General discussion

How can I make my Windows 7 machines boot up quickly?

How can I make my Windows 7 machines boot up quickly?

I have read many articles on how to make your computer boot quickly. I
have tried several, but after a month or so they become very slow
again. I have four laptops and three PCs in my home. While they are from
different manufacturers, they are all no more then a year old and
running Windows 7 Home Premium. With my Internet service I have Norton
installed. My newest computer can take up to 2 full minutes, while one
of the laptops can be as quick as 45-50 seconds. Can you tell me
specifically what is the magic formula or method of how I can get all
my systems to boot up quickly and continue to do so in future? Thank

-- Submitted by Tom W.

Discussion is locked

Reply to: How can I make my Windows 7 machines boot up quickly?
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: How can I make my Windows 7 machines boot up quickly?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Couple of things

First off, the easiest and least expensive thing to do is to run "msconfg" from the "Windows 7" menu (type msconfig at the bottom, and it will ask you for your admin password and then the window will come up). Go and look at the "Startup" tab and unclick anything that you don't need. Anything that has a check mark will be starting up while you boot, so they will "slow down" your boot. You can google startup items that you don't know about to see if they're needed at boot time. There may be a lot of stuff there that doesn't need to run at boot time. So, by using this judiciously, you can speed up your boot time.

The best thing to do that will also cost you some money is to replace your main hard disk with an SSD. This will radically cut your boot time, but it does cost some. Although the price of fast 128GB SSD's has come down. You can have a smaller SSD for C: drive, and a larger hard disk (maybe your old C: drive *smile*) as a secondary data drive, and this will really speed things up. It is fairly easy to do this using software like "Paragon Migrate OS to SSD".

There are other things you can do as well, such as making sure that your C: drive is defragmented, that you have removed all the software that you don't use, and that you use a good, lightweight virus scanner rather than some of the very heavyweight ones that are around that more system performance away than they contribute in terms of security.

But the first two above (msconfig "startup" and getting an SSD) will generally give you the most bang for the buck *smile* in getting your boot time under control.

- Collapse -
I Concur With Doh_1

Hi Tom,

In my business I rebuild quite a few off-lease laptops for resale. Most of the laptops I buy to re-do have newer SATA drives, so I can replace them with much faster SSDs. The price has actually dipped below $1.00 per Gigabyte in the past month. That was a big price-point for hard drives many years back too. So now you can install a SSD for such a reasonable price it's almost like a memory upgrade. I highly recommend it, but don't go below 120GB.

While you're spending money, you should also make sure that you're running a 64 bit system, and as much RAM as the laptop will handle. DDR3 RAM is also pretty inexpensive and will help to keep your laptop running at optimum speed. Of course, a fast processor helps too, but dollar for dollar you won't be disappointed with a SSD and RAM upgrade.

If you have to choose between the two, I would do the MAX RAM first and the SSD second. The other posts I've read so far have been accurate about not running start up programs you don't need. And if you're running Norton, I wouldn't use anything but Norton Internet Security. Norton has a host of programs out there and most of them are resource hogs, especially at boot time.

Remember these simple rules about start up speed.

1. The more things you have to start up and run in the background, the longer it's going to take. (Look at your taskbar on the bottom right of your screen. The more icons you see, the longer it takes to boot.)

2. The more resources your laptop has (RAM/SSD) the faster they can handle the task.

You can run tune-up programs until the cows come home and they'll only provide temporary fixes. If your system is dragging it's because something is weighing it down. You can't pull a big boulder up a mountain with a Moped, so get a bigger/faster motor and reduce the load your pulling.

The last laptop I built boots in about 15 seconds. Once on the desktop, 2 seconds to on the internet. Other programs like Word are nearly instant. That was with an Intel 120GB SSD and 8GB RAM running Windows 7 on a clean system.

Good Luck My Friend

- Collapse -
What about Number of Processors set to max..?

I noticed that the notebooks I have purchased (1 Dell, 2 Lenovo) come with "Number of Processors" set to 1. So, in my understanding, if the NB has 4 processors, why not change this option to 4.
Also, what about the "maximum memory" option on same window?
Are these 2 options mostly beneficial once running certain apps which require more resources?

