You conscientiously allow Windows Update to do its thing (because you can’t stop it for more than a week). It then runs about as fast as a sloth on LSD. So how do you fix the Windows 10 go-slow after updates?
Windows updates are good. They patch security vulnerabilities, correct bugs and add new features. They can also go horribly wrong.
Why does a device slow down after a Windows Update?
The three main reasons are:
- The update itself contains new and different bugs
- Windows system files got corrupted during the update
- Background apps are running in conflict with Windows Update or the files that it is trying to install
Unfortunately there’s no short or simple diagnosis to go with this (or sometimes, any diagnosis at all).
Three remedies for a Windows Slowdown after updates
The three easiest cures (not in any logical relationship or progression with the causes) are:
Roll Back the Windows Update
A slowdown immediately after a bad update can be fixed using the built-in method Windows provides.
To uninstall the updates:
- Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View update history.
- Click on View Update History
- Click on Uninstall updates.
- This displays a list of all the installed updates.
- You can then uninstall the updates that you believe have caused the problem.
Uninstall them one at a time in date/time order and you may be able to identify which one is causing the slowdown.
This doesn’t prevent Windows trying to re-install the same update later on. It does give you an opportunity to do some research to establish the nature and possible remedies to the slowdown on your particular device.
Repair Corrupt or Damaged Files
Windows 10 still contains a registry and a number of .ini files, system device drivers and a host of other settings.
If an update is interrupted mid-download, or mid-install, is can abnormally end, crash or fail to complete steps, leaving some of these critical files open, damaged or incomplete.
The first resort is to run the System File Checker, a built-in tool that can scan and repair Windows System files in some circumstances.
To run the System File Checker, you have to use the command prompt.
- Go to the Windows Search bar, type ‘command prompt’.
- Highlight the top result, and right side click to select ‘Run as administrator.’
- Open Command Prompt
- Type sfc /scannow and hit Enter.
This runs the SFC Command. It will report issues and the fixes it applies. After the scan is complete, reboot your system.
The second resort if SFC fails to resolve issues is to run the DISM Command.
The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command is another Windows diagnostic tool. This is for repairing the Windows system image files.
Also from the command prompt with administrator privileges, as above:
- Type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
- Hit Enter to run the command to check if the image is corrupted.
If there are no corruption issues, you can run a more advanced scan.
- At the command prompt type Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
- Hit Enter to run the DISM/ScanHealth command with these options
This process is likely to take a while as it examines a large disk image. If it reports corruption issues:
- Type: Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- Hit Enter to run the command which will download and replace the damaged files.
Restart the device after running DISM and run the SFC command again to verify or repair any outstanding errors.
Disable Background Apps
Windows 10 is notorious for keeping apps running in the background when they’re not in use. Try telling Skype to shut down – it’s like the Terminator. Background apps use up CPU cycles and memory, reducing the resources you have for the jobs you really want to get on with. Some (Skype, we’re looking at you) can be quite badly behaved in hogging resources. You may even find some that are incompatible with the Windows Updates that just installed.
To identify background apps and close them:
- Open the Windows Settings.
- Click on Privacy > Background Apps.
- Click on Background Apps
- This list which apps can run in the background section
- Select and turn-off all the unnecessary apps.
NOTE: your definition of unnecessary may not be the same as Windows which might fight you for control.
Reboot your device and see if this restores your ‘normal’ operating speed.
There are two more remedies we can apply that we’ll look at in Part II which can be more technically challenging and potentially drastic. AJS