How to Improve SSD Performance for Windows 10 and 11

How to Improve SSD Performance for Windows 10 and 11

Slow computers are frustrating, but many times they just need a little TLC to bounce back. The solution can be as simple as making sure your operating system is up to date, but every so often you need to dive a little deeper and tend to that all-important SSD. If you’re a Windows 10 or 11 user, we are going to show you how to do just that.     

Declutter that Drive!

If you’ve never cleaned up your SSD before, there’s a good chance you have old files and unused apps slowing it down. Even brand-new computers have bloatware that you can get rid of to improve performance, so let’s tackle that first.

From the Start menu, click on Settings, and then Storage. You will find an overview of your available storage and what is using up the most space. Now it’s time to declutter. We will do this through a feature called Storage Sense, which sorts through and removes old files when enabled.

Storage Sense is found in the Storage Settings menu for Windows 10 users, and the Storage Management menu for Windows 11 users. Both systems allow users to configure cleanings that follow a certain frequency or criteria.

For example, you can set Storage Sense to delete only the downloaded files that you haven’t opened after a certain length of time. The function can then be scheduled to occur every 1, 14, 30, or 60 days, or even never if you so choose. Windows 11 additionally offers cleanup recommendations, which identifies and compiles unused files to delete if you need space right away.    

Understandably, automation might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Manual decluttering is easy on both Windows versions; it just takes a little longer. In Storage Settings, click through each category and uninstall or delete unnecessary apps and temporary files one-by-one. Under Temporary Files, Windows even places a little checkmark next to items that won’t compromise your system’s functions if you delete them.

Similarly, you can go to the apps category within your settings to uninstall desktop and Microsoft Store apps. As for photos, select Pictures under your Storage usage, and then click on View Pictures to access the default location where your photos are stored. From there, delete away. 

Optimize, Optimize, Optimize

Simply deleting files on your SSD is but one part of a two-step process, because your deleted data continues to occupy space as “invalid” data until your drive is told to remove it completely. That full removal is known as trimming, or optimization, which Windows 10 and 11 do on a weekly basis unless you change the schedule manually.

If your computer is running slow, it never hurts to make sure everything is optimized. Click on the Drive optimization subcategory within Storage Management and review the pop-up window, which displays any drives connected to your computer. You will see the last time your drive has been retrimmed and can optimize it manually. You can also adjust the scheduled optimization to daily or monthly intervals, although we don’t recommend the latter. You might opt for daily retrims to coincide with Storage Sense if you have enabled daily cleanups.   

Outsource Your Storage

So, you’ve decluttered the excess and optimized your SSD. If you’re still running slow, you might consider adding an external SSD to the mix. This is a great option for offloading massive files or beefy apps that, while essential, take up a lot of space.

Samsung 4TB T7 Shield Portable SSD
Samsung 4TB T7 Shield Portable SSD

If you do go the route of external storage, we recommend using the Where New Content Is Saved function to store things externally, optimally, and consistently. This function, which can be found under Storage Settings or Advanced Storage Settings, depending on your OS, directs specified media to a specified destination. It’s the kind of built-in organization that makes integrating an external device more seamless.    

Read More: The Best External Hard Drives and SSDs

Do you have tips for SSD maintenance? How do you keep your computer in tip-top shape? Let us know in the Comments section, below.


This is NOT cleaning. This is system recovery. The ideas that are not recovery are adding new hardware. If you are going to discuss "cleaning" the system then talk about techniques or software to repair files, pointers and optimize data on drives.  Copying a poorly running system on to an SSD is not a good idea, especially if you think your audience can't open the case with a screwdriver. Please go bakc to the scratch pad and outline your essay paying strict attention to address the subject of the article and not wander off as if you are standing in a store shooting the breeze.

Very good point, since he never wrote about Cleaning, seems no one knows how to write well today. (CEO of Data Recovery Solutions)

Where is the part about "deep-cleaning?" Everything you suggest restores things to the original condition.

Hello, and thank you for your question. Deep cleaning may be performed by any of the methods described below. Whether you want to fully wipe your system and reinstall everything from scratch, or restore from a system image after reformatting. Times may vary depending on how much data you need to restore and the power of your system.