- Collapse -
Re: Number of Processort set to max

In my personal experience, it resulted in a much faster boot by enabling all 4 processors, but on my Xeon W3540 it then ran without recognizing the hyper-threading, i.e. the "virtual" processors. It was a poor tradeoff. I gained about 10 seconds on a 30 second boot, but hamstrung my processor. According the the MS Knowledge Base, the "number of processors" setting is for when windows doesn't recognize your multiprocessor correctly.
The maximum memory setting is for when you have to limit the memory available to windows on start, like when you run into the older systems that have 4 GB memory, but only 3GB (or some similar amount) useable, that sometimes has to be set.

Hope that clears things up a bit!

- Collapse -
One More Caution!!!
There's been a lot of talk about SSDs. There's also been a lot of talk about defragging.

If you decide to install a SSD - DO NOT DEFRAG!!!!

Windows 7 will take care of the TRIM command for you, and no DEFRAG is necessary. EVER!!!

I'm also a little weary about using CC Cleaner on a SSD, and I would do some heavy reading before I started messing with my REGISTRY when using a SSD. I know someone is going to jump in and say they've done it with no problems. FINE. I will not recommend it to my customers.

Just sayin
- Collapse -
Concur on all points

The less you write to an SSD the better. Defragging is absurd on an SSD where you have true random access to begin with -- all it does is shorten the life of the drive.

SSDs are IDEAL, however, for Windows 7, which comes very close to being a WORM (Write Once Read Mostly) installation. Just keep all your user data, including the hidden "Application Data" folders, on a regular HDD.

I can understand being wary of using CCleaner on an SSD but it really shouldn't hurt too much, and the limited capacity of most SSDs means you must occasionally clean off the cruft, and CCleaner is about as good as anything for the purpose. CCleaner doesn't do all the rewriting that a defragger does. Just make sure you only do a single pass and none of the more paranoid settings.

- Collapse -
Defragging is unnecessary with Windows 7 PERIOD!!!

If you are running Windows 7, Windows defragments your harddrive on a regular schedule. Once a week if I'm not mistaken. I have been using Windows 7 since the first public beta hit the internet. I have checked a number of times with a third party software (more than one or two) and I have never gotten a report other than, "Your harddrive does not need defragmentation". Dont waste your efforts on defrag whether ssd or a real harddrive.

- Collapse -
Couple of things by Doh_1

I tried msconfig but while there were 24 Items in the Startup, I did not recognise one of them which may have required deleting. eg. what is 'RTHDCPL' or 'jusched'.


- Collapse -
You can turn them off.

RTHDCPL is the speaker control software for your laptop and turning it off is upto you. jusched is the Java Update Scheduler and can definetly be turned off. But not running these two will have little effect on the speed of your system at boot up.

- Collapse -
Google is your friend.

I echo what has been said about RAM and SSDs. It is possible to overdo it on RAM, but not easily. I run 12 GB RAM as an example, but I can't imagine going over that, if you're board even supports that much. If you can afford it, 8 GB RAM is good.
Before making any changes at all to windows config files, always make a Restore Point and always have a fresh backup.
When you have items in the startup or services sections of msconfig that you cannot identify, Google the file name or service name of the item and usually you will find out what the item is and can decide how to proceed from there. Unless you are knowledgeable, be conservative in your changes.
A program I use to manage delayed startups is Glary Utilities, a program that has most of it's useful functions free, though you can register it. It will show you your startup programs, give you an estimation of the impact on startup time and you can delay them until the system has started. I have all my update programs set to start no less than 60 seconds after boot, and up to 300 seconds, to spread them out. That may not be necessary for you, depends on how many startup programs you are running and need to run. Do not use the registry cleaning function if you don't know what you are doing. It's supposed to be safe, but I have personal experience that says it's not.
When it comes to disabling services (not for the faint of heart or inexperienced users), leave the Microsoft services alone. In the msconfig under services you have a check box to "Hide all Microsoft services". Use it. Unless you are an expert, don't mess with the Microsoft services. Try going into the computer's system services console (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> System Services) and changing the start-up type to "Manual" instead of "Disabled". That way if something turns out to be critical after all, it will start when it is called upon by other services or programs. It's a safer way to do things.
Also, before you mess with system settings, always take a screen shot of the original settings or write them down, especially when dealing with services. If you mess them up too badly, the computer will not function correctly and it may be necessary to restore.

