January 6, 2007

Want to improve your computer’s boot time?

Posted in computers at 1:52 pm by Mike Milinkovich

I’ve spent a little bit of time tuning the startup times for the computers around here. Things were getting a little desparate on the main family desktop. This is a 4-month-old Windows XP HP dual-core 2.8GHz box with 2GB of RAM that was taking something like five minutes to completely boot up to the point of being useful. That is just simply crazy, as that machine should come up waaaay faster.

In less than 90 minutes of tinkering I was able to dramatically improve the start up performance. I used the following (subjective) test to measure improvement:

from the moment I hit the “logon user” button on the Windows XP start up page, how long did it take before I was able to launch Outlook?

On the home computer I was able to reduce the wait from approximately 2.5 minutes to around 10 seconds. Even better, I reduced the number of running processes after boot from 63 to 42, thereby freeing up lots of memory and resources. Yee hah!

So how do you do this and how hard and risky is it?

  1. You need to download one utility and find one website. The utility is AutoRuns from the ever-helpful SysInternals folks. You can download it here.
  2. The startup list page on SysInfo then gives you all the information you need to determine which processes can be safely deleted using AutoRuns. I found the advice they gave on each process to be spot on. Here is an example of the advice it gave me about whether I could safely delete “ibmmessages” from my Thinkpad:
    StartUp Advice

The general rule that I used was that I never deleted any process that I wasn’t absolutely sure I could get rid of. But that sure ended up being a lot.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any screen shots on the home computer, because those would have been a little more dramatic. However here are the “before” and “after” lists from the IBM Thinkpad T60 that I use for work:
BeforeAfter

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