Do you remember when you first got your computer or laptop? It booted up and started quickly, with very little wait time. However, after a few months or years of operating the same computer, startup time takes forever. You might shower, brush your teeth and get your first cup of coffee before your computer ever finishes its startup process.
What is Startup?
When you boot up your computer, it loads the operating system and the software necessary to run your computer systems. This software includes device drivers that tell the hardware how to interact with software, system services, security software and other software that is programmed to start up when your computer starts up.
Factors of Startup Time
The startup time of your computer is determined by speed, the number of startup programs, and file fragmentation. During start up, your computer is made ready to take action from you, the user. This includes running programs from the hard drive such as antivirus software, security software, and device drivers. The amount of time it takes to start up your computer is based on several factors. These factors include fragmentation, the number of startup programs, amount of free hard drive space and RAM, as well as the speed, type and condition of the hard drive.
The number one factor is the number of startup programs on your computer. You should not disable all start up programs, because security software and device drivers are needed on start up. Instead, you should manage your start up program menu by removing anything that is not necessary on start up. The only programs you should have running on startup are your antivirus software, your security software or firewall, anti-spyware and most used applications.
The other most common factor is the amount of free hard drive space. All of your start up programs is stored on your hard drive. The fuller it gets, the slower it runs. The operating system needs additional free space on your hard drive to run swap and paging files. These are files that are used as secondary storage for the RAM. Fragmentation is also a problem. When files are not stored in a contiguous manner, the disk becomes fragmented which slows down its speed.
Another common factor is low available RAM. When there is not enough RAM, more programs use swap and paging files, making the startup process slower. Every operating system has minimum requirements for RAM, but that is just the minimum. If the minimum is all you have, your system will boot up much slower.
How to Speed Startup
Since there are many factors to your slow start up time, there are several solutions you should try to speed it up. The first is to reduce the number of startup applications to those few that are actually necessary. The second is to defragment your hard drive. This should be done routinely to keep your computer running smoothly. Delete unnecessary files to free up additional hard drive space. Increase the amount of RAM your computer has to above minimum system requirements. Finally, if you don’t have enough space you can replace your hard drive.