How to Set Up a Windows PC for Gaming and Productivity

Congratulations! You’ve simply gotten a new PC, taken it out of the field, plugged it in and powered it up for the primary time. Windows 11 (or 10) in all probability requested you for your Microsoft login and community credentials the primary time you booted up, however you are not performed but. To get the most effective efficiency and consumer expertise, you want to take a few extra actions to arrange your PC. There are a variety of default Windows settings, notably in Windows 11, that  sluggish you down and restrict your productiveness. And, if you happen to did not construct this PC your self, each the OEM and Microsoft have seemingly thrown on some crapware for good measure. You might also have the ability to make some tweaks that make the pc quicker otherwise you quicker. Follow the 15 steps beneath and arrange your new PC like a professional.Update Your Graphics Driver(Image credit score: Future)If your laptop has discrete graphics, one of many very first issues it is best to do is ensure you have the very newest driver from Nvidia or AMD. A more moderen driver normally means higher efficiency within the newest video games and fewer bugs, even in case you have the most effective graphics playing cards already. While the built-in Windows Update can search for the most recent graphics card drivers, you are a lot better off utilizing Nvidia and AMD’s personal administration software program. If it does not come preloaded in your new PC, obtain and set up GeForce Experience for Nvidia playing cards or Radeon Software for AMD playing cards. These purposes will routinely verify for updates on a frequent foundation, however if you happen to’ve simply booted up a new laptop for the primary time, you will need to open them up and click on the guide “Check for updates” button.(Image credit score: Future)Microsoft’s newest OS has a number of terrible default settings and we have outlined the 11 worst Windows 11 options and how to repair them elsewhere. The most annoying characteristic of all is the truncated context menu you get when proper clicking on something.In Windows 10 and prior, you would see your entire choices straight away, however in Windows 11, it exhibits you simply a few decisions and then makes you click on the “Show extra choices” hyperlink to see all of them. That’s an pointless additional click on that you could be find yourself making fairly a lot.Fortunately, there’s a registry hack that provides you again the complete context menu. Open the registry editor and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWARECLASSESCLSID then create a new registry key known as {86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}. Then add a new registry key known as InprocServer32 underneath that. Finally, open the (Default) key in InprocServer32 and set its worth to clean. As at all times, with registry key adjustments, you will need to restart the pc to see the adjustments. Uninstall the Crapware (Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)No matter what vendor you purchase your PC from, it’s nearly sure to come loaded with free-to-play video games, antivirus trialware and different software program you don’t want or need. Sadly, a lot of that stuff is definitely shoveled on by Microsoft itself, relatively than the OEM. While many of the preloaded crapware is innocent and barely takes up any disk house, a few of it’s going to drain system sources and nag you to purchase one thing (like a full subscription to antivirus software program when you should use Windows 11’s built-in, free antivirus). To eliminate crapware, search for “add or take away” in Windows search, click-through to the menu and undergo the listing of purposes. We suggest conserving something you’re unsure about and leaving OEM utilities in place, simply in case you want them.Unhide File Extensions and Hidden Files(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)Clearly, Microsoft thinks that file extensions are too difficult for the unwashed plenty. So, by default, Windows 11 and 10 cover the “.docx” or “.jpg” or “.exe” suffixes that seem on the finish of file names. This manner, whenever you get a spreadsheet from a good friend, File Explorer will present that it is a “Microsoft Excel Worksheet” whether or not it is an Excel 2003 .xls file or a modern-day .xlsx file. Good luck with that!To make file extensions seen once more, enter “file explorer choices” within the Windows search field, choose the View tab, and then uncheck “Hide Extensions for Known File Types.” While you are at it, toggle “Show hidden recordsdata, folders and drives” to on and uncheck “cover protected working system recordsdata” so you’ll be able to see all of your system recordsdata.Enable Dark Mode(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)Many customers, together with yours really, favor darkish textual content on a gentle background. By default, all of Windows 11 and 10’s menus are in gentle mode with black textual content on white. However, you’ll be able to enter Dark Mode by navigating to Settings->Personalization->Colors  and deciding on Dark underneath the “select your shade” header.We’ve additionally acquired a tutorial on how to Dark mode every thing, not simply for Windows 10’s built-in menus however for every thing in your OS from Microsoft Office to Gmail. Change the Title Bar Colors(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)While you’re enabling Dark Mode (in case you are), right here’s one thing else to do. Windows 11 and 10’s default title bar shade is a bland white, which isn’t solely boring, however form of exhausting to take a look at. Fortunately, it is simple to assign an accent shade to title bars, the Start Menu and the taskbar.Navigate to Settings->Personalization->Colors and decide a shade. In Windows 11, set “present accent shade on title bars and home windows borders” to on. In Windows 10,  verify the field subsequent to “Title bars and window borders.”Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Favorite Apps(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)Every time you roll your pointer throughout the display screen, launch the Start menu and click on an icon to launch certainly one of your favourite apps, you are losing a little time.  Create keyboard shortcuts for your favourite apps and you’ll be able to launch them by hitting a single key combo akin to CTRL + ALT + W to launch Microsoft phrase or CTRL + ALT + C for Chrome.To create keyboard shortcuts, first open the command immediate (you will get there  by looking out for “command”) and enter “explorer shell:AppsFolder”  (with out the quotes).  A window with icons for your entire put in apps opens and it is best to then drag the app you need onto your desktop. Right click on the desktop shortcut icon and choose properties. Then enter a key combo, normally one that features ALT + CTRL + LETTER, into the “Shortcut key” field and click on Ok. Repeat for all of your favourite apps.Get Rid of the Useless Lock Screen(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)When your laptop is locked (or first boots), by default, Windows 11 and 10 present you a lock display screen with the time, a wallpaper and perhaps (if you happen to permit) some notifications. If you utilize Windows Hello facial or fingerprint recognition, you’ll be able to log in by staring on the display screen or placing certainly one of your digits on the scanner. But, if you happen to use a password, you’ve gotten to click on to dismiss the lock display screen earlier than the OS will permit you to enter your credentials.That’s one additional, pointless click on each single time you need to unlock your PC. To eliminate the annoying lock display screen and save your drained fingers, open the registry editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MachineSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows and create a new key known as Personalization if it does not exist already. Within the Personalization key, create a DWORD (32-bit) worth known as NoLockScreen and set it to 1.Force Windows to Close Apps at Shutdown(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)It’s so annoying. You go to shutdown or restart your PC and you stroll away, anticipating your laptop to be powered off (or rebooted) by the point you come again. You go to the fridge, seize a drink and return to discover a message in your display screen that claims you’ve gotten apps which are not closed.Maybe you simply had a nearly-empty notepad doc or a image in Photoshop that you simply did not need to save since you already copied and pasted the information into one other app (or used the Save for Web possibility). Now, Windows is nagging you to return and shut all of your apps manually. Yes, Windows provides you a button that claims “Shut down anyway,” however you’ve gotten to hit it and wait for the system to hopefully power shut the apps. The finest resolution is to open the registry editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop and create three strings (if they do not exist already). Create AutoEndTasks and set it to 1, create WaitToKillAppTimeOut and set it to 2000. Finally, create HungAppTimeOut and set that to 2000 additionally. These routinely force-close any open apps after a 2000-millisecond (2 second) delay (shorter delays might be problematic as a result of it would not give apps which are closing time to shut themselves).Switch Default Browsers(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)There’s a purpose why Microsoft Edge has solely 4 to 6 p.c of the desktop browser market. It’s not a dangerous browser, however most individuals favor the wealthy ecosystem of extensions and broad help that Chrome and Firefox take pleasure in. If Microsoft Edge opens the location each time you click on a hyperlink in your e mail software program or immediate messaging app, you want to change the default browser. To change your default browser, first ensure you have the brand new browser put in. Search for “default apps” within the Windows search field and click on the highest consequence. In Windows 11, scroll down and double click on on the icon for your most well-liked browser (ex: “Google Chrome”), then click on the “Set default” button.In Windows 10, Scroll down to “net browser,” click on the Edge icon and select the browser you need to use.Enable System Protection / Restore Points(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)If one thing, like a dangerous driver, prevents Windows from booting or causes frequent blue screens of demise, one seemingly resolution is to return Windows 11 or 10 to its earlier state. The finest manner to take a step again to a earlier configuration (with the previous driver or replace or settings) is to do a system restore.However, by default,  System Protection, the characteristic which creates restore factors you’ll be able to return to, could also be off. Turn on System Protection by typing “restore level” into