Windows 10 performance and troubleshooting tips: Run faster, smoother, longer

Ed Bott's extensive collection of Windows 10 tips, organized by category. This page includes the most popular tips for performance and troubleshooting.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

Run any program (except one) as an administrator.

Making a Windows 10 PC run at top speed rarely involves rocket science. If your PC is running slower today than it did yesterday, there's usually a good reason. If your battery life isn't what it used to be, there's usually an equally simple explanation.

Finding the cause of those performance problems starts with knowing which tool to use. Your toolkit includes a large collection of classic Windows troubleshooting utilities as well as some that are new to Windows 10.

The tips in this category include instructions for advanced troubleshooting techniques as well, including Safe Mode and the option to create a recovery drive. You'll also find details on the most effective way to solve particularly balky problems by resetting Windows quickly.

Finally, this group covers ways to find basic information about your installation, including details about your Windows 10 version and installed programs.

Hunt down battery-draining apps

Buried deep in the Settings app on a Windows 10 laptop or tablet is a list of which apps and desktop programs have been burning through your battery lately. You'll also find special Battery Saver settings that can extend your remaining battery life dramatically.

See also:

Defrag secrets for hard disks and SSDs

Should you defrag your solid-state drive? Absolutely not! Here's how to keep conventional hard disks, SSDs, and even virtual disks running at peak efficiency.

Create a recovery drive

If your Windows 10 PC is operating perfectly right now, great. Take advantage of the opportunity to create a recovery drive so you have a way to perform repairs if something ever goes wrong.

Reset your PC completely

Windows 10's Reset option allows you to remove apps, settings, and drivers, effectively giving you a clean install without the hassles of a regular setup. You can keep your files if you're planning to reuse the PC, or wipe everything if you're selling or giving away the device.

See also:

Change UEFI firmware settings or start in troubleshooting mode

Who can remember the magic keystroke combo that unlocks your PC's UEFI firmware settings screen? Use the hidden Advanced Options menu instead; it lets you choose advanced startup options for maintenance or troubleshooting.

Start in Safe Mode and use other advanced startup settings

Safe Mode is the most important of the classic Windows troubleshooting tools. On modern PCs running Windows 10, the old F8 shortcut doesn't work. Here's how to get to Safe Mode quickly.

More Windows 10 tips in this category:

Editorial standards