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Speed up Windows 10 Computers

With home computers, people often replace perfectly good Windows 10 machines because they are slow or have problems that they can’t resolve themselves. During the COVID-19 shutdown, lots of children will be using slow Windows 10 machines that are not working very well. During the shutdown, new computers are more difficult to get even if you want one.

There are lots of things parents can do to revitalise slow Windows 10 machines.

Machines getting progressively slower

With Windows 10 we have seen many machines that are hibernating rather than shutting down. A symptom of this is that the computer gets gradually slower over time. To test your machine for this problem run task manager by pressing control-alt-delete and selecting task manager and selecting the performance tab. Click the CPU graph on the left, and you will see something similar to below.

Windows 10 task manager

The Uptime section at the bottom shows how long the machine has been running. In this case, 7 days, 19 hours, 52 minutes and 28 seconds.

If you are shutting the machine down every day and the number of days is not going back to zero, then the machine is hibernating rather than shutting down. Over a large number of days, the computer will get progressively slower. Up to a week, you might not notice, but at three weeks the machine will probably be noticeably slow, and I saw one recently at 52 days which was unbearably slow.

Desktop machines

If the slow Windows 10 machine is a desktop, there is little point in hibernating it, so turning off the hibernating feature will avoid the performance problem.

To do this run a command prompt with administrator permissions and run the following command.

“Powercfg.exe /h off” (without the quotes)

This command will stop the machine from hibernating, and it will shut down properly. When restarted, the uptime will start at 0:0:0:0 and the performance will be back to normal.

Laptops

If your machine is a laptop, you might want to retain the hibernation option as it allows you to shut the screen and go.

If you want to reboot a machine without disabling hibernation, then you can run the “shutdown /r” command from a command prompt

Type cmd in the Type here to search box. Run Command prompt as administrator and type “shutdown /r” and press enter.

This command will reboot the machine, and the uptime will start at 0:0:0:0.

Other things you can do.

Check the disk usage in the performance tab. In the example, it is 1%. If the disk usage is at 100% all the time, the machine will be very slow and needs attention. Excessive disk usage can have many causes. Check if updates are running and make sure they are finished. If the machine is short of RAM, this will cause excessive disk usage as well as slow the computer down.

  • Remove any software you are not using.
  • Run a full virus scan with a quality anti-virus product. Don’t rely on the Microsoft anti-virus tools as they will not give you complete protection. A full scan can take 30 minutes or more.
  • Atomik.biz can give you a one month FREE trial of ESET Internet Security which is a quality commercial AntiVirus product. We can also offer a month FREE trial of ESET Cyber Security Pro, which is for Apple Mac computers.
  • Install any available updates to windows. To do this type “check for updates” in the Type here to search box. Run any available updates. Updates can take a long time depending on how out of date the machine is. The current version of Windows 10 is 1909. A customer machine with 1604 took over a day to update, which is an extreme case, so be patient. A more common timeframe is 30 minutes or less.
  • Check how much RAM you have and need. In the task manager Memory tab, you will see how much memory your machine has installed and how much it is using. In the above example, the PC is using 5.4 out of 12GB. This display will never show all the memory used, so if used is within 0.7GB of the available, the machine would benefit from more RAM. Buying RAM is much cheaper than buying a new computer. Adding RAM will only make a difference if the device needs more.
  • Check for disk fragmentation. Windows 10 should do this automatically, but it is worth checking.
  • The ultimate upgrade is swapping a mechanical disk for a solid-state drive. Solid State Drives makes a massive difference in performance but is the most challenging upgrade at the old drive has to be copied to the Solid State Drive before the machine will work.

If you need help solving your Windows 10 performance problems or any other computer problems