Windows 10 uses a lot of RAM. No matter how much RAM you add, you still end up looking at RAM usage even in idle stage. The reason is lots of unnecessary services that run in the background.
Disclaimer: This guide is made for people who need to reduce RAM consumption in Windows 10 without expanding their RAM. Not everyone can buy extra RAM for their laptops and not everyone likes Linux to get some things done.
Windows 10 LTSB is the least bloated one but it’s not for everyone. Windows 10 Pro uses most RAM in consumer editions. I have a legitimate Windows 10 Pro license which I didn’t want to waste. I was excited like everyone thinking Microsoft really built Windows 10 from the ground up. Turns out its just another shell experience with additional features.
This heavy usage also affects your battery if you use a laptop. I couldn’t even pay mid range games due to fear of overheating and damaging my battery.
After searching on forums about Windows LTSB and other versions, I came to know that the extra bloatware that Microsoft adds in Pro version is the result of that RAM consumption. LTSB doesn’t have any bloatware but its release cycle is very slow. The last version was in 2016 and the next will be somewhere in 2018 or maybe 2019.
Windows 10 LTSB is not for everyone!
My solution was not to go to LTSB. I was not interested in pirated versions as I will waste my Windows 10 Pro License. So, I decided that instead of using LTSB or any other versions I’ll just modify the Official Windows 10 Pro to my liking.
Then after 4 different customization experiments, I was able to get my Windows 10 Pro run under 850MB (843 exactly). Here’s the proof:
Note: The image above is from a fresh installation without any Antivirus suite (I even removed Windows Defender). After installing software like Antivirus, Browsers, Office etc your RAM consumption will definitely increase.
So how do we achieve this RAM usage?
I made all the customization to an official Windows 10 Pro ISO. I got a Windows 10 Pro International version ISO and used it as the base image.
My laptop is Intel Core i5 4210 (x64) and installed RAM is 4GB.
NOTE: This tutorial is meant for a clean installation and not for upgrading (or) formatting just your C drive. If you need privacy and speed, you need to clean up the default mess and install fresh.
Also it is not a good idea to run Windows 10 on 512MB RAM. (You are better off with Windows 7 Lite editions for 512 MB rams)
If you want to save time then directly use the modified version that I have made.
You can download the ISO here (Note: No software added):
The final ISO size I got was 3.6 GB. Its has Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit with Edge and Microsoft Store, that’s it. No metro apps and no cortana, blah blah etc.
[ It contains only Windows 10 Home/Pro – x64 versions (Redstone 3 – 1709)]
In case you have downloaded the above ready-made ISO file, then you can directly proceed to step 3.
Want to do this on your own? Here’s how you should move forward. Follow these steps and you must be using a clean Windows 10 Home/Pro ISO:
1. Download your ISO:
First get your official ISO from the WindowsISO website. Just Google it. I am not posting the URL here since it may be against Microsoft terms of service.
Select your version of Windows and architecture etc then get the ISO. It would be around 4.8 GB for English International Redstone 3 (1709).
Note that these ISO’s contain all the editions like Home, Pro, Education etc. You can remove them later.
2. Customizing the ISO and removing bloatware, telemetry etc (The tough part!):
In order to remove the unnecessary items from your Windows 10 installation, you need a tool that would edit the ISO. You need to extract it and recompile an ISO after customization. There’s a beautiful tool for this purpose called MSMG Toolkit.
An awesome developer of MYDigitaLife, MSMG has created this tool a long time back. This is updated for every new release of Windows. So, it works perfectly with any version that you choose.
You can trust this tool and developer! We just need to follow the instructions by him carefully and everything will work as intended.
Here are the instructions given from the developer himself:
[A] – Select the Source Images using [Source->Select Source from Source <DVD> Folder] menu.
– <Optional> If also required to Service Source Boot/Recovery Images then Choose Yes when asked to mount.
Note: The Toolkit requires a Windows Installation Image to be in a .wim format for servicing.
[B] – <Optional> Integrate the Windows Language Packs (Language Packs + Language Features Packs + Winpe Language Packs) using [Integrate->Windows Language Packs] menu.
Note: You need to download the Windows Language Packs for MSMG ToolKit which contains the required files (win-lp+lfp+winpe-lp).
Copy the Windows Language Pack files to <Packs\LangPacks\w10\<Architecture>\<LanguageCode>> E.g: <Packs\LangPacks\w10\x64\en-GB>.
Windows Language Packs for MSMG ToolKit is uploaded only on request basis due to low upload speed here.
[C] – <Optional> Integrate the Windows Drivers using [Integrate->Windows Drivers] menu.
