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How to Improve the Performance of Your Dell Computer with Windows 10 or 11

Summary: Information about improving Windows 10 and 11 performance on Dell computers.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Improve Performance

If your computer is running slowly, we have a few suggestions that might help speed things up. The steps are in order, and we suggest following from start to finish for best improvements. However, you can certainly skip a step if you already tried something similar steps.

Table of Contents:

  1. Slow or Sluggish Performance
  2. Applications Hang, Freeze, Crash, or Bluescreen
  3. Miscellaneous Issues

Slow or Sluggish Performance

Restart your computer and open only the apps you need. Having many programs open, or many browser tabs open at once can slow down a bit. When this happens, close any apps, browser tabs, etc., that you do not need. This should help to speed things up. If it does not help, restart your personal computer and then open just the apps and browser windows you need.

To restart your personal computer, select the Start button, then select Power > Restart.

After your personal computer restarts, open just the apps you need, and then close them when you are done.

Sometimes apps that were made for an earlier version of Windows will still run on Windows 10, but they might slow down your personal computer. If this happens after you open a certain program, check the software company's website for an updated version, or run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter. To run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Troubleshoot, then select Troubleshoot settings, which have System settings that are listed underneath it.
  2. In the list of troubleshooters, select Program Compatibility Troubleshooter > Run the troubleshooter.
  3. Select the program that you have problems with, then select Next and continue through the troubleshooter.

Ensure you have the latest drivers for your Dell computer

How to download and install drivers using Detect Drivers?

To allow the Dell Support website to identify and scan the Dell computer for existing drivers and utilities:

  1. Browse to the Dell Drivers & Downloads page.
  2. Identify the Dell computer using one of the following methods:
  3. Click Detect personal computer. This installs SupportAssist launcher to identify the Dell product.
  4. Or, enter the Service Tag, Express Service Code or model number of the Dell computer and click Search.
  5. Or, click Browse all products to select the Dell product from the catalog.
  6. Click Detect Drivers.

Follow the on-screen instructions to install SupportAssist. SupportAssist analyzes the computer to find the latest updates. After the scan is complete, click Download and install. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the drivers and utilities installation.

How to download and install a driver manually if Detect Drivers fails?

Sometimes the automatic download can fail, or you might prefer a higher degree of control and prefer to select and download drivers manually.

Manually download and install the driver:

  1. Click View details next to the failed driver download.
  2. In the driver page, click Download File.
  3. Click Save and select the location where you would like to save the downloaded file.
  4. Browse to the location where the downloaded driver installation file is saved and double-click the file.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the driver installation.
  6. Restart the computer.

Disable unnecessary startup programs and background applications

Startup programs:

When you turn on your personal computer, some programs start automatically and run in the background. Depending on how many programs are set to autostart this can quickly consume critical computer resources like memory and CPU. You can disable these programs, so they do not run when your personal computer starts.

Many programs enable autostart even though the application might not be critical to you. If the application is important to you, leave the startup status at enabled. If you never heard of the application, or you do not use the application every day, change it to disabled.

Sometimes you can determine which programs start automatically by looking at the program icons in the notification area if there are any programs running that you do not want to start automatically. To try to find out the name of the program, find out the program's name, point to the icon with your mouse pointer. Ensure you select Show hidden icons, so you do not miss any programs.

Changing the startup behavior:

  1. Press the key combination SHIFT-CTRL-ESC to bring up Task Manager.
  2. Click the Startup tab.
  3. Right-click the application/program and select Disable to prevent the automatic startup in the future or click Enable if you want to allow the automatic startup for an application that was previously disabled.

Background apps:

The workload of your computer's workload depends on many aspects and how apps and programs are started, how long they are up and when they can consume resources such as memory, CPU, and network bandwidth. This is often the overlooked as it cannot be easily detected.

Disabling Background apps:

  1. Click Start and then the Settings wrench.
  2. In the search box type Background apps
  3. Click "Choose which apps can run in the background."
  4. Review the list and switch the toggle to off for each app that does not appear to be important to you.

