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HP PCs - Improving PC performance (Windows 10)

Perform regular maintenance to improve the performance of your computer. Use the information in this document to control when applications run, adjust how your computer uses memory resources, and reduce heat inside your computer.

If you are using a new computer and the performance is slow, go to HP PCs - Computer Is Slow When Used for the First Time (Windows 10) for more information.


HP SmartFriend is a support service that can help you troubleshoot slow performance and improve the speed of your computer (only available in the United States and Canada). For more information, see HP SmartFriend (in English).


4 GB RAM or more is recommended for best performance in Windows 10. Some computers might not be upgradeable (sealed) and might run poorly with the latest operating systems. For step-by-step instructions on upgrading RAM, see HP Notebook PCs - Upgrading Memory (RAM) or HP Desktop PCs - Upgrading Memory (RAM).

Tips to improve PC performance

Before completing the troubleshooting procedures, try the following tips.

For more information, go to HP PCs - Updating drivers and software with Windows Update (Windows 10).

Regularly maintain your computer using tools and updates

HP recommends maintaining your computer on a schedule using tools and updates.

  • Weekly: Update virus definitions and perform a virus scan.

  • Monthly: Perform maintenance tasks using HP Support Assistant or by performing the individual cleanup tasks as described in this document.

  • Quarterly: Check for dust buildup, and clean as necessary to keep your computer from overheating due to dust buildup.

Use HP Support Assistant to improve PC performance

HP recommends using HP Support Assistant on a regularly scheduled basis. Run HP Support Assistant to scan your computer and get the status of any available maintenance tasks and check for important HP driver updates.

HP Support Assistant is not available for Windows 10 in S mode. Use Windows Update to check for updated software and drivers. For more information, see HP PCs - Frequently Asked Questions about Windows 10 in S Mode.


Make sure that you are using HP Support Assistant version 8 or later. Download the current version from the HP Support Assistant webpage.

  1. On the taskbar, click the HP Support Assistant icon.

    If there is no icon in the taskbar, search for and open HP Support Assistant in Windows.

  2. On the My Dashboard tab, find your computer, and then click Updates.

  3. Wait while HP Support Assistant analyzes the system.

  4. After the analysis completes, select the listed updates, download and install the updates, and then follow any on-screen instructions.

  5. If prompted, restart the computer, and then close the tool.

    For more information about HP Support Assistant, see HP PCs - Using HP Support Assistant (Windows).

Perform a system cleanup without HP Support Assistant

A computer's hard disk drive can have a major effect on system performance. Over time the hard drive can become cluttered with unwanted or temporary files, the data can become fragmented and stored in an inefficient manner, or there might be disk errors on the drive itself. All these issues can impact system performance, and all are easy to prevent through maintenance. Use this information to maintain hard drive performance through removing unwanted and temporary files, checking the hard drive for errors, and defragmenting the drive.

Empty the Recycle Bin

Empty the Recycle Bin to increase the amount of unused space (free space) on the hard drive.

  1. On the Windows desktop, double-click the Recycle Bin icon .

  2. To restore any mistakenly deleted items, right-click the file(s), and then select Restore.

  3. Click the Manage tab, and then select Empty Recycle Bin.

  4. Select Yes to confirm.

    Windows removes the contents of the Recycle Bin from the hard drive.

Delete temporary files and directories

Delete temporary files and folders to increase hard drive space and reduce the time Windows takes to access the hard drive.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Disk Cleanup.

  2. Select the drive you want to delete the files from, and then click OK.

  3. Wait while Disk Cleanup calculates how much space you can free on the selected drive.

  4. After the analysis completes, select the check box next to the types of files you want Disk Cleanup to delete.


    Selecting some options can have a negative effect. For example, selecting Setup Log Files deletes the files that online phone support agents use to help troubleshoot setup problems. Click a file type, such as Temporary Internet Files, to display a description. Do not delete files until you know the files are unnecessary for using your computer.

  5. Click OK, and then click Delete Files when prompted.

    Disk Cleanup deletes the selected files.

Check for hard drive errors

Check the hard drive for errors that might impact system performance.

