How To Make Windows 8 Boot Even Faster!

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Windows 8 may have plenty of issues, but a slow boot time ain’t one. Windows 8 boots fast! Yet, there is room for improvement. We show you how to measure and optimize your Windows boot time.

The time it takes the system to start up is largely defined by internal processes. In Windows 8, a Faster Startup feature allows for record boot times. Over time, third-party applications can contribute to a significant decline. The occasional cleanup can restore initial boot times. Let’s see what your options are.

Find Your Boot Time

You can get a semi-accurate estimation of how long it takes to boot your computer by counting the seconds or using a stopwatch. I actually used the online stopwatch from timanddate.com to figure out which steps of the boot process took the longest and improved the most. If you just care for the overall boot time, however, you can draw exact numbers for your past couple of boots from the Windows Event Viewer.

Click [Windows] + [W] to jump directly to Search, type event, and select View event logs. In the Event Viewer, navigate to > Applications and Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnostics Performance. You can now view the log file that contains all events in that category. The Event ID you are looking for is 100.

Windows 8 Event Viewer Boot Duration

As shown above, my computer had a critical boot duration of almost three minutes, due mostly to boot processes that occurred post the actual booting up. I should note that this is not normal; I run Windows 8 on old hardware. Open the Details tab to find out what slows down the boot time of your computer.

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To quickly go through different boot times over a longer period, you can filter events by Event ID. Click Create Custom View via the respective menu option on the left side. Check the Events levels you wish to see, select Event logs, and enter the desired Event IDs.

Windows 8 Event Viewer Custom View

On many Windows 8 machines, there is a quick way to check your most recent boot time via the Task Manager. Open the Task Manager via Search, click on More details in the bottom left, switch to the Start-up tab and check the upper right corner for Last Bios time. Unfortunately, this doesn’t show up for me.

Make Sure Fast Startup Is Enabled

Windows 8 comes with a built-in Fast Startup feature, which uses a hybrid shutdown to accelerate the following boot process. At shutdown, Windows partially hibernates, meaning it stores the kernel session and device drivers in the hiberfil.sys file on the system drive. On startup, the information in the file is loaded to resume the system.

To make sure Fast Startup is turned on (it should be by default), open Power Options via the Search, click Choose what the power buttons do on the left side, open Change settings that are currently unavailable on top, and then check the option Turn on fast start-up (recommended) under Shutdown settings at the bottom. If you made any changes, click the respective button to save and restart your computer.

Windows 8 Fast Boot

EightForums warns that Fast Startup can cause a variety of restart and shutdown issues. If you experience any such issues, try to turn Fast Startup off.

By turning on Fast Startup, I could cut my boot time by over a minute. The post login boot processes remained time intensive, but the MainPathBootTime came down to around 30 seconds from over 100. My overall self-measured boot time was around that same number; ca. 32 seconds in the example shown below. Of course that’s still extremely slow, but the improvement is still massive. On a high-end machine with UEFI, Fast Startup should yield a boot time in the single digit region.

Windows 8.1 Boot and Shut Down Time

Time Saved: 70 seconds

Now that you appreciate how much faster Windows 8 boots due its default Fast Startup feature, let’s see whether we can get even speedier boot times.

Disable Startup Programs

Windows 8 has a much improved Task Manager, which provides quick access to key system information, including programs loading on startup. On the Windows 8 desktop, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click More details in the bottom left and open the Start-up tab.

Disabling any processes that have a high or medium Start-up impact will improve your boot time. Select a process and click Disable in the lower right or right-click and select Disable.

Windows 8 Task Manager

I’m running an almost virgin Windows 8.1 installation, so there wasn’t much potential to save time here. I tried it nevertheless and disabled Dropbox.

Time Saved: 3 seconds; less than 1 second for MainPathBootTime.

Keep in mind that every boot is different. You’ll always have an error margin of up to a few seconds, meaning three seconds is probably not significant. Naturally, you will see more impressive results if you can disable more startup programs.

Let’s dig a little deeper and see what else we can do with a virgin Windows 8.1 installation.

