Windows machines are notorious to get slower over time and many folks have to wait if something needs to load and get to a usable state.
Remember the time when you had to wait a couple of minutes for the excel file to load or launching a website takes forever? In spite of having adequate CPU and Memory power? Yes, we're talking about it.
In everyday usage, Windows creates a lot of files on the go in the backend for use as cache, required checkpoints, entries into windows registry and so on, even into the physical memory. Most operating systems clean up once the intended use is over. Now especially many of these files could get corrupted and we would expect the underlying operating system to take care of removing the junk once it is not needed. Windows do a fair job in doing that but over time the clutter gets too much and when you have too many files, entries, browser caches etc, it fails to keep up with the maintenance activity. That slows down our entire experience with the computer and we start cribbing about the power of the underlying hardware. In reality, if you can keep up with the regular maintenance, the machine will run pristine for many years.
Think of it this way, every action you do on a computer has an entry created somewhere in the hard disk which is used for the internal functioning of the operating system itself. After you are done with that particular use, that entry is no more needed and deleting them would be preferred. If it doesn't happen, it builds up and any time the OS needs to check for something, it'll have to go through a bunch of unneeded entries until it gets to where it wants to go.
There are some of the tools that I use to clean the machine of clutter and that is how my start-up time, shut downtime and all activity times remain very acceptable on my laptops. There are many commercial tools out there but I prefer to use open-source tools to get this job done.
In the past, I have used a lot of different software. The last I used was CCleaner which used to do a good job. But then they started gathering information and sending it over to the servers of different countries and I stopped using them. I found Bleachbit and it is an open-source application built specifically for this purpose and serves very well. You can install it and if you have constraints that you can't install third-party applications, they also provide you with a portable version of the software too. Go grab it...
It helps with all sorts of clutter including Windows internal files from updates, browser caches, history, cookies etc. Close all the applications prior to running it and you'd be surprised to see the amount of clutter if removes from the machines. I would follow it up with a reboot of the machine to make sure that all the files that were not deleted and marked for deletion are also taken care of. Also, make sure to select the ones which you want to clean from the left-hand panel of BleachBit. I select everything except 'Free disk space'. That particular one is time-consuming and it basically is flushing the disk with all zeroes to ensure a perfectly clean slate. Well, that is not needed unless you're planning to sell your hard disk or computer itself.
Second is the Windows Networking. Over time, the windows also get slower on the networking and I have always reset the windows networking stack to claim back my speed and efficiency when it comes to data transmission.
Open a command prompt as administrator and execute both these commands.
netsh int ip reset reset.log
netsh winsock reset
It also needs a reboot to reset the network stack.
The above two are the only two essential maintenance activities I would recommend on the windows systems. It takes care of most of the issues when it comes to the slow computer problem.
Optionally, I have an extension for my browser as well. Over time, the browser also accumulates cookies, caches, state information, passwords, history and so on. It can get annoying with mainly high memory usage on the systems and cleaning up helps. Now, BleachBit helps you to do that but remember we plan to run it like weekly once right? So say you want to reclaim your browser performance every few days, then these extensions could come in handy.
The only browser I use is Microsoft Edge (it's a chromium engine based browser and gives you an on-par experience that most people like about Google Chrome). I am aversed to using anything Google nowadays over privacy concerns. I do have google chrome installed as a backup but seldom use it.
It is one of the extensions that I use almost every couple of days. It helps clean your browser and not only bring back the speed element but keeps your memory usage in check.
Try out these nifty hacks and you would thank me for a responsive computer at all times.