1. Switch to Linux
Because MC says so, and it's true! To be honest Windows is resource hungry, whether you have an old or new hardware. Linux is also safer than Windows from malware with a stronger permission system.
Linux has a respository of free open-source programs and comparing to Windows programs they are not bogged down by adware. Finally, a Linux OS is highly customizable and is totally free.
Suggestions: Ask MidnightCowboy (veteran of many Linux distros)
2. Scan for Malware
No matter what you do to improve the speed of your computer, nothing good will come out of it if you already have malware on the system. Malware is a term that used to describe malevolent software like virus, spyware, adware, worms, rootkits, trojan horse and any PUPs.
Malware slows down your PC by utilizing system resources through bundling unnecessary software, browser search redirects, pop-up ads, modifying system settings, throttling network usage etc. Use an on-demand scanner to detect for and remove any infections that is responsible for slowing down your PC.
Suggestions: Emsisoft Anti-Malware, Zemana Anti-malware (portable)
3. Find which programs are consuming system resources
Multitasking is a necessary evil. After prolonged usage, certain programs might consume more resources than you would normally expect it to. Pressing Ctrl+Shift+ Esc or right clicking on the taskbar and selecting Task Manager opens up the system monitor of Windows.
The Processes tab displays usage by apps, background & system processes. The Performance tab shows utilization of CPU, memory, disk, ethernet, Wi-Fi and GPU. Review any processes that is throttling the system resources by using more CPU/RAM etc and kill them if they are safe to be terminated.
Suggestions: Process Explorer, System Explorer, Process Hacker
4. Disable startup programs
Open the task manager, go to Startup tab that lists all applications which boots on startup according to their value in Status column. The Startup impact column shows how badly they affect in slowing down Windows boot-up procedure. To disable any unncessary startup programs right click on that particular application.
Autoruns is another startup monitor that gives you granular control over all programs that not only start's ups during Windows boot, but also during application launches like associated shell extensions, toolbars, BHO's, Win-log on notifications, auto start services, and much more.
4. Free-up disk space
Removing unnecessary temporary internet files and other junk can help improve to improve performance of your PC.
Click on Windows key and search for Disk Cleanup or type "cleanmgr". Select the drive that you intend to cleanup and in the new window you get to see how much disk space can be cleaned. This is done by removing
1. Find resource hungry programs - Task Manager (CPU, Memory, Disk, Network)
2. Disable startup programs - (Task Manager ->Startup, msconfig, Autoruns)
3. Close system tray programs
4. Reduce animations (Win+x->System->Advanced System settings->Performance (Settings)->Adjust for best performance or Custom)
5. Lighten your web browser (Extensions, Plugins - click to play, clear browsing data, Toolbars) + Install adblocker (blocks malicious websites, temp disk usage)
6. Scan for malware/adware (MBAM, PUP's)
7. Free up disk space (disk cleanup tool, CCleaner, WinDirStat)
8. Defragment hard disk (rarely, modern systems optimize themselves)
9. Uninstall programs you dont' use including pre-installed bloatware(background processes, autostart entries, system services, context menu entries related to it leaves, frees up HD space, improves system security ->Java)
10. Re-install Windows (Reset PC)
11. Upgrade hardware (RAM, Graphics Card, SSD)
12. Keep software upto date (SUMo - web browsers, applications, device drivers, especially Windows - security holes, glitches), upgrade to Windows 10
13. Use better software (Chrome, Kingsoft Office, GIMP, PotPlayer, Foxit)
14. Do error checking on all hard drives, run SmartTest (CrystalDiskCheck)
15. Set computer's energy settings - Power options (Best Performance)
16. Manually set processor priority level for running processes (Task manager)
17. Gaming - GeForce Experience, AMD Gaming Evolved, hand-tune graphics settings
18. Overclock CPU, GPU, clean out fans,
19. Do less multitasking
20. Switch to Linux
21. Use external hard drive to transfer files