Windows 10 Quick Tips – Background Apps


running-in-the-backgroundLeft to its own devices Windows will happily run all sorts of stuff in the background on your PC. A lot of the time you might not even realize it’s happening. One important thing to consider, however, is that all these background Apps use up precious system resources and that might not be a good thing on an older computer. Heck, even on modern systems, why have the CPU working on things that don’t matter to you?

Everything on computers is measured in time slices. Everything that’s running on your computer gets a few of these time slices, then another running process gets a few, and so on. This happens so fast these days that everything appears to be running at the same time. Each instruction that a CPU processes doesn’t do very much but when you can process billions of instructions per second then things become fluid. So, my point here is if you don’t have to process a few billion instructions for a background App that you don’t need running, then why do it? That time could be better spent elsewhere, like on things you actually do care about. By eliminating these little parasites you will have taken one step closer toward speeding up your computer, if only by a bit. One step at a time, right? “Slowly I Turned … Step By Step … Inch By Inch…”

This week’s Quick Tips article will show you how to turn off these useless, sneaky little process hogs right from within Windows.

Getting To The Setting

  1. Use the Windows + I keys to open the Settings App
  2. Choose Privacy
  3. In the left panel, choose Background apps

That should bring you to a window similar to this one:


background-apps-settings

The first choice at the top of the right panel allows you to turn off Background Apps altogether. This probably is not the right thing to do since there are running Apps that you most likely need or use– like Windows Security for one. Nope, the right thing to do is to scroll through the list and switch each App On/Off individually.

To give you a specific example of what can be turned off, we’ll talk about the Camera. I use my WebCam but only with Skype, and then, only once in a while. I don’t need that Camera App running in the background all week long when it won’t be used. As soon as I fire up Skype, the camera works fine. You don’t have to remember to come back to this window to turn it back on.

When you are happy with your choices, simply close this window (there is no Save button).

Note: Sometime this month Microsoft is expected to roll out the 1903 update (may heaven help us). When that happens you will probably have to come back here and run through this task again. In fact, it’s a good idea to check all your settings after every major update. You never know what the sneaky old MS is doing behind your back.


As always, if you have any helpful suggestions, comments or questions, please share them with us,

Richard

About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

5 Comments

    • Hi John,

      I left on Sticky Notes because I use it every day. I also left on a GUI control for my fancy new mouse. That’s it!
      Everybody will have different needs so what I chose is not necessarily going to work for everyone,
      Richard

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