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  1. #1
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    Near-certain ways to improve PC startup times




    TOP STORY

    Near-certain ways to improve PC startup times


    By Fred Langa

    Four free tools offer safe and certain ways to pare your boot times to the minimum.

    The process takes a little time and effort, but if you follow the steps outlined here, better boot times are all but guaranteed!

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/near-certain-ways-to-improve-pc-startup-times/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    That's a nice article. Thank you Mr. Langa...Also worth mentioning, is the fact that some malicious software (viruses, malware or some very intrusive explorer search bars), use the windows startup process to insert themselves into your OS.Those can sometimes identified by the File name (often jibberish), the file location (when a file name is 'google--' and it's located in 'windows\system32', that's not normal) or sometimes even the file's properties page that can be used to make sure the file's publisher/creator is a trusted company and who it should be.A good anti-virus can help you avoid all the above, but if you are stuck with a company-forced bad anti-virus that's running without the latest updates, you'll have to do something about it...Thatnks again for this, and all, your articles

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    Anvir Task Manager deserves a mention

    Thank you for a useful article. However, I think Anvir Task Manager deserves at least a mention alongside WinPatrol. I have used both, and while I respect and admire WinPatrol, I use AnVir. In addition to selecting and deselecting startup items, AnVir offers user-configurable startup delays. The paid version also provides detailed information about each item. I hope this is helpful.

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    Fred, Great article, thanks again for your work... I read this one with interest, but I did not learn what I was hoping for. I have suffered from boot time issues and over the years have learned pretty much what you've covered here. Back in NT4 days, I used to have a utility that displayed all of the tasks that occurred during start-up and how long they took so you could really see who was the biggest offender. I have searched casually for such a utility these days with no success. Maybe it doesn't exist. Any ideas?

    One of the things I learned from that utility was that Windows Browser (the local network manager thingy) frequently got hung up on searching for an IP address, or other devices on the LAN. I was hoping you would shed some light on that aspect of start-up delays. I frequently leave my home network and attach regularly to other networks - all with shared drives, and it seems that Windows always wants to find everything I map to - causing delays. I must say that now that I am on Win7, the problem is not nearly as bad. But I wonder if there is a better way to deal with multiple network shares?

    -Thanks...

    -Nate
    -bearsfeat

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    Hi, Fred:
    Maybe it's obvious, but you might also point on that eliminating some of the programs slowing down startup may also speed up Windows in general, another plus.

    Thanks for another great column.

    Bill Woolfolk

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    The best thing I ever did to speed up my PC startup times was install an SSD drive. With prices the way they are today, it's not a real expensive upgrade. I turned my hard drive into a data drive and install programs on the SSD drive. Not only do I boot up in half the time as before, but my programs run faster. My windows experience score went from 5.9 to 7.4.

    To do this, I took an image of my hard drive, installed the SSD drive, and copied the image to it. I was up and running again in less than an hour.

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    I got all the tips about Start-up (Near-certain ways to improve PC startup times), except one: How do you add programs to Start-up? I want to add Chrome to Start-up and would love to know how to do it.

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    Great article...but...

    I have long been 'speeding up' my XP computers and those of many others using the techniques you have shown. Unfortunately, these days, way too much software behaves "impolitely" and inserts itself in ones' Windows startup. It's a rare piece of software that once it has started, provides an option to refrain from further automatic startups. Some varieties of IM have this feature. I haven't found any others that are that 'polite'.

    Programs like Chrome, QuickTime, Real Player, and numerous others automatically put themselves into the auto-startup list via registry entries. While it's reasonably trivial to either turn them off via MSCONFIG or going to the registry directly and deleting them, these are truly OBNOXIOUS programs that will simply re-insert themselves into your startup, adding another entry into your registry the next time you start them. Even if one has disabled them via MSCONFIG or other software, they simply create a new entry.

    In an effort to prevent them from re-inserting themselves, I formerly used a freeware program on my XP computer that would "ask" EVERY time the registry was going to be modified by something other than Windows itself. One of the optional replies was to permanently block updates from whatever program was then trying to update the registry. It was 100% effective and 100% flawless. Unfortunately, my current Internet Security program required it to be removed. And now that I'm on Win 7 using the same Internet Security, I have been unable to replicate that capability. Even at the most restrictive of security settings within IE and Win 7, "impolite" programs still insert themselves into the startup.