I hope this helps some.

- Collapse -
Couple of things
Gemini, I laughed when reading your answer - in sympathy with you. I too sometimes get caught up and completely mystified with shortcuts. Think you have to have a special type of brain to remember all these things.I know that keeping my 'start-ups' to a minimum greatly decreases the boot time. Would not use CCcleaner ever again after it 'accidentally' wasted some msft programs and had to have PC fixed.
Have a good day.
- Collapse -
You want your computer to boot up quickly?

Buy an APPLE... It boots up instantaneously.. .

- Collapse -
IT's Comments Like This That:

...keep people separated and closed-minded about the different Operating Systems, etc..

It took quite a long time before I gave in to a Mac OS - based computer, hence my MacBook Pro. I bought it 3 years ago, and they do NOT instantly boot up. Like a Windows-based OS, it also takes a bit of time to boot up from scratch. That said, it is true that this ownership experience (as relates to laptops) has been the best by far. That also said, I believe the reason for this is not just about one vs. the other. about 4 years ago (there abouts), Microsoft's "Vista" came out. It was a big change from previous Windows OS's. We ALL know how THAT went. But since then, Windows 7 has come out and now 8, both of which give the Mac OS a fair run, as well has solved many of Vista's deficiencies, of which there were many.
I akin Vista to Millennium, both of which were Microsoft's attempts at major changes in OS configurations, and both were failures that the the end-user suffered through.


My current Desktop is a Windows 7 64 bit setup with a primary SSD (60G) alongside a spinning hybrid drive. From scratch, I can be at my desktop in about 25 seconds. That's FASTER than my MacBook Pro, which takes about 35.

Some of that info is not correct. To gain the benefits of SSD, there are changes that MUST be made in the Motherboard BiOS (and Windows 7) else there will be negligible value in that switch.

The main change that should be made is to AHCI in the Motherboard BiOS. IF you Don't understand this, you should read up on it, by doing a Google (or other search).
As well, there are some other tweaks (for cache, etc) that can/should be made in Windows 7 as well, which can be addressed by accessing the new drive's properties in Control Panel.
For those who wonder if this is correct information, just look at the Windows WEI before and after making the adjustments/tweaks. For most, it will go from 5.9ish to 7 or more.

By following the instructions in this guide, you will see a HUGE change in performance. (I did).

- Collapse -

I wanted to SAY AGAIN:
That anyone who is not well-versed or confident, and/or comfortable with messing around with Motherboard Settings, etc., you should defer to an expert. Some of the changes that need to be made, must be done in the right order so as not to render your computer, um, useless! Changing to AHCI is an important step but must be done properly.
The link I provided does a good job of explaining the steps, but make sure you READ the ENTIRE POST, as well as UNDERSTAND the STEPS.

- Collapse -
It's comments like this
To 'webserf', thanks for info and link.
- Collapse -
You're Welcome!

I hope that resource link will help anyone who is considering a move from spinning to SSDrive(s).

- Collapse -
Boot Windows 7 a little faster +++Guaranteed+++

1) Boot Laptop or desktop
2) When in full boot, type msconfig in search box
3) Click on BOOT tab
4) Put a check mark in the boot options section where it says [x] No GUI boot
5) Set timeout to 3 seconds
6) Click on Advanced tab
7) Put a check mark in the number of processors box
Cool If it says 1, hit the drop down box arrow, you may see the number 2 even up to 4 in quad systems
9) Click on 2 to set it or even 4 If you have a quad processor (highest number of processors)
10) Reboot

By doing this step, your laptop will use all the separate channels in your processor you chose to boot
faster instead of just one

- Collapse -
Changing number of processors on boot.