the search field, clicking the highest consequence, deciding on your boot drive (normally C drive) , hitting the Configure button and then toggling “Turn on system safety” to on. We suggest setting most disk house utilization to a minimum of 5GB. Also you will need to click on the “Create” button to arrange your first restore level.Enable Storage Sense to Save Space(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)Unless you’ve gotten a 2TB SSD in your system, you’ll be able to at all times use extra free house. Windows 11 and 10 have an non-compulsory characteristic known as Storage Sense, which routinely purges recordsdata you now not want so as to release valuable gigabytes for you.To allow Storage Sense, navigate to Settings->System->Storage. Then toggle Storage Sense to on. In Windows 11, double click on Storage Sense and click on the “Run Storage Sense now” button. In Windows 10, click on “Configure storage sense to run it now” and click on the “Clean now” button.Adjust Your Display Scaling(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)Out of the field, Windows decides how giant to make the textual content, icons and different widgets. Lots of the time, notably on laptops, the working system decides to function at 150 p.c or bigger scaling, which makes it simpler learn however permits you to match much less on the display screen. Other instances, the default scaling is just too small as was the case with me and my 4K monitor, which felt most snug at 175 p.c scaling. To modify the scaling to meet your private preferences, navigate to Settings->System->Display and scroll down to the “Scale and format” header. Then strive totally different percentages till you discover the one which works finest for you. If you’ll be able to see 100% scaling comfortably, that is ultimate, as a result of it supplies essentially the most display screen actual property. Set Up Fingerprint or Facial Recognition(Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)Why waste time typing in a password when you’ll be able to create log into Windows 11 or 10 with both a finger scan or facial recognition. If your laptop has both a fingerprint reader or an IR digicam, you should use the working system’s Windows Hello characteristic to unlock the pc, no typing required.To arrange Windows Hello, navigate to Settings->Accounts->Sign-in Options and open Facial recognition or Fingerprint recognition then click on Set up. If you do not have already got one, you will be requested to create a PIN, which it’s also possible to use to log in and is quicker to sort than a password. Delete the OEM Recovery Partition to Save Space (Image credit score: Tom’s Hardware)This is a considerably controversial suggestion so take into account your choices. Most laptops and pre constructed desktops include a restoration partition that eats up a minimum of 20GB of disk house. The level of those restoration partitions is to allow you to get again to a manufacturing unit state in case your laptop turns into unbootable, maybe even caught on a blue display screen of demise. This manufacturing unit state isn’t just a clear Windows 11, however one with all of the drivers and preloaded software program the pc got here with. Usually, you’ll be able to invoke these from some form of emergency menu earlier than boot. However, there are various different methods to restore a crashed laptop with out sacrificing this disk house. First of all, you’ll be able to at all times use an present restore level or full system backup to get again to the place you have been proper earlier than the crash. If you don’t have a backup and want to begin from scratch, you’ll be able to create a Windows 11 or 10 set up USB by downloading and utilizing Microsoft’s personal set up media software. If you’ve gotten a laptop computer and even most OEM desktops, your authentic Windows key will already be recorded in your BIOS. And, if you happen to don’t have a key, you’ll be able to at all times get Windows 10/11 for Free or Cheap.Note: There can be a non-OEM restoration partition that’s normally 1GB or much less that makes Windows’ personal manufacturing unit reset characteristic perform higher and that’s in all probability price leaving in place. So, if you happen to’re a moderately tech-savvy consumer, you’ll be able to safely delete the OEM restoration partition and avoid wasting GB. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to’t do it by simply utilizing the usual partition supervisor. To take away the OEM restore partition, first see in case you have one by wanting on the partition supervisor (enter “partition” within the search field and click on the primary possibility). The title of the partition ought to have “OEM” or the title of the OEM (ex: HP, Dell, Lenovo) in it and “Recovery.” If you solely have a non-OEM restoration partition, cease right here.To delete the partition, open a command immediate as admin by typing “cmd” into the search field and proper clicking the proper consequence and deciding on “Run as administrator.” Then enter “diskpart” on the command immediate. Type “choose disk 0” to select your boot drive and then “listing partition” to present all of your partitions and then “choose partition [NUMBER]” the place the quantity is the restoration partition’s quantity. Finally, sort “delete partition” and it must be gone. If you get an error, strive getting into “gpt attributes=0x8000000000000000”  and then do it once more.

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