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How to perform Windows 10 Maintenance & Optimization

Symptom

Your computer begins to exhibit slower than normal boot-up and performance speeds.

Cause

  1. Too many background applications and the lack of normal maintenance
  2. Virus/Malware infection – seek professional help to avoid losing data
  3. Data Corruption – seek professional help to avoid losing data
    (If you suspect Data Corruption and are willing to take the risk of fixing it yourself you can begin by preforming Step 4 in the Solution section first. This step will fix minor data corruption, but could aggravate major data corruption)

Purpose

This document was written to empower the user to perform normal maintenance and optimization thus addressing the first cause of slow boot-up and performance.

Frequency

It is highly recommend that you perform these maintenance tasks on a quarterly basis.

Minimum Hardware Recommendations

Many times the cause of slow performance is the lack of physical memory for the operating system and applications to load into. Also a conventional hard drive will dip in performance once it is more then 50% full. If your hard drive is over 90% full then you’re taking the risk of your computer failing to load to the desktop. Lastly if your processor is not at least an Intel core duo then you really should consider replacing your current system.

Processor:   Intel Core Processor (i3/i5/i7)
Memory:      8GB minimum / 16GB or greater recommended
Hard Drive:  Less than 50% full / More than 50% available (Solid State Drive (SSD) is extremely recommended)

Prerequisites

  1. Data backup – Although preforming maintenance is non-destructive it can be hard drive intensive and thus bring a failing drive to the failure point. Ensure that you have a recoverable backup of your data.
  2. No running applications – Close all running applications (including the apps you can close in your system tray) so that they do not interfere with maintenance tasks
  3. Administrator – You must sign into an account with administrative privileges

Solution

Step 1 – Application cleanup

  1. Inspect your System Tray and check each of the background applications that are running
    1. If you don’t use it often, but you still need it then try modifying the settings so that it does not load automatically
    2. If you don’t use it then write down its name to uninstall it
    3. If you don’t know what it does, then Google the name to understand its function

(Note: If you’re still unsure do not remove the application till you’ve check with an IT professional.  Quitting applications will only last until you reboot, then they will auto-load again.)

  1. From your Windows menu select Settings then click on System and select Apps & features. Carefully scroll through the list and examine each application. Pay close attention to those applications that do not come from Microsoft Corporation and single-click on the applications you wish to uninstall
    1. Uninstall the system tray applications you no longer use
    2. Uninstall adware applications like browser plugins and weatherbug
    3. Uninstall the standard applications that you no longer use (If you’re unsure what an application does, then google the name to understand its function before deciding whether to uninstall it)

(Note: The goal is to remove applications you don’t use and those that have duplicate functionality.)

Step 2 – System maintenance

Known as Automatic Maintenance, occurs automatically as the name implies. By default, is set to run at a specific time. If the computer is asleep or off during that specified time, then the task will continue to skip until it can run. The time at which it runs can be changed and you can invoke it to run immediately.

  1. Change the run time
    1. In the Search field type “Control Panel” and select the Control Panel Desktop app
    2. Click on System and Security and then Security and Maintenance
    3. Click on Maintenance and under Automatic Maintenance click on Change maintenance settings
    4. Set a time when your computer is on (i.e. at noon)
  2. Run maintenance immediately
    1. In the Search field type “Control Panel” and select the Control Panel Desktop app
    2. Click on System and Security and then Security and Maintenance
    3. Click on Maintenance and under Automatic Maintenance click on Start maintenance

Step 3 – Disk space cleanup

  1. In the Search field type “Disk Cleanup” and select the Disk Cleanup Desktop app
  2. From the Drives pull-down menu select your boot volume (usually labeled C:) and click on the OK button
  3. Check the check-boxes next to the following Files to delete:
    1. Downloaded Program Files
    2. Temporary Internet Files
    3. Offline Webpages
    4. Recycle Bin (Note: Never use the Recycle Bin as another area to store data)
    5. Temporary files
  4. Click on the OK button to begin
  5. At the verification pop-up window click the Delete Files button

Step 4 – File system check

  1. Click on the Windows menu, click on All Apps, click on the Windows PowerShell folder then right-click on Windows PowerShell and select More, then from the contextual menu select Run as administrator
  2. At the confirmation dialog box click on the Yes button
  3. At the command prompt type the following command:
    1. For standard/conventional hard drives
      chkdsk /B and press the Enter key
    2. For Solid State Drives
      chkdsk /F and press the Enter key
  1. When you are asked to schedule the file system check type Y and press the Enter key
  2. Close the Command Prompt window and from the Start menu reboot your computer

Step 5 – Action Center

  1. In the System Tray click on the Action Center icon (looks like a dialogue bubble) to open it
  2. Check each item listed and resolve as appropriate

Step 6 – Defragmentation: Run once every month

By default, defragmentation happens automatically and is drive aware, which means it recognizes SSDs.

  1. Change the run time
    1. From the Windows menu click on All Apps then click on the Windows Administrative Tools folder and select Defragment and Optimize Drive
    2. Select your boot volume (usually labeled C:) and click on the Change settings button
    3. From the Frequency pull-down menu select Monthly and click the OK button
    4. Click on the Close button
  2. Run maintenance immediately
    1. From the Windows menu click on All Apps then click on the Windows Administrative Tools folder and select Defragment and Optimize Drive
    2. Select your boot volume (usually labeled C:) and click on the Optimize button
    3. Click on the Close button

Final Recommendations

  1. Do’s
    1. Backup your data (to a local backup, off-site and in the cloud – recommended)
    2. Install the latest Anti-Virus/Malware protection software and keep the definitions current
    3. Enable your Windows firewall
    4. Use disk encryption if you keep credit card or patient data
  2. Don’ts
    1. Allow sites to examine your drive
    2. Install free utilities when prompted by a website to correct a problem
    3. Install browser plugins when prompted by a website (instead go directly to the developer to download and install the plugin)