I tried thatbecause of your post, it disabled my hyperthreading so once I booted (quite quickly), ,my system was much slower than normal. If you have hyperthreading, don't do it!

- Collapse -

I'm confused! According to this:

setting the number of processors to the maximum available in the Boot section of msconfig is how you ENABLE hyperthreading - and you're saying that this change made it stop working!

Does anyone have a definitive answer to this?

PS Turning off GUI boot seems like a good idea to me!

- Collapse -
No GUI boot

I like the no GUI boot, shaves quite a few seconds off my boot, even with my SSD! Nice tip, thank you.

- Collapse -
Regard for help!

Now I boot my PC quickly.
I have customized my PC boot setting.
Thanks for very helpful and remarkable post. Grin

- Collapse -
SSD Upgrade for the Long Run

Hello Tom,

I love to have a fast booting computer. Since I shut it down every night, I need to have it come alive quickly in the morning. I also used to despise doing Windows updates because of how long it would take to restart.

Before Solid State Drives (SSD) became affordable, I tried all the software tricks I'm sure you tried. CCleaner to remove junk files and clean the registry, MSCONFIG to stop certain services and programs from starting, et cetera.

My current solution is upgrading to an SSD. I bought a cheap Kingston SSD upgrade kit with enough capacity for my C-Drive. The benefit of the kit over just buying an SSD is that is came with Acronis copying software to seamlessly transfer my operating system over. Then I just installed the SSD where the hard drive was, and Windows worked fine.

Down the road, I read that to get the best performance out of an SSD, it is best to do a fresh install of Windows, with only the SSD hooked up to the computer. Apparently, Windows will optimize the installation for an SSD, which you don't get when you copy an existing install from a hard drive.

After getting everything setup on an SSD, my boot times are amazing and best of all, they are consistently amazing. I have been using the SSD as my boot drive for about a year and it still boots quick as new. Since the SSD has less storage overhead, I have been keeping the majority of my files (documents, pictures, and videos) on my old hard drive, which is installed as a secondary drive.

Like I said, I'm using a Kingston SSD and I haven't had any problems with it. I'm sure there are kits available that might be cheaper.

Good Luck,

- Maxwell

- Collapse -
Regular Maintenance is required

I just upgraded my pc with some new hardware and some used hardware on Mar/01/12.
Mine boots Windows 7 Pro 32 bit in 30 seconds "BootRacer" timed.
I stopped a few services and programs from launching at startup which shaved 5 secs off the Boot Time.
My recommendations are as follows.
Disk Cleanup removes tmp files
Disable unnecessary services.
Delete unnecessary entries from [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]
Of course you want to backup the "run key" before deleting entries.
Scan for viruses and Trojans etc on the really slow ones.

I have approx 25 to 30 programs installed on my pc. BTW I never liked Norton Internet Security. I always use Microsoft Security essentials, which is a lot less resource intensive.

Above all you have to have fast hardware. I have a Western Digital VelociRaptor 10,000 RPM hard drive for my Windows System drive + 2 other 7200 RPM drives
4 GB Ram
AMD X2 5600 + 2.8 GHz processor dual core

As for your newest pc taking 2 mins, did you skimp on hardware when you bought it. That is way too long. I would bring it back and buy something with better hardware specs.

- Collapse -
Things you can try

How fast or slow the computer boots up depends on several things.

1. How many programs and processes are set to load at Startup. There may be several programs or processes you don't really need to have loading every time you start your computer. For example, I only use Microsoft Office once in a while (or Open Office if you prefer it) so there's no need for it to load and run in the background. The same goes for Java Update, an item that checks frequently for available updates which, frankly, don't happen often. So, you should look at the list of programs/processes for Startup and disable those you don't need. If you are unsure about one, leave it alone. One easy way to handle this is to download and install the free CCleaner here:

Run CCleaner and click on the blue toolbox icon on the left side of the window. Next, click on "Startup" on the left side of the white area. Carefully look at what's listed. Click once on an entry you want to prevent from loading then click on "Disable" on the right-hand side. Repeat that for other entries.

