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Japanese sunscreens pt. 2: Allie Extra UV Gel N (2020), Tunemakers Undiluted Solution UV Protector, Anessa Perfect UV Skincare Milk (2018), Curél UV Protection Essence, Ettusais Herbal UV Jelly, and Mieufa Fragrance UV Spray: Clear (unscented)
Part 1: Japanese sunscreens: Allie Extra UV Gel & Highlight Gel, Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence & Athlizm Skin Protect Essence, Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV, Etvos Mineral UV Powder, Mieufa Fragrance UV Spray, Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence, Sports Beauty Sun Protect Gel and more (c. June 2019 + edits)submitted by marcelavy to AsianBeauty
I’ve tried some more sunscreens since I made the post above. Aside from the Allie and the Anessa, I imagine most of the sunscreens in pt. 2 are probably hard to get your hands on outside of Japan, so this is mostly for anyone living or (eventually) traveling in Japan. The Bioré, Canmake, and Skin Aqua sunscreens seem to be popular on this sub, so if you want to hear my thoughts on those, see pt. 1.
I know the premise section below is pretty long, but I think it’s important for you to know these things for context. What works for me may not work for someone with oily skin, for instance, and most people probably don’t need quite as much sun protection as I do. YMMV no matter what, of course, but keeping this stuff in mind should help.
If you’re not familiar with what gels/milks/etc. are in the context of Japanese sunscreen, you can refer to the sunscreen section of the glossary I posted here.
Also, for further context, I wrote the first review today and all the others back in May.
My trusty Allie Extra UV Gel, the first sunscreen reviewed in pt. 1, was reformulated in February to strengthen the friction-proof property. I think I’ve used four different formulations of this product, starting with the first version introduced in 2011. A lot of ingredients have changed, as I write out in detail here, but I wasn’t too worried, given their track record. As I’ve come to understand, some people loved the previous version and others hated it; I’m sure it’s going to be the same for this version too.
A side-by-side comparison of the packaging suggests that the main difference is the change from “Friction-Proof” to “Super Friction-Proof.” I put off posting this for months because I haven’t worn this sunscreen on my body much, nor have I sweated as much as I usually do in the summer, but my new black backpack (purchased in late spring) would usually have had traces of sunscreen all over it by now and I don’t see sunscreen on my T-shirt collars, so the new formulation really might be more friction-proof than its predecessor.
Otherwise, the two formulations don’t feel all that different to me. The 2020 formula might be a tad bit greasier, but I think the difference is negligible. Not having white stuff all over my belongings has been great, so if that’s the tradeoff, I’m fine with it. As with the previous formulation, it goes on pretty white but it settles in.
Recently I started using a new moisturizer, and I noticed that the sunscreen applies very differently depending on what you use before it (which I guess should have been obvious). With my usual moisturizer, it was important to wait until the moisturizer has been absorbed, or else you end up looking like you smeared Nivea cream all over a wet face. If I do wait, I don’t notice any pilling later on and would say they work well together. With the slightly greasier new moisturizer, I can apply the sunscreen right away, but then there’s pilling later on and I feel the need to take everything off before I reapply. This does seem to be mitigated if I wait after the new moisturizer, too, but it still feels greasier overall than it does with my usual moisturizer. So this could be something to keep in mind if you’re having pilling issues with this sunscreen (and maybe other sunscreens too). I’ll post mini reviews of the moisturizers in the comments.
Ingredients: Water, Zinc Oxide, Alcohol, Octinoxate, Dimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Tinosorb S, Uvinul T 150, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Triethylhexanoin, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Acrylates/Polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate Copolymer, PEG-400, Polysorbate 80, Polysilicone-9, Xanthan Gum, C30-45 Alkyl Methicone, C30-45 Olefin, Sorbitan Oleate, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Collagen
I know the claims sound gimmicky, and this is hands down the most expensive sunscreen I’ve ever used (though there are much more expensive ones out there, I know). My photosensitivity symptoms start to show up if I’m sitting in front of a bright monitor for long enough, even with a fresh layer of normal sunscreen, so I’m pretty sure I’m also allergic to blue light (not as much as UV rays, but still).
