Boot up time has been improved a lot in Windows 8. It only takes seconds to get to the login screen from the time you press the power up button on most of the new Windows 8 machines. But the startup time, the time to get on to your desktop ready for you to start work, still seems to have a lot room to get better. One of the very obvious reasons is that there are maybe too many programs and services set to run automatically during the startup, which when starting up at the same time can bog down your computer process performance dramatically.
So, here is a quick user guide that summarizes 5 places you should be looking to get a better, optimized Startup process.
Clean up the Startup Folder
Startup folder is a folder that hosts a list of shortcuts of any programs that have been asked to run automatically every time when you log onto your computer. There are two of Startup folders you should be looking, one is for your own user account, and one is for all users.
To get to your own Startup folder, press Win+R to open run dialog box, type in the following shell command, and press Enter.
To get to the all Startup folder, replace the above shell command with
And then delete the shortcuts you don’t want them to run. Pay more attention to All Startup folder as they contain more shortcuts than the individual user’s. Notice that, because these are only the shortcuts, deleting them in the startup folder will not delete or remove the programs they are associated with.
Disabling programs in Task Manager
Do you know the new Task Manager in Windows 8 has a new tab called Startup? It’s the best place to see all the hidden programs that run on Startup, and disable them. Previously, it’s located in tool MSConfig.
To start Task Manager, press Ctrl+Alt+Del and select Task Manager, or right click the empty space on Taskbar and select Task Manager from the popup menu.
Once it’s opened, go to Startup tab. You will see a list of programs that run on Startup. Right click the ones that don’t need to run, and select Disable.
Some of the names on the list speak themselves what they are and some may not. If you don’t certain if one particular application needs to be disabled, Google is your friend to find out. Just put the exact name on Google, you will get the idea what it is and whether you should disable it.
Check the registry
After you did the above 2 cleanup, you may still hack to the registry to do a final check to see if there are any left there. Same as Startup folder, there are two registry key places that stores Startup information, one for individual user, one for all users.
Press Win+R key, type in regedit, and press Enter to open Registry Editor.
Navigate to the following key for individual user startup:
And, navigate to the following key for all users:
Then, in the right panel, you will see a list of programs that run on Startup. The data field will tell you the details about these programs. Delete any of those that don’t need to run automatically during the Startup.
Disable services that start automatically
Windows Services are the programs that have been set to run in the background. You know, those ones that run without an user interface. There are a number of them that run automatically. Determining which ones to stay and which ones to disable won’t be as easy as the items in Startup folder. That actually deserves a separate post detailing what to look for.
As for now, you can disable services from running automatically on Startup using the Services console. Press Win+R, type services.msc, and press Enter.
You can sort by Startup Type to get the whole list of services that starts automatically. Double click those you don’t want them to start automatically, and change the Startup Type to one of the following options:
- Disable, or
- Automatic (Delayed Start)
You may want to pay a little bit more attention to Automatic (Delayed Start), the new startup type since Windows 7, that puts the service a little lower priority to start up. It helps to speed up the startup time while keeping the service still running in the background.
Keep the Fast Startup enabled
Windows 8 introduced a new boot mechanism that boots up much faster than it used to be. With Fast Startup, when you turn off your PC, the kernel is saved to disk, namely the hiberfil.sys file for Hibernation, and that kernel will then be used to start Windows that decreases the startup time.
By default, Fast Startup is enabled but it’s always a good idea double checking it to make sure it stays enabled on your system. To do so, you can press Win+W, type power, and click the Choose what the power buttons do icon that appears on the left side of your screen, which basically opens up the System Settings under Power Options from Control Panel.
And under Shutdown settings section, make sure Turn on fast startup option is checked.
It’s also worth noting that since Fast Startup saves the kernel in Hiberfil.sys file, you should never disable Hibernation to sacrifice this new feature to gain a few Gigabit of free space.
Last a few words
Other than Fast Startup and Startup feature in Task Manager, the rest of the things we mentioned in this guide also apply to Windows 7 computer. It may be more helpful to Windows 7 users since it doesn’t have the new improved boot-up mechanism.
Also, if you have SSD installed to host your Windows 8 system, you may skip this guide, as you may not have gain a noticeable impact as to those systems powered by the normal hard disks.
Last updated: 10/28/2014