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make windows boot fasterOne… two… three… how many minutes does it take your computer to start up? Hopefully not more than three, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you said it surpassed that time. The thing is, our computers have a lot to do when starting up and I think it’s something we often forget about and take for granted. That said, how can we blame our computers when we’re bogging it down with a bunch of junk?

It may not even be junk – it may just be great programs, but just starting up when they don’t need to. Let’s take a look at some useful programs you can use and some things you can do to minimize your start time and get on with your tasks.

Things You Can Do

  • MSConfig: Prevent Programs And Services From Starting Up
  • Delay Services At Startup
  • Device Manager: Disable Unused Drivers

MSConfig: Prevent Programs & Services From Starting Up

One of the first things you can do is take a look at what is starting up. There are several ways to do this. One way is through directly through Windows, no third-party program needed. Hold the “Start” key while pressing “R” to bring up the Run prompt.

make windows boot faster

Then type in “msconfig”, which stands for  Microsoft Configuration. Click the “Startup” tab and you will see many items with check boxes on the left. The ones which are checked are starting up.

boot windows faster

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I will be honest, this can be a little nerve racking if you don’t feel comfortable unchecking programs, but here are a couple guidelines to go by in case you aren’t sure what to leave alone and what to remove from startup (again this is from running when your computer turns on, not removing from your computer entirely).

  1. Leave anything labeled with your computer brand alone (ASUS, HP, Acer, Toshiba, etc.)
  2. Leave anything Microsoft-related alone
  3. Leave anything Intel or AMD related alone.
  4. Leave anything labeled with drivers alone.

Examples from the above screenshot for leaving anything Intel related alone would be the “Intel Common User Interface.” It seems important, and it is, so let’s not touch it. Also, anything with drivers such as the “Synaptics Pointing Device Driver” or the “IDT PC Audio” – those are pretty explicit in explaining what they are in the name. Notice the “Microsoft Security Client” – that’s probably good to have running too.

I advise you not to remove these things because I don’t want you to accidentally harm your computer. If you know what you’re doing and you don’t want something from your computer’s manufacturer running, by all means, remove it. Just remember there are risks.

Note that this can also be done with services in the tab to the left of the startup tab. This isn’t as crucial, but there may be some services you know you don’t need running. For assistance you can always check the box in the bottom left corner that reads “Hide all Microsoft services.”

Click “Apply” and follow the prompt to restart your computer. I know it may not be necessary, but let’s just play it safe.

Delay Services At Startup

You may have already noticed an improvement in your startup with the removal of those programs you don’t need starting up (or maybe you don’t even need them at all). Another way you can improve startup is by spreading out when the services startup. You can do this by delaying them in different intervals. If you already have MSConfig open, you can get to there by going to Tools > Computer Management > Services and Applications > Services. Or you can go to the Start menu search 7 Awesome Alternatives To Windows Search 7 Awesome Alternatives To Windows Search Although there are some things you can do to improve searching using the Windows Search - and the search application seems to be much more improved in Windows 7 - there are some excellent alternatives... Read More bar (or Launchy How To Be More Productive with Launchy Program Launcher How To Be More Productive with Launchy Program Launcher Read More ) and type “services.”

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This is another area that I recommend being cautious with, but it is useful if you know of a certain service that you don’t need right away, you can delay it by right clicking on the service, going to Properties and selecting “Automatic (Delayed Start)” from the drop down menu in the General tab.

Device Manager: Disable Unused Drivers

To access the Device Manager, simply go to the search bar on the Start Menu once more and type in “device manager” and then open it. You likely won’t notice astronomical amounts of unused drivers, however you might find one or two, and every little bit counts. Obviously you want to be very careful.

In my screenshot I have the wireless adapter right clicked and am hovering over “disable.” This is for demoing purposes only. You probably don’t want to disable your wireless driver. But if there is something you notice isn’t being used, try disabling it – you might notice a difference.

Programs You Can Use

  • Startup Managers And Timers
    • Soluto
    • BootRacer
    • BootTimer
  • MSConfig Alternatives
    • Autoruns
    • Revo Uninstaller
    • CCleaner
    • System Ninja
  • Additional Tools
    • Autologon

As you can see from this list, there are quite a few programs that can be used. Some in combination with each other, others not so much. Most of them have been covered on MakUseOf to some degree as well.

