Slow XP Boot-up Speed - Tried Everything..

  TicTacToc 14:45 01 Sep 2007

My Windows XP 'hangs' for ~62 seconds on the "Windows" loading screen.. I have gone through as many guides as possibly disabling processes, defragging bootfiles, optimising my system with BootVis e.t.c. but none of them have helped.

Didn't Microsoft state 30s as the marker a standard home computer should be able to get?

Is there anything that people often overlook that may result in my boot time being double what it should be?

My Booting hard drive is a Seagate 160gb 7200.9 that appears to be in good condition with 56.3mb/s average when tested with HDTune. It has 2 partitions - 60gb for Windows and programs and 90gb for documents. How can I confirm that the booting files and page file are in the best part of the hard drive?

Thanks for any advice.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:34 01 Sep 2007

Disable floppy drive seek

The floppy drive seek BIOS option sets whether your PC will attempt to detect the floppy (a:) drive during boot up. Whether it finds one or not, once Windows has loaded it becomes irrelevant, as control of hardware devices including drives are handed over from the BIOS to the operating system.

Disabling the 'floppy drive seek' option in the 'advanced BIOS features' section of the BIOS can save you a few seconds on boot up, and since the setting has no actual effect, disable it.

Set primary display adaptor

Most motherboards have a BIOS setting entitled 'primary graphics adaptor' or 'Init display first' which affects whether the system will attempt to initialize an AGP graphics card or a PCI graphics card first.

While it has no effect on any other facet of system performance, setting the correct value here (many boards default to 'PCI') may save you a few seconds of booting time. This option can be found in the 'advanced chipset features' or 'integrated peripherals' sections of the BIOS.

Enable quick POST/memory test

Many motherboards have a setting in the BIOS which can instruct the system to skip through certain portion of the POST (Power On Self Test), speeding up boot times considerably. A variety of settings performing this function can be found on various motherboards.

Some examples are: 'perform quick memory test,' 'quick boot,' 'quick power on self test,' etc. Enabling these options will cause your system to boot faster.

Be advised that you should disable this option when you have made modifications to your computer's hardware, especially the memory.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:35 01 Sep 2007

Eliminate unwanted programs from boot up

You will find that many of the programs you install on your system set portions of themselves to run automatically when you start up your computer. Each program that runs on startup not only consume system resources but also extends the length of time it takes your PC to fully boot.

Since it is generally unnecessary to have any programs running in the background (other than security software like virus-scanners or firewalls) disable your unwanted startup programs to increase your startup speed and conserve system resources.

The easiest way to go about this task is to use the MSCONFIG utility, which may be familiar to users of Windows 9x. This handy program contains a list of software which is set to start when you boot your PC. You can then easily disable and re-enable (if necessary) these items.

Go to 'start\run' and type 'msconfig' to access the utility.

The 'startup' tab in MSCONFIG provides access to several other applications that are started at boot up and are running in the background. By examining their Filenames and directories, you should be able to get a feeling for what is necessary and what is not.

Be aware than several viruses and worms have a habit of disguising themselves with authoritative sounding Windows system file names, such as the Win32.spybot.worm as MSCONFIG32.EXE. Leave these for now if you are not sure.

The next place you should go is 'start\programs\startup' which is a directory Windows XP uses to launch application shortcuts on boot-up. If you remove the shortcuts from this directory, the applications will not load on startup. This directory can also be a repository for various badness such as spyware and virus software, so if there are files here which are not shortcuts and you don't recognize them, you may wish to consider removing them anyways, as Windows will not place critical files in this directory.

Scan your PC for spyware and Adware

Along the lines of the above tip, various programs may also be operating on your computer without your knowledge, transmitting information about your surfing habits to interested commercial enterprises.

These spyware and adware programs (including the infamous Gator) are bundled in with many popular freeware programs like Kazaa Media Desktop, and can also be 'caught' from websites which host the software as part of their entrance requirements. Beware of text boxes asking you if you would like to install so-and-so program while you are surfing.

