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How to boot (start) faster

Home      English      How to boot (start) faster

How to Get Your Computer to Boot Faster

How to Get Your Computer to Boot Faster
2 of 9



Difficulty: Moderate
The biggest problem is that almost every time you install new software, it loads when you boot. I have applications that I rarely use like optical character recognition, and those I turn to several times a day like MS Outlook. By simply loading software only when you need it, you can cut your boot time significantly. To see what is loading now and to pick and choose in Windows XP click on your Start Menu. Go to Run. Type: msconfig. You’ll be presented with tabs. You’re probably operating under Normal Start Up which loads all device drivers and services. Choose Selective Startup instead. Under Selective Startup I’ve checked Process System.INI file, Process Win.INI.file, Load System Services, Load Startup Intems and Use Original Boot.INI. If you are an advanced user and you know what you are doing you can select or deselect these boxes as you choose. If you click everything except Services and then click disable all, followed by OK, you’ll end up booting in Safe Mode. Our goal here is to cut back on the Start Up programs. Click that tab. There you’ll find a long list of applications like ALCMTR and hpsysdrv. I took the time to enter each of them in Google to search for what they did. Sites like processlibrary.com proved useful in determining whether or not I should enable or disable the applications on booting. Right now I’ve only selected about a third of those listed. My machine boots faster and I’ve notice no lack of performance.
While you are in MS Config, look under the "BOOT.INI" tab. You will see a box labeled "Timeout." It is typically set to 30, which adds a half a minute delay. You can readily change it to 3 seconds, but no shorter. Close that tab, Click OK and reboot for the changes to take place. The first time you restart you’ll probably have a window pop up saying you’re in selective boot mode. You can disable the window while preserving your changes.
Make sure that you are not loading Trojans or ad ware when you boot. Not only should you keep your anti virus software like McAffee or Norton up to date, you should load and install an adware fighter like Lavasoft’s Ad Aware 2007 which is free for private use and does a good job at removing pop ups, tracking cookies and other spyware.
At least once a month, clear out your Internet temp files through your browser, empty your recycle bin, move unneeded files to a back up drive and perform a disc defragmentation. In My Computer, right click on your boot drive. Click on Properties, Go to Tools then defragment. This will take time, so don’t run any applications including screen savers while performing this task. When your files are closer together they’ll load faster. You can also go through your cookies folder, deleting those you don't need. I keep only the ones that allow me to log on quickly to my favorite sites.
Use Standby Mode. Since most of the boot time is used by loading programs, standby mode saves time by retaining those programs in memory. It saves power by shutting down the drives and monitors, the biggest power hogs. In control panel you can set up your computer to go into standby mode automatically after a certain amount of time. In Windows XP the standby option is presented to you when you choose to power down. Open documents and programs are stored in volatile memory. It’s a quick way to get active and I usually use it when I leave in the afternoons for a workout, however it’s useful to save everything before entering standby. If there’s a power outage your most recent changes will evaporate. I don’t use standby much longer than a couple of hours because my PC is quirky and will tend to exit standby on its own. Still it’s my only way to set up my computer to use the hard disc to record a television program.
Establish hibernate mode. A better choice for an overnight shut down is hibernation mode, which saves an image of your computer’s open applications and documents on your hard drive. If you go into your computer’s control panel, you can set this up so that you enter and leave hibernation by pushing your power switch. You can also establish hibernation after a fixed amount of time that your computer is unused. On your start menu access the Control Panel. Double click on Power Options. Click on the Hibernate tab to enable Hibernation. Choose your options then click OK. When you decide to leave your computer for the day, go through the start menu and click Turn Off Computer. By holding down your shift key, a new Hibernate option will appear. Click on it and your computer will snooze, coming back a lot faster than before when you need it.

Tips & Warnings

  • When I used hibernate mode, my computer sometimes came back on by itself. Since my computer and all my peripherals are plugged into a surge protector, I now take the additional step of powering it down before walking away from the machine.
  • If you power down your computer in standby with an external device, you will reboot from scratch when you resume.


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