    I have even gone so far as to physically delete the offending "update checker" programs (not the application programs themselves) from my computer. Unfortunately, the "impolite" ones magically re-install the missing programs when they re-install themselves into the startup. It's a no-win situation.

    So, consistently performing various 'startup cleansing' is ongoing necessity to maintain computer startup speed. Most frustrating!

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    Win 7 (WinSer 2008) Delayed Automatic Start for Services

    Great overview, Fred. I subscribe because of your contributions.

    I noticed that you did not mention the new Win 7 (WS 2008) "delayed start" option for "automatic" services.
    I've switched non-critical services to this option, and achieved not only a measurable, but a noticeable (and satisfying ) decrease in start-up time.

    Here're some details from the Performance Team blog on TechNet:
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/a...tic-start.aspx

    I'm running about 18% of automatic services as "delayed start" (14 of 76). I'd like to get that closer to a third, because once I'm reading an email, I don't care what the system is doing in the background. So as I progress past 20%, I'm delaying additional service one-by-one and observing for any degradation in functionality.

    Things I've delayed:
    - Bluetooth service (until I get a BT keyboard/mouse, at least)
    - Backup service (I use Cobian)
    - Intel Rapid Storage Technology
    - MS .NET Framework v4
    - Software Protection
    - Windows Image Acquisition

    There are still plenty of event monitoring, logging services that I plan to delay one-by-one.

    It would be great to hear from others on *successfully* delayed start-up services.
    GG

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAHameed View Post
    How do you add programs to Start-up? I want to add Chrome to Start-up and would love to know how to do it.
    From Windows Help (F1):


    Run a program automatically when Windows starts

    If you always open the same programs after starting your computer, such as a web browser or an e‑mail program, you might find it convenient to have them start automatically when you start Windows. Programs or shortcuts placed in the Startup folder will run whenever Windows starts.

    1. Cick the Start button , click All Programs, right-click the Startup folder, and then click Open.

    2. Open the location that contains the item you want to create a shortcut to.

    3. Right-click the item, and then click Create Shortcut. The new shortcut appears in the same location as the original item.

    4. Drag the shortcut into the Startup folder.

    The next time you start Windows, the program will run automatically.


    Bruce
    Last edited by BruceR; 2012-09-06 at 11:29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAHameed View Post
    I got all the tips about Start-up (Near-certain ways to improve PC startup times), except one: How do you add programs to Start-up? I want to add Chrome to Start-up and would love to know how to do it.
    There's a little wrinkle with Chrome. It installs on a per-user basis. So, you need to do the following for each User on the computer:

    (1) You will probably have on each user's desktop a Chrome Start Shortcut. Right-click and Pin To Start Menu if it isn't already there. (In Windows 8, we won't have the Start Menu, but this advice is for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.)
    (In Windows 8, Chrome may be an App which can be pinned to the Start Screen, which shows before the Welcome or Login Screen. Apps pinned there can be launched before you even log in to Windows 8.)

    (2) From the Chrome item in the Start Menu, right-click and Copy the shortcut.

    (3) Locate the user's Startup Folder in the Start Menu and open it. Paste Right-click inside the Startup Folder and Paste the Chrome shortcut there. To verify, msconfig will now show the Chrome item as a checked Startup Item.

    (4) Repeat for each user on the computer, as Chrome runs on a per-user basis.

    For a good summary of these steps, see this article. Just remember to repeat for each user.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-09-06 at 12:43.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bratkinson View Post
    I have long been 'speeding up' my XP computers and those of many others using the techniques you have shown. Unfortunately, these days, way too much software behaves "impolitely" and inserts itself in ones' Windows startup. It's a rare piece of software that once it has started, provides an option to refrain from further automatic startups. Some varieties of IM have this feature. I haven't found any others that are that 'polite'.

    Programs like Chrome, QuickTime, Real Player, and numerous others automatically put themselves into the auto-startup list via registry entries. While it's reasonably trivial to either turn them off via MSCONFIG or going to the registry directly and deleting them, these are truly OBNOXIOUS programs that will simply re-insert themselves into your startup, adding another entry into your registry the next time you start them. Even if one has disabled them via MSCONFIG or other software, they simply create a new entry.