If you are interested, we wrote a whole article on the topic. To summarize, these programs can compromise both your privacy and security, as well as your Internet performance, so removing them is a good idea. To do this, you should use either Lavasoft's Adaware or Spybot Search and Destroy.

Both programs are fairly straightforward and easy to use, and will effectively rid your PC of pesky parasite programs. See the article for more details.

Disable boot virus detection

The boot virus detection setting is a holdover from the early days of computer viruses, when the greatest threat was from virus programs that wrote themselves into the boot sector of hard disks or the partition table. Some motherboards are equipped to monitor any attempt to write to these areas during boot up, and halt the process with a warning for the user.

Since every version of Windows after 3.1 needs to write to these areas during install, and the modern virus style of choice is the email worm, this feature is now obsolete. Disable it for convenience and increased boot speed. It will commonly be found in the 'advanced BIOS features' section of the BIOS.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:36 01 Sep 2007

Change boot sequence.

An easy and effective way of speeding up your loading time is to change the boot sequence in the BIOS. By altering this sequence so that your system hard drive is the first device the computer attempts to boot from, you save the precious seconds needed for the computer to check other devices for bootable media. If you wish to boot the system from a CD or floppy, you will need to change the order in the BIOS again, however.

Some BIOS versions include a menu that can be accessed from the POST which allows the user to choose the device he or she wishes to boot from. To do this, go to the 'advanced BIOS features' section of the BIOS and change the 'first boot device' setting to 'hard disk 0.'

Disable the XP loading screen

To speed up your boot process slightly, disable the Windows XP loading screen. This can be accomplished easily by opening the MSCONFIG utility ('start\run and type msconfig'), selecting the 'boot.ini' tab and checking the /NOGUIBOOT option.

When you boot your system, you will see a black screen in between POST and the welcome screen from now on.

Eliminate unwanted fonts to increase boot speed

The Windows XP control panel contains a 'fonts' directory which holds all the fonts currently installed on your system. These can come from Windows itself or from an application such as Word.

Windows checks and loads these fonts during the startup process, therefore having a large amount of font files can cause performance to drag during startup. The simple solution for this (if you do not expect to use the majority of these fonts constantly) is to move the unnecessary fonts to a new directory elsewhere on the hard disk, preserving them in case they are needed, but preventing them from loading upon startup.

To do this:

Create a new directory called 'font backup' or something similar on your c: drive.

Go to 'start\control panel\fonts' and select all fonts (for now, we will be more selective later). Drag and drop all the fonts into the backup folder you just created. Things will get garbled for a moment, never fear. Windows XP will automatically re-install the base fonts that it needs to display text into the fonts folder in a second or two.

Now you have the bare minimum of fonts installed. Go through the backup folder and cherry pick the fonts that you are sure to use (like Times New Roman or Arial).

If you removed a large volume of fonts, your system should now boot faster.

Turn off BIOS disk detection

Most modern motherboards will attempt to detect any IDE devices, such as hard drives and CD drives, during the POST sequence each time the computer boots. By configuring the BIOS with the correct drive information, you can shave a few seconds off your boot time by avoiding this detection process.

To do this enter your system's BIOS setup screen.

Depending on your motherboard, you may have an IDE drive auto-detection menu. If you do, simply select it to automatically set your drives. If not, configure the drives through the 'standard CMOS settings' menu.

Note that some motherboard chipsets (like Nvidia's Nforce 2) do not allow this auto-detection to be disabled.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:37 01 Sep 2007

Use the Intel application accelerator

If your computer has an older Intel chipset (pre-865) you may benefit from downloading and installing the Intel Application Accelerator . This software replaces the Windows XP ATA (hard disk and IDE device) drivers with ones specially designed for Intel chipsets, improving disk performance and boot time.

Please make sure that your computer conforms to the system requirements before installing the accelerator.

Disable unnecessary services

Windows XP runs many, many services in the background. A lot of these are not actually necessary to the day-to-day operation of your PC, depending of course, on what you use it for.

The simple fact is different people will need different services enabled. To judge for yourself which are necessary, right click on 'My computer' and select 'manage.' From the computer management window, expand 'services and applications' then click 'services' to open up the window listing all available services.

The ones labeled 'started' are currently running, and the startup type 'automatic' denotes a service which is started by windows each time the operating system loads. By highlighting each service, you can see a description of its properties, and make an informed decision on whether you need it or not.

To stop a service from running, right click on it and select 'properties,' then stop it and make the startup type 'disabled.' If the description indicates that services which depend on the service you are currently examining will fail if it is disabled, you can go to the 'dependencies' tab to see which services will be affected.

Good luck, and use common sense.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:38 01 Sep 2007

Disable unneeded devices in device manager

A quick fix that can make XP boot faster is to disable any unused devices in the Windows XP device manager. For example if you have a integrated sound card or video card that you have upgraded, or if you do not use a floppy drive on your system, it pays to disable these devices in device manager.

The same goes for extra network cards. Of course, the standard rule of thumb applies here: If you do not know what it is, leave it alone.

To disable unneeded devices in device manager:

Right click on 'my computer' and select 'properties.' From the 'hardware' tab, select 'device manager.' Expand the various categories to locate unused devices. Right click the devices and select 'disable.'

Disable auto detection for empty IDE slots

Another quick trick for a faster boot up is to disable the auto detection that Windows XP uses to determine if there are IDE devices present in any of the IDE slots on the motherboard. More specifically, disable this feature on any empty slots to prevent the operating system wasting time and resources checking them.

Right click on 'my computer' and select 'properties.' Go to the 'hardware' tab and select 'device manager' to open the device management window.

Expand 'IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers' and highlight the 'primary IDE channel.' Right click the highlighted entry and select 'properties.' Go to the 'advanced settings' tab.

If either IDE slot on the controller is empty, the 'device type' dropdown box will be not grayed out. Set it to 'none' to disable auto detection of IDE devices on that particular slot.

Repeat the above steps for the 'secondary IDE controller.'

Note that if you wish to add a new IDE device, you will have to reset the 'device type' setting to 'autodetect' in order for Windows to use the new drive.

Reduce wait time after XP boots

A common performance problem with Windows XP is 'start lag,' in which the operating system boots up normally, the desktop is visible and usable, but programs will not start, and selecting icons and using the start menu are extremely slow. This can take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes to clear up, and can make using the operating system extremely frustrating, especially if you are in a hurry after the reboot.

This delay is generally caused by Windows XP's networking services looking for other computers and advertising their functions over the computer's network connections.

If this problem is driving you nuts, there is a way to reduce or eliminate the delay, though if you are attached to a home network, it will reduce your computer's functionality on that network.

If your computer is not attached to a home network:

Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage.'
Expand 'services and applications' and select 'services' to open the services window.
Highlight the 'workstation' service, right click and select 'properties.'
Set the 'startup type' dropdown box to 'disabled.' Click 'ok.'
Note that you will need to re-enable the workstation service should you wish to network your PC in the future.

If your computer is part of a home network:

Go to 'start\control panel\network and internet connections\network connections.'

Right click your current network connection (should be 'local area connection' unless you have more than one network adaptor) and select 'properties.'
Uncheck the 'File and Print Sharing' box and press 'ok.'
Note that this will disable your computer's ability to share files and printers over the network, though it should not affect your ability to access such resources on another system.

  TicTacToc 18:23 01 Sep 2007

I have made sure I have done basically all of the above (I don't have 1 or 2 of the BIOS options listed with my DFI Sli-DR motherboard) and my boot time is still the same.

I will try booting with 1 RAM stick and stuff like that to see if anythings a bit faulty.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Samsung Galaxy S9 review: Hands-on

The art of 'British' pulp fiction

Best password managers for Mac

TV & streaming : comment regarder le Tournoi des Six Nations 2018 ?