After deciding that I don’t like the Etvos powder after all (6th sunscreen discussed in pt. 1), I started looking at other sunscreens that claim to provide blue light protection. There aren’t a ton of options out there, so I decided to give this a try in spite of it being more expensive than I’d like. I was skeptical, but I’ve found that my symptoms don’t show up when I wear this, even while sitting in front of my three-monitor setup—though I haven’t pulled any all-nighters, which is when real damage is done.
(So not only is this completely anecdotal and in no way scientific, I haven’t even tried it under the conditions that would definitely give me an allergic reaction. Please keep that in mind if you’re reading this as someone specifically looking for blue light protection.)
Beyond the blue light thing: It’s a milk sunscreen, but it’s a milk that even the anti-milk (me) feel comfortable wearing. It’s like the epitome of cosmetic elegance, though the tradeoff (in addition to the price) is that it’s neither waterproof nor friction-proof. It really feels like it’s just a really light moisturizer, with no white cast whatsoever. I think.
The one complaint I have aside from the price is that the packaging makes it difficult to use it up completely. It’s in a very thick opaque plastic bottle with a pump, which I’m sure provides solid protection for all those antioxidants, but I really wish they would opt for an airless pump, even if it means I have to pay a little more. Speaking of packaging, they changed the label design earlier this year (old packaging), but I don’t think there was a reformulation.
If you’re in Japan, they usually have Tunemakers products in so-called variety shops (Loft, Plaza, etc.) where they also usually have testers, though testers generally aren’t really a thing right now (covid).
Ingredients: Water, Octinoxate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Uvinul A Plus, Caprylyl Methicone, Isostearic Acid, Fullerenes, Ascorbyl-2-Phosphate Magnesium, Rice Bran Sphingoglycolipid, Alpha-Arbutin, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Leaf Extract, Lauroyl Lysine, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Arginine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lysolecithin, Xanthan Gum, Cholesterol, Dihydrocholeth-20, PEG-100 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phytic Acid, Polysilicone-14, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethylhexanoin, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Silver Oxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Aluminum Hydroxide, Sodium Hydroxide, PVP, BHT, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben
I bought a predecessor of this sunscreen ages ago and absolutely hated it, which is the biggest reason why I’ve avoided milk sunscreens all these years. One day I found myself in a situation where I had to buy sunscreen late at night (for the next day, I mean), and the mini version (20 ml) of this was the only selection I could trust that was available at the nearest convenience store. And you know, maybe it’s all the reformulations that have taken place since, but it’s a lot better than I remember.
I still prefer my usual Allie Extra UV Gel and probably won’t buy this again unless I’m in a similar situation, but it’s good to know it’s an option. The tiny bottle is highly portable and probably available anywhere in Japan. I know the protection is top-of-the-line for Japanese products, along with Allie, and it actually felt nicer than expected on my skin—slightly drying, not enough to be a deal-breaker—but the fragrance is too strong for me. They call it a “citrus soap” fragrance, but it registers more like a flowery perfume for me. (I’m sure it wouldn’t be too strong for most people. I prefer unfragranced skincare products, very lightly fragranced at most.)
I hear milk sunscreens are more waterproof than gels, so there’s that, and they do make waterproofing a big selling point.
This sunscreen was reformulated in February, less than a month after I bought it (2020 formula on RatzillaCosme). The new formula contains octisalate and Parsol SLX in addition to the UV filters in the 2018 formula.
Ingredients: Dimethicone, Water, Zinc Oxide, Alcohol, Octinoxate, Talc, Isopropyl Myristate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Octocrylene, Titanium Dioxide, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Uvinul A Plus, Glycerin, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Silica, Dextrin Palmitate, Xylitol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Tinosorb S, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Sodium Chloride, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Prunus Speciosa Leaf Extract, Rosa Canina (Rose Hips) Fruit Extract, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Potentilla Erecta (Tormentil) Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Soluble Collagen, PPG-17, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Isostearic Acid, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Trisodium EDTA, BHT, Tocopherol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Metabisulfite, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
First things first, they claim it won’t leave much of a white cast, which might possibly be true in comparison to other sunscreens that only contain physical (non-organic) filters, but if you’re used to sunscreens with chemical (organic) filters like I am, make sure to look at a mirror and rub it in very well. If I can detect a white cast, it’s going to be obvious on a lot of people.
