see if that improves things.

If this fixes the performance problem with your PC, check out Fix OneDrive sync problems to learn how to turn syncing back on and keep your files synced.

If your PC still runs slow, turn syncing back on for OneDrive by selecting the Sync all files and folders in OneDrive check box again, and then continue to the next tip.

If you have the Window 10 Fall Creators Update, you can use OneDrive Files On-Demand to choose which files you want to sync and always keep on your PC. This can help improve PC performance if you reduce the number of files that are synced to your PC.

For more info on OneDrive Files On-Demand, see Learn about OneDrive Files On-Demand.

Reset your PC

When you reset your PC, you can choose whether you want to keep your personal files or remove them, then have Windows reinstalled. Resetting your PC should be one of the last things you should try.

Do one of the following:

  • If you want to keep your files, follow the steps in To back up your data.
  • If you want to remove your files and not back them up, follow the steps in To reset your PC.

To back up your data

  1. Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & security  > Backup  > Add a drive, and then choose an external drive or network location to back up your files to.
  2. On the Backup screen, select More options > Back up now.
    This backs up all the files in your Users folders—including Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Favorites, Music, Pictures, and more.

The backup might take several minutes to finish. Your external drive or network location must have enough free space for all the files that you want to back up.

To reset your PC

  1. Go to Settings  > Update & security  > Recovery .
  2. Under Reset this PC, select Get started.
    For more info about resetting your PC, see Windows 10 recovery options.

To restore your data

After you reset your PC, here’s how to restore your data from your backup. When you do this, all the personal files you backed up will be put back on your PC.

  1. Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & security  > Backup  > Add a drive, and then choose the external drive or network location that you backed up your files to.
  2. On the Backup screen, select More options > Restore files from a current backup.
  3. When the external hard drive or network location that you backed up to is available, select the green circle at the bottom to start restoring your files and folders.
    It might take several minutes for Windows to restore your files.

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