Improve Windows performance on low-end devices

Improve Windows performance on low-end devices

When it comes to desktop computers, Windows is without a doubt the most popular operating system. However, due to the sheer amount of built-in bloat, unnecessary background services, and telemetry, Windows runs terribly on low-end hardware. Switching to SSD or using a lightweight Linux distribution is the best way to handle this, but if you don’t have the money to upgrade yet and you really need to use Windows, here are the things to disable and optimize to speed up your device.

Disable Windows Defender

Since Windows 10, they made changes to Windows Defender that caused noticeable lags on low-end devices. We can disable Windows Defender if you don’t need it. This will give the most noticeable performance increase.

We’ll need to boot to a live linux usb to perform this procedure. Once you are running a live linux usb, open a file manager and rename the folder located at C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender to something else like Windows Defender DISABLED. Shutdown the device and remove the USB, then turn it back on to boot into Windows.

Disable CompactOS

CompactOS is a Windows feature that compresses your disk drive in effort to preserve space. However, this will slow down devices with hdd and low-powered CPU. Accessing compressed files demands more effort from the CPU, which causes the system performance to degrade.

To disable CompactOS, open a terminal and type this command compact /CompactOS:never then press enter to execute it.

When you use the Windows Search tool and the system can’t find a match for your search query, you’ll get a list of site results suggestions from Bing. This can cause sluggish performance when using the search feature.

To disable the Web search, we need to open the Group Policy Editor. Navigate to the following path: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer.

Find the Turn off display of recent search entries in the File Explorer search box policy. Double-click it, then change the setting to Enabled before clicking the OK button.

Disabling web search using group policy editor.

Open Command Prompt as administrator and type the command gpupdate/force, then press enter. Use the task manager to restart explorer.exe or simply restart Windows after the command has been properly executed.

Disable NTFS Features

NTFS is the file system used on Windows. To optimize the file system (HDD), we can disable some NTFS features using fsutil.

Open a terminal and execute these commands one by one:
fsutil behavior set DisableLastAccess 1
fsutil behavior set Disable8dot3 1
fsutil behavior set DisableCompression 1
fsutil behavior set SymlinkEvaluation L2L:1 L2R:0
fsutil behavior set mftzone 4
fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 1

Disable Superfetch (SysMain)

Superfetch keeps track of which programs you use the most and loads that information from the hard drive into RAM, allowing programs to load faster than if the hard disk had to be accessed each time. However, it may result in excessive disk utilization, particularly on HDDs.

The Superfetch feature can be disabled using the Windows Services program.

The Superfetch service has been renamed to SysMain as of Windows 10 build 17763.1.

To begin, press Windows key + R and type services.msc, then click OK to open the services program. Find the SysMain service then double-click on it. The dialog for service properties will popup.

To disable Superfetch, click the Stop button and set the Startup type to Disabled then click OK.

Disabling Superfetch service.

Disable Startup Programs

Having too many startup apps can slow down your computer’s performance. Here’s how to disable programs from running automatically when Windows starts.

The quickest way to disable startup programs is to use Task Manager. To launch it, right-click the Start Menu icon and select Task Manager.

While some programs, such as Windows Security, should be allowed to run automatically, others can be disabled until they are needed.

Right-click on an item and select ‘disable’ to prevent it from running on startup.

Defrag HDD

You should defragment your hard drive to keep your computer functioning smoothly. Defragmenting your hard disk improves the performance of your computer and should be done on a regular basis.

It’s worth noting that disk defragmentation takes some time to finish and may use up system resources while it’s running.

Open the start menu and search for defrag then click the Defragment and Optimize Drives item.

Select the drive you want to defrag. This is usually labeled C: on most systems, but it could be something else. If you have more than one hard disk, choose one as your starting point. Then click the Optimize button.

Remove OneDrive

OneDrive is bundled starting with Windows 10 and is enabled on by default if you use a Microsoft account. However, if you don’t use OneDrive and don’t want it to run in the background, you can uninstall it to improve system efficiency.

Removing OneDrive is very straightforward, simply go to the Apps and Features option in the Settings app, select Microsoft OneDrive and click the Uninstall button.

See also: Tips to improve PC performance in Windows | Microsoft Support

Improve Windows performance on low-end devices


Jun Kaiser

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