Windows 8 has been a robust and optimized operating system than windows 7, so there aren’t much tweaks that you could apply to really speed up windows 8. Long before, we’ve published an extensive guide to speed up windows 7 operating system by optimizing the visual effects, applying registry tweaks, disabling services and so on. The guide targeted users with much less powerful system configuration.

They were required to shut off many hardware intensive visuals and settings to ensure that the OS run smoothly. Now, the number of windows users has grown substantially and so has their system configuration. So, it would be more logical to speed up windows 8 without compromising the visual experience, but we won’t leave the users with a dated system configuration too. Instead we’ve organized the guide so that all the users get the best experience out of their windows 8 PC.

Note : The guide has been organized into three levels. Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

Level 1 – Users who like to keep on their visual effects and settings but would like to tweak their system.

Level 2 – Users who wish to tweak their system but doesn’t want to fully strip windows 8 visuals.

Level 3 – Targets users who prefer to tweak their windows 8 system to the maximum possible extend by compromising the visual effects. (For Systems which have much less Powerful Configuration.)

Myself being a Level 2 User, some of the screen shots used here resembles the settings for the same.

Before Proceeding, make sure you create a system restore point in windows 8 and if you find yourself messed up with windows 8 settings, follow this guide to reset windows 8 settings to factory defaults

Services in Windows 8 that can Safely be set to Manual (Level 2 & Level 3)

When compared to windows 7, windows 8 takes care of most of the unneeded services automatically. There are still some of the windows 8 services which you could safely set to manual. This would free up system resources and helps in reducing the boot time in windows 8.

To Disable a service in windows 8, Press WIN + R to bring up the run command box and type services.msc and press enter to bring the Services Window. Double clicking a particular service would bring up its properties and you may read its description to know more about it and set its Startup Type to Manual.

Windows 8 services that can safely be set to manual or disabled

  1. Diagnostic Policy Service
  2. Distributed Link Tracking Client
  3. IP Helper (Set it to Automatic Delayed Start)
  4. Offline Files
  5. Performance Logs & Alerts
  6. Program Compatibility Assistant Service
  7. Print Spooler (If you do not plan to use any Printer now or in the near future.) If you plan to use a printer in the near future, make sure you leave the service as it is, because it’s likely that you’d forget that you’ve disabled this service while installing a printer. The device won’t get properly installed unless you start the service again. This had happened to me once and i’ve spend a lot of time to find this was the root cause for not getting my printer’s driver installed on my pc.
  8. Remote Registry (Most users rarely make use of this service, so you may disable it.)
  9. Secondary Logon
  10. Security Center (Do Not Disable the Service)
  11. Server (If your computer do not connect with any network)
  12. TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper (Not Recommended if you’re on a network and use file and printer sharing over it.)
  13. Themes ( Recommended For LEVEL 3 Users)
  14. Windows Error Reporting Service
  15. Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)
  16. Windows Search (If you rarely use Windows Search feature )
  17. Windows Time (If you do not want to synchronize system time with internet time automatically)

After disabling most of these services, you’d notice a slight bump in boot time and speed. Don’t mix this step with others, when following these steps make sure you does this in a stretch because, if any thing goes wrong you might need to come back to re enable a particular service.

Tweaking Windows 8 Performance Options (L: 2 & 3)

To adjust the Visual Effects in Windows 8, Press Win + X >  System > Advanced System Settings (Left Sidebar) > Advanced (Tab) > Settings (Under Performance).

The performance options window would list out the options to turn off / on windows animations, eye candies and other visual effects. The following screenshot shows you the settings that i’ve used on my windows 8 laptop. You might notice that i have turned on the ‘show window contents‘ option, but that’s just my personal preference. You may un-check the option if you wish.

windows 8 visual settings adjust

Level 3 Users may un-tick other options as well. Un-ticking the ‘Use drop shadows for icons labels on desktop’ option would remove the icon shadow and you might need to use a black wallpaper as background too see the text properly.

Registry Tweaks To Speed Up Windows 8 (L 1, 2 & 3)

Some of the Registry tweaks for windows 7, works for windows 8 too.

Download, Extract and Execute the registry file to install the tweaks and finally restart the system for the registry tweaks to fully take effect.

Changes that the registry tweaks make to your system.

Adds “Copy To” and “Move To” options to right click context menu in windows 8, Reduces the Menu Show delay time, Speed Up waiting time for hung applications.

Download Windows 8 Registry Tweaks

Speed Up Logging into Windows 8 (L: 1, 2 & 3)

Windows 8 brings up a lock screen followed by a start screen which would prevent you from directly getting into the desktop easily. If you’re not an avid user of any of those, you may essentially turn them off which could save you 3 – 4 seconds while getting into the windows 8 desktop. Follow the below tutorial to selectively disable the lock screen and start screen in windows 8.

