Windows 10 preview running too slow on your old PC? Use this quick trick to speed it up

Between running a major Windows site and living in 2015, it is easy to forget that not everyone uses Windows on the latest hardware. Sure, a Broadwell Core i7 chomps through Windows 10 like the whole OS was an app, but on older machines there could still be some minor lags.

One trick that has come to our attention is one of those obvious options that may not be so apparent to some 'Insiders'. Thomas Nigro, who leads VLC for Windows Modern project, tweeted this little trick for those of you on older laptops, Core M machines, etc.

"If you feel like your Windows 10 is slow (= low FPS), disable blur effects and transparency."

How-to Disable Blur Effects and Transparency

  • Launch Settings
  • Personalization
  • Colors
  • Disable 'Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent.'

Adding transparency is still a more resource intensive task than a solid background. Windows 10 is no different in that sense. However, we should note that Windows 10 is still just under two months from release, and there is much room for optimization. Therefore, if you do disable this now, you may want to reconsider it once the release build ships as things could certainly be better.

What if you are running a high-end modern computing system? You can still disable this feature and maybe things will seem faster for you, or maybe you just prefer the solid background look. Either way, the choice is yours.

Via: Twitter

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

101 Comments
  • Thanks for the tip!
  • Microsoft Certified Live Technician 1-800-585-2494
  • Will there be a 'make it look like XP' option? ;)
  • Personally I jumped from XP to 8 since I couldn't stand candy Vista look, while 7 never offered anything new except proper 64bitness. So first thing I did after switching to 8 (and upgrading to 8.1) was turning off all visual effects incl. that god damn cleartype. Did the same with 10. That's the way.. aha aha.. I like it :)
  • For full, non-ClearType effect, switch all system font settings to Small Font.
  • Vista was every 64 as bit as W7.
  • Are you running a CRT monitor?
  • I've had a different experience with ClearType. It seems to smooth out fonts for me.
  • Why would you not want the look of your text to be optimised for your monitor? Because that's what ClearType does. More importantly, you are the one who controls how it works so if you don't like the way your text looks, run it again and make different choices. Sheeesh!
  • Not everyone wants the AA from ClearType.  This article is about improving performance on old PCs.  ClearType used to lag my old P3/Chrome system lol.  
  • But I don't think it actually does anything, except apply some AA. Maybe when you set it up, you picked the hardest algorithm or something? I never noticed any performance hit on my old Atom netbook.
  • I was just joking xD
    My graphics had 8MB RAM at the time.
    Edit: ClearType really did lag it.
  • Maybe they will add intensive visual customisation with further updates, but don't get your hopes too high as this OS is expected to run on a whole bunch of hardware ... I definitely like the look that came with Win8 though, and Win10 looks even better IMO.
  • I'm not much into customization either. And thus I love the current UI of Windows 10, only hope there'll be a way to change the title bars with accent colours (with white font) and I'll be a happy consumer!
  • I see the phrase 'intensive visual customization' and think MySpace and all the ugly pages it bore onto the world. XP is dead just like 8-track and cassettes.
  • yes... only thing you need to do is create a bootable flash drive/CD with XP install, insert it in your PC, restart PC, boot from the media, than go through some simple steps, and voila! you are back to the year 2000!
  • Sure, just keep using what you got.
  • Make it look like windows 3.1(love the hot dog stand)
  • Actually, with XP through Win7, I went for the "make it look like Win2000" option.  I'd go so far as to disable the "themes" service so it would *only* show "classic look".  Unfortunately, from Win8.0 and onwards, MS decided MSWin should only have the accursed pastel look, and have degraded the look further so that it only supports the seriously fugly "flat" look. So glad my actual working desktop runs the Cinnamon desktop, which I can configure to **MY** preference, not what some design-challenged UI engineer thought was clever.
  • Thanks for this post. I installed windows 10 yesterday yesterday but I was facing slow speed issue. Today I followed your instruction and now my PC is running awesome.
  • seems faster
  • It improves big time on my Asus Vivotab Note 8, the drawback is that you can only see a plain color. I hope in the final release you can add some patterns like in Windows 8.1
  • I was waiting for it. Not dissapointed.
  • The title of this article reads like one of those annoying ads you see... "Get rid of unwanted belly fat using this one weird old trick!" Was half expecting to be able to buy some sort of miracle add-on for Windows 10 :)
