Tag Archive for 'performance'

Improve Windows start up performance

One of the more frustrating problems with Microsoft Windows is its start up performance. It has been a problem since day one really and remains so even with Vista, in fact Vista could well be the worse offender thus far. There are, however, a few things you can do to improve the situation.

Device Drivers
Your computer could be loading device drivers for hardware you no longer use. To save on system resources, uninstall these drivers. Be careful though because a careless choice can cause significant problems. Create a restore point in System Restore Point before proceeding. By default, Device Manager does not show devices that are not currently connected to your system so we start by making them visible and then work in the Device Manager:

  1. Open a Command Prompt window (normally found in the Accessories folder on the Start Menu)
  2. Type set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 and press Enter
  3. Hold down the Windows key and press r
  4. Type devmgmt.msc and press Enter to open Device Manager
  5. Choose View and then Show Hidden Devices
  6. Click the plus sign (+) next to each of the branches to examine all of the drivers on your system

Devices that are not currently connected appear with a pale version of the icon. If you come across a device that you are sure you no longer use, right-click on it and choose Uninstall. Then follow the prompts shown on screen to complete the process. When you have finished, close the command-prompt window you opened in step 1 above to re-hide your unconnected devices.

Network Mappings
Once you have mapped a network drive to a letter on your computer, Windows will automatically try to restore that connection every time you log on. Since restoring network connections takes time, you can speed your start up process by dropping the connections you are not using:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Type Alt-T then D to open the Disconnect Network Drives dialog box
  3. Select the drives you want to disconnect and click OK

In the future, if you want to connect a drive only for the current session, make sure Reconnect at logon is unchecked when using the Map Network Drive command.

Start Up Programs
You can free up system memory and recover processor cycles by clearing out some of the programs that start each time you log in. Download Autoruns, a free application from Microsoft-owned Sysinternals to find out which programs are loading on your PC at start up. Autoruns includes a line of description for each entry in plain English and lets you hide signed Microsoft entries, allowing you to quickly narrow your focus to third-party programs. Disabling or deleting entries takes just one click so be careful. You can also consult the Startup Applications List by Paul Collins, which is a searchable reference of common startup items providing a description and classification for each one.