  1. Close all open software applications on your computer.

  2. In Windows, search for and open File Explorer, or click the app icon on the taskbar.

  3. After File Explorer opens, right-click the hard drive you want to check, and then click Properties.

  4. On the Properties window, select the Tools tab.

  5. Under Error Checking, click Check.

    If a window displays prompting you for an administrator password or confirmation, type the requested credentials.

  6. On the Error Checking window, select Scan drive.

  7. Wait while Windows checks the drive for errors, and then follow the prompts to fix any issues.

    If a window displays with a Windows can't check the disk while it's in use message, click Schedule disk check. Follow the on-screen instructions to restart the computer, and then scan the drive for errors.

Defragment the hard disk drive

Defragment the hard disk drive with the Optimize Drives tool to organize the hard drive and improve the performance of the system.


These steps do not apply for computers with solid state drives (SSD). Never defrag an SSD, as this does not improve performance and might harm the drive.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Defragment and Optimize drives.

    If Optimize Drives repeatedly starts, a hidden background program might still be accessing the hard drive. Restart the computer in safe mode, and then try again.

  2. Select the drive you want to defrag, and then click Optimize.

  3. Wait while the tool defrags the drive. This could take a few minutes or a few hours, depending on the amount of data on your hard disk drive. If you need to stop the tool, click Stop.

Perform critical Windows updates

System performance decreases when the software, applications, and drivers are out of date. Use Windows Update to install critical software and driver updates.

See HP PCs - Updating drivers and software with Windows Update (Windows 10) for more information.

Remove viruses and spyware

If the computer is performing slowly after connecting to the Internet, adware or spyware might be installed. Adware and spyware use the Internet to download and upload data in the background. Some of this data might be sensitive information or unwanted advertising. Removing this kind of malware improves the performance of your system.

Scan for viruses and spyware using antivirus or anti-spyware security software. Remove any viruses and spyware found. For more information, go to HP PCs - Computer might be infected by a virus or malware (Windows 10).

Remove any viruses using Windows Defender. For more information, go to HP PCs - Using Windows Security to prevent virus and spyware problems (Windows 10).

Find and replace corrupted system files

Use the Microsoft System File Checker (SFC) to repair corrupted or damaged system files.

  1. In Windows, search for Command Prompt.

  2. In the list of search results, right-click Command Prompt, select Run as administrator, and then click Yes to open the window.

  3. Type sfc /scannow. Make sure to include the space between sfc and the forward slash /.

    Running System File Check in the command prompt window
  4. Press Enter to start the scan.

    • If corrupted files were found, wait for the tool to replace the files, and then restart the computer.

    • If no corrupted files were found, corrupted could not be replaced, or if the issue persists, continue with these steps.

  5. Make sure your computer is connected to a network with an active internet connection.

  6. In the Command Prompt window, type dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth. Make sure to include the space before each forward slash /.

    Example of 'dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth' typed in the Command Prompt
  7. Press Enter, to start the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) scan.

  8. Wait for the tool to replace any corrupted files, and then restart the computer.

Manage applications and system features to increase performance

Computer performance is affected by some system feature settings, and also when too many apps are running at one time. This section describes different ways to manage how and when applications and features run on your computer.

Being connected to the internet, watching TV or a video, playing games, listening to music, and running virus scans are all software tasks that can use a lot of system resources. Running more than one of these tasks can add up and cause the system to slow down. Schedule virus scans and other system tools when the computer is not in use.

Open only needed apps

Restart your computer, and then open only the apps you need.

  1. In Windows, select Start, select Power, and then select Restart.

  2. After the computer restarts, open only the apps or programs you need.

  3. After you finish using an app, click the X to close the app.

Use the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

Some apps that were designed for an earlier version of Windows might not work as expected with current versions of Windows 10.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Troubleshoot.

  2. Scroll down the screen, select Program Compatibility Troubleshooter, and then click Run the troubleshooter.

    Selecting to run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter
  3. Select the app you want to check, and then click Next.

