Slow startup and shut down for your PC? Tips on how to quicken them

By | December 7, 2008

According to Microsoft, Windows XP was designed to boot up in 30 seconds, and if you add several additional services, this can take up to a minute. The time taken usually depends on additional functionalities you add to your system. The time of startup and shutdown also depend on the speed of your CPU and also the speed of your hard drive.

I know many people who have to deal with slow startups and shutdowns each time they use their PCs. If you face slow startups and shutdowns for your PC, then there maybe something going on aside from “old age.” There are actually some things you can do to improve it.

Spyware Infection: Slow startup and shutdown can be a symptom of spyware, trojan infection and/or a bloated configuration. Sypware infection is one of the prime causes of slow shutdown and startup. Take a look at your mouse cursor, does it halt quite frequently when scrolled or moved around? That’s one good indication of a background program (like spyware) running silently on your machine.

Disk Fragmentation: This is often overlooked, but it is actually important to regularly defragment your hard drive, because the very nature of Windows causes data to fragment, every time you use your computer. Hard drives that haven’t been defragmented for years can take more than 3 minutes to startup fully!

RAM: The amount of RAM used in your PC is important. 256 MB RAM is sufficient to run XP without trouble on non gaming PCs, but 512 MB or 1GB is best.

Your Software and Anti-Virus: The greater the number of software programs in your system, the greater the need for CPU processing. Programs like Norton were bad in this aspect. I used to have Norton Internet Security 2007, and it weighed my system down all the time. Since then, Symantec has likely improved Norton to be less of a resource hog, though I’m sticking with Zone Alarm now.

Other tips on quickening your startup and shutdown:

Ø Check out the startup menu in the All Programs and delete any unnecessary program that loads at startup. Don’t keep too many desktop icons lying around that you don’t need.

Ø Don’t clear up the “prefetch” folder in Windows because Windows just recreates them back soon after. Many tech sites suggest this, but I think it’s a waste of time. If you insist on clearing it, it’s in X:\windows\prefetch where X is the drive containing your Windows.

Ø Always turn off automatic updates. It is better to update the system manually, for whatever programs you use. However, make an exception for AV programs, because you need to keep pace with the viruses and spyware.

Ø If you have remote drivers it can be a cause of your slow startup and shutdown. The simplest solution is deleting all such mappings.

Ø Acrobat Reader 7.XX and 8.X.X tend to consume fairly large amounts of memory and increase the size of swap files. Best not to allow Adobe Reader to load at startup.

Ø Finally, if you still find your machine to be slow, then reformat the hard drive and get a new, clean installation.

Share This:

11 thoughts on “Slow startup and shut down for your PC? Tips on how to quicken them

  1. Dara

    I’ve found that the startup items is what slows down the boot up the most. Especially on new computers, *so* much crap is set to startup with windows, it could take minutes, even on a computer with lots of memory.

  2. Rob Lee

    Nice interesting post and the following tips are also great. Thanks for sharing them. Hope you will share more tips like this

  3. Iamsgf

    I usually had this problem in past but then I learned how to reduce amount of time for boot. Go to run and type msconfig. You can see and uncheck all unwanted programs from there forever. This works like a charm and my PC always doesn’t take more than 45 seconds.

  4. John W

    This step-by-step article describes is very usefull. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Thank you.

    John W

  5. Mark

    Great post. From using Windows for the last 15+ years, I’ve found the only real solution being to wipe and start again with a clean install.

    However, with lots of software being web-based and accessed with a browser, you can sometimes get away with a relatively basic setup without “much” installed on it, so the reinstall is pretty straight forward.

    NOT installing shareware/free software also helps!

  6. Ben

    This was very useful to me, I had completely forgotten to defragment for years, but recently I tried to do it and was taking many hours until I ran out of patience and stopped it. 🙁
    I think it’s time to try this again.


  7. Paul

    I have been running the same install of Vista home basic on my laptop since Vista was released however many year ago. The “secret” as to why it is still running perfectly after years of daily use is simple but regular maintenance.

    As Iamsgf said, msconfig is your friend! 10 minutes checking out what each program is and whether you need it to start with Windows will have your XP/Vista/Win7 install booting nice and quickly.

    Spyware/Adware are other common causes of slow running problems, however a decent AV software suite should cure this.

    Lastly, “Disk Cleanup” and “Defragment” your hard drives regularly to keep everything running smoothly.

    As a side note, many people forget that the computer system itself needs to boot before the operating system even begins to load. This boot sequence, or POST, can take up to 75% of the total time it takes to start using your computer from when you first press the power button…

  8. pctipstricks

    Good tips but there are still some more tips such as Cache enabling in BIOS, reducing the wait time of Windows at booting, decreasing the number of Windows startup programs, using less resolution graphics or using a separate graphics card, switching to faster processor, hard disk etc. that can reduce the booting time after powering ON of a PC.

  9. Jon

    I have a pretty smoking computer, and realized it was slowing down.
    Personally, I found a good registry cleaner does wonders for the system and helped it run better.
    Going through msconfig and modifying how much ‘junk’ was being loaded at startup made a huge difference too.

  10. Registry Cleaners

    I am also running vista in my PC since last 2 years and the result is awesome.

  11. rodger @ spyware removal utility

    Thank you for the super tips on how to make my PC faster. I really like the tip about turning off automatic updates. I know doing that will speed up my startup. Thanks again.

Comments are closed.