I broke my SPF 50+ PA++++ rule because of the very specific circumstances that led me to buy this product. (Warning: This is really, really dumb.) I was staying at a friend’s place for a whole week in August 2019, and the room I was sleeping in had large windows on two walls and no curtains. The sun shines in by the time I wake up, and I ended up taking the desperate and extremely SCAcirclejerk action of putting sunscreen on before I go to sleep. Yes, I know most of the sunscreen would have rubbed off by the time morning came, but anything was better than nothing. Because I would be wearing it overnight, I went looking for something that seems extra gentle and went for this. The first night, I put a thick layer on without looking at a mirror, and woke up to realize I look like a post-performance Butoh dancer. At least this means I managed to sleep without having it all rub off, I guess.
It definitely feels gentle and could be something to try if you’re looking for a physical sunscreen and if SPF 30 PA+++ is enough for you. It could also be an option for anyone that wants to avoid zinc oxide and all chemical filters. In spite of how I keep talking about the white cast, it’s probably not bad as physical sunscreens can get (everything else I’ve ever used include chemical filters).
Active ingredient: Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate / Inactive ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dimethicone, Thujopsis Dolabrata Branch Extract, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Dipropylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Distearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monostearate, Stearic Acid, Dextrin Palmitate, Cetyl PG Hydroxyethyl Palmitamide, Eucalyptus Globulus (Tasmanian Blue Gum) Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Hydroxide (A), Acrylic Acid/Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Petrolatum, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, 2-Amino-2-(hydroxymethyl)-1,3-propanediol, PEG-400, Agar, Disodium EDTA
A kind user mentioned that this product can be used on your scalp in their comment on my previous post. The combination of this claim (which is indeed made by Ettusais) and the product name—“jelly” instead of the usual “gel”—made me picture a clear gel, not the usual gel cream that sunscreen gels actually are. Well, it’s your usual gel cream (why do they call it a jelly??), and personally it feels gross putting it on my scalp. The “herbal” fragrance is also a bit strong for my liking; again, I’m pretty anti-fragrance in skincare, so it’s likely to be fine for most. I don’t think I’ve ever worn it on my face and my body is less sensitive to light, so I don’t really know how effective it is compared to the others above.
Ettusais has been going through a major brand reboot though, and it seems like they might be moving more toward makeup, unless that’s just where they've started. A ton of products have been discontinued, and this one was discontinued in March 2020 (official list of products discontinued since October 2017; link in Japanese).
Ingredients: Water, Alcohol, Zinc Oxide, Octinoxate, PEG-8, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Polybutylene Glycol/PPG-9/1 Copolymer, Octocrylene, Uvinul A Plus, Caprylyl Methicone, HDI/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer, Tinosorb S, Titanium Dioxide, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Lactobacillus/Royal Jelly Ferment Filtrate, Magnesium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Calcium Chloride, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethylacrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Crosspolymer, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Stearoxy Ether, Aluminum Hydroxide, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Silica, BHT, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Fragrance
Unscented version of the seventh sunscreen reviewed in pt. 1. Same thoughts as before, except its being unscented works better for when I also want to wear perfume. I only ever worry about putting sunscreen on my haiscalp if I’m going outside for a significant amount of time during the day, which, again, hasn’t been happening much this year, so honestly I haven’t been using it much at all and don’t really have anything else to say. I think this is the only fragrance-free sunscreen spray that I know of, so that’s notable if it’s something you care about.
Ingredients: Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Water, Octinoxate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methylpentanediol Dineopentanoate, Zinc Oxide, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Tar, Rosa Canina (Rose Hips) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Common Thyme) FloweLeaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Parsol SLX, Dimethicone, Butyl Acrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Uvinul A Plus, Tinosorb S, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Talc, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Silica, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, BHT, Alcohol, Tocopherol
So you finished building your PC, now what?
Guide to Setting up Windows 10 & Maintaining your PC Updated 4/22/2020This is assuming you have successfully completed your PC build and are wondering what to do next. Here’s a few helpful tips I have learned over the years.
Warning: Yee who don't like opinions, probably don't dare enter..
Download Windows Media Creation Tool. Create a USB installation drive using the tool and boot to the drive by changing boot order in your motherboard UEIF/BIOS.
Start the install, choose “Customize Settings” and turn everything on this screen off. Proceed to install Windows with a local account. If you're okay with Microsoft collecting some data, you can always sync your Windows account later in Settings > Accounts. The benefit being Windows will backup your settings and can sync them with other PCs you own.
Once you boot up, head over to Settings > Update and Security. Check for updates and go grab your favorite beverage and let it complete, you may reboot multiple times during this step.
Once you're done updating, go to Start > Settings > Privacy and go down the list on the left and turn everything off unless you actually use it.
- Same goes for background apps -- only disable apps from running in the background that you don't want notifications from. It's safe to disable background apps completely if you don't care.
- Under "Feedback & Diagnostics" switch that to "Basic". Once that is done, head to Settings > Update and Security > Advanced Options > Delivery Optimization and turn it off. That setting allows P2P updates across your network which is a potential security risk.
- Next head over to Settings > Network and Internet > Wi-Fi and turn everything off here besides the Wi-Fi itself.
Update motherboard BIOS - If everything is working properly, and you are happy with the performance of your PC - It is generally not recommended to update the BIOS as there is always the potential for something to go wrong. That being said, if you follow the installation instructions exactly from your MOBO manufacturer, you will be fine.
- For all BIOS and firmware updates, I will refer you to your manufacturer’s support page to ensure you are getting the latest and greatest. Follow the instructions there for how to install (typically downloading the update to a FAT 32 USB drive and flashing the update in your UEIF/BIOS).
Drivers: Windows 10 will automatically update and install drivers for your hardware via Windows Update. This is typically fine for everything except your GPU and chipset, which we will take care of next.
Update your graphics card driver – Again, head over to your manufacturer’s website and follow the instructions there to install:
AMD - http://support.amd.com/en-us/download
NVIDIA - http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx
Update your chipset drivers: - Chipset drivers are a set of operating instructions which tells your CPU how to behave and interact within your PC. Typically these will come with a optimized power plan for your CPU which you can enable in Control Panel > Power Options.
AMD - http://support.amd.com/en-us/download
Intel - https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000005533/software.html
At this point it may be a good idea to grab HWiNFO64 (also in the Additional Tools section below) to check the internal temperatures of your CPU, GPU, etc.. to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary. If anything appears abnormal you can try reapplying the thermal paste to make sure you have adequate coverage.
As far as where temperatures should be. That will differ drastically depending on your cooling solution (air, water, AIO, passive), ambient temperatures, overall case airflow and cooling performance of individual hardware. Generally if you are idling and your CPU/GPU is near or under 45°-50° you are likely doing just fine.
You can also test your ram by using Windows Memory Diagnostic. Just type Windows Memory Diagnostic in to Windows search and it will come up. You will be required to restart your PC to test. When you are done, head to Event Viewer > Windows Logs > System and the results should be the most recent log (at the top). If it's not, filter for Event ID 1201.
Change refresh rate on monitor - If you have a 144hz or 120hz monitor, and either a DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, or DVI-D (Dual-Link) connection, it’s a good time to look at your refresh rates. If you own an Nvidia card, change it in Nvidia control panel. For an AMD card, follow these steps:
- Right-click your desktop and choose Display settings
- Scroll down and select Display adapter properties
- In the properties window click on List All Modes
- Scroll down and choose your desired mode (e.g. 144hz) and apply
Crucial Firmware - USA
Samsung SSD support page
This can be a polarizing subject for some, and I can only offer my experience, but after years of searching and experimenting this is what works for me. I will also preface this by saying, depending on your browsing/download habits this can change entirely. Ultimately, my best advice on the subject is:
Do your research and find what works best for you.That being said, I use the following and it's all available for free…
Anti-Virus: Windows Defender – For me, Windows Defender is good enough. It’s simple, and FREE. Stay vigilant and let it run on its schedule scans and build its definitions, scan periodically if you wish.
Anti-Malware: Malwarebytes Free/uBlock Origin – Again, the free version of Malwarebytes is good enough for me. While browsing, uBlock will do the bulk of your malware blocking and if you suspect anything got by, run a Malwarebytes scan. I run Malwarebytes every couple of weeks personally for peace of mind.
Firewall: Windows Firewall. While behind a router there isn't much use for a soft Firewall, it is good for protecting yourself within your own network. E.g. if another PC on your network gets infected, it could prevent your device from contracting the virus/malware. It is also useful to create outbound rules for preventing certain applications from accessing the internet if you don't want them too.
Additional Plug-ins for safer browsing:
- Privacy Badger - Privacy Badger stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web.
- HTTPS Everywhere - HTTPS everywhere rewrites all web requests to use HTTPS wherever possible.
