How to make your PC start up faster – Helpdesk Challenge

by , Computing Helpdesk 16/03/2014
How to speed up your PC

If you have a PC that’s slower than a tortoise swimming through treacle, you’ll want to reduce its workload for a faster start up time. This is easy enough to do, it’s just a matter of reducing the tasks your computer has to trawl through and running a virus scan, amongst other things. The whole process shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes and will save you an age of waiting for Internet Explorer to load. Read on for our top five guide to making your PC start up faster.

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1) Block Windows 8’s start up programs

Every time you leave the ‘Open [software] on startup’ box checked when you install a program it gives your computer more to do when turning it on. Do this on enough occasions and you’ll give your computer too much to do when booting up. To change the programs which open automatically, press the Ctrl, Alt and Del keys simultaneously and then click on Task Manager.

Select the Startup tab and you should now see this screen:
task manager
To disable a process, click on it and then select the Disable button (highlighted) in the bottom-right corner of the window. It’s probably not a good idea to disable your security software as this might stop your protection from malware when you turn on your PC, but programs like Skype, Evernote and your printer or scanner software can slow you down and are safe to disable.

2. Check for Viruses and Malware

Viruses, spyware and other malware can really slow down your computer’s startup –as well as compromising its security. To stop them, run virus scans regularly with your antivirus program (AVG, Kaspersky etc) and keep them up to date to stay protected from the latest threats. Run a one-off scan if you haven’t done so in a while. Windows Defender is the default anti-virus installed on Windows 8 – to start a scan with it, open it up, and then choose a ‘Full’, ‘Quick’ or ‘Custom’ scan and then click ‘Scan now’.

scan

3. Upgrade your RAM

If your computer has only a small amount of RAM, upgrading it will speed up your computer. It’s quite a simple procedure and even the inexperienced can install new RAM with our handy guide.

4. Remove junk software

It never hurts to remove software you never or rarely use, and doing so will only help your boot time. In Windows 8, go to the Start screen and type control panel. When faced with the window above choose ‘Uninstall a program’ in its bottom-left. Finally, double-click the program you want to uninstall and follow the wizard.

uninstall

 

5. Clean up the registry

You can use an easy-to-use tool called CCleaner which you can download here. Cleaning the registry removes unused database entries. This can remove a second or two from your boot.

Once you’ve downloaded CCleaner, run it and navigate to the registry tab on the left.

Click ‘Scan for Issues’ in the bottom-left corner

fix

When the scan is complete click ‘Fix selected issues’ in the bottom-right corner. Back up the registry if you want to, in case anything goes wrong.

Then click ‘Fix all selected issues’ at the next dialogue box to finish.

More on this

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Computer troubleshooting – expert advice for using a PC

6 comments

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Andy Mennell

I find Linux starts in about 10-12 seconds.

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JJMMWG DuPree

I find that very much depends upon which Linux you’re using and which front end you choose. I used to favour Gnome but they kept trying to make it sparser and sparser and in the end I was wasting more time trying to find stuff than I was saving in speed, so I switched to KDE.

In the early days (When did XP come out? That was when I switched to Linux) I found the lure of the App Store so great that within a year I’d slowed my startup time right back to Microsoft levels, but I agree with you, Linux is way faster at loading up than Windows… unless you don’t want it to be!

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Norm

I never switch my mac off. Its set so that when I close the lid it goes to sleep. Next morning when I open it I get my password prompt then the machine is ready to use. Takes about 6 seconds.

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RoyJ

I note that you give guidance for speeding up the Start Up, for Windows 8 and XP. Are you working on something similar for Windows 7?
Regards

Roy J.

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Derek Putley

I’ll second the “Remove junk software” option. Putting a clean re-install of any operating system on to a Windows PC usually improves the start up time considerably. My recent experience at home is that a clean re-install of XP will start up in about 30 seconds – roughly the same time as Linux will take on the same hardware. However, installing a virus checker then considerably burdens the effective start up of XP, i.e. to the time where the system has any willingness to respond to a user prompt.

Re-installing Windows 7 seemed to take about 2 hours on the couple of times I’ve actually done it on different PCs. In contrast, most versions of Linux take no more that 30 minutes to install.

Hence, most of my home computers now run Linux but I an an infrequent users of Windows XP and Windows 7 as well.

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Derek Putley

A good tip for speeding up Windows 7 is to turn off its file indexing and searching services.

With that done, opening file folders becomes much faster, e.g. up to XP standards (or better).

The down side is that this really does seem to turn off all the Windows find capabilties.

With this change my Windows 7 netbook has actually become usable – but I may have to remember where I put stuff…

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