Windows 10

How to fix five Windows 10 headaches

Microsoft's latest OS is a lot better than its predecessor, but it still has some annoying quirks. We help you solve them.

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4. Recover lost storage space

Windows 10 can be a hard-drive hog, especially if you've upgraded to it from a previous version of Windows, or after a major Windows 10 update. That's because when you upgrade or install a major update, Windows 10 keeps the earlier version of the operating system, just in case you want to revert to it.

But that old operating system version is taking up several gigabytes of storage space. If you've got a PC with plenty of storage, no worries. But if you're stretched for storage, it can be a serious problem.

For example, I have an HP Stream laptop with 32GB of storage, and when I tried to upgrade to the newest version of Windows 10 I couldn't do it -- my old Windows version took up so much space, the new version of Windows couldn't install.

If you're sure you're not going to want to revert to your old version of Windows, you can easily delete it. It's stored in a folder called Windows.old that you'll find in the /Windows folder. Rather than deleting it manually, though, use the Disk Cleanup tool:

  1. Run the tool by typing Disk Cleanup in the search bar and clicking the Disk Cleanup search result that appears. The tool will take a few minutes to look through your system.
  2. When Disk Cleanup has finished, scroll down the list of files you can clean up and check the box next to Previous Windows installation(s). This entry will only appear if you've got a previous Windows installation on your hard disk.
  3. Click OK. The old version of Windows will be deleted, and you'll get your hard disk space back.

5. Speed up Windows bootup

From the moment that Windows 10 was released, people started complaining that their bootup times were more sluggish than with previous versions of Windows. If you're being annoyed by a lethargic Windows 10 startup, here are two ways to speed it up:

Enable Fast Startup

Windows 10 has a feature called Fast Startup, which combines a normal shutdown with the Windows hibernate feature.

With Fast Startup, when you shut down your PC, it closes your applications and logs off all users, but loads the Windows kernel and drivers to a hibernation file on your hard disk. Then, when you restart your PC, Windows loads the kernel and drivers from the hibernation file, speeding up startup.

Here's how to turn it on:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Power Options from the menu that appears.
  2. Click "Choose what the Power buttons do."
  3. From the screen that appears, click "Change Settings that are currently unavailable."
  4. On the screen that appears, check the box next to "Turn on fast startup (recommended)."
  5. Click Save changes.

That's all it takes. Note that on some machines fast startup isn't enabled. If that's the case with yours, you won't see the "Turn on fast startup (recommended)" entry.

fast startup IDG / Preston Gralla

It's easy to turn up Fast Startup in order to speed up your bootup time.

Use the Task Manager to speed up startup

The Windows 10 Task Manager is a great tool for managing your PC's startup. With it, you can to disable programs that run on startup:

  1. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  2. If the Task Manager runs as a small window and only shows the applications that are currently running on your system, click the "More details" link at the bottom of the screen. This opens up an expanded view, with multiple tabs across the top of the screen.
  3. Click the Startup tab. It lists all the applications that run on startup.
  4. Right-click each application you don't want to run on startup and select Disable. You'll still be able to run the program by launching it in the usual way -- it just won't run on startup.

Some additional tips: To help decide which programs to disable, look at the "Startup impact" column. That shows whether the program has no impact on startup time, a low impact, a medium impact or a high impact.

task manager IDG / Preston Gralla

You can use the Task Manager to disable applications in the startup listing.

Many of the programs on the list may be unfamiliar, and you won't be sure whether to disable them or not. Right-click any you don't recognize and select "Search online." That will launch an online search of the filename. Go through the results; they'll usually tell you exactly what the program does, and help you decide whether to have it run on startup.

You can also right-click any program on the list and select "Open file location." That will open Windows Explorer to the folder where the program's .exe file is found. That's another clue to a program's purpose, and whether to disable a program to run on startup.

Follow all this advice, and you'll find yourself a whole lot happier with the way Windows 10 runs.

This story, "How to fix five Windows 10 headaches " was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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