Tweaking Windows 10
Welcome to the 6th edition of my Windows tweak guides. Like the Windows XP (first version created in 2002!), Vista, Seven, Eight, and Eight. One guides before it, the aim of this guide is to make your Windows experience a little better.
Although the section Windows 10 Privacy Settings is part of this guide I have separated it as far as publication. I fear Microsoft’s shenanigans on this matter will continue and that section may have to be continually updated.
Mobile-First, Cloud-First, Touch-First
With Windows 10 Microsoft continues its assault against the traditional desktop. Though not quite as jarring as Windows 8, Windows 10 is still designed around touch, mobile, and storing everything in the cloud. Users coming from Windows 7 and earlier Windows systems will find much has changed. Don’t get me wrong, Windows 10 offers several improvements over earlier Windows operating system. Like each iteration before it, Windows 10 features better security, improved memory usage, and native support for newer hardware. And, like each iteration before it, Windows 10 needs some tweaking to make it run optimally for you. Oh boy, does it need tweaking…
To be clear, this guide is for Windows 10 desktops and laptops only. No tablet, no phone, no touch, no way!
There are bad tweaks posted all over the web. See my article Bad Tweaks for an always updated list.
Notes & Ramblings
– No snake oil here. If you are looking for a guide that claims to increase Windows 10 performance, this ain’t it. I’ve looked in every nook and cranny and I haven’t found nor have I heard of any legitimate performance tweaks for Windows 10. Some sites will claim that there are tweaks that make Windows 10 faster. This simply isn’t true. If you come across a site, guide, or software that claims to be able to make Windows 10 faster, then to quote Jenny, “Run Forest, Run!“. Many of the tweaks presented here and elsewhere can make the system a little snappier which gives the illusion of better performance. Microsoft has done an excellent job with the last 2 versions of Windows. Performance wise you can consider Windows 10 as “Windows 7 and 8 Tweaked”.
For best performance:
1 – Hardware. Upgrade to: SSD, 8GB or more of RAM, add-on video card (AMD / Nvidia).
2 – Current drivers are key
3 – Set it up right
4 -Maintain it
5 – Back it up
– So why this guide? Points 2, 3, and 4 above. Also, some folks find Windows 10 do be difficult to use. It is my hope that this guide makes using Windows 10 a better experience for you.
– Performance tweaks. Long-time readers here at TweakHound may have noticed less performance tweaks with each successive OS tweak guides and reduced claims of performance enhancements resulting from use of said guides (to the point now where I believe there are no tweaks that will enhance the performance of Windows 10). The reason is two-fold:
1 – PC’s are more powerful. Most folks don’t use the potential of their computers. PC’s today have more CPU, RAM, and drive space than the average user needs or uses.
2 – Microsoft has continually tweaked the core of the OS and many of its settings (I swear they’ve been listening to tweakers too). In most instances Windows 10 is truly better and faster at its core than Windows 7 and 8.
– Many of the tweaks used for Windows 7 and 8 still work on Windows 10, especially the desktop. However not all of them apply and I’ve tried to note some of those. Additionally, I’ve put some of these in the Bad Tweaks section.
– Hardware. Don’t buy garbage computers or parts. In the computing world you get what you pay for and there is no way around it. It used to be that the best price / performance ratio for parts is 2 steps down from the current fastest. These days the sweet spot seems to be 3-5 steps below the fastest.
-This guide is specifically aimed at home users using the normal account type (administrator).
-In the steps provided in this guide accepting the UAC prompt (or disabling UAC) is a given and thus ignored.
-There are many ways do accomplish a task in Windows 10. As alluded to above this guide is aimed at folks who will primarily be operating in the desktop environment. If I attempted to describe every possible way to do something this guide would be 100’s of pages long. Therefore, I’m going to use the way I accomplish the task.
-SEARCH, SEARCH, SEARCH. You can find nearly everything you would want to do in Windows 10 by using the Cortana Search Box or the Search Box provided by a 3rd party Start Button replacement. Learning to use it is the best tweak there is!
– Yes, this guide is “screen-shot heavy”. A picture is worth a thousand words.
I’ve worked my butt off on the research and creation of this guide (hours and hours and hours and…). Please don’t rip-off my work.
Before you begin tweaking, BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER!
My Desktop Pet Peeve
I still do computer work as a side job. One of my pet peeves is seeing stuff stored on the desktop. I’m not talking a couple of files for a few days, I’m talking docs, pics, pdfs, mp3s, videos, etc. I see dozens and dozens flooding the desktop. It’s chaotic and ugly. It makes backups harder too. Need to use System Restore? All the files on your desktop will be gone! Put your stuff in the folders they belong in!