Windows 10 Performance and Install Integrity Checklist

Technical Level : Intermediate


For those with performance problems in Windows 10, these can often be resolved by doing basic housekeeping and Troubleshooting steps.  The following steps will check over your install quality and fix most problems.

You can take your time to perform these steps over days but try to complete them all to know for sure the quality and condition of your install.  If you need any help just ask in the Comments section below.

If any steps cannot be run, try restarting into Safe Mode with Networking following How to enter Windows 10's Safe Mode.  You can also run the Repair commands via the Command Prompt at boot in the Advanced Startup Options Advanced Troubleshoot options which may work best from bootable media created from Media Creation Tool .

1) Turn On and run System Restore in Windows 10:  Make sure System Restore is always turned on for C drive and has plenty of disk space apportioned (5-15%) as this will be your first line of defense and allow you to roll back any undesired changes that affect performance. If you have a restore point before problems began, trying rolling back to it now.  If Windows won't start you can System Restore or do other Repairs from Advanced Startup Options including the booted media.

2) Type Update in Start Search box or browse Start>Settings (gear icon)>Updates and Security>Windows Update, select Check for Updates, expedite these through requested restart, then check again until no more are offered.   If you have Windows Update problems there is a new Windows Update repair & reset guided walk-though to resolve them: 

3) Once all Windows Updates are installed with no more available, right click Start button to open Device Manager, import any drivers still missing, or update or reinstall any in error with a ! mark, from the PC or Device maker's Support Downloads webpage. Compare drivers available for download with the ones presently install to make sure you have the latest.  It shows how to trace and find unknown device drivers here:  Updating a driver. - Microsoft Community

4) Type msconfig in Start Search box, right click System Configuration Utility to Run as Administrator.  In the tab for Services tick the box to Hide all MS Services, disable everything except anti-virus, any sync, stickies, printer with scan.  All others are freeloaders on System Resources, cause conflicts , spy on you and do not need to Start with Windows unless you know for sure you need them on stand-by at all times.  If in doubt you can Google the name or ask back here. 

Then move to the tab for Startups, which will take you to Task Manager to do the same thing.

Repeat this step for Startup folder by right clicking Start to access Run box, copy/paste shell:common startup press Enter to open Startup Folder.  There is also a new location in Version 1803 at Settings > Apps > Startup where these items can be toggled, so check there too.

5) In your browsers' Settings, check Add-Ons or Extensions to disable all but Flash and any Reader helper: How To Disable Plugins/Add-Ons/Extensions.  Change the Search to your desired one:  How to Add Any Search Engine to Your Web Browser.  I would have several browsers on your task bar so there's always one that's best for the task.  I use Firefox, Edge and Chrome in that order of preference.  It's easy to share bookmarks between all of them in their settings under Import Favorites from another Browser.  Set the preferred one as Default in Settings > Apps > Default Apps. 

6) Remove any bundled third party security utilities and use the built in and exceptionally secure and fast Windows Defender Security Center. It includes easy to use features such as Antvirus, Firewall, Network security, Smart Screen Filter. It also includes the ability to block ransomware and other types of malicious activities - and its FREE! No need to buy a subscription.

7) Download, install, decline trial version, update,  then run full scans with Malwarebytes, the best free on-demand scanner.  Afterwards you can turn off the Malwarebytes Premium Trial in it's Account Settings.  There's no need to buy the real-time protection in the Trial unless you get repeatedly infected using only Defender. 

8) For problems with apps  Troubleshoot problems with an app - Windows Help .  Many apps can be Reset in Settings > Apps & Features by choosing the App's Advanced Settings.  You can also Re-register Apps in Windows 8 and 10.

9) Type CP in Task Bar Search box, open Control Panel, in Search box type Maintenance,  choose Security and Maintenance, choose Maintenance, then Start Maintenance.  You can make sure Maintenance is set to run regularly in the Maintenance Settings.  This is all the maintenance a good install of Windows 10 needs.  Third party optimizing and tweaking suites can ruin Windows.

10) Type CMD in Task Bar Search, right click Command Prompt to Run As Administrator (or boot the  Windows 10 Installation Media to access Repair My Computer on second screen, then Troubleshoot Options, open a Command Prompt) Copy and Paste the following commands each followed by Enter key:

sfc /scannow  

If damaged files are reported run up to 3 separate times to try to repair files. 

