When setting up a new computer, or if I have reinstalled Windows, there are a few settings and tweaks I always carry out to optimise the speed and usability of the system.
- Reduce keyboard typing delay.
- Disable animations in Windows. Type ‘animations’ in the start menu and click ‘Show animations in Windows‘. Uncheck the switch so that it is disabled. This will get rid of animations when minimising/maximising windows etc.
- Disable other unnecessary animations. Type ‘adjust performance‘ in the start menu and click ‘Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows‘. Disable the options as per the screenshot below this list.
- Disable Windows sounds. After years of having to put up with the various sounds that Windows throws at you for different reasons, I find the Windows sounds quite jarring (particularly the USB connect/disconnect sound). Use my ‘Disable Windows Startup Sound‘ guide and where it says ‘Windows Default’ in the dropdown list, change this to ‘No Sounds’
- Change Explorer to open at ‘This PC’. When you open File Explorer, by default it opens to ‘Quick Access’ which contains your frequently accessed files and folders. However, I prefer This PC as this contains my drives and I find myself navigating here most of the time anyway. To change this, open Explorer (I use Windows Key + E), click ‘View’ at the top, press ‘Options’ and then change the top dropdown to ‘This PC’.
- High performance mode (laptop) when plugged in. Laptops by default will use a balanced or power saving mode to save battery. However, if you have it plugged in, this isn’t something you really need to worry about, so I always turn on high performance mode so that the CPU works to its full potential instead of throttling it. To do this, click the battery symbol in the taskbar and drag the slider all the way to the right.
- Remove taskbar clutter. I always disable the ‘News’ feature as well as remove ‘Task View’, ‘Cortana’ and the search bar. You can do this by right clicking the taskbar and unchecking these. The reason I uncheck the search bar is because you can search just by opening the start menu (either clicking or pressing the Windows button), so the search bar is more cosmetic than anything.
- Uninstall bloatware. Different computer manufacturers (as well as Microsoft themselves) will always install their own programs and games on a new computer. Use my guide to get rid of these and make your OS feel a bit lighter.
- Remove scheduled tasks. Your computer manufacturer will likely have included various tasks in Task Scheduler that carry out different checks/actions throughout the day. You can disable these through Task Scheduler.