- Go into the settings and enable “Scan for rootkits”.
- The default settings will block 99% of ads and malware, but if you want more protection/AD blocking/annoyances filtering, head over to uBlock settings > 3rd party filters. I enabled all uBlock filters (except Experimental), all “Ads” filters (except mobile), all “Privacy” filters, all “Malware Domains” filters and all “Annoyances” filters.
Windows should be mostly configured at this point. I'd recommend running this report to see if Windows detects any issues or has any suggestions about your current setup. If you receive passing grades on everything, pat yourself on the back. If you received a fail or warning, don't panic, just read the suggestion and follow the instructions on how to resolve it:
- Open a 'RUN window' by pressing the 'Windows key + R'
- Type perfmon /report and hit Run
- Wait and check your results
I like to routinely check Reliability Monitor just to see how my system is doing day to day. It will report any critical errors or update failures so you can, well... see how "reliable" your system is. If you go 5 days without any critical errors reported than congratulations you have a very healthy system. Also, keep in mind the extent of the error reported. If Malwarebytes crashing shows up as a critical error or crash, I don't think that's a good representation of your system health. Some stuff is unavoidable, Windows isn't near perfect.
Along with Reliability Monitor, keep an eye on Event Viewer to track any errors you may come across. It should be your first step in troubleshooting issues. Ignore any "DistributedCOM" errors. They've been around since Windows 8 and everyone gets them, they're harmless.
There is a huge community behind overclocking, and while it can be fun to eek out extra scores in benchmarks, it honestly isn't worth the hassle of the average PC user. On modern Ryzen and Intel chips, algorithms have been built into account for this and will automatically clock frequencies up and down depending on thermal performance. If you bought a CPU in 2018 or later, my opinion would be to just let it do it's thing.
XMP Profile / Overclocking RAM
Enable your XMP profile in BIOS so your RAM can run at its rated speed. There are too many different boards and ways to do this, so just type your "motherboard name + XMP Profile" into Google to see how to do it.
Windows Disk Cleanup. Nothing against CCleaner, but it's unnecessary and deletes valuable Windows Defender files. Also, it comes with a registry cleaner which shouldn't be used for any reason.
Realistically, if you're not pressed on hard drive space or experiencing issues, there is no reason to run a cleaner of any kind. If you run Windows Disk Cleanup just understand what you are cleaning before you check mark it for deletion.
Your registry is essentially a Windows database that informs your operating system and applications how to behave and appear. That being said, Don't use registry cleaners. While CCleaner is harmless when used correctly, messing with your registry always creates the potential for harm. You will never see any measurable performance increase from using a registry cleaner.
If you know what you are doing, the registry is a fantastic tool for making UI or OS changes (e.g. removing the "3D objects folder from File Explorer, removing OneDrive, etc...). As always, just make a backup first.
Defragging your HDD - Probably don't need to do this often, once every month or so, or after very large frequent file writes. FYI, Windows automatically sets a schedule to defrag your HDD every week by default. To change the schedule or run it manually, go into "My PC" > Right-click your HDD > Properties > Tools > Defragment. Analyze the drive and if it's over 10-15% fragmented, considered running the defrag.
Do NOT use third party tools to defrag your SSD.
Note: The native Windows 10 defragger is smart enough to know this, it won't give you the option if you try. Instead, what you will find is that Windows does a version of defragging once a month by default called 'Optimizing'. You can read a really good article about it here. In short, don't worry and let Windows do its thing.
I use Windows Backup and Restore. I'm sure there are more comprehensive tools out there, some 3rd party ones which were suggested below, but there really isn't anything more comprehensive than creating a system image. You can do this by navigating to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Once I have set up Windows to my liking I create a system image and store it on an external drive or a secondary HDD, preferably both. Do it periodically if you have the space. You will thank yourself if you ever run into an issue and need to restore from an image.
You can also use the Full or Incremental backup feature, but I prefer just to have a system image on hand in case of a failure. Backup all of your important files and documents to the cloud so they are safe from system coruption and accessible across your devices. Google Drive is a great tool.
- A system image is an exact copy, or clone, of your drive in that particular state when you created it. You can use it to restore the system after a catastrophic crash, hard disk failure, etc...
- A Full Backup contains data files, but not everything on the disk. You cannot use it to restore the system.