  • You beat me to it gtbuzz. I was going to say, you're doing it wrong. It's supposed to be: "Use this one weird trick to speed up Windows 10." Then casually hint that the man (in this case, PC manufacturing) doesn't want us to know about said trick.
  • Hahah! Points!
  • 'We switched off Transparency on our Windows 10 PC and you'll NEVER guess what happened next' :D
  •           It went faster the end 
  • Seems faster.
  • Ads have ruined me. I saw the title and my mind immediately rephrased it as "Windows 10 running too slow on your old PC? Use this one weird trick to speed it up." *insert completely irrelevant picture*
  • Often a picture of something gross looking.
  • Or a girl with big boobs...love those ads
  • Or a belly being scaled with an inch tape.
  • I'm more concerned about my touchpad not working on my HP Mini 110 netbook. Anyone know why this is so and how to fix it using keyboard/shortcuts?
  • Of your touchpad drivers worked in Vista+, they will work on W10. Just don't expect any of W8/10 specific functionality. If you had W8 specific drivers, they'll work just fine on W10.
  • If I don't use One Drive, Cortana, Xbox, or the store, I believe Windows 10 is pointless to me.
  • Except for better performance, smaller footprint, better security you're probably rightt
  • Well, yeah, if you wanna live in 1999, you don't need Windows 10 at all.
  • There seems to be almost no news on windows 10 for mobiles... I wonder why? No new builds nothing...
  • Build 10134 should release any day now.
  • I am talking about phones not PC's
  • So was he.
  • Me too. Build 10134 seems to be the next build to hit phones.
  • Well I hope it comes soon and that its more stable, cause the last time I tried windows 10 for phones it was too buggy and it had a lot of lag and delays in response
  • Isn't it a shame when you download free, beta, pre-release software used for testing, has known performance issues and bugs, has testing code in there to gather problems, doesn't perform exactly like a shipping piece of software that you pay for? What was Microsoft doing releasing the last version, other than telling you that there will be bugs, perfomance issues, things will not work as it should all the time, etc?
  • Why are you replying to me, lol.
  • I am just stating the current drawbacks of the latest public build available and patiently waiting for the next build. Nothing more... Don't let your imagination run wild.
  • It ran like crap on my Lumia 925. I tried real hard to use it but finally gave up and went back to WP8.1. The difference in stability and speed was like I traded in an old phone for a brand new one. I wont go back to WP10 on my current phone. I'll wait for a new phone that runs WP10 natively.
  • I don't think you have to go to that length to run windows 10 on the phone. We just got to wait for a more optimized build, that are building it to run on almost all current windows phones(apart from the new features). I had a similar experience had to go back to windows phone 8.1 update 2
  • Or you could just wait till they have a more stable release to try. Sadly Windows for phones is a good couple of months behind the desktop and just isn't reliable yet as a daily driver. Some would say it isn't for desktops either. Hopefully the next build still be much better, but even still most people are saying to just try it on a backup phone and keep your main one on WP8. And I'd you don't have a spare phone and don't know how to roll back to Wp8, then for now best to wait.
  • Trying this out now. Wonder if it will stick when the next upgrade hits, though. We seem to lose Start Menu items, something around an older app, and other stuff when the updates drop. I regularly have to repair an older app and re-pin things each time. :-/
  • The article title made me think this was a porn ad :P
  • What? How?
  • How would anything on Windows Central look like a porn ad? XD
  • This article is written for every new version of Windows, and all the same stupid complaints come out. Ever. Single. Time.
  • Funny,I haven't seen this before and I've read every single post for the past year at least.
  • I have always disliked "Aero". I had it off in Windows vista and 7 and when they brought it back to appease the whiners, I turned it off in 10 too. I don't need to spend any power on silly transparency
  • That's why we have options. It's up to you to enable what you want, for your system.
  • Exactly... Just because you want it doesn't mean you need it... The same goes with the abomination that is the Start Menu... Most, if not all of the whiners only use it to turn off the PC... There was a tutorial on how to use Windows 8 out of the box... If people ignored that then their laziness shouldn't be tolerated... If a person can't even bother to go through a tutorial then any problem that person encounters with any changes/upgrades is his/her own... The said person should also stop using anything related to technology...
