One of the questions that anyone involved in computer repair has invariably heard hundreds of times is “How can I make my computer start up faster?” The easy answer is “don’t turn it off.” However, this approach has a few problems. First, never turning your computer off when you’re done with it will take a lot of power. Second, system errors can build up while your computer is running and regular restarting will usually fix those. But keeping your computer off when you’re not using it results in waiting a long time whenever you want to use it. Here are a few tips to help reduce that waiting time at boot:
Run your protection software regularly – Viruses and spyware can do a lot of damage to your PC, including adding things that start with your computer, slowing it down. This is of course secondary to the damage that the infection can wreak when the hacker attempts to infect your computer further. Running your protection software regularly will make sure that these nasties stay off your hard drive and out of your boot order.
Pare down the applications that launch on boot – Pretty much every piece of software you install today, from Microsoft Word to Google Chrome, will add something to your computer’s start-up. These programs are small, but they are mostly unnecessary. After you’ve used your computer for a while, these programs will start to crowd your startup and make your computer take even longer before you can use it. You know when you start up your computer and then you can’t really use it for a few minutes while the desktop is up and the hourglass is up? That’s when Windows is starting all of those programs that have hitchhiked onto your boot schedule. These programs typically provide another feature for the program you’ve installed that the manufacturer wants to make sure you have immediate access to. Removing them from boot won’t remove them – it’ll just take longer when you want to use that program. But who uses every program on their computer every day?
To review and edit these programs, click the start menu, click run and type “msconfig” in the box that appears. This will launch System Configuration. Open the Startup tab. Here is everything that starts with your computer. Don’t just uncheck boxes willy-nilly though. Identify the programs that you know you won’t need all the time, like Roxio, Spotify, Photoshop, or the Bonjour service (installed with iTunes and only needed for media streaming through it). If there’s pre-installed software from your computer’s manufacturer, you can uncheck those as well. They’ll stay installed but won’t clog your computer. Save and close. It will ask you to restart, which you can do whenever you please. The configuration will load next time you start your computer, at which point it will ask you to make sure you want the changes. Check the box that appears and hit ok. If any problems arise, enable the programs that you think might be causing them and try again. You should notice a speed improvement right away if you’ve never done this before.
Consider buying more RAM – Adding more RAM to your system is a great way to increase its sped without paying too much. Determine how much you have installed and how much you can fit in using something like the “System Scanner Tool” on Crucial’s website. Crucial is a great place to buy RAM from, but if you’ve never installed it before, you might do well to call computer repair before attempting it. Most computers will run just fine on 4 gigabytes of ram, but if your computer is still slow you should consider adding the maximum amount that your computer can support.
If your computer still takes forever to start up after this, maybe it’s time call a computer repair tech. They’ll usually be able to pinpoint what’s slowing your system and check it out for you.