Note: Copy the Driver files/folder to <Drivers\w10\<Architecture>> folder.
[D] – Integrate all required Windows Features (Except Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5) using [Integrate->Windows Features] menu.
Note: Some Packs for MSMG ToolKit are not included within the ToolKit Archive due to it’s size and instead they are provided as separately.
You need to download the required packs and extract them to the Packs folder as specified below.
Dart_W10.7z (Extract the folder DaRT inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\DaRT\w10).
Games.7z (Extract the folder Games inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\Games).
MediaFeaturePack_W10.7z (Extract the folder MediaFeaturePack inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\MediaFeaturePack).
NetFX35_W10_TH2.7z (Extract the folder NetFX35 inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\NetFX35).
NetFX35_W10_RS1.7z (Extract the folder NetFX35 inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\NetFX35).
NetFX35_W10_RS2.7z (Extract the folder NetFX35 inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\NetFX35).
NetFX35_W10_RS3.7z (Extract the folder NetFX35 inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\NetFX35).
NetFX471_W10.7z (Extract the folder NetFX471 inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\NetFX471).
RSAT_W10.7z (Extract the folder RSAT inside the Archive to Packs folder, so that it should be like <Packs\RSAT).
[E] – Integrate Windows Updates/WHD Update Pack using [Integrate->Windows Updates->Windows Updates/WHD Update Packs] menu.
The ToolKit supports updates either in .msu/.cab format.
For Windows Updates Integration you need to copy the updates to <Updates\w10\<Architecture>> folder (E.g <Packs\Updates\w10\x64>).
For WHD Update Pack Integration you need copy the WHD Updates Packs files for Windows 10 <Packs\WHD\w10\<Architecture> folder according to the category.
Copy Windows Cumulative Update file to <Packs\WHD\w10\<Architecture>\Cumulative> folder (E.g <Packs\WHD\w10\x64\Cumulative>).
Copy Windows Dynamic Update files to <Packs\WHD\w10\<Architecture>\Dynamic> folder (E.g <Packs\WHD\w10\x64\Dynamic>).
Copy Windows FlashPlayer Update file to <Packs\WHD\w10\<Architecture>\FlashPlayer> folder (E.g <Packs\WHD\w10\x64\FlashPlayer>).
Copy Windows ServicingStack Update file to <Packs\WHD\w10\<Architecture>\ServicingStack> folder (E.g <Packs\WHD\w10\x64\ServicingStack>).
Copy Windows SetupMedia Update files to <Packs\WHD\w10\<Architecture>\SetupMedia> folder (E.g <Packs\WHD\w10\x64\SetupMedia>).
Copy Windows WinPE Update files to <Packs\WHD\w10\<Architecture>\WinPE> folder (E.g <Packs\WHD\w10\x64\WinPE>).
[F] – Integrate Windows Setup Media Updates using [Integrate->Windows Updates->Windows Setup Media Updates] menu.
[G] – Integrate all required Windows Custom Features using [Integrate->Windows Custom Features] menu.
[H] – Remove all required Microsoft Default Metro Apps using [Remove->Remove Default Metro Apps] menu.
[I] – Remove all required Windows Components using [Remove->Remove Windows Components] menu.
[J] – Remove all required Advanced Windows Components using [Remove->Remove Windows Components->Remove Advanced Windows Components] menu.
Note: If Windows 10 Redstone 3 Removes Windows Defender, Windows People Experience Host and Windows SmartScreen Components at last.
[K] – <Optional> Customize the Image using [Customize] menu.
[L] – Cleanup the Source Image using [Apply->Cleanup Source Images] menu.
[M] – Integrate Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Feature using [Integrate->Windows Features->Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5) menu.
Note: You may have to re-integrate Windows 10 Cumulative Update again to update Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Components or You can skip this and the Windows Update will offer a 50 MB update to update Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Components.
[N] – Apply & Save Changes to Source Images using [Apply->Apply & Save Changes to Source Images] menu.
[O] – Re-Build Source Images using [Apply->Re-Build Source Images] menu.
Once this is done, your ISO is complete and ready to install.
Below is a video with above instructions from another developer Phoenix. He took the time to explain every step in this video. Thanks Phoenix!
I have removed almost all of the bloatware from my Windows 10 Pro with this process.
I removed Telemetry, Cortana, Defender, OneDrive and some more apps that are not removed in the above video. The level of tracking has gone beyond insane these days. Like many online sites pointed out, Windows 10 is definitely a privacy nightmare!
3. Install Windows using the Windows USB/DVD or Rufus tool:
Everything here is self-explanatory, so I am not digging into details. Just pick your software, plug in your USB and make a Windows 10 USB Installation Disk.