Soluto: Assess Your Computer’s Condition

Soluto has been covered extensively on MakeUseOf Be A Super-Geek With Soluto's New Version: An In-Depth Look [& Invites] Be A Super-Geek With Soluto's New Version: An In-Depth Look [& Invites] Let’s face it, if you are reading this, you’re a geek. People come to you for tech help, whether you like it or not. It could be family, friends, or maybe your significant other. Whether... Read More and is very simple to use. In fact, it already was simple and continues to become even simpler. Just download and run the program and it will do the rest. Then restart your computer and allow it to assess your computer’s current condition and state. It looks at more than just your startup up too.

Below is an example of what you might see.

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Time Your Startup With BootRacer & BootTimer

Although Soluto also records how long it takes for your computer to startup, sometimes it’s nice to get a second or third opinion. For that, there’s BootRacer and BootTimer. BootRacer is a little bit more social and has a fancier interface, but accomplishes the same thing as, previously covered BootTimer - Objectively Measure Your Windows XP Boot Time BootTimer - Objectively Measure Your Windows XP Boot Time Read More , BootTimer.

boot windows fastest

MSConfig Alternatives: Autoruns, Revo Uninstaller, CCleaner & System Ninja

You might not think of some of these applications as alternatives to MSConfig, but they are. What’s the benefit? Well, if you’re already using one or more of these applications, adjusting the startup is convenient while it’s already open. And, if you happen to forget how to access MSConfig, you can be rest assured all of these programs will have you covered (of course you could always just Google how too… or read the section in this article).

Autoruns is a program by Sysinternals, now owned by Microsoft. The interface appears and is a bit cumbersome to navigate with the abundant amount of tabs. But what you are looking for is the “Logon” tab, which by default is on the third (bottom) row, second to the right between the “Everything” and “Explorer” tabs.

boot windows fastest

For managing your startup this is your primary MSConfig-replacement tool. However, there are several other useful tools such as Boot Execute, Services, Scheduled Tasks and many more. Many of these might have a small impact on your startup.

Revo Uninstaller’s main purpose is none other than uninstalling applications and it is a great program to have for that, especially if it’s bloatware you are getting rid of Revo Uninstaller Will Hunt Down Your Bloatware Revo Uninstaller Will Hunt Down Your Bloatware Read More . Something you might realize while you’re sifting through these programs starting up is that many of them you no longer need, or maybe even don’t know how they got there in the first place. This is where programs like Revo Uninstaller come into play.

One thing you might notice with Revo Uninstaller is that there are fewer startup listings than in MSConfig or even other programs. My theory for this is that they are eliminating some of the possibilities for the wrong things such as system drivers and other important elements from being accidentally disabled.

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CCleaner….we all know what CCleaner is right? It’s a great program Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner Over the last two years, CCleaner has changed quite a bit in terms of version numbers...up now to version 3.10 at the time of this writing. While visually the program actually hasn't changed much (it's... Read More – that’s what it is. And it’s best known for its registry cleaning and temporary file removing capabilities. But did you know it also has a startup manager? Well, you probably guessed it since you saw it on the list.

You can see in the image above that all you have to do is go to Tools and then Startup. The nice thing is that there are also options to see what is starting up in Internet Explorer and Firefox, as well as the ability to manage Scheduled Tasks and the Context Menu.

System Ninja is actually a fairly new one to me and I discovered it right here on MakeUseOf Keep Your Computer Tidier With Free & Portable System Ninja Keep Your Computer Tidier With Free & Portable System Ninja Read More in an article by Erez. It’s best comparable to CCleaner and it too has a startup manager.

What’s my favorite part about System Ninja you might ask? Aside from being feature-packed, the ninja part of course! That and the user interface is quite nice, sleek and ad-free.

Bypass Login Completely With Autologon

Autologon is pretty straightforward and it works. Part of the delay in starting up your computer is simply logging in. Autologon allows you to easily toggle this on or off. When you run the small program, you’ll be prompted to enter your login credentials. After you enable it, the next time you start up your computer, you won’t have to log in.

Now, there are obvious security risks here, but I’ll let you determine whether you trust other people who might be in the vicinity your computer will be in.

