Speed Up Your Startup
Lots of readers are curious if there's anything they can do to make their computer get up and running faster. Sometimes it seems to take forever for the Windows 7 desktop to appear, and then the system runs slowly while the hard drive grinds away, running other startup tasks behind the scenes. Here are some tips to speed up the process...
How to Make Windows 7 Load Faster
There are many ways to shave seconds off Windows 7 startup times. Some methods are easy, safe, and quick. Others require fairly advanced knowledge of Windows and a bit of trial and error. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can waste more time than you will save over thousands of startups. Here are some of the faster fixes you can implement without getting too many electrons under your fingernails.
Begin with your computer’s BIOS setup utility. You can access it when your computer starts up by pressing a function key before Windows loads; typically, the F2 key is the one to press, but your BIOS may vary. A message will briefly appear on the screen during startup, indicating which key you should press to access the BIOS setup menu.
Once in the BIOS utility, select the “BOOT” menu item. On the resulting screen, look for an option labeled “quick boot,” “quiet boot,” or similar. Enabling this option skips several system tests that are generally unnecessary, making startup faster. You can disable this option later if necessary. Some BIOS versions may not offer this option.
Also check the Boot Device Priority screen. The first device from which the BIOS tries to boot should be your Windows disk drive, typically your primary hard drive. Time is wasted during startup if the BIOS tries the CD/DVD drive first, then a USB drive, etc. Note that you will not be able to boot from removable media (such as a CD) if a hard drive is the first priority boot device.
You’ll probably not need to boot your computer from a CD or DVD unless you’re doing something geeky like installing or upgrading an operating system. But if you do need to do so, you have two options. The first is to go back into the boot priority screen and change the setting so the BIOS will look first at the CD/DVD drive. A second option available on some computers allows you to access a “one-time boot selection menu” during startup. On my Gateway computer, that option is activated by pressing F10. Other computers may use F11 or F12. Just watch the messages during startup and you’ll see which key to press.
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
I had a friend in college who was fond of the "Five P's" mantra. His advice applied to life in general, but it's true that regular computer maintenance keeps startup speeds down and helps your system run faster overall. Defragment your hard drive, clean up junk files, scan and fix bad disk sectors on a regular schedule. See my related articles listed below for advice and tips on how to maintain your hard drive.
Programs that load while Windows is starting up are a big cause of slow startup times. Some of these startup programs are necessary, but many are not. You can turn off certain startup programs or delay their loading until after Windows is fully started.
The msconfig utility built into Windows lets you manage startup programs, among other things. Start it by opening the Start menu and entering “msconfig” into the Search box. Click the utility’s “Startup” tab to view all of the programs that are loaded during startup. Uncheck any programs that you don’t need to have loaded during startup.
This is where saving startup seconds can become a waste of time; if you don’t know exactly what all startup programs do, you can spend hours researching them. If you disable the wrong startup program, you may create a new problem.
A program called Startup Delayer doesn’t disable loading of startup programs, but delays their loading until some user-specified times after Windows loads. The idea is that you can start working faster and let these programs load later, one by one, with minimal impact on system performance. An option in the Startup Delayer helps you learn more about each startup program, so you can decide whether or not to delay loading. If you notice a extended period of "thrashing" by your hard drive during startup, this utility should help.
You can also disable unnecessary Windows services that load during startup by default, or set them to “automatic” so that they are loaded only when needed. See my more detailed article, Speed Up Windows 7 for tips on which services can be safely disabled in most cases. You might also be interested in reading Do Those Speedup Your PC Programs Really Work?
If Windows 7 starts in less than 60 seconds, my advice is to avoid tinkering with startup programs and services unless you’re certain you know what you’re doing. The average user will spend more time researching which items can be safely disabled or delayed than he/she will save during startups over the next ten years. In the worst case, tinkering can leave you with a system that won’t start at all.
Do you have other tips to make Windows 7 start faster? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Aug 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Speed Up Your Startup (Posted: 13 Aug 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved