How to Defragment Drives and Optimize Windows 10 Performance

Defragmenting your drives and optimizing your Windows 10 performance helps improve your computer’s speed and efficiency. A fragmented drive means files are scattered across different parts of the hard disk, making access slower. Defragmenting puts these pieces back together so your drive can work faster.

Here are step-by-step instructions to defragment drives and optimize performance in Windows 10:

Run the Built-in Disk Defragmenter

Windows 10 has a built-in Disk Defragmenter utility that runs on a schedule automatically. But you can also defrag your drives manually whenever needed:

  1. Type “defrag” in the search bar and select Defragment and Optimize Drives
  2. Select the drive you want to defrag under Current status (C drive is usually your main drive)
  3. Click Analyze to check the drive’s fragmentation level
  4. If it says the drive Needs optimization, click Optimize to start defragmentation

The process can take a few hours for large hard disk drives. Solid-state drives don’t need defragmenting as frequently.

Tweak Visual Effects

Visual effects like animations and transparencies look nice but consume resources. You can disable some for better performance:

  1. Search for “Adjust visual effects” and open it
  2. Select Adjust for best performance to turn off most effects
  3. Alternatively, handpick effects to turn off like Aero Peek, font smoothing, etc.

Stop Unneeded Startup Programs

Too many programs running at startup eats CPU and memory. Disable unnecessary ones:

  1. Open Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc)
  2. Click Startup tab
  3. Right-click programs you don’t need and select Disable

This frees up system resources so your PC boots faster with only essential apps.

Uninstall Unused Programs

Get rid of bloatware and programs you no longer need:

  1. Open Settings > Apps > Apps & features
  2. Right-click programs not in use and select Uninstall

Having fewer programs provides a performance boost and saves storage space.

Check for Malware

Viruses, spyware, and malware can slow down your system. Scan your device using Windows Security:

  1. Open Windows Security
  2. Click Virus & threat protection
  3. Under Current threats click Scan options to start a scan
  4. Remove any threats detected

Clean Up Your Drives

Delete temporary files, downloads, and other junk to free up storage space and speed things up.

  1. Open Settings > System > Storage
  2. Under Storage sense, click Configure Storage Sense
  3. Turn it on for your drives and set how often files are removed

You can also manually clean each drive anytime. Less clutter helps optimize Windows 10.

Change Power Settings

Set power plan to High performance to stop CPU throttling and background app activity:

  1. Search for “Power & sleep settings” and open it
  2. Click Additional power settings
  3. Select High performance

Your PC will use more energy but have better speed and responsiveness.

More Tips

Some other ways to optimize Windows 10 performance:

  • Keep drivers updated using Device Manager
  • Increase virtual memory size if RAM maxes out
  • Use ReadyBoost to boost speeds of HDDs with USB drive
  • Turn off OneDrive sync to stop background uploads
  • Disable search indexing if you don’t use Cortana

With some simple software tweaks and cleaning your drives, you can speed up Windows 10 performance without expensive upgrades. Defragmenting hard drives, limiting startup programs, and disabling visual effects are a few easy ways to optimize your system.