Once this is done, install Windows 10 from USB. Remember, you should do a clean install!
At this point you’ll have a working clean installation of Windows 10 Pro (or) Home without any extra bloatware. But we can further speed up Windows 10 with tweaks.
4. Tweaking Windows 10 Registry Settings:
You should download this registry file below and click on it. When it asks for permission to add the values, click Yes. These tweaks will make your PC faster.
If that doesn’t work you have to manually import it. The registry is accessible by typing regedit.exe in run. Then click Import in file menu and select this file.
Registry speed up tweak:
5. Further customization and experimenting:
First create a System Restore point if you use System Restore feature. Backup any important files.
1. Reduce Transparency Effects:
Go to display settings and click on Personalisation and then click on Colors. Uncheck Transparency effects. Transparency is always bad when it comes to performance.
Microsoft is slowly killing performance with the so called Fluent design implementation. Windows 10 is turning out like Windows Vista. Bad decision IMHO but we don’t need that fancy stuff. So just disable transparency.
2. Improve Performance by selecting Best Performance Mode:
Right click on This PC and select Properties > Advanced Settings > Advanced > Performance > Settings Button > Select Adjust for Best Performance (Keep Smooth Fonts and Show windows contents checked.)
3. Disable unnecessary start up services:
This step has to done after installing your required daily software and drivers on your PC.
Go to Services and disable Non-Microsoft services. Uncheck anything that you feel you don’t need running. For me, unchecking every Non-Microsoft service worked well!
1. Disable Startup items from Task Manager:
Open Task Manager and select Startup Items. Check their impact on boot time and disable those you feel are not required for you.
2. Disable System restore:
If you don’t use System restore like me, you can disable it. It never worked well for me anyway. I just have a recovery drive to help me reset things. It’s up to you if you want this or not.
3. Check power plans:
Make sure you adjust your power plan for performance or balanced. Do not keep it in Battery Saver. Usually the power plan for laptops is set to battery saver.
4. Use 3rd Party Tools:
There are more setting that are not easy to tweak using explorer. We need Tools like Aero Tweaker and Ultimate Tweaker that can be used for further customization. But they have to be used wisely or you’ll screw up your system.
Be careful in selecting the settings. Do not change any setting if you are unsure. Some settings that you can change are:
Disable Start Animations
Reduce waiting time to kill apps
Turn off Search Indexer
Disable Print Spooler (If you dont use a physical printer)
Turn off animations in Ease of access settings of Windows.
6. Disable Unnecessary Services:
We have done most of the work here. There are some little things to be taken care of on your own. These include disabling services on the computer using services.msc
Disabling services is a tricky task. You disable wrong services, you computer wont work as expected. Do this only if you are good at tweaking your PC.
Here are some common services that can be disabled safely:
Windows Defender Service (We removed this already)
Print Spooler (If you don’t have a printer)
Remote Registry (Disable this)
IP Helper (If you don’t use IPv6 connection)
Program Compatibility Assistant Service (Compatibility never worked for me!)
Security Center (If you install a good Antivirus with Firewall and Anti-Malware, there
won’t be any notifications)
Windows Search (The indexer and Windows 10 search functionalities like web search etc)
Connected User Experiences and Telemetry (We already disabled this previously. So this
shouldn’t be running)
Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service (If your PC is touch screen, you need to enable this)
Diagnostic Policy Service (Telemtery and Tracking)
Windows Error Reporting Service (Disable this)
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) (Disable this unless you have a scanner)
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper (You dont need this unless you use workgroup network)
Diagnostic Tracking Service (Related to Telemetry and Data Collection)
7. Reduce SVCHOST Processes in Windows 10:
Windows 10 creates lots of Svchost processes. This eats up lot of RAM. To reduce this you need to use RegEdit tool.
Open Windows+R (Run) and type regedit and hit enter.
Now navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
In the right side panel look for SvcHostSplitThresholdInKB
By default it is at 380000. Change it according to your RAM.
1048576 = 1GB (1024*1024)
For 2GB multiply it with 2 etc.
Double click on DWORD and change its value. Now reboot your system.
We have successfully tweaked Windows 10 Pro to work under 1GB RAM. Though it runs under 1GB RAM, its better to have another 512MB added if you can’t afford more RAM or expand RAM in your Laptop.
8. Reduce system clutter and use lightweight programs:
The more software you install and more processes you run and the more RAM Windows will consume.
Use a lightweight browser like Yandex (My Favourite) and also lightweight Antivirus programs. Defragment your system every month or so. Use CCleaner to remove leftover crap.
Got anymore tweaks to add? Please let us know in the comments below. Happy Tweaking!