How to avoid the top 5 most common Windows mistakes

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Whether your computer is brand new or years old, these tips can help you clean things up and stay safer. Read on to see if you’re making these mistakes.

1. You didn’t stop programs from slowing down startup

Most apps don’t need to start up every time you boot your PC. All this does is slow you down.

You can disable startup apps through your Settings in Windows 10 and 11. Here’s how:

• Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.

• Select Apps, then Startup.

• Click on the slider next to each app to disable or enable it.

• Each app has a description showing its impact level. You can disable high-impact apps to speed up your PC.

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2. You have to sift through bloatware

It’s not just programs you want that can slow you down. Most computers include installed – and unnecessary – apps and programs known as bloatware.

Scan through your app list to identify any you never use, and follow these steps to delete them.

Here’s how to remove apps you don’t use from Windows 10:

• Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.

• Select Apps, then Apps & Features.

• Click on an application you want to remove and select Uninstall.

Here’s how to remove apps from Windows 11:

• Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.

• Select Apps, then Apps & Features.

• Find an application you want to remove and click on the three dots to the right of the app.

• Click Uninstall in the popup window.

3. You’re not using the features that make life easier

Accessibility settings can make your gadgets easier to use. Check out these 10 hidden features hiding in your phone’s accessibility settings.

On a Windows PC, you can also find many useful features. There's the magnifier tool and text size, of course. You'll also find options for keyboard shortcuts, color contrast, voice typing, eye control, caption settings, narration, voice recognition, focus, and more.

Windows 10 and 11 have many accessibility features to make them easier to use.

• In Windows 10, you’ll find these options by going to Settings > Ease of Access.

• For machines running Windows 11, go to Settings > Accessibility.

4. You always skip updates

Yes, it’s annoying that your computer always wants to update when you’re in the middle of something. But trust me when I say it’s worth it.

Microsoft releases regular updates to add new functions or patch vulnerabilities that expose you to hackers and malware.

Automatic updates are turned on by default, but you can manually check for updates at any time by going to Start > Settings > Windows Update, then selecting Check for updates.

App publishers also update their apps to add new features and fix problems. The Microsoft Store can automatically install these updates.

Turn on automatic app updates:

• Go to Start and select the Microsoft Store

• Click on your profile icon in the upper right and select App settings.

• Toggle on the slider next to App updates.

5. You’re a malware magnet

No matter what a computer is used for, it’s always vulnerable to attack.

Sure, you can find “free” antivirus software online or in the various app stores, but can you really trust it? Remember, when something is free, you are the product. At best, these free solutions don’t work very well. At worst, they’re the malicious software you need to worry about.

Here are my tips on how to choose antivirus software.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Skipping update or a slow startup? 5 common Windows mistakes to avoid.