BACK TO BASICS
Now head back to the control panel, because it’s time to do a little old-school scrubbing. Head to “Programs > Programs and Features,” and select “Turn Windows features on or off.” The list isn’t over-extensive, and there’s not much you can remove that’ll leave you with a faster PC, but it can prevent some annoyances. Drop, for example, Internet Explorer 11, because you don’t use it, and there’s no sense keeping it around. You can also kill off Windows Media Player, if that’s not your jam. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you could switch on Windows Subsystem for Linux, and head to the “Streamline Your Shell” box (pg. 30) to see why you should be using it.
Next, let’s improve our boot speed by preventing a few things from running at startup. Launch the Task Manager with Ctrl-Shift-Esc, and head to the “Startup” tab. Each program that’s launched automatically is listed with a broad rating of its start time impact. If there are
components here that you use very little, it’s a good idea to stop them; to squash OneDrive’s system-grinding initial launch time, for example, right-click it, and set its status to “Disabled.” For more intricate control, Microsoft’s Sysinternals team has long published Autoruns, a free (and portable) add-on that offers access to the same management tools as Task Manager, plus a whole lot more.
More classic cleaning can be done within Windows 10’s Settings screen. Microsoft’s love for its Universal apps means it presumes you’ll want to use them, and are going to want them ready at a moment’s notice, running in the background at all times. Which may be true, but it’s more likely that disabling those background apps is preferable. In “Privacy > Background Apps,” you can switch off anything you’re happy to just fire off manually, which will likely include, well, just about everything.
One more quick optimization, whether you’re running a small drive or not, would be to clean up temporary files, and wash away old versions of Windows. This will gain a fraction more speed in certain apps if they’re forced to grind through cache directories before running, but you’re not doing this just for speed; you’re doing it for cleanliness. Find the drive you want to optimize in File Explorer, right-click it, select “Properties,” then seek out “Disk Cleanup” in the “General” tab. Select the categories you want to kill, and use “Clean up system files” to expunge the lot.
Removing those pesky live tiles is as simple as a right- click.