We’ve all been there. You’ve accidentally installed a load of freeware with other software. Perhaps you’ve downloaded oodles of “exciting” games, only to find they came with tons of bloatware. Or somehow your system has been infiltrated by malware that your security software just can’t deal with. It can happen to any of us. And there are a few simple steps you can take on Windows 10 to make your computer work like new again.

1. Clear Out the Junk

There will undoubtedly be a whole range of programs and apps that you’ve installed – or that came pre-installed on your system that you just don’t use. You’ll most likely see items on there that you’ve completely forgotten you ever installed. Unused programs and apps, and those that automatically run in the background, take up space and slow down your system, so one of the easiest and earliest steps you should take to improve the performance of your Windows 10 computer is to clear out the junk. You’ve got a couple of options. To remove programs quickly, simply hit the Windows button, go to your start menu, right-click on the app you want to remove, then hit “uninstall.” It’s really that simple.

If you want more detail or greater control over your installed applications, follow these directions:

  • Hit the Windows key
  • Go to the start menu
  • Choose “Settings”
  • Choose “System”
  • Choose “Apps & Features”

You’ll then be faced with a list of all the apps and desktop programs installed on your system. Simply right-click on the item you want to ditch, hit “Uninstall” and follow the wizard.
If you’re feeling old-school and you only want to remove desktop programs, you can also go the traditional route and use the Control Panel option.

Check out this video for an easy walkthrough: Uninstall Programs and Apps Video

2. Do Some Routine Cleanup

A junk file cleaner is a useful tool and helps to identify and eliminate files that aren’t necessary. You should run this kind of software on a regular basis to keep our computers in tip-top shape. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll likely be surprised at how much junk the software finds. You can use Windows 10’s own Disk Cleanup or go for something like CCleaner by Majorgeeks. The Windows 10 Disk Cleanup utility is really easy to use. Just follow these steps:

  • From your desktop, click into the search box
  • Type “disk cleanup”
  • Select the correct app when it appears in the menu
  • Let the utility work its magic
  • Once you get the dialog box with the first results, hit “Clean up system files”
  • Wait while the utility performs a more thorough examination
  • Select all the files you want to delete 
  • Click “OK”
  • Click “Delete files” when the prompt appears
  • Wait while the utility removes those files

Watch this walkthrough if you need a little more guidance: Disk Cleanup Video

3. Defragment Your Drive

Defragmenting your drive is a great way to make your computer faster. Basically, it sorts and stores files on the drive sequentially in such a way that your computer can access them faster. Like this: (Image by XZise)

  • Head to the desktop search box and type “defrag”
  • Select the “Defragment and optimize drives” option
  • Select the drive you want to defragment
  • Click “Optimize”

Remember that your system should automatically be set to defragment every week anyway, but this is still a worthwhile step if you’re having speed issues.

See this video for help: Windows Defragmentation Video

4. Reset Windows 10

This option lets you get rid of everything (apart from your personal files) and truly make your system feel like new. It’s like the old-school Windows reinstallations that required boot disks and a whole lot of hassle. On Windows 10, this process is easy and effective and will literally make your system feel like new again. It’s a great option if none of the other steps have worked or you have malware that you can’t get rid of. Just remember that you will be faced with having to reinstall and reconfigure any programs and apps you want to keep, as the reset isn’t selective about what it removes. You can, however, ask the system to retain your personal files like movies, photos and data files. As a precaution, however, we recommend putting copies of anything you want to keep into the cloud or on a backup drive. Just in case.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to begin.

  • Hit the Windows button and go to “Settings”
  • Select “Updates and Security”
  • Choose “Recovery”
  • Hit “Get started” under “Reset this PC”
  • A box will pop up with two options. If you want to keep your personal files, select “Keep my files”; if you want to get rid of everything, choose “Remove everything”
  • Let Windows work its magic, which may take a while

This video walks you through the process: Reinstallation Tips Video

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