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Posts Tagged ‘windows loads slow’

Computer Slow Startup

My computer has been slow to open even though my antivirus is updated. What can I do?Celeste Stewart

Other Causes of Slow Computers

Updating the virus protection software and scanning your system regularly are excellent first steps in dealing with a slow computer. Once your system is clean, and you are reasonably sure that it is virus and spyware free, then it's time to move on to more advanced steps such as restricting startup programs and adjusting your BIOS settings. For example, BIOS runs a bunch of tests before allowing Windows to load. It may even have a pre-determined "timeout" setting that is set for an excessively long time. Once Windows loads, Windows may take a while to fully load because of all the programs it has been instructed to open at each boot up. We can change these settings. Don't worry, it's not too complicated.

BIOS Quick Boot Option

Check your computer's BIOS to see if a "quick boot" option is available. BIOS is the system that first runs before the operating system loads. It tests the hardware and lets Windows know what the computer has onboard and how to communicate with all of its components. Some of the options, such as loading a splash screen, can take a long time. When booting your computer, look for onscreen instructions telling you how to enter BIOS

Say Hello to MSCONFIG

Let's start in the System Configuration utility known as MSCONFIG. Go to Start > Run and type in: msconfig. Click the Enter button. If you have Windows Vista, click Start and enter msconfig in the Search box. Click the icon once it appears. The System Configuration utility will launch. You'll see several tabs. We'll start with the Boot tab first.

Changing the Boot Timeout Length

By default, BIOS looks for new hardware and software at each boot up, waiting a full 30 seconds before moving to the next step. Change this setting to a lower number such as 5 or 10 seconds and you will speed up the boot sequence accordingly.

Adjusting Startup Programs

Now, click the Startup tab. You'll see a list of programs that Windows loads each time it starts, regardless of whether you want to use these programs or not. This is good for some programs, such as antivirus software that must run constantly. But it's terrible for performance and startup times, especially when rarely used programs are loaded such as QuickTime or Adobe Reader. Removing unnecessary programs from this list won't remove the program; it will simply stop the program for launching with each start. You can still use the programs on an as-needed basis.

Turning off Indexing

While you're at it, you can disable indexing. Indexing speeds up searches on your computer but at a cost in performance. If your computer is slow overall, disabling this service will free up resources.  Click the MSCONFIG's Services tab and find the Indexing Service in the list. Double-click the service, find the Startup type, select Manual, and select Stop. In Windows Vista, you can adjust indexing by going to Start and entering Indexing Options in the Search bar. Click the icon and remove the locations that you do not want indexed, or even the entire hard drive if so desired.

Hopefully some of these tips will speed up your computer's start time. Another option is to disable user passwords if your computer requires a password each time. Of course, you would need to balance your security situation with your need for speed. Let us know if you want help disabling this function.

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Speeding Up Slow Startup

When my laptop starts, it comes to the opening screen and sits there for ages. Then up comes my desktop with no icons. It then takes about five minutes before they appear. Help?Celeste Stewart

Slow Startup Causes

A number of scenarios can lead to slow startup times including disconnected network drives, fragmented hard drives, too many startup programs, computer viruses and spyware, and even file and printer sharing. In addition to individually slowing your computer, a combination of these factors is possibly affecting your laptop's startup time. Let's take a look at the more common startup drains.

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Network Drives

First, do you use this laptop at home and work? If so, it's likely that it's set up to map to a network drive. For example, if you have your laptop set up to log onto the server at the office, when it's disconnected from the office network, startup may take an exceptionally long time because the computer is searching for the network and waiting for a response. To avoid this, go to My Computer and click Tools > Disconnect Network Drives.

Fragmented Hard Drive

A fragmented hard drive is a slow hard drive. This is because all of its bits and pieces get split up over time and the operating system must piece everything back together as needed. As files grow larger, they outgrow their original disk space. Windows then splits the file, saving pieces in other areas of the hard drive and making a note in a master index in how to put the file back together. As you can imagine, this takes time. If it were just one file, that wouldn't be so bad. However, if performance is extremely slow, it's likely that thousands of files are fragmented.

Fortunately, defragging the hard drive can put your files back together. Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Defragmenter and run this utility with no other programs in use.

Startup Programs

Another common cause of slow startups involves the number of programs that your computer loads each time. Not only does this take time, it also hogs memory which further adds to the slowdown. Your computer should only load the bare necessities, such as antivirus programs, at startup. Everything else should be loaded on an as-needed basis.

Launch Windows Defender and go to Tools > Software Explorer. You'll see all programs currently set to load in the category "Startup Programs." Highlight any unnecessary programs and click the Disable button.

Computer Viruses and Spyware

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Malware is notorious for computer startup problems as well as general PC sluggishness. In fact, these are much like startup programs in that Windows loads each one at startup. The only difference here is that you are unaware of this happening. Use a reputable antivirus/antispyware program to scan your computer for malware. Generally speaking, an infected computer usually has dozens of viruses and spyware operating, not just one. Here's a list of antivirus products to consider.

File and Printer Sharing

If you have File and Printer Sharing enabled, yet don't actively share your files and printer, consider disabling this option as it can contribute to slow startup times. In Windows XP, go to Control Panel > Network Connections > Local Area Connection > Properties and uncheck the option for File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks.

In Vista, go to Start > Network > Network and Sharing Center and then turn off both File Sharing and Printer Sharing.

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