  • I want to point out that on Vista and 7, aero runs fine, in fact faster than disabling it, as long as you're graphics driver supports native DX10/10.1, respectively. I haven't gone in depth on 10 but I'm sure if your graphics chip supports DX11 natively, you should be fine. Could someone confirm and test this? Disabling for preferences is one thing, but not everyone may get a speedup doing this and may hinder performance. My old 4770s and FX-60 runs 10 pretty damn good. Better than XP could ever imagine considering all the features running. Could it be tweaked? Sure, but even in old hardware it's giving it new life which is fine for me.
  • Really depends on which device you're running Windows 7. 3 years ago I purchased a 14" laptop for my mom, it was a Compaq starter machine with AMD single core CPU and 2GB of RAM and it comes with Aero disabled by default, since it comes for a very budget version of Windows 7 called Windows 7 Starter Edition which cannot let you change the background on the desktop, but overall the computer feels slower than a Aspire One netbook I purchased in 2009, so I guess Windows 10 will probably can't run on my mom's Compaq budget laptop, but perhaps it can run on my old Netbook which still has XP.
  • Windows 10 has the same system requirements as 7 ;)
  • "...I want to point out that on Vista and 7, aero runs fine, in fact faster than disabling it, as long as you're graphics driver supports native DX10/10.1, respectively...."  <- This In other words -
    Never disable Aero.
      With Vista and Windows 7, turning on/off Aero also enables/disables the GPU Composer (DWM), which moves a lot of decoding and rendering from the CPU to the GPU.  The only 'performance' issue was the 'blur' effect on very low end GPUs like the Intel 945; however, even then, do not disable Aero, instead just turn off the transparency. (You will even get better battery usage by leaving Aero enabled.)   With Windows 8 and 10, the Composer is essentially always on, even when playing a lot of games, as the composer using the OS GPU scheduler can draw directly from memory to the screen, which is faster than how a lot of games utilize the GPU.  Bascially the Composer in Windows is just faster than not using it, and newer software in Windows 8 and 10 now depend on the Composer to be active, which is why it is always running.   Regarding this article, if the 'Transparency/Blur' are slowing your system down, expect this to change with newer drivers, as even older GPUs and low end GPUs in Windows 8 tablets are fast enough to easily handle the 'effects'. (Chances are your system might not be using the GPU driver properly or at all and sending the 'effects' through the CPU, which can impact performance on low end CPUs.)  
  • Doesn't sound click baity enough replace the word quick with weird and you've got yourself a story. 
  • Try downloading more RAM
  • here you go http://www.downloadmoreram.com/
  • This tip makes me go 'duuuuh'... why didn't I think of that! My older AMD machine is struggling with 10, I've been reluctant to do any messing with what it gives me, but this much I can do. Thanks, Daniel.
  • I just wish there was a way to disable the blur and have a clear glass effect.
  • I run it on surface pro 1 and its slow and choppy. Figured it was because this is a tech alpha/beta version. But ill disable this anyway to see if my user experience improves
  • I did it and it works fantastic
  • I rember users that put w8.1 in very old computer and see performance even better than Windows xp.
    W10 is fast as w8.1 in very old computers?
  • That's correct, there are popular WIndows 8.1 tablets like the HP Stream 7 which have a full Windows 8.1 in a Atom device with 1GB of RAM which is pretty much the same specs than Netbooks had in 2008 (Remember the Eee PC from ASUS?) I'm glad Microsoft is upgrading their desktop OS without requiring major upgrades of hardware, this is very contrary of what iOS devices require, I had an iPod touch from Apple but could not be upgraded to iOS 7 because it only has 8GB of storage space and a very limited CPU. Apple lost my attention a while ago.
  • With Windows Phone 10 on my lumia 520 I had to remove transparent tiles and background image as well as use more tiles option.  After that it sped up quite a bit.
  • Why this setting isn't in the 'start' setting instead of 'colors' to me makes no sense.
  • Because it removes blur and you get a solid colour?
  • Thanks for the tip. Not a fan of the transparency on the desktop but I do like my background on the tiles on my phone.
  • I have an Acer Aspire Laptop Dual Core Pentium 2.4, 4 GB of Ram, 500 GB HD, When I bought it, it came with Windows 8. Upgraded it to 8.1 no issues no lag. I tried the Windows 10 preview on it and one of my biggest reasons for rolling it back to 8.1 was it was laggy especially opening certain windows. I mean I know it's not an i7 monster but it's also no Intel Atom either no reason why it runs beautifully in 8.1 no lag everything is quick but in 10 it's laggy
  • Optimization always comes last in software development. They just finished feature implementation (basically it became Beta only recently) and now they are working on a) UI improvements and b) Squashing bugs. Software optimization is still some way off.
