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measured boot timesNo one likes a slow computer; that’s why we offer so many guides to speeding it up here. Angelina showed you 8 programs that can make your computer run faster Top Programs That Can Make Your Computer Run Faster Top Programs That Can Make Your Computer Run Faster Your computer's performance will degrade over time. Don't let it become too slow to bear! These programs can help you keep your Windows system running nice and speedy. Read More and Karl taught you about getting your startup programs under control with Autoruns. Get Your Computer Startup Under Control With Autoruns Get Your Computer Startup Under Control With Autoruns Read More Autoruns is a particularly effective tool if you’re looking to increase your boot time.

You can run all these programs and you’ll probably notice the difference, but how can you be objectively sure they’re making a difference? For most people the general feel of quickness is enough to justify the effort, but if you’re looking for scientific evidence of speediness a lot of people like take a look at their measured boot times; that is, the time it takes from switching the computer on to having a usable desktop.

And if you want to measure your boot time on a Windows XP machine, you should really check out BootTimer. This portable application does one thing and does it well: measure how long it takes to boot. If you’re looking for scientific evidence that what you’re doing is speeding up your boot it’s really worth a look.

Note: this application does not work on Windows Vista or 7 at this time.

The Process

So, first thing first: download BootTimer over at Planetsoft or if you prefer, at You’ll have a single executable file to work with; BootTimer is a portable application and is perfect for throwing onto the thumb drive that contains your geeky arsenal.

When you’re ready to restart your computer, go ahead and open BootTimer. You’ll see this message:


measured boot times

Click “Yes” and your computer will restart. Nothing unusual about that, right? When it gets into Windows you’ll be told not to touch your mouse or keyboard, so don’t; BootTimer is waiting until your desktop is usable to finish timing. When it is you’ll receive a notice like this, containing the information you’re looking for:

measured boot times

Wasn’t that easy? Be sure to write this time down.


Want to remove every trace that this program ever ran? No problem. Just click “OK” and the program will go about removing itself completely from your system.

There’s one catch: BootTimer will open up its webpage and encourage you to click an ad. This is annoying, but considering how useful the program is and that it’s free I suppose it’s a harmless way to support the app.

How It Works

BootTimer doesn’t install a stopwatch on your machine and time everything; rather it check the various logs the Windows system creates in order to judge when Windows started booting and when it finished.

So why not use a standard stopwatch to determine your measured boot times? You could, but it wouldn’t necessarily be standardized in terms of when the time begins and end. Use this program and the results will be comparable.


Here’s how I suggest you use this program: before you go about speeding up your computer, run the program once. This will give you the slow rate to compare your end results with. Go ahead and do your usual speed-up routine. Once you’re done, go ahead and run a second test. This will give you empirical evidence that what you’re doing to speed up your machine is useful.

What do you think? Is measuring your boot time useful at all, or is it just a useless measurement geeks use so they can brag about something? Could you see yourself using a tool like this? Or do you have an alternative tool to recommend? The Internet is in need of more content, so please do your part by speaking your mind below.

Image Credit: Casey Marshall

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  1. Akhenaten
    May 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Fragmentation of the boot files, system files, MFT and the items in the startup list can also significantly slow down boot times. Defragging these with a proper utility such as Diskeeper (I use the 2010 Pro edition) can help to speed up the boot process. In addition, Diskeeper also optimizes the arrangement of these files on the disk so they can be read faster, thus improving things even more.