If irreparable files remain then the image file they are compared against may need repair.  To determine this type Powershell in Search box on taskbar, choose Run as Administrator, copy and paste or type precisely these commands followed by Enter key:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

If Component Store corruption is detected, this will tell you if it is irreparable or can be repaired:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

If the image is reparable, run:

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

If it prompts for Sources file, mount or insert Windows 10 installation media, locate install.wim or .esd file in Sources folder, substitute it’s path in the following command:

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:wim:Full Path to install.wim file:1

(for example: Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:wim:H:\Sources\Install.wim:1)

or if you have an .esd file

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:esd:Full Path to install.esd file:1

It may take some fiddling to get these correct.  Sometimes inserted media won't be read, but mounting the ISO file itself (by double-clicking) to use as source will. Proofread closely, watch spacing, ask back if you need help or consult this guide to DISM:   DISM - Repair Windows 10 Image - Windows 10 Forums

Once the image is repaired then the broken System files should repair by running again:

Sfc /scannow

11) If these still won't repair after running 3 times and performance problems persist I would do a Windows 10 Repair Upgrade which is a simple procedure that resolves many problems by reinstalling the OS while keeping your files and apps - although it may resolve problems better if you choose to save nothing, after backing up your files first. 

12) Problems with the Start Menu and Task Bar can be fixed by [How To] Re-register Start Menu In Windows 10.  Many other troubleshooters are at Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.  Type Control Panel in Start Search, choose Icon View, then Troubleshooting, at top left View All to see many more.

13) Run a full Disk Check, if necessary from the Command Prompt.  For problems with Hard Drive or SSD run the maker's Hard Drive Testing Tools.  If none for your HD brand then run SeaTools for Windows or boot SeaTools from a USB Drive.   Check for newer SSD firmware.  Type Disk in Start Search to Defragment & Optimize Hard Drives & SSD's.

14) Since they make it easy, those with Dell or HP PC's should run the built-in Hardware diagnostics by powering up the PC while pressing the Dell F12 or HP ESC or F2 keys.  Test your RAM - Test with Memtest86+ overnight.

15) Compare the present BIOS version from Start>Windows Admin Tools>System Info to latest UEFI/BIOS firmware Update on the PC or motherboard model's Support Downloads webpage, follow the instructions carefully (sometimes in the download's Read Me file) to flash the BIOS update.  For PC's within one-year support warranty, ask for guided help from manufacturer's Support. 

16) Analyze repeat Errors in the Event Viewer as explained here:  How to Troubleshoot Problems in Windows Via Event Viewer.   You can zero in on processes (including Startup processes) that are causing problems following How to use Process Explorer, Microsoft's free, supercharged Task Manager alternative 

17) Another thing to try with persistent problems is to follow How to use a local account to fix issues on Windows 10 to create a new Admin account to see if the issues are present when you test running from it.  If not you may have a corrupt User account, which may or may not be reparable using the repairs here.  As shown in tutorial above, test that all programs run from the new account to reinstall any that don't, copy your files over, then when you're sure nothing is missing you can Delete User Account in Windows 10.  At any time you can also convert a Local to a Microsoft account or vice versa:  Switch to Microsoft Account in Windows 10 & Switch back to a local account from a Microsoft account.

It may be necessary to enable the built-in hidden Administrator used only in emergencies to create the new account as shown here and here.  Afterwards be sure to hide the account again.

18) If necessary you can also use whichever method works here to access Advanced Startup Options - including from booted media - to attempt a Startup Repair to check over the boot files, System Restore, Go back to old Build, Reset Your Windows 10 PC or access the Command Prompt to run any of the commands given. 

19) If serious problems persist you can open the Windows 10 Installation Media for your version on the desktop to perform a repair upgrade using the Windows 10 ISO file, also a good way to apply the latest Windows 10 software version which will always be available in Media Creation Tool.   This will resolve most problems, but if not you can also run the automated Reset Your Windows 10 PC to reinstall the OS but you'll need to reinstall your personal programs afterwards.  Reset may also reinstall corrosive Factory Bloatware.

20) An automated tool is also available starting in Windows 10  to Start fresh with a clean installation of Windows which will remove Factory Bloatware when the Reset does not because it has been customized by PC maker. 

21) What we're seeing especially in Windows 10 is that everything depends on the quality of the install so if you want to invest in the very best install of all do this gold-standard Clean Install Windows 10 which clears the hard drive to get it cleanest..  You will get and keep the best possible install to the exact extent you stick with the steps, tools and methods in the link.  I will assist you in the Comments section there.

22) If problems persist please start a new thread with a descriptive title in Installation forum, describe problems in detail including any pictures using Attach Image button in reply box or screenshots following how-to Screenshot using Snipping Tool.  You can even Record steps to reproduce a problem - Windows HelpWe will try to help you resolve any remaining problems until you have a perfectly running install. 

If you'd like to ask a question about these steps or ask for my help in your thread, ask or provide a link in Comments below. 

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I am keen to try out your suggestions, my PC is not usable. However, so far, when I have tried to disable all services as suggested the system configure hangs and I have to power off the PC and wait a long time for it to reboot. I don't know if I'm disabling something I shouldn't be? Don't know if you can offer any advice?

