XP Slow Startup Performance Tips

by Rod Dunne on November 26, 2010

in Articles, Performance

XP slow startup speed | Software and system checks to help improve boot performance in Windows XP.
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Windows XP slow startup performance is often a factor of the number of programs initialized as the system boots up and how these programs are actually performing. In this article, we’ll show how to use PC repair software and Microsoft utilities to improve boot performance.

Windows XP slow startup fix: Using msconfig

The first task to do when improving Windows XP slow startup speeds is reduce the number of applications that are initialized as the system is booting up. XP computers provide an administration utility called the System Configuration program (start > run > enter msconfig) containing a startup tab for this purpose.

On the startup tab, you will see the list of executable file names that are initialized. You can select/deselect the check-box in each row to enable/disable the program from being initialized at reboot.

Microsoft System Configuration Utility (a.k.a. msconfig)The important thing however is to make sure you are familiar with the program prior to disabling it as you do not wish to switch off any critical security applications or anti-virus program updates. Therefore, it is worth researching the external file name (listed in the tab) on the web to see what the program actually does and whether or not it is safe to disable.

If you make a mistake and disable program you later need that can be run via the Start menu or you can rollback the changes msconfig.

The second task to consider is to research how to improve the performance of those programs you leave enabled in msconfig. Simply put, go through the list of enabled applications and check the manufacturer’s websites for any updates to these programs. You could filter the list of applications you search for based on how much RAM each executable is using. The memory usage of each application is detailed in the processes tab of the Task Manager.

In addition, you could also check these applications for any configuration tweaks or suggested performance improvements via online user forums for the product.

A general Windows XP slow startup fix

The startup speed is also dependent on how fast your computer is generally running so improving the overall performance can help this area too. Here are some areas you could focus on improving:

  • Add more RAM memory. This is especially advisable on older PCs if they have less than 1 MB of RAM installed.
  • Run the disk defragmenter. Use Windows own tool or a specialized product (e.g. Regtool: Registry repair and disk defragmentation utility in one.).
  • Increase the maximum page file size in Performance Options. This will allocate more virtual memory to the operating system for processing system commands.
  • Ensure you have 10% of your disk left free for the virtual memory to expand. If you’re stuck for space then try removing unused programs or running a temporary/cache file cleaning utility (e.g. Winclear).
  • Make sure your registry key settings are optimized. Windows registry settings can become out of date as a result of application changes and installations. Use a registry cleaner (e.g. Registry Easy) to automate this process.
  • Check you don’t have a slow broadband connection by assessing the download and upload speeds speedtest.net.

Related posts
Understanding how to reboot computer devices and systems to work around system/virus issues.
How to speed up my laptop | Checklist of maintenance tasks and utilities for performance gains.
Windows XP registry cleaner tips.

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