Although Windows 11 was officially released on October 5th, 2021, you may not have had the opportunity or inclination to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft's proprietary OS (operating system). For those who have yet to take the plunge or are just starting out, knowing how to customize and adjust account settings for privacy and convenience can transform your everyday user experience. By learning how to optimize your user account settings in Windows 11, you can significantly improve your PC's speed, responsiveness, and performance with minimal time and effort.
If you own an average computer or have a cutting-edge or bleeding-edge desktop or laptop PC, you are likely familiar with the annoyances that can occur with slow boot speeds. Boot speed refers to the time it takes for your computer to go from being shut off to fully operational, and slow boot speeds can cause significant problems with your PC's overall performance. One of the most common culprits for slow boot speeds is the number of apps that are routinely activated when the PC powers up.
To disable apps from automatically launching when your PC boots, you can open the Task Manager by either pressing CTRL + Shift + ESC or opening the start menu and entering "Task Manager" in the search bar. Select the "More Details" option from the Task Manager window, then locate and select the Startup tab. Right-click on whichever apps you prefer not to launch when your PC boots and select Disable to switch them off. You can also press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings menu, click Apps, then Startup, and you can toggle to select whether or not each app launches when your PC boots.
Bloatware refers to programs and apps that take up a disproportionate amount of storage space on your PC in relation to the services they perform. For example, Cortana can be an incredibly useful tool for those who suffer from dexterity issues. However, having the virtual assistant constantly in the background causes a notable slowdown for many users. While more experienced Windows users can remove bloatware directly using the built-in PowerShell tool, several free programs such as GitHub are available online to help debloat your PC. These tools can help you by removing unnecessary apps, even those which cannot typically be uninstalled by Windows 11.
Depending on whether you are more interested in having your PC prioritize battery life or graphics performance, the standard Windows 11 Power Plan may or may not be sufficient for your needs. Three standard pre-set options are available for your battery management options: Balanced, High Performance, and Power Saver. As their names imply, the Balanced power plan changes its level of performance based on energy consumption, High Performance prioritizes graphics and audio output at the expense of power, and Power Saver is focused on battery life above all else. Users can even create their own custom Power Plans by opening the Control Panel, selecting Power Options, then clicking on Create a Power Plan. Users can choose everything from how long it takes for their PC to go to sleep and when the display turns off to individual power settings for Display, Battery, Wireless Adapter, Multimedia Settings, and many others.
While this is almost certainly not the first time you have heard these pieces of advice, that does not reduce their effectiveness in any way. The fragmentation of your hard disc refers to the tendency for larger files to be fragmented across your PC's storage, thus taking much longer to assemble and open than they otherwise would. Defragmentation refers to the process of reuniting these fragmented files into single locations, which not only saves you storage space but also prevents your PC from having to scour its hard drive to retrieve a single file. Windows 11 users can initiate a disc defragmentation anytime by opening the Start menu, entering "defrag" in the search bar, then selecting the Defragment And Optimize Drives app. You can also set up a regular schedule for your PC to defragment itself (ideally not during your peak PC usage times) to prevent these issues from reoccurring.
Temporary files refer to the seemingly endless amount of text, images, Microsoft Word downloads, and other data being momentarily stored while your PC updates or creates a permanent file. While each individual file may not take up large amounts of data, you can easily fill your PC with multiple GBs (gigabytes) worth of useless data, which has a knock-on effect on your system's performance. You could go through the trouble of deleting your temporary files yourself by opening the Settings Menu, clicking System then Storage, selecting the Temporary Files setting in the Local Disc section, choosing the files to be removed and deleting them. There are also several reputable services that will delete temporary files from your PC for free with minimal effort required on your part, so it may be worth downloading such an application.
These settings and modifications will help ensure that any PC running Windows 11 can operate in a productive and streamlined manner. There are several settings, apps, and customizable options that you can adjust as needed to create your ideal Windows 11 setup. Consider playing around with various options to achieve your perfect user experience.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.