Hi Joanne -  There's nothing in either of those lists that can affect performance and they don't even take effect until after a restart, so the hang is apparently due to other corruption.  Go ahead and try the other steps first.  You can try any that won't work from Desktop in Safe Mode with Networking entered via How To Access Advanced Startup Options in Windows 8 or 10.  Easiest access is to press Cntrl Alt Del simultaneously, then from Lock Screen click Power icon, hold Shift and Restart.

You can also run the Commands given from the Command Prompt in those same linked Startup Options.  If nothing works consider doing a Windows 10 Reset saving nothing to shed most issues, or the vastly superior Clean Reinstall Windows 10 Upgrade/Factory OEM  which will reactivate if the Upgrade has already activated in Settings>Updates>Activation.

I am a volunteer and not Microsoft.

Over 100,000 helped in forums for 10 years. I don't quit for those who are polite and cooperative.

Windows MVP 2010-20

I have found a handy technique before running SFC.  I delete (or rename) cbs.log [c:\windows\Logs\CBS.log].

After SFC and DISM the logs are a manageable size to scan for any errors logged.

Still WAITING for a perfect Windows!
                 during upgrades

All this is Greek to me, I'm ready to throw my desktop (hp) in the lake. I would love to have XP back! My old 2003 computer with XP was 10 times faster than this. This computer came with windows 8 with free upgrade to 8.1. I wasn't

thrilled with either so did the upgrade to 10, and I hate it! By the way what is this **** about having to sign into

windows?? With my old XP I turned it on, I selected user and then signed into MSN, or firefox, Why sign into windows


If you don't want to sign in using a MS Account, follow How to Create a New Local User Account in Windows 10  and leave the password box blank.

Did you have questions about how to perform any step in Windows 10 Install Integrity Checklist?  Let me know when you're ready to start.

I am a volunteer and not Microsoft.

Over 100,000 helped in forums for 10 years. I don't quit for those who are polite and cooperative.

Windows MVP 2010-20

I agree with you 100%.  I used windows for years and years, since maybe Windows 3.0 or something like that.  I too bought a Windows 8 laptop with a free upgrade to Windows 10.  

I upgraded to Windows 10, too.  It was the most frustrating experience I ever had over a computer issue.  It was awful.  Among other things, my Microsoft 365 subscription would not work.  I called technical support maybe 8 times and each time they made me run the reinstallation program of Microsoft 365, which I had also done myself a number of times and it failed to work.  I couldn't go back to Windows 8 because it had somehow erased by restore partition that came with the laptop and would only force me to keep Windows 10.  I was so aggravated by this, as I paid for the subscription and wanted to continue using it.  

After using windows for years, Windows 10 did me in.  My solution:  I bought a Macbook.  It's the best thing I ever bought.  After owning this, I truly see that Windows is nothing more than a very cheap imitation of the truly amazing and error free Mac OS.  I wish I had a Mac way back when, I would have saved myself years of computer issues.

My install was WIN 10 Pro Dell factory install.  Updated to 1511.  I don't believe my install was corrupted, especially since I went through 3 System exchanges, all with issues re: Lock Screen quick status apps.  Communication errors, "Mail Tile" program not showing status.. and on and on and on.

Did you complete the Windows 10 Install Integrity Checklist?

While we still get a problem posted here every few minutes for the inferior Upgrade install, there isn't a single complaint by those tens of thousands who have followed Clean Install Windows 10 Upgrade - proving that the install is everything!

I am a volunteer and not Microsoft.

Over 100,000 helped in forums for 10 years. I don't quit for those who are polite and cooperative.

Windows MVP 2010-20

Instead of becoming hysterical why not calmly work through these issues with us? 

If you don't want to sign in using a MS Account, follow How to Create a New Local User Account in Windows 10  and leave the password box blank.

Did you have questions about how to perform any step in Windows 10 Install Integrity Checklist

or did you just want to throw a tantrum?  Let us know when you're ready to start.

Greg, I thought that anyone would understand from my "Roadkill" handle, that I don't know jack about computers.

I also stated that it was all Greek to me. It still is. And, yes I did want to throw a tantrum, I have been very frustrated

with this computer and windows and with people that have a condesending attitude. I think that perhaps I will follow

the advice of AngelaF_65. Would you like to buy an only slightly used HP ENVY 23? It hasn't gone for a swim yet!

Instead of becoming hysterical why not calmly work through these issues with us? 

If you don't want to sign in using a MS Account, follow How to Create a New Local User Account in Windows 10  and leave the password box blank.

Did you have questions about how to perform any step in Windows 10 Install Integrity Checklist

or did you just want to throw a tantrum?  Let us know when you're ready to start.

Instead of being patronizing, why not give an explanation about why these and so many other people are experiencing difficulties after "upgrading" to Windows 10?

Why should we have to spend time to debug our computers since we installed this update? Those of us who believed the hype and thought this might be better than the OS we had before, and relatively trouble-free. Windows 10 seems to be even more full of bugs than previous versions.

Let us know when YOU are ready to start

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Last updated October 21, 2020 Views 682,898 Applies to: