13 Ways to Speed Up Windows Boot Times

Speed Up

13 Ways to Speed Up Windows Boot Times

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore

Speed UpEvery day millions of Windows machines are booted up and everyday millions of people sit idly by waiting for Windows to load onto the desktop.


The amount of time wasted can probably be measured in weeks considering how slow most Windows PCs boot up! Luckily, there are a lot of steps you can take to speed your computer’s boot time.


In this article, we're going to mention 14 simple ways we use to speed up PCs and hopefully you’ll find that they work for you aswell. 


1. Free Up Disk Space

Speed UpOne thing we do on computers running slow is clean up the disk space. There are aspects of Windows that use up quite a bit of disk space like the recycle bin, system restore, hibernation file, backed up service-pack files, WinSxS folder, temp directories, etc.




On top of that, you might have a lot of data lying on your hard that you might be able to move to an external hard drive or delete, I.e. Duplicates of files, Old Irrelevant document & Backups, etc. 


Take the time to clean up files on your computer at least once a month.


2. Disable Visual Effects


Speed UpThis is a fix that applies to older machines or PCs with limited hardware and Remote Desktops. In these cases it can make a good difference. 


performance options


To access Performance Options go to



right-click on "Computer", (Also "My Computer" on the desktop)

choose "Properties",

then select "Advanced System Settings"


Disabling visual effects in Windows will basically make your computer look more basic, like the older Windows XP / 2000 since it will get rid of the Aero effects and remove transparency and animations. When it comes to boot times, disabling the visual effects will bring up the desktop slightly faster.


3. Optimize Paging File

Speed UpThe paging file is a allocated amount of Hard-Drive space dedicated to memory Windows uses to store temporary data and although most people would not need to alter the paging file, it can be used to boost Windows performance and reduce boot times in cases where a computer runs low on memmory.


speed up

optimized paging file



To access Performance Options go to



right-click on "Computer", (Also "My Computer" on the desktop)

choose "Properties",

then select "Advanced System Settings",

select the "Advanced" Tab

Click the "Change" Button


It’s recommended to optimize the paging file if your computer doesn’t have a lot of RAM. Any PC with 2GBs or less could find improvements by increasing this file.

On high-end designing & Gaming machines users experience an improvement by disabling it completely and allowing Windows to store everything directly onto the RAM on a hardware-level.


4. Install More RAM

Speed UpThe most common configuration for computers in South Africa is 4GB of Memory, while is not bad and usually enough for most people, anything less will cause a performance deficit with todays computer software 




If you’re running 64-bit Windows on a desktop, then you could opt for 8 GB of RAM. Note that if you have a 32-bit OS, Windows can’t use more than 4GB of RAM, this is a software limitation and can only be fixed by reloading the computer with a 64-bit version of Windows.


5. Defragment Hard Drive

Speed UpAgain, this particular tip will help those who are running older versions of Windows like Vista or XP because Windows 7 and Windows 8 automatically defragment hard drives for you at certain times.




Also, if you are using a SSD (solid state drive) instead of a traditional hard drive, do NOT defragment the drive as it does not affect it's performance and decreases the lifetime of the drive.


6. Disable Startup Programs

Speed UpIf you have over 6 icons showing up in the bottom-right notification area of the taskbar, then your boot-times can probably be reduced. Using the MSCONFIG utility, you can disable unnecessary startup programs quickly and easily.


msconfig windows 7


Most startup programs can be disabled because they are for third-party programs like Adobe, Dropbox, Google Update, Printer Software etc. You can manually run all of these yourself when you need to use them thereby reducing the amount of times it takes Windows to load. Do not disable anything that could be related to software using databases. (Usually Pastel, Quickbooks, POS computers, etc.)


7. Uninstall Programs

Speed UpYou should also uninstall any programs that you no longer use or need. Users tend to collect no longer needed software over time and there comes a time when you need to remove those programs because they add registry entries that could slow down the boot process or affect current software.


speed up


To access Programs & Features go to



click on "Control Panel", (or type Control and select it from the list)

Select Uninstall / Remove a program (Add & Remove Programs in XP, also Programs & Features on some Windows Vista to 10 Computers)


Run Cleanup Utilities

Speed UpOne problem from a lot of software is that the registry entries they created don’t necessarily get removed. In those types of cases, we recommend running a cleanup utility like CCleaner because they can affect you computer's boot times. Please do take care when using such 3rd-Party software as it can remove needed startup registry entries and other setting your computer might need to function.




8. Upgrade to an SSD

Speed UpSSDs (Solid State Drives) are the future of hard drives and considerably faster that conventional Mechanical Hard drives (Starting at 500Mb/s vs 50 – 100Mb/s), physically smaller, they have no moving part (making them ideal for notebooks) and are improving steadily in pricing and performance since their recent release to the market the are however currently still more expensive Rand-per-Gibabyte than current drives. Considering the long-term benefits, this is a recommended option to consider that will benefit any computer. 




9. Upgrade to Windows 8.1 or 10

Safe ModeWindow 8 & 10 isn't as popular as Windows 7 due to people not liking the new start-menu interface, but it does boots up faster. If it is for your personal computer at home and you're willing to adapt, consider Upgrading to the latest version of Windows. 


windows 81


If you still prefer the old Start menu, you can download Classic Shell Start menu, it is a recommendation we install for most of our clients.


10. Change BIOS Settings

Speed UpWhen your computer first boots up, it loads the BIOS, which in turn loads the operating system. A small amount of the boot time can be spent in this particular phase bringing up your hardware. None of the previous methods will impact it's Startup time.




This is because the BIOS is stored on a memory chip on the motherboard and therefore isn’t affected by any software, including the hardware like RAM, hard drive, etc. There are basically two ways to speed up the BIOS process: change the boot order so that the hard drive with the OS is listed first and enable quick boot, which will disable all hardware checks that are initially done during the boot process. Do not change any settings if  you do not know what they do as this can result in your system not booting properly.


11. Keep PC Updated

1468868775_shield-warningWhen Windows loads, it has to load a lot of drivers to make sure everything works properly like your USB ports, the graphics card, the sound card, the hard drive, the network card, the memory chips, etc, etc.




It’s important, then, to keep all of these drivers updated as the latest versions contain fixes, speed improvements, compatibility improvements, etc. 


In addition, whenever able, you should always install the latest Windows updates using the Windows Update tool in Control Panel.


12. Disable Unneeded Hardware

1468868841_cpu-chipIf you can reduce the number of drivers that Windows has to load on startup, then you will reduce the boot time also. If you go into device manager, you’ll see there are a couple of items you can disable if you no longer use them.


disable hardware

Some of the items we have disabled include floppy disk drives and controllers, Bluetooth controllers and radios, modems and virtual WiFi adapters. Obviously, you only want to disable the components you know you’re not going to be using.


13. Use a Static IP Address

1468868880_ip_classA few seconds seconds can be saved off the startup time from having a fixed address on the network. Your computer has to contact the router’s / Server's DHCP (Dynamic Host Client Protocol) in order to get an IP address on Startup and this process can be quickened if you just set a static IP address for your router.


obtain ip address automatically


We only recommend doing this if it is a home computer or it does not interfere with your IT Department's current configuration and only for your cabled LAN connection. Changing your WiFi to a static IP would not allow you to connect to an Airport or Hotel WiFi for Example. Only consider this if you understand how it can affect your network.


That’s about it. Hope you enjoyed the list and some of the tips helped speed up your boot time. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:


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