  4. Select an option, and then follow the on-screen instructions to test or change the compatibility settings.

    Selecting an option to run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

Make sure that only one antivirus solution is installed

Performance can be negatively affected when there are multiple antivirus programs installed on your computer.

In Windows, search for and open Apps & features. Review the list for all currently installed antivirus programs, and then uninstall any extra antivirus programs until there is only one remaining.

Find apps that use excessive system resources

Use Task Manager to find and stop processes or applications using an excessive amount of system resources.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Task Manager.

    Task Manager displays currently-running applications.

  2. Click More Details, and then select a tab for more information.

    • Processes: Displays all the currently-running operations and how much of the system resources are being used by each process. Some processes are necessary and should not be stopped. If you are unsure if a process is necessary, search for details about it on the internet.

    • Performance: Displays a visual representation of the overall system performance. Click Open Resource Monitor for an even more detailed view of individual processes.

    Example of an app using high levels of system resources on the Performance tab
  3. On the Processes tab, if you want to close an app, or if the app is listed as Not Running, click End Task.

Select apps to open when Windows starts

A startup application is software that opens when Windows opens. Over time, as you install more and more apps, the number of startup applications increases. Common apps that load and run in the background are instant messaging apps, multimedia apps, game launchers, and toolbars. You can improve system performance by stopping some of these apps from opening, or by changing their settings.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Task Manager.

  2. Click More details, and then select the Startup tab.

  3. Select any startup items that do not contribute to the system and are unwanted, then click Disable.


    Disable only those startup items that are known and unwanted.

    Selecting an app to disable at startup
  4. Restart the computer.

  5. If Windows or other software stops working after you disable a startup item, reverse these steps to enable the item.

Turn off non-essential graphical features

Turn off graphical features and applications that use a lot of system resources or that you do not need or want.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.

  2. On the Performance Options window, select Adjust for best performance, and then click OK.

    Selecting Adjust for best performance to turn off non-essential graphical elements
    Windows turns off all visual effects, such as animation of the taskbar and windows elements, displaying shadows under windows, displaying window contents while dragging, etc.

Change how your computer uses memory

Help resolve slow performance issues by adjusting virtual and hard disk memory.

Free up space on the hard drive

Increase the amount of unused space (free space) on the hard drive to prevent low disk space errors and improve system performance.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Storage settings.

  2. View how much space is available on the hard drive (C: drive is the most common).

    For best performance, the drive should have at least 15% free space. If the hard disk drive has less than 15% free space, continue with these steps
  3. Under the C: drive, select each category to determine where you can free up the most space. The most common categories where you can free up space are Apps & games, Temporary files, Documents, and Pictures.


    RECOVERY (D:) or FACTORY_IMAGE (D:) hard drives are reserved for system recovery and removing files from these drives can damage your computer.

    Reviewing the storage being used by the computer hard drive
  4. Move any files you want to keep to a USB drive or external hard drive to help free up space. This is highly recommended for larger files not needed for daily use, such as pictures and videos.

  5. Remove any unwanted files and applications, and then restart the computer.

Prevent memory allocation problems

Isolate apps or processes that are no longer in use that might be using unnecessary memory resources.

Memory is allocated to processes in device drivers and applications during normal use. The allocated memory is made available again when the process is no longer running. However, sometimes memory remains allocated. This is known as a memory leak. On rare occasions, an incompatible app might continue to allocate memory while it is running, causing the system to slow down and eventually lock up.

  1. Close all open software applications or programs, making sure to allow apps time to fully open before closing them.

    HP recommends waiting five seconds after an app opens before you close it, even if the app was opened unintentionally.

  2. Restart the computer.

  3. In Windows, search for and open Task Manager.

  4. Click More details, select the Performance tab, and then select Memory.

  5. Click Open Resource Monitor to view how your computer uses memory.

    If a window displays prompting you for an administrator password or confirmation, type the requested credentials.

    Opening Resource Monitor
  6. On the Overview tab, open the Memory section, and then scroll down the list to view which apps are using memory.

  7. Open an app suspected of causing the computer to run slowly, review the percentage of Used Physical Memory, and then write down the information.