Go to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > System > System Protection. Chose your C: drive and click "Configure...". Turn on system protection and choose a percentage of space you have to spare. 5% is typically more than enough. Use this option if you ever have an issue and need to restore to a particular point in time - before a faulty Windows update for instance.
If you can afford to buy one, buy one. For those who don't know what they are, UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. I own two APC models I got from Amazon and living in Florida, they've saved my ass during many o' thunderstorms, power outages, brownouts and surges. Keeping a steady flow of electricity to my PC, it's good peace of mind to have.
If you are wondering, it is okay to plug a UPS into a quality surge protector like the Tripp Lite Isobar 2, home UPS devices typically don't have high joule ratings (surge protection).
I'm sure everyone has their own routine for this step, and depending on where your PC is located it may require more frequent cleaning/dusting. Always keep pressurized air (duster) handy. Once every few months or whenever you notice a dust build-up, open it up and blast it. Hold your fans in place so you are not spinning the blades, this can generate an electrical current and potentially damage your circuit headers. I would avoid using any sort of vacuum attachments as there is a good risk of damaging your components. For tempered glass, use a microfiber cloth to buff out any smudges. Glass cleaners are safe to use on tempered glass, but I would still dilute them so your mixture is half-water, half-cleaner. Other than that, find a nice cool place with good airflow to keep your machine running smoothly.
Calibrate monitors – Windows has a color calibration tool built-in. Or if you’re lucky enough you will find a guide for your specific monitor. Just do a Google search for “Calibrate + Your monitor model” and see what kind of information is out there. Tom’s Hardware had a good one for my AOC and I have noticed more defined colors since doing it.
Enable High Performance power plan - Go to Control Panel > Power Options and choose the "High Performance" plan.
Disable “Enhance pointer precision” – Go to Control Panel > Mouse > Pointer options and uncheck “Enhance pointer precision”. This will give you more control over your mouse while gaming. You can read more on it here.
Disable Cortana – I don’t know who uses Cortana, but it annoys the hell out of me.
Disable OneDrive - Only if you don't use it, I prefer Google Drive.
Disable Fast start up - If you have an SSD, disable this. It will not affect restarting your PC, but when doing a shutdown it will not reinitialize drivers meaning any driver related issue you were having before your shutdown, will persist when booting up the next time. u/agent268 has a very informative post on it.
Disable Remote Connections - Go to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > System > Remote settings and uncheck "Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer". Below that select "Don't allow remote connections to this computer" if you are not remoting in to it.
Turn on Dark mode - Right-click your Desktop and select "Personalize". Select "Colors" on the left, scroll to the bottom and select dark. Makes it much easier on the eyes.
- CrystalDiskInfo - Check drive status and health
- HWiNFO64 - Hardware monitoring program that reports basically ever sensor your PC has to offer: voltages, temperatures, fans speed, etc...
- CPU-Z - Display information on Processor name and number, codename, process, package, cache levels. Mainboard and chipset. Memory type, size, timings, and module specifications (SPD). Real time measurement of each core's internal frequency, memory frequency.
- Geek Uninstaller - Use to completely uninstall an application along with leftover files and registry keys. This gives you even less reason to mess with your registry.
- Ninite.com - Allows you to easily batch install many common and essential programs in one step. (u/mrdirkles)
- WinDirStat - Disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool. If you don't know where all of your drive space is going, this tool will help you find out. (u/DelXL)
- Defraggler - An alternative to the native Windows defragment tool. Brought to you by the same folks that brought you CCleaner. (u/brightboy)
- Use Acronis, Macrium or Easeus to backup your OS drive. This way you can revert to any point in time (like after a clean install and configuration) without the hassle of reinstalling updates/drivers. (u/wittywalrus1) I have used Macrium Free personally to clone an SSD and it went very well, I have not tried the others. As always, do your research.
I'm not going to include information on going buck wild disabling services and data logging because what I mentioned above is sufficient for me, but if you feel inclined you can search yourself and find some good posts on the subject. I don't recommend using the SpyBot tools because they modify system values and if you're going to do that, you should learn what you're doing and modify it yourself in case something goes wrong. In a recent Windows update they provided the ability to delete your stored diagnostic data in Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback > Scroll down to "Delete diagnostic data", just take it with a grain of salt as to what actually gets deleted. If you've stuck around this long, I love you.