Check for low disk space and free up space:

Ensure you have enough free disk space available.

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Open Storage settings
  3. Your drives are listed in the Storage area. Note the amount of free space and total size for each drive.
Note: If your personal computer is low on space, you can use Storage Sense to delete unnecessary or temporary files from your device, which can also free up space.

If you turn on Storage Sense, Windows will automatically free up space by getting rid of unnecessary files—including files in the recycle bin—when you are low on disk space or at intervals you specify. The instructions below show you how to delete temporary files and how to turn on and configure Storage Sense.

If you cannot find Storage Sense on your device using the following steps, see the "Free up space with Disk cleanup" section below instead.
Note: You may not want to delete temporary files to improve performance. While these those files may not be used now, they help your apps load and run faster.

Delete temporary files with Storage Sense:

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Open Storage settings.
  3. Select Temporary files in the storage breakdown. Note: If you do not see Temporary files that are listed, select Show more categories.
  4. Windows will take a few moments to determine what files and apps are taking up the most space on your personal computer.
  5. Select the items that you want to delete, and then select Remove files.

To see what is in your Recycle Bin before you empty it, open it from your desktop. If you do not see the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, in the search bar, type recycle bin, then select Recycle Bin from the list select.

Note: Windows moves files that you delete to the Recycle Bin in case you change your mind and need them again in the future. You might be able to free up a significant amount of space by deleting Recycle Bin files to permanently remove files you have previously removed files you have previously deleted permanently.

Turning on and configuring Storage Sense:

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings > System > Storage.
  2. Open Storage settings
  3. In the Storage area, turn on Storage Sense.
  4. Select Configure Storage Sense or run it now.
  5. In the Storage Sense area, choose how often you want Storage Sense to run.
  6. In the Temporary Files area, select Delete temporary files that my apps are not using.
  7. Select which files you want Storage Sense to delete (your choices are files in your Recycle Bin and in your Downloads folder), then select the corresponding time intervals.
  8. Scroll down and select Clean now.
  9. Windows will take a few moments to clean up your files, and then you see a message indicating how much disk space has been freed up.

If your computer does not have Storage Sense, you can use the Disk Cleanup tool to delete temporary files and computer files from your device.

Run Disk Cleanup:

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Disk Cleanup, then select Disk Cleanup from the list of results.
  2. Select the checkbox next to the type of files you want to delete. (To view a description of each type of file, select the name.)
  3. By default, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, and Thumbnails are selected. Be sure to clear those check boxes if you do not want to delete those files.
  4. To free up even more space, select Clean up computer files. Disk Cleanup takes a few moments to calculate the amount of space that a can be freed up.
Note: If it has been fewer than 10 ten days since you upgraded to Windows 10, your previous version of Windows will be listed as a computer file you can delete. If you must free up drive space, you can delete it, but keep in mind that you are deleting your Windows.old folder, which contains files that give you the option to go back to your previous version of Windows. If you delete your previous version of Windows, this cannot be undone. (You cannot go back to your previous last version of Windows.)
  1. Select the types of files you want to delete, select OK, then select Delete files in the confirmation window to start the cleanup.

If your personal computer still runs slowly, try uninstalling apps that you do not use anymore.

Uninstalling apps, you do not use:

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Apps > Apps & features.
  2. Open Apps & features settings
  3. Search for a specific app or sort them to see which ones are using the most space.
  4. When you find an app to remove, choose it from the list and select Uninstall.
  5. Restart your personal computer and see if performance has improved.

If your personal computer still runs slowly, try moving files to another drive.

If you have photos, music, or other files that you want to keep but do not use often, consider saving them to removable media, like a USB drive. You will still be able to use them when the drive is connected, but they will not take up space on your personal computer.