Disable Startup Services

Windows automatically launches several services on startup, some of which you may not need.

Press the keyboard shortcut [Windows] + [R] to launch the Run dialog. Type msconfig and click OK.

Windows Run Msconfig

In the System Configuration window switch to the Services tab. Here you can disable any services you don’t need. Be careful with Microsoft services and services related to your hardware; it’s better to leave them alone.

For this test, I turned off the services Computer Browser and Windows Media Player Network Sharing. I restarted a couple of times and the slowest boot still resulted in the following…

Time saved: 53 seconds; over 4 seconds for MainPathBootTime.

Now that is significant!

The lowest boot time I achieved over the course of this test was 51 seconds total, and 22 seconds spent on MainPathBootTime.

 Windows 8 Improved Boot Time

Yes, Windows 8 Can Boot Even Faster!

If even an almost virgin installation of Windows 8 or 8.1 has so much potential, imagine what you can do on your system if you have been running and using Windows 8 for a while!

Aaron previously showed you how to boot Windows 7 faster and Chris has some more overall tips for improving Windows 8 speed & performance.

Which services and startup programs did you kill and how much time could you shave off your Windows 8 boot time?

Image credits: Windows 8 Launch by Dell Inc.

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Comments (22)
  • Gary

    For anyone using a non-SSD drive and wondering why you’re so slow booting look no further.
    SSD will give you the greatest speed boost, then run all these optimizations.
    Someone said they had a 5200RPM HD? SSD will feel light years faster for you!

  • MartianBear

    Ugh, I did almost all of these… My laptop still has a bootup time of 226.333 seconds! It’s excruciating to wait while the laptop boots up…. I’ve looked up so many guides for this, it just doesn’t work….. If anyone has anymore bright ideas, I’m all ears.

    • Tina

      Could be a hardware issue that keeps you from booting faster. Not sure.

    • Jonny S

      take your data off the machine, restore the o/s and see if it is better. that is a ridiculous boot time. you really shouldn’t have to wait like that. (it’s what my old xp machine does but I think that’s faulty).

  • Bastien

    My specs are medion notebook intel i5 3rd generation 2,5 GHZ with Sata3 SSD. Now apps in autostart. Run all default services changed nothing here. 10 seconds for cold start to windows 8.1 desktop. Enabled fast boot in bios. 7,5 seconds cold start. :-)

  • Aayush

    Thanx for help..:) now my laptop boots up in 10-15seconds :-)

  • Dre

    I set a timer running in Toggl.com app and then shut down and restarted and it took 6 mins, 10 secs. I set a timer running at the exact moment I pressed the power on button (with only a second or two gap) and it took around 2 mins (maybe 2mins 30 secs to boot and log in) then it took a further 2 mins to get back to the toggl timer which was still running (to test how long in usability before shutting down to getting back onto a website. Chrome does take much loader to start-up and load a site whilst other start-up processing are running (or applications being launched).

    I’m running Win 8.1, 16GB DDR3 RAM, i5 processor with a WD hard drive (5200rpm)

    Further hard drive specs (which I think are accurate based on my drive model number)

    Western Digital Scorpio Blue 750GB WD7500BPVT Specs:

    Interface: SATA 3Gb/s
    Cache: 8MB
    Capacity: 750GB
    Average latency (ms): 5.5
    Average drive ready time (sec): 4
    Average power requirements (W)
    Read/write: 1.6
    Idle: 0.65
    Standby/sleep: 0.20

    I’ve stripped down as much as I can from the start-up bloat via MS-config and by also disabling many start-up applications. I have hybrid-sleep/hibernate and fast start-up enabled. My drive has just over 10% free and has been defragmented (although maybe not very efficiently.)

    The laptop is over 2 years old, and makes whirring noises when waking from sleep on some occasions and is (as far as I know) virus/spyware/adware/PUP clean with Avast and Windows firewall running.

    I’d love to know how I can further improve the start-up time and any other optimisation (that might also help). Thanks for any thoughts you have! I’ve been going through Eight Forums guides quite a bit to tweak for performance, alas I’m still having issues.

    Cheers!

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.