How to speed up Windows 11 from Microsoft

While Windows 11 comes with a pretty stringent set of hardware requirements, any operating system can get bogged down over time.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to improve the performance of a Windows 11 PC and keep your system vibrant and responsive.

Disable Windows 11 startup programs

One of Windows’ biggest performance blockers is software that makes its way into the startup routine, which means it loads automatically in the background every time you start the PC, whether you are actively using it. the program or not.

If you find that Windows 11 takes a while to load on startup, or if it takes a while before your system becomes usable, unwanted startup programs are probably to blame.

Fortunately, removing unwanted programs from the startup routine is easy. Click on Settings > applications > Start and you will see a list of software that loads automatically when you log in. Disable any non-essential software, paying special attention to applications marked as “high impact” – although these labels are not always reliable.

Alternatively, you can press CTRL + Gap + ESC to access the Task Manager window, which contains the same start menu, only with the old user interface.

Don’t be overzealous here. For example, if you’re using an online backup service like OneDrive or Dropbox, not allowing it to run on startup can cause your files to not sync correctly. Likewise, leave any security software alone, as you don’t want to weaken your PC’s protection.

Windows 11 has added new software at default startup, including Microsoft Teams – so feel free to turn it off if it’s something you don’t use.

Migrate Windows 11 from hard drive to SSD

An M.2 SSD shown inside a PC system

If your PC is still running on an old-fashioned hard drive, the biggest performance boost you could give it is to upgrade to an SSD. Solid-state drives have no moving parts, unlike these spinning hard drive platters, which means applications load in a flash and files are retrieved almost instantly.

We have a separate article that shows you how to upgrade Windows 11 PC from hard drive to SSD. It’s the kind of upgrade you can undertake on your own, but if you’re not confident, any PC repair shop will do the job for you.

The most immediate change you’ll see is that Windows will boot in a fraction of the time it took on your mechanical hard drive. In addition, you will also be able to start using your system immediately, rather than waiting for apps to load in the background. Beyond that, the overall responsiveness for most activities should increase dramatically on an SSD. We also have plenty of reviews of the latest SSDs to hit the market, in case you need help choosing one.

Install Windows 11 apps from safe places

A screenshot of the Microsoft App Store on Windows 11

A good number of Windows performance issues are caused by app installations that bring all kinds of unwanted elements with them: additional apps, browser toolbars, or even malware.

We’ve all been surprised by installers who have pre-checked boxes for additional software in a rush to install a new app. However, there are ways to avoid them.

Only install software from reputable and known sources. Microsoft’s own app store – now called the Microsoft Store and found on the Windows 11 taskbar – has been a void in recent years, but Microsoft has gone to great lengths to make the Store a one-stop-shop for all kinds of things. ‘Apps in Windows 11 If you’ve struggled to find the apps you need in the past, it might be worth taking another look. You can rest assured that no apps installed through the Microsoft Store will come with unwanted baggage.

Alternatively, those more comfortable with the command line might prefer the Windows Package Manager. Those familiar with Linux should be comfortable with the package manager. Once installed, it basically allows you to install apps using a single line of code, again avoiding any risk of anything unwanted being embedded in the desired app.

Installing an app becomes as easy as opening a command prompt and typing: winget install (without spaces before and after appname).

Only certain applications are available via this route. You can read more about Windows 11 Package Manager here.

Do not close Windows 11

Windows had a bad reputation for chewing on laptop batteries, even when the cover was closed and the computer was supposed to be sleeping. With the help of modern hardware, things have improved dramatically in this department, which means that you really don’t have to shut down your PC completely if you don’t need it for a while, even for a whole weekend.

A graph showing that the battery life of a laptop has barely depleted in sleep mode in Windows 11

The graph shown above shows the battery drain of a Windows 11 laptop that has been left in standby / hibernation for almost four days. As you can see, the battery barely ran out during this time, and when we picked it up on day four, it was ready to go the moment we connected. This is much faster than going through the full startup routine that a full shutdown would have required.

Having said that, if you find that the performance is getting a little rough with your PC, sometimes it only takes a shutdown and restart to restore its zip.

Adjust Windows 11 performance settings

A screenshot showing the settings that can be changed in Windows 11 to improve performance

Windows 11 offers a selection of well-hidden performance settings, but could make a noticeable difference to PC responsiveness if you are running the operating system on a PC that exceeds minimum hardware requirements.

To find these settings, open the Control Panel then use the Search Control Panel bar at the top right of this window to search ‘performance’. Click on Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.

Here you will have a plethora of options to choose from, but if you choose to tick Adjust for better performance it will turn everything off. This is overkill, as it disables features like “smooth edges of screen fonts” which can make screen fonts very jagged and difficult to read.

Experiment with different options, but the most likely to improve performance are things like animations, menu fades, and shadows below windows.

Switch Windows 11 to battery mode Better performance

A screenshot showing how to switch Windows 11 to battery mode Better performance

If you are using a laptop on battery power, Windows 11 will, by default, place the laptop in a “balanced” power mode that compromises performance to prevent the battery from being pounded.

However, if your battery is fully charged and you need all the processing power you can get your hands on to perform an intensive task, such as rendering video, you may want to put the laptop into mode. “Better performance”. To do this, go to Settings > Power and battery, and under Supply Mode to select ‘Best performance’.

This should give you the same level of performance as if the laptop was plugged in. Keep an eye on the battery though, as it can drain quite quickly when the system is pushed to the limit.

Along with this tweak, we also have some tips to improve the overall speed of the laptop, which might also help improve your experience using Windows 11.

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