2. Clutter and junk files build up and cause slowdowns. In CCleaner again, click on the brush or broom icon on the left-hand side, then click on "Analyze" at the bottom of the window and wait for the progress bar at the top to reach 100%. Then click on "Run cleaner" in bottom right-hand corner.

3. Windows registry may accumulate many bogus or "orphan" entries over time. In CCleaner again, click on the blue blocks icon on the left-hand side then click "Scan for issues" at bottom left of window and wait for the scan to finish. Then click on "Fix selected issues". You'll be prompted to make a backup copy of the Registry; say Yes/OK to put a copy of the Registry in your Documents folder in case you ever need to go back to how it was ( I never have needed to). Then click "Fix now" and let it finish (a few seconds).

4. The number of items plugged into your computer and installed inside such as anything connected via USB cable, or extra hard drives, DVD drives, etc. all take a little time to be recognized and loaded at startup. You might unplug something here that you rarely use but it will only make a very small saving in boot time.

5. Norton anti-virus used to be a terrible resource hog in every computer. In recent years they have improved it and it works quite well, but it still taxes your system more than some other good anti-virus/anti-malware products. I'm not saying get rid of Norton, but something like Avast or possibly AVG would have a smaller system footprint and your computer might feel faster much of the time. (Have just one good anti-virus running in the background not two!)

6. Windows Indexing causes slowdowns on some systems at Startupthat have tons of data that needs indexing for Windows Search feature. You could try turning it off to see if the system feels faster.

7. Your hard drive may be seriously slowing the system at Startup. Last year we installed an SSD drive on both of our desktop PCs. My bootup time was reduced from one minute thirty seconds to twenty-eight seconds! The other desktop improved from one minute fifteen seconds to thirty-two seconds. Recently we installed a similar SSD in our basic Intel dual-core laptop. It used to boot quickly then take a long time to load everything after the Welcome screen, nearly two minutes. Now it's ready to use after about forty seconds. (We're using the larger capacity old laptop hard drive in a little case as an external hard drive for extra laptop storage.) Also, programs and some games launch/open very quickly using the SSD drives.

- Collapse -
Dump Dump Dump
Easy as! Go into control panel and remove all unnecessary start ups. Turn others off. If you want them later go into programmes and start them. Tip from downunder. Gooday, Tony
- Collapse -
Recently somewhat solved this concern

Dell desktop, Win7 Ultimate, Norton 360 v.6.0. Norton 360 will allow you to check apps in your Startup and keep checked or "delay". My i7-920 and 12 Gb DDR3 1333 RAM didn't seem to keep it booting fast, and as of January, my boot would take up to 3-1/2 minutes. So did some research (including Norton, then v. 5.0) and found I could "delay" Google, Adobe CS5 and several other apps that Norton showed as "medium" resource users. Did NOT delay Norton for obvious reasons. Now have 12 of 28 apps "delayed", and my boot time is just shy of 1 minute to usability, and the "delayed" apps load in the background. Occasionally, those delayed will interfere with using the a second large app (like email or Word), but most apps will run just fine while the "delayed" apps load. So did the same with my relatively new HP dv6t quad edition (i7-2670, 8 Gb DDR3 1333 RAM, Win7 Ultimate, Norton 360 v.6.0, and same apps except for CS5) which had started life with a 1:30 boot, and went to just over 2:00 with all the added apps loaded, now takes between :35 and :45 seconds. You can do the same thing (if you know how) in Windows, but I found the 360 Startup Cleaner very handy. I also ran the Registry Cleaner (never had a problem, though it is possible I've heard) after any new apps were loaded and verified on both computers, and found that even with major apps from big-name software, as I had discovered over the years, a new or updated app can leave a file or software link to the prior version that momentarily befuddles Windows, especially on boot. My son, an IT pro, confirmed these are good ways to clean out clutter both in Startup and in Windows in general. My Secunia PSI also helps me keep up to date, which also helps minimize clutter. Also got rid of the Sidebar and Gadgets that also delay bootup. **** in WY