  8. Close and reopen a suspected app repeatedly, and then check the percentage of Used Physical Memory, comparing this number to the one recorded. Each time, wait about 10 seconds before opening the app again.

    • If the Used Physical Memory percentage returns to the same numbers or similar each time, the suspected app is probably not creating a memory leak.

    • If the percentage of Used Physical Memory continues to increase, there is a memory leak. Contact the software manufacturer for available patches or fixes.

Use ReadyBoost

Use ReadyBoost with a removable drive to improve system performance without adding more RAM to the computer.

  1. Make sure you have a removable drive, such as a USB flash drive, with a high data transfer rate and at least 500 MB of free space.

  2. Insert the removable drive into the appropriate port on the computer.

  3. In Windows, search for and open File Explorer.

  4. In File Explorer, right-click the removable drive, and then select Properties.

  5. On the Properties window, select the ReadyBoost tab, and then selectReadyBoost.

  6. Move the slider to the set the space to reserve for system speed, reserving at least 9048 MB for optimal performance.

  7. Click OK to reserve the space on the removable drive for ReadyBoost and save the settings.

    On the removable drive, the space reserved for ReadyBoost is saved in a file named ReadyBoost.sfcache.

Change the paging file size

The paging file is an area on your hard drive that Windows uses like memory. Increasing the paging file size can help speed up the computer and improve performance.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Control panel.

  2. In the search field, type System, and then select System from the results.

  3. Select Advanced system settings.

  4. In System Properties, select the Advanced tab, and then click Settings.

  5. In Performance Options, select the Advanced tab, and then click Change.

    Selecting Change in the Virtual memory section of Performance Options
  6. Clear the check mark from Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.

    Clearing the check mark to Adjust for best performance
  7. Select Custom size, and then type a minimum and maximum size. Use the minimum allowed, recommended allowed, and currently allocated paging file sizes listed at the bottom of the window to choose a size.

  8. Close the system windows, and then restart the computer.

Reduce heat inside the computer to prevent overheating

When temperatures inside the computer rise above 35º C (95º F), the risk of damaging important internal components increases.

You might experience the following issues when the computer overheats:

  • After pressing the power button, the computer freezes on a black screen and Windows does not start, or Windows starts but does not respond to input.

  • Basic tasks or applications take more time to complete than usual.

  • Windows does not respond, suddenly restarts, or displays an error message while in use.

  • Games stop responding during play.

  • Fans inside the computer become louder as they start spinning faster to remove excess heat.

  • The mouse and keyboard stop responding.

There are many reasons your computer might be overheating, but the most common reason is dust buildup on the fans, which can trap heat. Reduce the heat inside the computer to prevent any damage to its internal components.

  1. Make sure the computer is in a cool room and placed on a hard, level surface, such as a desk or table with adequate ventilation.


    Placing the computer on a cloth surface, such as carpet, your lap, or a couch cushion, can restrict the airflow. Prolonged air restriction causes overheating and potential damage.

  2. Turn off the computer, and then use a vacuum to clean the vents.

    Location of the vents on an HP Notebook PC
  3. Make sure the BIOS and graphics drivers are up-to-date.

Upgrade memory to increase performance

Upgrading memory can improve system performance. You can upgrade random-access memory (RAM) on most HP and Compaq computers. See the manual for your computer model to find out if your RAM can be upgraded.

For step-by-step instructions on upgrading RAM, see HP Notebook PCs - Upgrading Memory (RAM) or HP Desktop PCs - Upgrading Memory (RAM).

Turn off OneDrive file sync

Turn off automatic syncing of files between your computer and OneDrive.

  1. In the Notification area of the taskbar, click OneDrive.

  2. In the OneDrive options, click More, and then select Pause Syncing from the menu.

  3. In the Pause syncing menu, select a length of time to pause syncing.

  4. Restart your computer.

Perform a Windows system reset

If the issue persists, recover the computer back to its original configuration.

Microsoft provides a reset feature that repairs your computer by reinstalling the operating system. Before using this option, make sure you back up all your important files.

Go to HP PCs - Reset the computer for more information.






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