The biggest changes I notice in boot times comes when I eliminate programs from the startup process. Some programs stuff icons directly into the startup folder. They then automatically launch every time Windows boots. Microsoft Office and Real Audio are both guilty of this crime.
Some applications offer a “load on startup” feature. Try to shut off these “quick launch” or startup features in each of the programs’ settings. Sometimes you can even do it by right-clicking on the icon in the system tray. This will keep them from running in the background and will only run when you need them.
If you cant turn off a program that starts on boot any other way, you can generally shut the door on it in MSConfig. Launch Start/Run and type in MSConfig. Click the startup tab and you’ll see a checkbox list of all the applications that start with Windows. Uncheck the box next to the program you don’t want to start. Only uncheck what you are sure of!
Hint: I usually put a shortcut for each of my favorite apps in the Quick Launch section of the taskbar. It puts the applications a single click away, but doesn’t take up system resources or add time to my startup.
Desktop users will love this one: Win98 checks for a floppy every time it boots. Laptop users might find that useful.
Open up System in the Control Panel. Click on the Performance tab, then the File Systems button, then Floppy Disk. Uncheck the box next to “Search for new floppy disks drives each time your computer starts”.
Does your system count its memory when it boots? Chances are you can shut that down. It was a valuable feature in the early and flakier days of memory, but you should be fine without it today. Look in you BIOS and uncheck this feature.
Do you boot form the C drive? If not, setting your system to boot form the C drive first will save you a few tricks. That way your system doesn’t check for a bootable floppy or CD-ROM.
Finally, some BIOS’s offer a special setting called “quick start,” “quick boot,” or some similar idea. Try turning it on or off and see if you cant save a little more time.
I hate to say it, but the latest motherboards and processors boot faster, and if you really want speed upgrade to 800 MHz or higher.
Many virus utilities offer real-time scanning for viruses. The scanner loads at startup, and can really kill performance because it must scan every program file being loaded into memory.
If you’re willing to get by with a bit less virus protection, you can speed up boot times by turning off real-time scanning. Instead, schedule a task to run a standard virus scan at least once a day. Not only will this shorten boot times, but it’ll make your system faster fro any access.
Hint: If unchecked, virus scan programs often repeatedly reinsert themselves in MSConfig. It’s a feature, not a bug. You need to shut them down in the application itself.