PC Optimization (Windows 10)

Daniel Kasprzyk
6 min readApr 20, 2021

We’ve all experienced our devices become painfully slow to the point we no longer want to use them. This can make for a very annoying experience however I am here to save you (or at least try to). I’ll run you through the list of things I do whenever I need to freshen up my computer.

To start off, it’s best to do this on a clean device meaning you should ideally factory reset before continuing onwards. Only do this after making sure absolutely everything you don’t want to lose has been backed up as there is no going back and your data will be wiped permanently.

If you’re prepared to give your computer a new life then lets swiftly move along. You’ll want to go to the Windows settings then click on the Update & Security tab. In there you’ll find Recovery with the option to reset at the top. Follow the instructions that you find there ideally wiping the entire drive without keeping your old files.

The first thing that you can do very easily is create a power plan that focuses on performance (note that this can only be done on laptops). To do this, right click on the battery icon in the taskbar and head on over to the Power Options. On the left, you’ll find an option to Create a power plan. There you just need to choose High performance and decide on the sleep and display times and you’re good to go.

Next, defragment your drive (if this is not set up to be performed automatically). As time goes by, fragments of files will get spread out around your drive which means it can take longer to find them whenever they are needed. Defragmenting fixes this by locating the fragments and putting them back together which can speed up the time it takes to locate files. WARNING: do not do this if your computer uses a solid state drive as the speed at which they operate makes defragmenting useless and otherwise harmful as you unneccesarily wear out the flash memory chips found inside it.

You can do this by pressing the Windows Start button and searching for Defragment and Optimize Drives. There you can analyze your C drive and optimize it by defragmentation if needed.

A domain name server or DNS for short, is essessntially a phonebook for computers. Whenever you type in a website such as medium.com, your computer reaches out to this server and asks for the corresponding IP address like to connect you to the website. By default, these servers are set to those of your internet provider however you can change this to achieve better speeds, privacy or any other benefit other servers may provide.

This ones gonna take a while to reach so lets get to it. Press the Windows Start button and search for the Control Panel. Next, go to the Network and Internet settings then click the Network and Sharing Center. There you will find your current network connection.

Click on that and will open up a connection status tab. In here you’ll find a Properties button at the bottom which takes you to more settings. Find the Internet Protocol Version (TCP/IPv4) button and double click it. At the bottom there will be a space to input a DNS of your own choosing. Select the Use the following DNS server addresses and type for Prefferred DNS and for Alternate. These are the servers for Cloudflare although you can search online for others servers that you may want to use.

Lets take a breather now and do something simpler. Patch my PC is a piece of software that can be used to detect outdated programs and update them for you. This can help keep things up to date and fix any issues those might have. You can find the download for this here: https://patchmypc.com/home-updater. Simply run this program and it will detect anything that needs updating.

By default, Windows is a very bloated system. A lot of unneccesary things are switched on which can impact the performance of your device and make using it very unpleasing. By going to the Windows Settings and searching for background apps, you will find a lot of random apps running in the background which more often than not, you’re probably not gonna be using. Here you can flip the switch and forget about them.

Some apps come with the option to autorun whenever you boot your device. While this can be useful for some frequently used programs, the rest of them won’t be as needed and are better off disabling to prevent using up too many resources when booting into the system. This can be done by heading over to the Windows Settings and searching for Startup. This gives you a list of everything that will run on startup and it’s up to you to decide what’s important and what’s not.

Lastly, you’ll want to update the drivers for your graphics and any other things that may be available. This is very device specific so I’ll guide you in the general direction starting with prebuilt devices then custom built ones. Yet again, go to the Windows Settings (gets repetitive doesn’t it?) then search for the About your PC page. There you’ll find the model of your device. Take this and search for it online as it should help you find the official list of drivers (make sure to check multiple times to avoid downloading any malicious drivers onto your device).

As for custom built devices, I currently have no experience doing this. If you already know the specific components of your device then you can look those up online to find official drivers. If you don’t then right click your taskbar, go to the Task Manager and click on the little More details arrow (if it isn’t expanded already). You might be able to find some useful info here. Another way is to press the Windows Start button and search for System Information which will provide a lot of info about many components and configurations of your system.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and that it helped you out in some sort of way. I’m still learning so be sure to drop any suggestions in the comments if there’s anything that would fit in well in this list or if my list could use some adjustements. I also want to thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far as this was quite a lengthy read :D