Download latest Windows 10 ISO from here and perform a Windows 10 Pro installation to a freshly procured virtual machine. Say No to pretty much everything. Log into your Microsoft account during installation if you have other synchronised Windows devices already.
If using Oracle Virtualbox, insert VirtualBox Guest Additions CD and install, Reboot VM
If using an Sun Microsystems/Oracle Keyboard, change Host Key to Alt Graph on Keyboard since there’s no Right-Ctrl key which is the default.
Search for Windows Updates, Check for Updates, Install Windows Updates, Reboot VM
Open Powershell as Administrator and run the following command taken from here
iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://git.io/JJ8R4'))
Remove components you don’t require by clicking on each button. The script to remove the feature will execute in the PowerShell console behind.
I like to install Rainmeters and I simply stick with the default meters/widgets so I can easily keep track of the VM resource consumption at a glance, if things should slow up..
This is a running list of optimizations I’ve made in the past on problematic Windows 10 desktop systems to speed them up/fix them.
remove avast AV
remove avast VPN
restore windows defender AV
remove windows c++
check startup programs, remove superflouous items
analyze and defrag hard disk
reset windows updates
remove transparency effects
install rainmeter and fix items to desktop
make rainmeters disappear on mouse over
install brave browser
remove immediate access to MS Edge browser
set dark themes in windows and brave
change power settings to optimize for performance
change power settings to not power down or sleep when plugged in
change windows updates to dynamically adjust times when it performs windows updates based on usage
change display effects to remove all special effects apart from drop shadows and show window contents when dragging.
Disabled Windows Search Service (Search Indexing)
Enable restart and notification for restart when Windows Updates needs it
troubleshoot windows updates.
system installed updates on restart
feature update to windows 10 version 2004 being prepared. leave laptop on to complete.
Synced time and set system to sync region automatically
Run cmd as admin, run SFC /scannow to check for missing / damaged system files. Some found and repaired.