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.

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