    In an effort to prevent them from re-inserting themselves, I formerly used a freeware program on my XP computer that would "ask" EVERY time the registry was going to be modified by something other than Windows itself. One of the optional replies was to permanently block updates from whatever program was then trying to update the registry. It was 100% effective and 100% flawless. Unfortunately, my current Internet Security program required it to be removed. And now that I'm on Win 7 using the same Internet Security, I have been unable to replicate that capability. Even at the most restrictive of security settings within IE and Win 7, "impolite" programs still insert themselves into the startup.

    I have even gone so far as to physically delete the offending "update checker" programs (not the application programs themselves) from my computer. Unfortunately, the "impolite" ones magically re-install the missing programs when they re-install themselves into the startup. It's a no-win situation.

    So, consistently performing various 'startup cleansing' is ongoing necessity to maintain computer startup speed. Most frustrating!
    Programs like WinPatrol (mentioned in the article) are designed to monitor these sorts of events, and you can control (to some extent) what does or does not get changed. At the very least, you would be presented with a dialog box warning you that a change is about to occur.

    I have a program called DriverMax which behaves the same way -- every time I run it, it sets itself to Start With Windows from then on. I use CCleaner after running DriverMax, and Disable two Startups items associated with this behavior. This works until the next time I run DriverMax.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-09-06 at 13:01.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wdw7m View Post
    Hi, Fred:
    Maybe it's obvious, but you might also point on that eliminating some of the programs slowing down startup may also speed up Windows in general, another plus.

    Thanks for another great column.

    Bill Woolfolk
    Yes and no. Some of the Quick Launchers (Office, Java, and Adobe Reader, for examples) actually speed up tremendously the launching of the associated programs once Windows has launched. But the price in terms of startup delays may be more than we choose to suffer, so at least delaying the Quick Launchers at Windows Startup may get us up and running faster, without sacrificing the measurable improvements in program launch times if these Quick Launchers are permitted to run -- AFTER Windows has gotten up and on its feet, so to speak. The answer here is to use a program which permanently DELAYS these Startups, not one which does away with them altogether. Fred Langa has recommended several of these Startup Delay programs in past columns.

    For those who connect to networks frequently, Windows Automatic Network Discovery is a feature which can be turned on or off. When not in use, or if it delays Windows startup, this feature can be left turned off. It can be turned on, or you will be prompted to turn it on, when you want to connect to a network. I have a very simple home network, with only two laptops connected by a crossover Ethernet Cable, but this trick works for me there, and it may scale out to more complex networking environments. The feature is located within the Network and Sharing Center in Windows 7 and Vista.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-09-06 at 12:58.
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    You skipped right over WinPatrols' Delayed Start feature, which is the best and most important of all! How depressing

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    Having to install a 3rd party application that deals with this is a joke and a bandaid solution at best.

    IMO most people who are having problems with long start up issues, are not paying particular attention when they are
    installing software in the first place.

    Pay attention to what you are installing during the entire install process. Slow down and look for the options that many applications
    will have provided. Like whether to start when the OS starts or not, or only install specific aspects of the software one is going to use.
    If one does comes across a program that provides little in terms of configuration options, then MSCONFIG is still a very
    usefull built-into windows utility.

    Complex software with multiple running services and processes will almost always be configurable. It's up to you to learn
    about what you are installing on your machine and the best way to configure the software to be usefull to you. That does mean
    taking the time to read it's factsheets and learn how to set it up.

    With many free applications and badly coded garbageware, one will likely be confronted with an install routine that includes
    the installation of other applications, wanted or otherwise...
    Maybe even malicious code that was inserted into a secondary or tertiary download website that has been hijacked.
    Get the software from the primary site of the manufacturer rather than just a secondary or tertiary download site link.

    Free applications can be realy good, but they can also have a cost that is actually higher than the price of a paid for application
    in terms of OS load times, adware, and buggy behavior. With freeware one really does need to be picky.

    The over installation of software on a very weak and anemic system is another big problem I see on many countless occasions,
    especially on laptops. One does needs to work within the confines of the hardware one has purchased, to a great extent.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-09-09 at 10:42.

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