Over time, your PC may become noticeably slower to start up - or boot, as it’s commonly known - when first switched on. Waiting for a sluggish computer to crank into life can be immensely frustrating.
How fast your computer starts up depends on several things, including the hardware you’re using, the version of Windows installed and how many programs are also scheduled to start up when Windows does.
Typically, a new computer running Windows may only take 45 seconds or less to boot up. So if your computer is taking more than a minute or two to wake up, it’s time to take action. Here are some problem-solving ways to speed up your computer’s boot time for free.
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Limit start-up programs
Many programs will start running invisibly in the background when you turn on your computer, slowing down the system start-up time and potentially causing software conflicts and crashes. Yet, you can easily turn off those programs you don’t need to start straightaway:
Click Start, type ‘msconfig’ in the search bar and press Enter. In the System Configuration window, click the Startup tab.
From the list of programs that appears, untick the box next to those you don’t need to launch automatically at startup. Only deselect programs that you don’t use regularly or know that you don’t need. As a general guideline, it’s best to leave untouched anything related to your computer brand (Acer, HP, Toshiba, Dell etc), Intel, AMD and Microsoft.
Click Apply and then click OK. Now restart your system.
Disable unwanted drivers
Along with some programs, your PC loads a bunch of drivers when it first starts up. You can boost your computer start time by disabling drivers for those items you aren’t using, such as Bluetooth controllers, modems and virtual wi-fi adapters:
Click the Start button and type 'device manager' into the Start Menu's search box. From the results, click Device Manager. You’ll see a list of all the devices used by your computer.
Right-click on an entry and from the pop-up menu click Disable. Only disable items that you don't actually use. Do not disable any device under Computer, Disk drives, Display adapters, IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers or System devices.
Keeping your drivers up to date will also help improve start-up time.
Unplug USB devices and remove discs
External drives, devices and discs can slow down your PC’s performance and lengthen boot times. For example, when your computer starts up, it will always check to see if there’s a CD or DVD in your drive. If there is, it will take the extra time to spin the disc up and identify it.
Similarly, power and other system resources can be drained by an external USB drive. Even printers, wi-fi adaptors and TV cards can sap performance if they’re plugged in. To maximise your PC’s speed potential, unplug all but the most essential devices from USB sockets and make sure you eject any CDs or DVDs as soon as you're finished with them.
Remove unnecessary fonts
Windows 7 loads more than 200 fonts during startup - even more if you have Microsoft Office installed. It’s unlikely you’ll need to use all these fonts, so you can hide lots of them to help speed the boot process:
Click the Start button and type ‘font’ into the Start Menu's search box.
Click Fonts from the search results. Here you’ll see a list of all the fonts on your system.
Select the fonts you don't need. You'll probably need to get rid of a few hundred to make a noticeable difference.
Click the Hide button in the toolbar. Windows now won’t load them at startup. To get access to them again, simply repeat the process and click Show.