How to Optimize the Performance of Windows 8 and 8.1

How to Optimize the Performance of Windows 8 and 8.1

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

9:26 PM

1. Install More and/or Faster RAM

The more RAM (memory) you have, the better your performance can be up to a point. Usually 4 GB (32-bit) or 8 GB (64-bit) will be the sweet spot and plenty unless you do memory intensive actions such as video editing or a lot of multitasking.

Memory performance will depend on fast the bandwidth MHZ rating (higher the better) is, and if you are using DDR3 memory in triple channel mode instead of just one or a mix of RAM sticks in only single channel mode. It’s best to have all of your RAM sticks with the exact same specs.

You will need to check your motherboard specs to see how much and what type of RAM it supports.

Excellent list of ways to speed up a PC. Below is the why for “1. Install More and /or Faster RAM”.

When the PC powers up, the operating system (OS) is written to RAM from the hard drive. Later programs are read from the hard drive and loaded into RAM. If there is not enough RAM for the OS and programs, a page fault occurs and the portion of the OS or program is written to the hard drive virtual memory.

For example, a PC with 8 GB of RAM, loads 6GB of OS and programs. The total load time is the 6GB transfer from the disk to RAM. (Much more if the hard drive is significantly fragmented.)

Meanwhile, someone who saved $75 only has 2GB of RAM. The total load time is the 6GB to read from the disk, plus 2GB write time to RAM, plus the 4GB to write to virtual memory, plus the seek time for the drive heads to move from reading to writing. Removing the negligible portions from the equation yields:

6GB Read + 4 GB Write

————————– = 166%

6GB Read

So if the PC takes a long time to boot or if programs load slowly (Optional Exercise: the Task Manager and Resource Monitor indicate that excessive page faulting is occurring.), install more RAM.


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2. Use a SSD (Solid State Drive) instead of HDD (Hard Disk Drive)

Installing Windows 8 on a SSD will give you a dramatic increase in performance over a HDD.

SSD vs HDD | – Storage Reviews

SSD vs Hard Drive

3. Install the Latest BIOS and Device Drivers

Make sure that you have the latest available drivers installed for all of your devices, and BIOS version for your motherboard. These will often have updates that correct new bugs, bugs from the previous versions, and may add new features, and increase performance. You can get them at your device manufacturer’s website. The release notes (if available) of the driver or BIOS version will tell you what changes have been made since the last version to see if you wish to install it or not. Be sure to have the correct versions for your 32 bit or 64 bit Windows 8.

4. Check for and Install Windows Updates

Microsoft usually releases important updates on the second Tuesday once a month. However, updates could be released at any time. You should check for and install available Windows Updates that could include bug fixes, security patches, Windows Defender definitions, etc…. that could help keep stable and/or improve the performance of Windows.

5. Use the “High Performance” Power Plan

The “High performance” power scheme plan maximizes system performance and responsiveness. However, if you use a mobile PC running on battery power, then you will notice that your battery doesn’t last as long while using this plan. You can adjust your power plan settings to fit your needs.

Caution: Using the “High performance” power scheme may cause some laptops to run hotter than normal.

6. Put your PC to Sleep or Hibernate instead of a Full Shut Down

If your PC does not run primarily off of a battery, then using sleep mode will allow your PC to wake up almost instantly compared to a starting up from a full shutdown.

If your PC does run on battery, then using hibernate, or fast startup below, will allow your PC to resume quicker compared to starting up from a full shutdown. Don’t use hibernate if you are going to keep your PC in a bag for very long since it could cause the PC to overheat.

7. Turn On Fast Startup for a Hybrid Boot/Shutdown

Fast Startup (aka: hybrid boot or hybrid Shutdown) is a new feature in Windows 8 to help your PC start up faster after shutting down. When turned on, Windows 8 does this by using a hybrid shutdown (a partial hibernate) method that saves only the kernal session and device drivers (system information) to the hibernate (hiberfil.sys) file on disk instead of closing it when you shut down your PC. This also makes the hiberfil.sys file to be much smaller than what hibernate would use (often 4GB or more). When you start your PC again, Windows 8 uses that saved system information to resume your system instead of having to do a cold boot to fully restart it. Using this technique with boot gives a significant advantage for boot times, since reading the hiberfile in and reinitializing drivers is much faster on most systems (30-70% faster on most systems tested). If you have a motherboard with UEFI, then fast startup will be even faster.

8. Disable Hibernate if Not Used

If you do not use hibernate or Fast Startup, then disabling hibernate will save you a GB+ size file from being saved on your hard drive when you hibernate the PC. When hibernate is disabled, the shut down time will also be shorter by not having to wait on memory being saved to the hiberfil.sys file.

9. Turn Off Unneeded Visual Effects

You can optimize performance by changing how menus and windows appear. Uncheck the visual effect options that you do not want or need, or select the Adjust for best performance option, to help performance. The most common visual effects to uncheck are:

  • Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
  • Animations in the taskbar
  • Fade or slide menus into view
  • Fade or slide ToolTips into view
  • Fade out menu items after clicking
  • Show shadows under windows
  • Slide open combo boxes

10. Speed Up Windows Shut Down Time

You can set and adjust the AutoEndTasksHungAppTimeoutWaitToKillAppTimeout, and/orWaitToKillServiceTimeout values for how long Windows waits for hung programs and other programs to save data and close before shutting down.

11. Reduce Time to Display “Choose and operating system” at Boot

If you have more than one operating system installed along with Windows 8 for a dual or multi boot system, then you could change the amount of time you wait before the default operating systemruns automatically at startup, or until you select an OS to run.

12. Enable Write Caching for Storage Devices

This option is usually the best choice to use for storage devices that must provide the highest possible performance, and that you intend to not remove from the system frequently, such as internal hard disk drives.

13. Move Page File to Separate Hard Disk

Moving the page file to a second physical hard drive instead of the same C: drive that Windows is on can help improve the performance of Windows if the other hard drive is at least as fast or faster than the Windows drive. Doing this allows Windows to use the page file on one drive while not having to interrupt reads or writes on the Windows drive. Be sure to let the page file be System Managed. Windows does a great job of keeping your page file in peak condition and performance.

14. Uninstall Unneeded Programs

Most OEM computers that you buy at a retail outlet have a ton of bloatware and trial software installed on it. Some of these can take up a lot of resources. Uninstall the programs that you do not use from Programs and Features.

15. Disable or Delete Unneeded Startup Items

Startup items are the programs, shortcuts, folders, drivers, etc… that are set to run automatically at startup when a user signs in to Windows 8. Disabling or deleting them from running at startup can improve startup time and reduce the amount of system resources being be used by them. It is also a good idea to check your startup items every once in awhile to help make sure that some unknown program or malware has not placed itself to run at the startup of Windows.

16. Reduce the Startup Delay Time for Desktop Apps

When Windows 8 starts up and/or you sign in, any desktop apps that have been set to run at startup are delayed by a few (5-10) seconds before they actually run by default now. Previous Windows did not have this delay for startup programs.

While you cannot completely eliminate this startup delay, you can reduce the delay time to help.

17. Set Unused Services to Manual or Disabled

Services use processes that run in the background using part of your computer’s resources. Check through your services with the help of the guide provided in this link, and stop and set to manual the services that affects features that you do not use or need to gain a tiny bit more performance.

 WARNING: Disabling the wrong service could hurt performance, or even cripple Windows. If you do not truly know what you are doing, then it’s highly recommended to not do this.

18. Set to Go to Desktop or Start when You Sign in or Close Apps

To save yourself a click, you could set to have Windows go directly to either your desktop or Start screen by default when you sign in to Windows or close modern apps.

19. Automatically Sign in to User Account at Startup

If you are the only one that uses your home PC, then you could set Windows to automatically sign in to your user account at startup to save you time from having to manually sign in.

You may also wish to do this:

 WARNING: Doing this will also allow anyone with access to your PC to be automatically signed in to your user account if they startup Windows.

20. Disable or Uninstall Internet Explorer Add-ons and Toolbars

Disabling or uninstalling any unneeded installed add-ons in Internet Explorer will help the performance of Internet Explorer.

21. Disable First Sign-in Animation for New Users

While the first sign-in animation may be helpful to new users to see when they sign-in for the first time, disabling the first sign-in animation will give a faster new account preparation time.

22. Disable Help Tips for New Users

In Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, new users will now see pop-up help tips when they first move the pointer near the hidden CharmsStart, and Switcher access points to help ID what they are for and how to open them. By default, Windows will show these help tips until the user has successfully completed the scenarios to open the UI. If you do not want these help tips, then disabling will save the user’s time by not having to go through them.

