How to increase Hard Drive speed & improve performance in Windows 10

increase hard drive speed

Hard disk or HDDs tend to become over time. We can count on low disk space, an aged hard drive, bad sectors, too many applications running in the background. In this article, we will talk about how you can increase the speed and performance of the hard drive in Windows 10. But before we continue, let’s understand if the guide applies to an SSD.

This guide does not apply to SSDs, here’s why

This is because of the way they store the data. Unlike hard drives, SSDs have no moving parts. Instead, the data is saved to a NAND flash memory pool. This is the main reason why SSDs have excellent read and write speed. It doesn’t match the speed we get on RAM, but it’s much more than hard drives. Whenever data needs to be written to an SSD, it finds a complete empty block and writes it. It’s easier than deleting and then writing it.

This is why SSDs slow down when they start to run out of space. The controller should work hard to determine the space that is marked for deletion, move the files to another block, and then rewrite again. If you run optimization tools, you will ultimately reduce the life of the disk.

We have seen many guides written to optimize SSDs, and they don’t work. Most optimization tools are designed for hard drives, and this is where they should be applied.

Lily: How to turn off defragmentation for SSDs in Windows 10.

Increase hard drive speed and performance in Windows 10

The storage device we are talking about here is hard drives, those with moving parts. The reason why the hard drive needs to be optimized is that after a while the data is dispersed everywhere. There is a lot of distance, even if it is the same file. The reader or the head will have to work harder. This is what optimization tools can do. The data is reorganized so that the data can be recovered more quickly. Here is the list of methods to follow:

  • Defragment and optimize disks
  • Enable write caching
  • Optimize the swap file
  • Optimize background services, applications and storage

Right after that we talked about the features you should not turn off to optimize the player.

1]Defragment and optimize disks

Windows defragmenter Optimize drive

Windows has a Disk Defragmenter tool that has been around for a very long time. It improves performance by reorganizing files so that they can be recovered quickly, i.e. less movement of the read head. The tool has been improved over the years and you can also plan the process. Although you can choose to leave everything on Windows, or if you have a calendar, you can set it for weekends, but be sure to keep the computer on.

2]Enable write caching

increase hard drive speed performance

If you enable write caching, the hard drive load will be removed using a cache in between. So when you save a file, it writes all the information, including the data to a temporary location. Since writing to the cache is faster than writing to the hard drive, it improves performance. It is useful when you are editing large files such as pictures and videos.

3]Optimize the swap file

The swap file has been misunderstood for a very long time. Windows uses it as a temporary space to keep when the RAM is full. Although you don’t run out of RAM, thanks to the affordable price, most have more than we need, but removing PageFile.SYS won’t make any difference. In fact, it’s better to have it than not have it at all.

So if you are doing an intensive memory and finally run out of memory, PageFile.SYS will be handy. Windows will re-enter the data, free up memory and do more.

4]Optimize background services, applications and storage

This is a general tip that improves not only the performance of the hard drive but also the performance of the computer. If you have too many applications, background services, this will have an impact as they will keep hard drive purchases and you may not be able to work as expected. Additionally, if you run out of storage space, this can have an impact as the hard drive will have a hard time rearranging files, claiming space for files to save.

The bottom line is that you have to get rid of everything that is unnecessary and consumes resources.

That said, if all you want is to improve the overall performance of Windows 10, the best way is to switch to a hybrid model.

Install Windows on an SSD and keep everything else on the hard drive. You can choose to perform a hard drive optimization and leave it to rest on Windows to manage the SSD.

Lily: Faulty sectors on SSD and HDD

What you should NOT do to optimize hard drives

Many articles talk about disabling Windows features for both the hard drive and the SSD. Windows has come a long way, as has hardware. The same optimization package that has been repeated for more than a decade will not work. Here is the list of features you should not disable

  • Clear the Windows write cache buffer: it allows applications to run faster by allowing them to continue without waiting to write data write requests to disk.
  • Windows indexing, also called Windows search service: it only improves overall performance instead of reducing it. If there is no indexing, the hard drive will have an even harder time finding the data by scanning the entire hard drive for the data and will consume more resources.
  • High performance: there is no way to improve the performance of a hard drive by keeping it permanently on. Windows laptops offer a high performance power plan, which ensures that the drive is always on. This does not add to the advantage of improving performance. Windows manages well by turning on the drive when necessary. The plan is only useful when you are doing intensive CPU / GPU work like video editing or gaming.

I hope the message was easy to follow and that you were able to improve the speed and performance of the hard drive. Additionally, the publication shatters many myths about speed optimization. Do not disable services based on recommendations, it is better to understand what Windows offers as a solution.

increase hard drive speed

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