Moving files to another drive

  1. Connect the removable media to your personal computer.
  2. Select File Explorer from the taskbar and find the files that you want to move.
  3. Select the files, go to Home, then select Move to > Choose location.
  4. Select your removable media from the location list, then select Move.
  5. Restart your personal computer and see if performance has improved.

Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows

Windows 10 includes many visual effects, such as animations and shadow effects. These look great, but they can also use additional computer resources and can slow down your personal computer. This step is especially true helpful if you have a personal computer with a smaller amount of memory (RAM).

Adjusting the visual effects in Windows:

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Performance, then select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows in the list of results.
  2. On the Visual Effects tab, select Adjust for best performance > Apply.
  3. Restart your personal computer and see if that speeds up your personal computer.

Check for and remove viruses and malware

A virus, malware, or malicious software could cause your personal computer 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 anti-malware and anti-virus software and keeping it up to date. However, even if you take precautions, your personal computer can still become infected.

You can scan your personal computer for viruses or other malicious software by using Windows Security (formerly Windows Defender Security Center), which is in Windows 10. For more info, see: How to protect your Windows 10 PC External Link

Restore your personal computer from a system restore point

Restoring your personal computer undoes recent changes that might be causing problems. If you think a recently installed app, driver, or update for Windows could be causing problems, you might get things running normally again by restoring your personal computer to an earlier point, called a restore point.

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Applications Hang, Freeze, Crash, or Bluescreen

When applications suddenly hang (unresponsive for several seconds), freeze (do not respond at all, and cannot be closed without ending the app in Windows Task manager, or the computer even bluescreens you can likely fix this by following these steps:

Problems after a recent Windows Update.

Check for known issues caused by Windows Updates

If the problem started after a recent Windows update, you should first check the Windows Health Dashboard External Link to see if the symptoms are already being reported. If so, the dashboard has likely information for a fix, or at least for a helpful workaround until a final solution is in place.

  1. Click the Windows button.
  2. Type Winver and press Enter.
  3. Note the Windows Build version (1803 in this case).
  4. Go to Windows release health.
  5. Locate the tile that matches the version that is installed on your computer.
  6. Review Known Issues and Resolved Issues.
  7. Follow the steps as applicable.

While many of the updates are released by Microsoft, the packages often include driver, firmware, and application updates from other companies. You can get the details for each update from the Windows Update History:

Check Windows Update History:

  1. Click the Windows Start button.
  2. Click the wrench icon in the start menu.
  3. Click Update & Security.
  4. Click Windows Update.
  5. Click the View update history button.

Check the recent history of updates installed on your computer, including quality updates, drivers, definition updates (Windows Defender anti-virus), and optional updates.

Uninstalling Windows Updates:

If there is no solution in the Windows Dashboard, consider uninstalling the most recent Windows update. We have a short video here that guides you through the process. Reboot the computer after the update was removed and check if the issue is resolved. If the issue persists repeat removing the most recent updates until the problem is fixed.

General Bluescreens and app crashes

If you experience hanging applications, app crashes or bluescreens we need to take a closer look at the root cause. Windows has a user-friendly tool for this type of investigation, called Reliability Monitor.

  1. Click the Windows Start button.
  2. Type: Reliability Monitor
  3. Click View reliability history.
  4. Follow the steps in: How to use Windows Reliability Monitor to identify software issues

If the computer is unresponsive with a Bluescreen it is likely caused by a driver. Common applications are rarely the culprit for bluescreens. Keep this in mind and if in doubt update the drivers of your Dell computer. If you have other devices that are installed like monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, external video cards ensure you update the drivers from the website of the manufacturer.

App Crashes

When applications crash it is good practice to use the repair feature, ensuring the app settings are not corrupted.

Repairing Windows Store apps:

  1. Open Windows PowerShell - Right-Click Start button > Windows PowerShell (Admin)
  2. Paste the following string into the PowerShell window: Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Let the process finish.
  5. Type WSReset and press Enter.
  6. Restart the computer.

