Slow Laptop Startup: How to Tweak Boot Performance

by Rod Dunne on December 7, 2011

in Performance

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Slow laptop startup times are caused by the amount of applications being initialized as the system starts, along with the performance of these programs. In this article I’ll show the two steps to improving boot performance.

Step one: Disable programs from being initialized at boot time

There are a number of different ways to identify which programs are initialized as the system boots (many of which you may not actually require). The easiest one to use is Microsoft’s own System Configuration tool which also allows you to disable specific applications. Here’s how to start disabling applications from the boot disk to improve XP slow startup times:

  1. Go to the Start menu, select the Run program and enter msconfig.
  2. The configuration utility launches showing you a number of different tabs. Select the one labeled “startup”.
  3. This will display a large number of services and applications the system initializes during a full reboot. The one difficulty is that applications are listed using an executable filename so may be unfamiliar to your eyes. Research the executable filenames if necessary on the web to establish which programs they relate to.
  4. Use the checkboxes to deselect programs you’ve identified as non-critical.
  5. Save your changes and restart the system.

Top tip: To check the slow laptop performance improvements it is worth using a stopwatch to time how long the system takes to boot before and after the changes are made.

Step two: Improve the performance of programs that are left enabled at boot time

Microsoft System Configuration Utility (a.k.a. msconfig)You can also improve slow laptop performance by speeding up those applications which are left enabled as the system boots. Since there are potentially a lot of applications in your system configuration startup tab it is worth using the following process to identify the problematic ones.

  1. Open System Configuration tool on the startup tab.
  2. For each executable that is listed as enabled, check the amount of RAM it uses in Task Manager (i.e. the mem usage column on the processes tab). If the program appears to use a large amount of memory, in comparison to other programs, then choose to
    (a) check it for updates,
    (b) check online user forums and customer support tickets for configuration tweaks or
    (c) replace it with a similar product which can do the same task.

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