- Collapse -

I have had various computers over the last 30 years, and it wasn't until I started running Norton that I perceived problems with start-up times. I dumped Norton, as my ISP was providing F-Secure. It eventually became bloated and even my ISP dumped it. Now I am running McAfee, and I notice that it is getting longer and longer to get XP up and running. Ditto for my 2 Windows 7 computers. One is running Premium Home, the other is running Starter Edition. I even have a laptop with XP Pro, without any virus junk on it, and it starts and runs fine. If you are careful about what you run, where you go, and very careful what you download, you don't need the crap 'fearware'. I think that that market was created for the uninitiated, and can be removed. I will be undertaking the removal of it over the next 2 weeks. Got a good firewall? That, and common sense, should be all that you need.

- Collapse -
Norton is MUCH Improved

Since the release of the 2010 version, Norton AV and Norton Internet Security are MUCH improved, both in boot time and in their footprint on your system. Before that it was a real hog, but now it's probably the best of the comprehensive suites.

- Collapse -
As Others May Have Said, There are a LOT of Reasons

First of all, if you just bought your computer at a store and brought it home, by now it must be obsolete so go buy another one (just kidding). First, make sure your PC is really clean. No, not just Virus free, you need to make sure your PC is checked for any malware, especially spyware. Make sure the software (Norton) is doing a good job getting rid of all that stuff. On the other hand, while there are many improvements in A/V software to go easier on performance hits. There are still some things to consider.

Most software that starts running when you boot up your PC does the following:

1) Computer boots
2) Software starts
3) Software goes out to the internet to check for updates
4) Software downloads updates
5) Software Installs updates
6) When updates get installed, software starts some kind of scan.

All of the above happens during the boot process. Now, consider what happens when you have a LOT of software (including Windows) doing all of this.

As someone else suggested (Doh_1), try to become a friend of MSCONFIG. The way I use it is to just allow WINDOWS services to start. Anything else that you see in MSCONFIG that is NOT Windows, temporarily tell it not to start that. Record your startup time. Then add one thing back at a time checking your startup times. Avoid stuff that downloads patches or updates until last. Why? Because, once it downloads, it may not need to download again for hours. Eventually, you will see what programs delay the completion of startup the most. Unfortunately, this is not an exact science as sometimes the problem is the "mix" of programs starting at the same time. At least this way, you will know what slows things down.

AntiMalware programs. Sometimes, in the rush to be as SAFE as possible, we wind up not just being 100% safe, but 200%, or 300%. If you are 100% or close to it, you need to ask yourself if you are going overboard. Three a/v programs is a bit much. Stick to a suite that only does ONE download to update all of its components and make sure you know when that download happens so you are aware of it and expect it. It's only recently that Microsoft allows DELAYED automatic starts. Not everything has to happen the very second that the power comes on.. Also, make sure you are not scanning high-use files over and over. Some of the new Symantec stuff only scans when it suspects a file has changed and not every time you read it.

Next, try using the task manager. If your computer is slow, run the taskmanager, usually by right-clicking on the taskbar and clicking on task manager. You want the "processes" tab. If you click on the CPU column once or twice, you can sort the processes by the percentage of CPU they are using. Have the higher processes near the top and, if you don't know what they are, look them up.

After all this, remember that there is still ongoing maintenance. Even with modern disk drives, a disk defragmentation session now and then can show some improvement as you will but Microsoft clusters adjacent to one another. Chkdsk can also help.

Finally, if you still can't find out what is going wrong, find a techno-wiz to help you. There is nother better than a second pair of eyes.

- Collapse -
Does not hooking to the Internet slow startup even more?

Thank you for explaining the steps taken by the PC during the boot process. Steps 3 through 5 involve the internet.

Often I do not connect to the Internet during the day. Does this result in a faster boot or a slower boot since the PC may try and retry to connect to the internet several times before timing out?

CNET Forums

Forum Info