Should the issue persist, use the Windows Store Troubleshooter:

  1. Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  2. Click the 'Additional troubleshooter' link.
  3. Scroll down and click 'Windows Store Apps' option to launch the troubleshooter.
  4. Click the 'Advanced' link and ensure that Apply repair automatically is selected.
  5. Click Next to run the troubleshooter.

Repairing Windows Applications

  1. Select Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features.
  2. Select the app that you want to fix.
  3. Select the Advanced options link under the name of the app (some apps do not have this option).
  4. On the page that opens, select Repair if it is available. If it is not available or does not fix the problem, select Reset.

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Miscellaneous Issues

Slow Video Meetings with Microsoft Teams and Zoom

There are multiple factors that impact the performance of a video meeting.

Dropouts for audio or video

If audio playback stutters, or the video stream buffers or even drops, you should update the audio and video driver for your computer. If video continues to be an issue, try reducing the screen resolution to reduce the amount of memory that is required to render the stream. If you have an HDR display reduce the resolution during the meeting to 1920 x 1080 by following these steps (How to Change the Video Settings or Improve Text in Windows 11 and Windows 10). If you use multiple monitors on an external dock, try disconnecting the computer from the dock and use the inbuilt screen for the duration of the meeting.

Effective content sharing

If you share slide presentations or videos, the memory requirements increase significantly which can sometimes lead to reduced performance. Consider using the inbuilt sharing options in Teams External Link to reduce the bandwidth and memory demands, in Zoom share the slides in a window External Link.

Use the web app

Try using the web app instead of the desktop application. Both, Microsoft Teams External Link and Zoom External Link offer this option. When using the web app, it is good practice to close tabs you do not need while attending the video call to improve overall performance.

Internet speed

If the tips above do not yield noticeable improvements, you should check the throughput of your Internet connection by performing a speed test in your web browser. Here are a few services that you can safely use Fast External Link, Open Speedtest External Link, or Google Speedtest External Link and run the Windows Network Troubleshooter External Link to resolve potential issues with the network connection.

Multiple users sharing the same computer

With the ongoing pandemic, we all make the best use of our resources, and this can sometimes mean that multiple people share the same computer. Windows 10 is fully capable of handling multiple users, however there are a few best practices that can improve the experience for everyone.

Use separate user profiles

Create a dedicated user profile for each person that uses your computer. This allows to contain the files and workload for each user separately and helps against creeping resource consumption. More information about how to create user profiles can be found here: Create a local user or administrator account in Windows External Link. While tempting, do not make everybody and administrator. Using the standard user adds additional protection from unwanted applications and malware.

Sign Out when you are done

When you are ready to hand the computer to the next person, ensure you sign out from the computer. This allows Windows to end all your applications and free up the computer resource for the next user.

  1. Right-click the Windows Start button.
  2. Click Sign Out

Yes, it is tempting to Log out (Windows Key + L) but this forces Windows to keep your workload and makes the computer slower for the next user.

Shutdown your computer

When everybody is done for the day, consider shutting down the computer. This allows Windows to end all applications and resources and provides a better experience the next day.

  1. Right-click the Windows Start button.
  2. Click Shut Down

Reducing Windows Telemetry collection

If your computer shows frequently 100% CPU usage, you might want to consider reducing the telemetry data exchange with Microsoft servers.

Note: Telemetry data are critical for ongoing quality improvements of Windows. This should only be considered if all other modifications did not yield improvements.

Windows Telemetry contains multiple collectors, and we have to disable those step by step:

Windows Compatibility Telemetry

Click Start, type: Task Scheduler, and then press Enter.
On the Task Scheduler window, go to this path: Task Scheduler Library\Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience.
On the Application Experience folder, look for Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser.
Right-click it, select Disable, and then confirm to complete the process.

Feedback and Diagnostics:
Click Start, and then the wrench icon.
Click Privacy.
Change the Feedback and Diagnostic option from Full to Basic.

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Article Properties

Last Published Date

26 Oct 2021



Article Type

How To