How to speed up Windows 7 boot time
Hanging around waiting for a computer to start up can be one of the most frustrating things about modern technology.
Windows 7, while much better than previous versions at booting quickly, can still slow down over time if you install lots of programs or new hardware. Fortunately, there are ways to speed it up and here are our favourite 5.
Speed up your Startup.
1. Change the timeout
The most powerful tool you have for controlling what loads when your PC starts is the System Configuration application. Type ‘msconfig’ (without the quote marks) into the Start menu, and the deceptively simple dialogue pops up. Be careful though, changing settings here can stop your PC booting altogether.
If, when your PC starts, there’s a menu of options to boot into – like recovery modes and so on – but you only ever choose the top one (Windows 7), the first thing you can do is make that menu disappear. From the System Configuration tool choose the ‘Boot’ tab and change the number under ‘Timeout’ to 0.
2. Disable programs during Startup
The next two tabs, Services and Startup, tell your PC what to load when it fires up Windows. It’s probably best not to change anything under services, as this will likely stop your PC working. But from the Startup tab you may find lots of programs that are being loaded into the background which you just don’t need.
Things like QuickTime and iTunesHelper can be disabled, as can Adobe Reader. Don’t worry though if you need to use any of these programs, they’ll start when you ask them to. Now click apply and reboot your PC.
3. Uninstall unwanted programs
Similarly, the chances are that you’ve downloaded and installed programs and toolbars that you didn’t really need to and didn’t want.
Open up Control Panel and head to Uninstall a program. This will give you a list of everything that’s been installed on your PC. Have a look down it, avoid uninstalling anything that is needed for your PC hardware to work, and delete old games, communications apps and web toolbars that you no longer want.
4. Maintain your file systems
Keeping the contents of your disk space organised, or defragmented, will also help to speed up Windows.
Type ‘defrag’ into the Start menu, and the defrag tool that pops up will move files around on the physical surface of your disk so that ones that are used together appear together, speeding up drive access. You can set this process to run regularly using the Schedule button at the top of this dialogue – once a week is a good idea.
5. Add more memory
After housekeeping your hard drives and clearing out unwanted programs, the best thing you can do to speed up a Windows 7 PC is to upgrade the hardware.
Adding more memory is a good start, and a typical PC today should have at least 4GB of RAM. You might also want to look at installing a Solid State Drive (SSD), these are much quicker than traditional hard drives because they use flash memory, like a camera or phone, rather than spinning disks. Prices have fallen drastically recently too so there’s never been a better time to buy.
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