Useful, But Not Startup-Related Programs

  • PC Decrapifier
  • Process Explorer

Remember when we were talking about Revo Uninstaller and I mentioned about finding programs you wanted to get rid of? PC Decrapifier would be another program to help you with this. Although I really like Revo Uninstaller, I’ve found it to be suitable for quickly uninstalling with it’s checklist interface allowing you to uninstall several programs at once. You still have to run through each individual uninstall process, but PC Decrapifier keeps the prompts coming so you don’t have to go back and search for the next one to uninstall.

Process Explorer is a Task Manager application that replaces the default Windows app. It’s great for additional stats, tools and quickly killing tasks that may have found their way into your startup, when you don’t need them running. It’s a great way to kill those existing ones instead of having to restart your computer for the changes to take affect after going through the steps of removing one or more programs from the startup.

make windows boot faster

Conclusion: Prevent Future Programs From Ending Up In Your Startup

Now that you have cleaned out your startup, you want it to stay clean. At least relatively. There will always be one or two things that need to be removed and that means weekly or monthly maintenance. As long as you’re doing it regularly, you should be fine. Of course this depends somewhat on the volume in which you install programs on your computer. Even if you carefully install programs, many don’t give you the option to not add it to the startup. This is rather annoying to have to go in and remove it and I just feel it’s intrusive and a turnoff.

That said, it’s likely more common that we just miss the setting completely and add it to the startup. Or worse, add additional “bloatware-ish” programs to your startup that just so happened to tag alone with the primary program you are installing. If this sounds like you, I highly recommend you check out my article on MakeUseOf, A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk Picture this - you've just found this awesome free software that you are stoked about because of all that it can do for you, but when you install it, you discover that it is packed... Read More . It covers all these things in greater detail.

Do you have any tips for speeding up your startup? We’d love to hear them!

Image Credit: Slug With Computer via Shutterstock

  1. Anonymous
    December 27, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Can you write an article that teaches us how to make Windows shut down faster? It seems to be slowing down after some time.

  2. Anonymous
    November 22, 2012 at 10:10 am

    tried the stuff! was great!

  3. Haval Abdulkarim
    November 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    That was useful, thanks.

  4. Douglas Mutay
    November 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks for the nice article. I have personally used Ccleaner for very long time and it has proven to be very effective.

  5. Martin Ristovski
    November 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Great article! It really helped me speed up my boot time. I like Soluto a lot. Especially because it divides the startup processes into categories.

  6. Shmuel Mendelsohn
    November 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    This is really helpful!!!

  7. Ronald A. Raquier
    November 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    This is fantastic information especially when boot-up takes forever. Thanks again

  8. acampb311
    November 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm


  9. Matthew East
    November 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks a lot for this, I'm sure it will help a lot of users out!

  10. Edna Negron
    November 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    It woooorks....thanks...

  11. Keith D.
    November 17, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Fast boot is GREAT to have. ToolWiz Care analyses Start up among the MANY other features it has and Kingsoft PC Doctor also does. Both programs do a MORE than adequate job with Toolwiz Care comingout on top!

  12. Steve
    November 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I tried this and it broke my computer! Now my PC won't start up and I don't know what to do? How do you fix this? I don't want my only access to the internet to be my phone! I have an assignment due tomorrow and it was all stored on my computer, how do I get it back?

    • Geoff
      November 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      Going to need a little bit more info if you'd like some help on this. What's the computer doing?

      • Johnny
        November 17, 2012 at 12:21 am

        geoff, im not a gambling man but i'd bet he probably played around with soluto.

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 21, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Hey dude! Did you manage to fix your computer? If not the other option will be to use a Linux distribution to be able to get back your file and then decide whether you want to clean your windows or not. Sorry for what has happened!

  13. syed asghar
    November 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    This is good information.I will try and see it.

  14. Austen Gause
    November 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    my pc used to take 8 minutes to boot now it takes 2 thanks

  15. c smith
    November 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    At the moment my laptop takes forever to boot up. It drags it feet at every opportunity. ANY advice is welcome. thank you

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Start over with another installation if you’ve used your Windows for quite a long time. sometime that's the best thing to do...