Bypassing the Lock Screen & Start Screen in Windows 8

Remove Unnecessary Startup Programs To Speed Up Windows 8 (L: 1, 2 & 3)

Some of the applications you install on your Windows 8 system grabs a place in the windows 8 start up pool and would automatically load up while logging into windows. But you must know that these programs would add up to the boot time of windows and later becomes the culprits of slow system start-ups. Some make sure you allow only the most used programs to start up along with windows 8.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc To bring up the task Manager and click on the Start-up tab to see the programs that start along with Windows 8. Right Click a particular service and Choose Disable.

removing unnecessary startup items in windows 8 from taskbar

Disabling the unnecessary start up items in windows 8, ensures a faster system boot up and free’s memory. These programs would no longer stay in the memory as they won’t start unnecessarily from now.

Tweaking Windows 8 Folder Options (L: 2 & 3)

Setting windows to display icons instead of thumbnails would help in improving the file browsing speed in windows 8, as the system doesn’t require to retrieve and cache the thumbnails.

Open up Windows Explorer by pressing Windows key + E click on View from the menu bar and choose Options. Click on the View tab and tick the first option and click Apply > OK.

speed up file browsing in windows 8

Speeding Up SSD in Windows 8 (L: 1, 2 & 3)

If you’ve installed windows 8 on a Solid State Drive, then make sure you don’t miss the following guide.

9 Quality Tweaks To Speed Up & Optimize SSD’s

Read the guide thoroughly to optimize your expensive Solid State Drive & to get the best out of it.

Software’s To Speed Up Windows 8 (L: 1, 2 & 3)

The following are the software’s that i use to optimize and make windows 8 faster. For a daily windows 8 user, these tools are must have and would help you in working faster.

CCleaner (Free yet powerful utility to clean up your system and optimize windows registry.)

TeraCopy (Nifty utility to speed up file copying in windows. Free and Supports File Pause/Resume and more.)

Everything (This is in fact, one of the best utilities to replace windows 8 default search. Its lightning fast and light. Once installed, you may assign a shortcut to launch it from its preferences window.)

Disabling Sounds in Windows 8 (L: 3)

You may disable the sounds in windows 8 if you’re using an outdated pc. This won’t basically speed up windows 8, but would reduce the resource usage.

Press the Windows Key to bring up the windows 8 start screen and type Sounds and click Settings from right sidebar to see the sound settings. Now choose Change system sounds.

windows 8 sound settings

From the sound window in Windows 8, choose No Sounds from the drop down box and Click Apply > OK.

Disabling sounds in windows 8

Turn OFF UAC in Windows 8 (L: 2 & 3 )

The user account control feature in windows 8 popups up a notification dialogue box, each time you make changes to the OS and while installing any applications. While this is provided as a safety feature in windows 8, this might be a hindrance to some users.

To turn off UAC, Press Windows Key + W and type UAC in the search box to see the link to the uac settings.

turn off uac in widows 8

You could move the slider position based on your preference. Moving the slider to Never Notify ensures that you no longer receive such popups while proceeding with an operation in windows.

Essential Keyboard Shortcuts To Speed Up Windows 8 Work Flow (L: 1, 2 & 3)

You could work much faster with windows 8 if you use keyboard shortcuts. Its just that, you need to get familiar with them. So make sure you use them for a few days and master them.

Windows Key + D : Helps you to get to the windows 8 desktop quickly bypassing all the opened windows.

Windows Key + E : If you frequently open File Explorer in windows 8 (Computer), it might save time if you could use it from now on.

Windows Key + I : Pops up the windows 8 settings on the right side, you could quickly get access to the power settings, sound settings etc.

Windows Key + Number Key (1-9) : If you have multiple applications pinned onto windows 8 taskbar, this would open up the corresponding application from the taskbar.

Windows Key + Tab : Helps you switch back and forth between opened applications.

Windows Key + L : If your work involves taking jiffy intervals, this shortcut helps you to lock your windows 8 PC in a wink.

Windows Key + X : If you want quick access to the admin menu in windows 8, this would pop up the admin settings from the bottom left corner of your screen.

Also Read : Add Shortcuts to Win + X Menu in Windows 8

We’ve not included too many shortcuts, but only the most basic ones that you should know as daily windows 8 user. Once you start using them for a few days, these would help you speed up windows 8 work flow.

And that concludes the list of tweaks and steps to make windows 8 faster. If you’ve got any suggestions or queries feel free to comment them down.


Amal Roy is the Founder-Editor of Computing Unleashed. A Technology Enthusiast, Windows Adept and a Proud Geek! | Connect with him on Google+