How to Optimize the Performance of Windows 8 and 8.1
This tutorial will provide you with a list of suggestions to help optimize, speed up, and improve the performance of Windows 8
, Windows RT
, Windows 8.1
, and Windows RT 8.1
You can pick and choose which listed suggestions you would like to do, or feel comfortable doing. If you do not notice an increase in performance or have a problem with the suggestion, then you can always go back and undo the suggestion at it's provided tutorial link.
If you like, please feel free to post any of your own suggestions that you find to help the performance of Windows 8.
Windows 8 and 8.1 Minimum System Requirements
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
1. Scan your PC for Malware
Malware or a virus on your PC can often be the cause of many issues on your PC, let alone be a huge security risk. You should do a full scan of your PC with an AV program like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
, and remove any found threats. If you need help with an infected PC issue, then please create a new thread in our System Security
forum area for one of our security experts to take a look at it.
2. 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.
3. Use a SSD (Solid State Drive) instead of HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
4. Upgrade to a Better Video Graphics Card
If you're a gamer, then upgrading your video card to a better one can give you much better FPS
(frames per second) and performance. In some situations, better video cards can be a huge benefit even without heavy onscreen video work, because certain applications can leverage the GPUs for calculations. If your current card and motherboard support SLI
, adding a second card and bridging them will be a good option as well.
5. 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
6. 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.
7. Use a Faster DNS Server
Most ISPs like to brag about how much bandwidth they are giving you, but they don't mind letting the rest of their infrastructure slowly get overwhelmed or deteriorate. Among the biggest offenders are the DNS servers our ISPs use. If you want to know why things seem to take forever to start loading, slow DNS servers are often the cause. You might consider adding or using a fast DNS server like Google Public DNS
as your primary DNS server in your TCP/IP settings to see how it compares to your ISP.
8. 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.
Using the "High performance" power scheme may cause some laptops to run hotter than normal.
9. 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.
10. Turn On Fast Startup for a Hybrid Boot/Shutdown
(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.
11. 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.
12. 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
13. Speed Up Windows Shut Down Time
14. 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 system
runs automatically at startup, or until you select an OS to run.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
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.
21. 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.
22. 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:
Doing this will also allow anyone with access to your PC to be automatically signed in to your user account if they startup Windows.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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 Charms
, 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.
26. 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:
27. Use Optimize Drives to TRIM SSDs and Defrag HDDs
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. 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 computerís 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.
31. 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.
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. 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.
(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.
36. Speed Up Closing Modern Apps in Windows 8.1
By default, when you drag to close a modern app in Windows 8.1, you would need to drag the app from the top to the bottom of the screen, then wait 2 seconds for the app tile to flip over to release and close the app.
This will show you how to speed up closing modern apps by reducing the distance to drag and the flipping animation time for only your user account in Windows 8.1 and 8.1 Update.