  16. sl0j0n
    November 16, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Hello, all.
    I highly recommend that, if you don't have it, you download and install WinPatrol.
    Not only is it an extra layer of security,
    that will *not* conflict w/ antivirus programs,
    it also has an excellent 'start-up delay' option, for controlling start-up programs.
    It can slightly delay your start-up, IF you have a *LOT* of programs in your 'start-up' folder.
    The good news is that by assigning a program to the "Delayed Start" option,
    you take control, and decide how much delay to give to each program.
    That way, your computer becomes 'useable' sooner,
    than if you had to wait for everything to start at once.
    WinPatrol has a 'freeware' version, but I think its worth paying for,
    especially as Bill Pytlovany has the "One User / Unlimited Computers" rule.
    As long as they're all your computers, Mr. Pytlovany, the developer, feels that you shouldn't have to pay more than once.
    Of course, that doesn't mean you can 'steal' from Mr. Pytlovany,
    just that if you have more than one computer, one license cover them all.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  17. Johnny
    November 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    tisk tisk ...
    C'mon, how on earth could there not be any mention of WinPatrol ?

  18. Bob
    November 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    What about Winpatrol? There is a free version which will enable you to do most of these things and will also tell you more about entries on start up if you use the paid version.

  19. BAM
    November 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    To delay your start up programs in a manageable try out Startup Delayer

    Been using for a while, previously you would set the specific time to delay, now you can let it do it automatically by checking the system load before loading everything.

  20. Félix S. De Jesús
    November 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I use the MSConfig, but the time still the same... i will try others.

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Maybe the other option you think about will be to redo a new installation of your windows...

  21. Easton Wiki
    November 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Soluto is wonderful! Been using since it came out

  22. ha14
    November 15, 2012 at 11:37 am

    quite a job to make windows boot faster, maybe to create a profile (keeping original intact) and use it to boot windows can be solution, i am not sure if this exist as boot option.

  23. Alan Wade
    November 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Useful info although my Win7 machine boots in 22 seconds and Win 8 in 5 seconds.

  24. amit gaurav
    November 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I always prefer msconfig for its simplicity and more importantly no installtion requirement. Alternatively would recommend Soluto, I have been using this for over 2 years and its great for beginners who want to resolve the slow bootup issue. Though it has its own limitations. CCleaneris another tool normally used by me and its effective and has other good features!!

    Thanks Aaron for grouping all at the same place.

  25. Drew Butler
    November 15, 2012 at 8:06 am

    As others have stated this is very useful information... not really anything I'm unfamiliar with but great article nonetheless.

  26. Terafall
    November 15, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Soluto is great.I just wish I can install it offline

  27. Josue Aguilar
    November 15, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I use toolwiz care is free and come with a lot of help it tells you about your boot time and also is easy to see what is going on and how long takes every program, service or driver and allow you to delay or remove fron starting and give sugestions from the cloud at the same time explains about every one. It cleans ther hard drive have time freeze and much more. here I leave the link.
    PS: I dont work for them or earning someting for publicity I am just a thankfull user that is happy with this program

  28. Malkhaz Abuladze
    November 15, 2012 at 6:51 am

    my new windows 8 boot time is very fast. Only 6-7 seconds.

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      let's see for how long :-P

    • hotdoge3
      March 3, 2013 at 9:35 am

      windows 8 boot not fast only come out of sleep try power off take out the battery now see if it fast it will go just like windows 7

      My XP 45 seconds windows 7 48 seconds

  29. Dustin Wacker
    November 15, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I use many of these programs to enhance performance. Good list worth trying if your boot time is slow. My personal favs are CCleaner and Revo Uninstall.

  30. Ashwin Ramesh
    November 15, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Useful stuff! Thanks Aaron!

  31. Shirley Lim
    November 15, 2012 at 3:25 am

    All -time favourite methods (& a few unheard additional ones) to speed-boot windows. Thanks! :)

  32. Javier Vega
    November 15, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I'm familiar with the use of this methods, yet, is always good to see all this information grouped up, great article.

    It's almost a must-read for users who are struggling with slow boot windows and it's most of the time because of this "extra content" loading each time.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      November 15, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Yeah. But even after doing this all, your boot time might still be slower than normal if you've run Windows for quite a long time (need reinstalling) or your hard drive is overcrowded (unsure how scientific this claim is but mainly from my observation).

  33. Hoku Sarroca
    November 15, 2012 at 2:40 am

    what about c:\Program Files and the antiviruses? can we stop that from start up?

  34. DB
    November 15, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Great information...thank you for this...

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