Tips to improve PC performance in Windows

Use ReadyBoost to help improve performance

ReadyBoost lets you use a removable drive, like a USB flash drive, to improve your PC’s performance without opening your PC and adding more memory (RAM). To use ReadyBoost, you’ll need a USB flash drive or a memory card that has at least 500 MB free and a high data transfer rate.

To use ReadyBoost

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into a USB port on your PC.

  2. Select File Explorer from the taskbar.

  3. Press and hold (or right-click) the USB flash drive (or SD card if you used one instead), then select Properties.

  4. Select the ReadyBoost tab, then select Use this device.
    Windows determines if the device can use ReadyBoost. If it can’t, it'll let you know.

  5. After Windows determines how much free space to use to optimize memory, select OK to reserve this space so ReadyBoost can use it.

    When you look at the contents of the USB flash drive in File Explorer, you’ll see a file named ReadyBoost.sfcache on the flash drive. This file shows how much space is reserved for ReadyBoost

Make sure the system is managing the page file size

The paging file is an area on your hard disk that Windows uses like memory. There's a setting in Windows 11 that manages the page file size automatically, which can help improve your PC’s performance.

To make sure automatic page file management is turned on

  1. Select Search on the taskbar, type advanced system in the search box, and then select View advanced system settings, which has Control panel listed underneath it.

  2. In System Properties, select the Advanced tab, then select Settings in the Performance area.

  3. In Performance Options, select the Advanced tab, then select Change in the Virtual memory area.
  4. Make sure the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box is selected. If it is, continue to the next tip. If it's not, select it and then restart your PC by selecting the Start > Power  >Restart.

Disable unnecessary startup programs

When you turn on your PC, some programs start automatically and run in the background. You can disable these programs so they don’t run when your PC starts.

Many programs are designed to start automatically when Windows does. You don’t realize they're running, but they'll open quickly when you go to use them. This is helpful for programs you use a lot, but not for programs you don’t use often because it increases the time it takes Windows to start.

Find the programs that start automatically

Sometimes you can determine which programs start automatically by looking at the program icons in the notification area on the far right of the taskbar. Check there first to see if there are any programs running that you don’t want to start automatically. To try to find out the name of the program, point to the icon with your mouse pointer. Make sure you select Show hidden icons , so you don’t miss any programs.

Even after you check the notification area, you might still miss some programs that run automatically at startup. Here’s how you can find all the programs that start automatically, and stop the ones that you don’t want to start automatically when Windows starts.

To stop a program from starting automatically

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Apps Startup.
    Open Startup Apps settings

  2. In the Startup Apps area, find the program you want to stop from starting automatically and set it to Off.

Check for and remove viruses and malware

A virus, malware, or malicious software could cause your PC to run slowly. Other symptoms include unexpected pop-up messages, programs that unexpectedly start automatically, or the sound of your hard disk constantly working.

The best way to handle viruses and malicious software is to try to prevent them by running antimalware and antivirus software and keeping it up to date. However, even if you take precautions, your PC can still become infected.

You can scan your PC for viruses or other malicious software by using Windows Security (formerly Windows Defender Security Center), which is included in Windows 11. For more info, see How to protect your Windows PC.


  • If you’re using other antivirus or anti-malware software, see the documentation for that program to learn how to scan for viruses. Also, make sure multiple antivirus programs aren’t running at the same time. If they are, choose the one you want to run, and then disable or uninstall any others.

  • If you have another antivirus program installed and turned on, Windows Security will be turned off by default.

To scan for viruses using Windows Security

  1. Select Start > Settings > Privacy & security > Windows Security, and then select Open Windows Security.
    Open Windows Security settings

  2. Select Virus & threat protection, then select Protection updates under Virus & threat protection updates.

  3. On the Protection updates screen, select Check for updates to make sure you have the most recent updates.

  4. Select Virus & threat protection, then select Quick scan.

    Wait for Windows Security to finish scanning for viruses and malware.

  5. Do one of the following, depending on the results of the scan:

    • Run the recommended advanced scan. This scan takes longer but searches more extensively for threats on your PC.

    • If Windows Security finds a virus or malware and can’t remove or quarantine it, contact Microsoft Support for help.

    • If no viruses are found, restart your PC and try to reproduce the performance problem you were having with your PC.

Note: If Windows Security doesn’t open, can’t update the definition file, or can’t finish scanning for viruses, try running Microsoft Defender Offline, which is explained below.

To scan for malware and viruses with Microsoft Defender Offline

  1. Save any documents or anything else you might have open on your PC.

  2. Select Start > Settings Privacy & security > Windows Security, and then select Open Windows Security.
    Open Windows Security settings

  3. Select Virus & threat protection, and then under Current threats, select Scan options > Microsoft Defender Offline scan > Scan now.

    Your PC will restart, and Microsoft Defender Offline will run and scan for viruses and malware. The scan might take 15 minutes or so, and your PC will restart again after that.

  4. Try to reproduce the performance issue.