Personalization vs Performance: How to Draw the Line When Customizing Your PC

Are you looking for some personalization tips for your PC? Check out these great tips.

When you're customizing your PC, you already have a goal in mind. Some users want to customize their computers to improve their performance or to make it a lot faster. Others want a more personalized computer complete with animations, personalized desktops, and other features.

However, most of the time, these two goals go against each other. Using animation makes your computer perform a lot slower. Customizing your PC to improve its performance also means removing unnecessary features.

How do you strike the balance between personalization and performance?

First, let's look at some of the common customization tips to improve your PC's performance:

How to Customize Your PC to Boost Performance

Even though Windows 10 keeps getting faster and leaner, and hardware more capable, eventually, the performance of your computer will slow down due to a lot of factors, including but not limited to, compatibility issues, bugs, viruses or another form of malware, and even failing hardware.

However, if you're dealing with a sluggish PC, it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to replace it. Just a few simple software and hardware tweaks can put some pep back into Windows 10 — and most of them are free. These PC performance tips and tricks can make a world of difference when you're working at home and maybe don't have easy access to an IT help desk or resources.

Change your power settings

If you're using Windows 10's "Power saver" plan, you're slowing down your PC. That plan reduces your PC's performance in order to save energy. (Even desktop PCs typically have a "Power saver" plan.) Changing your power plan from "Power saver" to "High performance" or "Balanced" will give you an instant performance boost.

Disable programs that run on startup

One reason your Windows 10 PC may feel sluggish is that you've got too many programs running in the background — programs that you rarely or never use. Stop them from running, and your PC will run more smoothly.

Start by launching the Task Manager: Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc, right-click the lower-right corner of your screen and select Task Manager, or type task manager into the Windows 10 search box and press Enter. If the Task Manager launches as a compact app with no tabs, click "More details" at the bottom of your screen. The Task Manager will then appear in all of its full-tabbed glory. There's plenty you can do with it, but we're going to focus only on killing unnecessary programs that run at startup.

Shut off Windows tips and tricks

As you use your Windows 10 PC, Windows keeps an eye on what you're doing and offers tips about things you might want to do with the operating system. In my experience, I've rarely found these "tips" helpful. I also don't like the privacy implications of Windows constantly taking a virtual look over my shoulder.

Windows watching what you're doing and offering advice can also make your PC run more sluggishly. So if you want to speed things up, tell Windows to stop giving you advice. To do so, click the Start button, select the Settings icon and then go to System > Notifications & actions. Scroll down to the Notifications section and uncheck the box marked "Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows."

Clean out your hard disk

If you've got a bloated hard disk filled with files you don't need, you could be slowing down your PC. Cleaning it out can give you a speed boost. Windows 10 has a surprisingly useful built-in tool for doing this called Storage Sense. Go to Settings > System > Storage and at the top of the screen, move the toggle from Off to On. When you do this, Windows constantly monitors your PC and deletes old junk files you no longer need — temporary files, files in the Downloads folder that haven't been changed in a month, and old Recycle Bin files. You can also do this using a PC cleaning software.

Disable shadows, animations, and visual effects

Windows 10 has some nice eye candy — shadows, animations, and visual effects. On fast, newer PCs, these don't usually affect system performance. But on slower and older PCs, they can exact a performance hit.

These are the animations and special effects you'll probably want to turn off because they have the greatest effect on system performance:

● Animate controls and elements inside windows
● Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
● Animations in the taskbar
● Fade or slide menus into view
● Fade or slide ToolTips into view
● Fade out menu items after clicking
● Show shadows under windows

How to Customize Your PC to Personalize It

Whether you want to have a darker color scheme, run several apps at the same time, or display multiple desktops, Windows 10 gives you many options to personalize your PC. And while some customization options are less obvious than others, it is worth the effort to get your Windows 10 to look and function the way you want it to. Here are a few things you can do to personalize your PC.
Change your themes

The most obvious way to personalize Windows 10 is by changing your background and lock screen images. Do this by right-clicking anywhere on your desktop and choosing the Personalization settings. Here, you can choose and preview different backgrounds and themes you can use. You can even add new themes by using images from your gallery or by clicking the Get more themes online option.

Use dark mode

Want to give your Windows 10 an edgier feel? Replace those white backgrounds with dark mode. Click on the Windows icon on your taskbar and select the gear icon for Settings. Choose Personalization and go to Colors. Scroll down until you see "Choose your default app mode". Clicking on Dark sets your screens to dark mode. Clicking on Light, meanwhile, restores the default white background settings.

Virtual desktops

If you're having trouble separating your work files from your personal files, try creating a virtual desktop. Press the Windows key + TAB to show all your open windows. At the bottom right corner of your screen, you'll notice an option to add a new desktop. Simply click on it to create a new virtual desktop. Drag the windows you want to move to this new desktop, and immediately enjoy looking up your personal interests on one desktop while strictly doing business on the other.

App snapping

App snapping is not exactly a new feature, but with Windows 10, you can now snap any app in place. For people who like to multitask, this feature is for you. Snap any app window by dragging it into any of the four corners of your screen. You can have a maximum of four separate windows simultaneously open in your monitor, for when you want to browse the internet while you're filling out spreadsheets and doing other tasks.

Change color themes

Is the plain black Start Menu not doing it for you anymore? Just right-click on your desktop, choose Personalize > Color, and select an accent colour that pleases you. Tick the checkboxes under "How accent colour on the following surfaces" if you want this colour applied to the start menu, taskbar, action centre, and title bars.

Performance vs Personalization

Finding the balance between performance and personalization can be quite tricky since most personalization features demand more from your computer. Finding the sweet spot between these two means finding the features that allow you to personalize your PC without sacrificing speed and performance.

So how do you do this?

Choose a Still Image Instead of an Animation

Moving backgrounds can be quite pleasing to the eyes, but it can take its toll on your computer resources. Instead of choosing an animated background, settle for a photo background instead. To do this, open up the Windows 10 Settings menu, specifically the Settings > Personalization > Background. You'll see a list of backgrounds to choose from. Select Picture, click Browse to find the folder in which your picture is located.

Organize Your Start Menu and Taskbar

Not only will this keep your items tidy, but it will also be a lot easier to access certain features. How you organize things will be a matter of preference. If you prefer a list of apps, navigate to Settings > Personalization > Start, then toggle on Show most-used apps. That will place your most frequently used apps at the top of the list, eliminating the need to scroll through them.

If you right-click a tile or app and go to More > Pin to Taskbar, you can create a shortcut icon that will live on the row of icons on your Taskbar at the bottom of the screen. That will save you from opening Start. Remember, the more icons you pin, the less space you'll have for shortcuts to active windows. If you hover over the Taskbar icons, you'll see a popup thumbnail of each active window within that app.

Turn on automated Windows maintenance

Every day, behind the scenes, Windows 10 performs maintenance on your PC. It does things like security scanning and performing system diagnostics to make sure everything is up to snuff — and automatically fixes problems if it finds them. That makes sure your PC runs at peak performance. By default, this automatic maintenance runs every day at 2:00 a.m., as long as your device is plugged into a power source and is asleep.

Windows 10 has a lot of customization options for its users. However, not all customization options are ideal. You need to learn how to make your PC look more appealing without compromising its performance. You don't have to ditch one for the other. Experiment with these features, and keep those that work for you.

Author Bio

As a Journalist by profession, April Reyes has extensive experience in writing about various topics under the sun, including technology, gadgets, travel, social media, and digital marketing. If she's not writing articles for Software Tested, she's either watching her favorite TV series or playing video games.

Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including,, and many more.

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