  • Seems faster ! :D
  • Is there a registry hack for making the Start transparency version with the radial blur? I only have the slightly standard transparency version.
  • "Use this one weird trick to make your computer run faster. IT Pros hate it!"
  • I have i7 and OS overall is very laggy
  • I don't buy it, can you specify which CPU and how many GIGS of RAM your PC has? I think the HP Stream 14" which has Atom CPU (4th gen), 2GB of RAM should run Windows 10 normally without performance issues. Did you know the HP Stream has received great reviews on Amazon? Contrary of what many Chromebook enthsiasts said, that Windows could not run on laptops specified for ChromeOS it is not the case, the HP Stream is the response for Chromebooks and has got great reception as a nice budget laptop for 2015.
  • This worked so well on my surface pro
  • Nicely written
  • Thanks for the tip, this  looks like a similar method to speed up Windows 7 when Aero and themes were turned off and switched to classic view. I'll definitely use this on my old laptop with 3GB of RAM, CULV CPU which I plan to upgrade to Windows 10. My new Dell Inspiron 5548 with Broadwell Intel Core i7-5500 and 8GB of RAM won't need this settings change.
  • I was excited to read this as I have an older PC as a test PC which is likely the minimum spec for Windows 10.  However it appears that Windows defaults this to Off on slow PCs like mine already.  Guess a Pentium M is pushing the boundaries of usable.  This is a 10 year old single core laptop so I should probably be saying it works well for that, but I'll be real and admit it would be too slow for daily use other than email, some built in apps and a tiny bit of web.
  • Cool
  • I'm running a "high-end" PC, and still, blur slow down my PC (well, not the PC, just where the blur is)
  • Haha, 'will seem faster', classic.
  • Lol
  • There is something a lot better than that. Press Start and enter "systempropertiesperformance". Here you can optimize Windows to favor performance over optics. Just like back in the old days. Make sure that at least the system fonts are smoothened out.
  • PC manufacturers hate him for this one simple trick for keeping old hardware.
  • This latest build (10130) has not been very good on my laptop....Start menu stops working and Project Spartan is slow - seems like overall system stability is a little shaky. Will be trying out the tips above to see if that clears things up a bit.
  • Odd that MS would not include that yet in "Adjust for Best Performance" configuration set.
  • Will final product be faster than 7?
  • yes, it is. Windows 10 is the Fastest operating system of all windows versions.
  • Thanks!
  • 9 Tips optimize window 10 faster 1. Speed up the startup of the desktop apps in 
    2.Speed up menus in Window 10 and change the delay
    3. Disable Shadow and Animation Effects to Improve Performance
    4.Disable Unnecessary services to speed up Window 10.
    5. Check window startup entries
    6.Turn On Fast Startup
    7. Disable Unneeded Hardware
    8. Adjust Recycle Bin Size
    9. System restore adjust Link youtube: https://youtu.be/4cxRwUWB_uc
  • Dear all,
    Today I will guide you how to make Window 10 more faster while start up,running and shutdown. 1. Defragment Drives
    2. Check Hard Disk for errors
    3. Delete Junk files, Clean Registry & optimize Windows
    4. Boot Defragmentation
    5. Disable Clear page file on shutdown
    6. Delete Fonts: 
    Fonts take time to load. Removing some can save on resources. But one must be careful in deciding which fonts to remove. If you delete some system fonts, you may be in for trouble.
    7. Reduce shutdown time
    8. Disable 8.3 filename creation
    9. Enable Direct Read and Write Cache
    Note: This will result in even better performance butthere is a small risk. If your power goes out suddenly you will lose the data that had been written to cache and since the data has not been written to disk you may end up with lost files or even a corrupted Windows installation depending on what kind of data the hard disk had in cache.
    10. Improve general Explorer performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Sz5pk9xjjc
  • I have an Asusteck laptop, brand new, X54osa, Windows 10 of course...is there any way to make it not suck? I don't know whether the blame lies in Windows or Asus, but everything is sooooo slow. It's like 1996 technology. Internet pages take forever to load. But it's even slow to open programs and apps. I've installed all the updates. I've also disabled and deleted anything that I could find that was unnecessary and might be slowing it down. Nothing makes a difference. I mean maybe it's a matter of getting what you pay for, it's very affordable at 225.00. I just hate to think that in 2016 things are actually getting worse when it comes to the computer experience. I mean sure, Windows 10 adds a few new bells and whistles that seven people will use, but how does that compare to significantly slowed basic functioning?