23. Change Automatic Maintenance Settings and Time

Maintenance activity in Windows is designed to run in the background with limited user interaction and minimal impact to performance and energy efficiency. You should change the Automatic Maintenance to what time you want to run the daily maintenance tasks, and if to allow the scheduled maintenance to wake the computer to run at the scheduled time. It’s best to set the time to when you will not be using the computer, but when the computer is still turned on or asleep if set to wake up.

You might also:

24. Use Optimize Drives to TRIM SSDs and Defrag HDDs

By default, Optimize Drives runsautomatically on a weekly schedule (if turned on) during the time you have set for automatic maintenance. However, you should check and optimize your drives at least once a week to keep them from being defragmented and performing well.

25. Speed Up the Menu Show Time

This reduce the amount of time it takes for a menu in Windows to pop, fade, or slide open when you run the mouse pointer over it.

26. Speed Up Mouse Hover Time

You can change the delay time, in milliseconds, that the mouse pointer has to stay hovered on a item before it is selected or opens a pop-up in Windows.

27. Keep your Index Enabled and Updated, or Disable the Index

Your needs for the index, searches, and libraries will determine what will be best for you. The indexing service helps to make the search function in Windows 8 run much faster. However, it can also drain your computer’s hardware resources, particularly on older machines.

By default the index is enabled in Windows. If you do a lot of searches in specific locations or for specific file types, then searching using the index with these locations and file types added to be included in the index could help give you faster search results than doing non index searches. If you find that the index search results are not accurate, then rebuilding the index will update the index for accurate search results afterwards.

If you like to only do non index searches to always have accurate search results, then you could either disable the index or set your Search options to not use the index when searching in file folders for system files. Non index searches will take a bit longer to give search results. If you disable the index, then this will help your hard drive not run as much while the index (if enabled) automatically updates itself in the background when your computer is idle. If you disable the index, you will also no longer be able to search within libraries.

28. Set “Turn off hard disk after” to Never or Increase Time

While having your HDDs turn off after set x amount of idle minutes can help save energy, it can also cause your PC to pause while waiting for the HDD to spin back up when needed. You could either set this to never turn off the HDDs, or increase the amount of idle minutes before turning off the HDDs to avoid it being turned off while you may still need it and have to wait for it to spin back up as often.

29. Disable Program Compatibility Assistant

The Program Compatibility Assistant (PCA) runs in the background and monitors user initiated programs for known compatibility issues at run time. Whenever a potential issue with an application is detected, the PCA will prompt the user with pointers to recommended solutions. Disabling the PCA will stop it from running in the background and using system resources.

30. Clean Your Computer

Keeping the fans and inside of your computer clean and dust free can help prevent performance issues. Dust acts as an insulator, making it harder for your hardware to dissipate the buildup of heat. When this problem becomes significant enough for your computer to overheat, certain components such as your processor or graphics card may temporarily throttle back their clock speeds in order to prevent damage to your hardware.

31. Set CPU Priority Level of a Process

By default, Windows shares the processor time between all running processes based upon their priority level. If a process has a higher priority, it gets more processor time compared to a process having a lower priority.

You could set priority of an application or process to run with a Realtime, High, Above Normal,Normal, Below Normal, or Low processor priority level. You could have a task from an application or process finish faster by giving it a higher priority level, or by setting a non urgent task to a lower priority level to allow other tasks to have more priority.

32. Change Maximum Download Connections per Server Limit in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer has a limit for the amount of simultaneously downloads per website or server.

  • Internet Explorer 7 and earlier versions limit the number of files that you can download at one time to two by default.
  • Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9 limit the number of files that you can download at one time to six by default.
  • Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11 limit the number of files that you can download at one time to eight by default.

In addition, if you visit a website with lots of images (and supporting files like CSS styles and Javascript), then you could have a slower browsing experience. On average, your browser could have to make several requests to the site’s server before it can finish loading the page. Requesting all the files needed to download with the default 8 (ex: IE11) at a time is going to be slower than requesting say 16 files at a time.

As internet connection speeds increase, the default number of simultaneous downloads to a single website or server may be to restrictive and not meet your needs.

That’s it,


Related Tutorials


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