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Clean Up Your PC: Shorten Boot Time Part II

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 6/12/2009

You can increase how fast your PC boots by removing unwanted items from the Start menu, but there are other ways to clean up the boot process. You can tweak the boot process in Vista with Windows Defender, and on older PCs, skip the floppy drive search, configure automatic log in, or remove any configured boot delays.

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    Enhance Boot Process

    There are lots of other ways to clean up the boot process to make it faster. Some, like enabling Quick Boot in your BIOS on a Windows XP machine have their downsides, so I’m not going to mention those here. There are specific tests your computer really needs to run, and we’re all for letting the boot-up process take two or three more seconds rather than disabling important system checks. There are a few things you can do that won’t hurt, like skipping the floppy drive search (a second or two), disabling boot delays, logging on automatically, and tweaking start up programs in Windows Defender.

    Tell the BIOS to Skip the Floppy Drive Search

    If you have an older PC, chances are good that your computer spends a few seconds looking to the floppy disk drive for operating system files when it boots. This isn’t likely necessary if you can boot to a CD when booting to the hard drive fails. To change this default setting, you’ll have to enter the BIOS.

    While entering the BIOS might seem like a simple task (just press the right key combination or the correct function key at the right time during boot-up), it isn’t always that easy. Some computer manufacturers would rather you not mess around there and don’t make it that easy to find. You may have to jump through hoops. On one computer I had, you had to wait until the blinking dash appeared in the top-right corner of the splash screen, and then you had to hold down the F3 key (while touching a nose with a left index finger). If you did that at the wrong time, no BIOS!

    If you don’t know your key combination and it isn’t listed at boot-up, try pressing F1, F2, F3, or similar keys at the splash screen. If that doesn’t work, you might have to visit the Web site of your computer maker and search through their knowledge base. Once you can access your BIOS, walk through the pages using the arrow keys and change or disable the floppy drive search at boot-up.

    Don’t Configure a Boot Delay

    On some computers you can have a boot delay configured so you can choose an operating system. However, if you don’t have a dual-boot system, you’re just wasting time. If you have a boot delay configured in Windows XP:

    1. Open Control Panel (click Performance And Maintenance if you’re using the default theme), and then open System.

    2. Click the Advanced tab.

    3. Under Startup And Recovery, click Settings.

    4. Change the Time To Display List Of Operating Systems field to 0 seconds. Click OK twice to close out the dialog boxes.

    In Windows Vista:

    1. Open Control Panel.

    2. Click System and Maintenance.

    3. Click System.

    4. Click Advanced System Settings.

    5. In the Startup and Recovery section of the Advanced tab, click Settings. [Image 1]

    6. Change the Time To Display List Of Operating Systems field to 0 seconds. Click OK twice to close out the dialog boxes. [See Image 2]

    Log On Automatically

    If you are the only user of your computer, and if the computer is in a safe physical environment (that Is, In your house where other people can't routinely get to It) you can configure your PC to log you on automatically, without using the Welcome screen and without using the standard Log On To Windows dialog box. Be warned, though, each time the computer boots up, your account will open automatically!

    Here’s how to configure automatic logon:

    1. In Windows XP, click Start, and click Run. Type control userpasswords2, and click OK.

    2. In Windows Vista, click Start, and in the Start Search window, type control userpasswords2 and click Enter.

    3. In Windows XP:

    a. Verify that the box called Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer is checked, and then select the account that you want to configure as the primary logon.

    b. Remove the check mark from Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer and click OK.

    c. Confirm your password and click OK.

    5. In Windows Vista:

    a. Clear the box Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer.

    b. Click Apply.

    c. Type in the password and confirm it.

    d. Click OK.

    e. Click OK again.

    Use Windows Defender

    Finally, you can use Vista’s Windows Defender feature to stop unwanted programs from booting when Windows does.

    1. In the Start Search window, type Windows Defender.

    2. Click Enter.

    3. Click Tools, and click Software Explorer. [See Image 3]

    4. Select any program in the Startup Programs list, and click Remove to keep it from starting when Windows does. [See Image 4]

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    Images

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    Images