Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server
Windows Phone
Windows XP

Tuning Windows XP’s Performance : Optimizing Startup

- How To Install Windows Server 2012 On VirtualBox
- How To Bypass Torrent Connection Blocking By Your ISP
- How To Install Actual Facebook App On Kindle Fire
3/18/2011 9:12:29 PM
One of the longest-running debates in computer circles involves the question of whether or not to turn off the computer when you’re not using it. The “off” camp believes that shutting down the computer reduces hard disk wear and tear (because the disk’s platter’s spin full-time, even when the computer is idle), prevents damage from power surges or power failures that occur while the machine is off, and saves energy. The “on” camp believes that cold starts are hard on many computer components, that energy can be saved by taking advantage of power-saving features, and that leaving the computer running is more productive because it avoids the lengthy startup process.

In the end, I believe it’s the overall boot time that usually determines which of these camps you belong to. If the startup time is just unbearably long, you’ll certainly be more inclined to leave your computer running all the time. Fortunately, Windows XP has made great strides on improving startup times, which are now routinely measured in seconds instead of minutes. However, if you’re convinced that turning off the computer is a sensible move but you hate waiting even for Windows XP’s faster startup process, the next few sections provide you with a few tips for improving startup performance even more.

Reducing or Eliminating BIOS Checks

Many computers run through one or more diagnostic checks at system startup. For example, it’s common for machines to check the integrity of the system memory chips. That seems like a good idea, but it can take an interminable amount of time to complete on a system with a great deal of memory. Access your system’s BIOS settings and turn off these checks to reduce the overall time of the computer’s Power-On Self Test.


How you access your computer’s BIOS settings (also called the CMOS setup) depends on the manufacturer. You usually have to press a function key (usually F1, F2, or F10), a key such as Delete or Esc, or a key combination. During the POST, you should see some text on the screen that tells you what key or key combination to press.

Reducing the OS Choices Menu Timeout

If you have two or more operating systems on your computer, you see Windows XP’s OS Choices menu at startup. If you’re paying attention to the startup, you can press the Enter key as soon as this menu appears and your system will boot the default operating system. If your mind is focused elsewhere, however, the startup will be delayed 30 seconds until the default choice is selected automatically. If this happens to you frequently, you can reduce that 30-second timeout to speed up the startup. There are four ways to do this:

  • Edit the BOOT.INI file. In the [boot loader] section, change the timeout value.

  • Select Start, Run, type msconfig -4, and click OK. In the System Configuration Utility’s BOOT.INI tab, modify the value in the Timeout text box.

  • Run Control Panel’s System icon to get to the System Properties dialog box. Display the Advanced tab, click Settings in the Startup and Recovery group, and then adjust the value of the Time to Display List of Operating Systems spin box.

  • At the command prompt, enter the following command (replace ss with the number of seconds you want to use for the timeout):

       BOOTCFG /Timeout ss


If your system has multiple hardware profiles, the Hardware Profile menu also appears for 30 seconds before choosing the default profile. You can reduce this timeout by launching Control Panel’s System icon, selecting the Hardware tab, and then clicking Hardware Profiles. In the Hardware Profiles dialog box, activate the Select the First Profile Listed If I Don’t Select a Profile In option and use the spin box below it to set the reduced timeout.

Turning Off the Startup Splash Screen

In BOOT.INI, use the /NOGUIBOOT switch . This prevents the Windows XP splash screen from appearing, which will shave a small amount of time from the startup.


Using /NOGUIBOOT means that you won’t see any startup blue-screen errors. In other words, if a problem occurs, all you’ll know for sure is that your system has hung, but you won’t know why. For this reason, the small performance improvement represented by using /NOGUIBOOT is likely not enough to offset the lack of startup error messages.

Using an Automatic Logon

One of the best ways to reduce startup time frustration is to ignore the startup altogether by doing something else (such as getting a cup of coffee) while the boot chores occur. This strategy is foiled if the startup is interrupted by the logon process. If you’re the only person who uses your computer, you can overcome this problem by setting up Windows XP to log you on automatically. 

Not Requiring Ctrl+Alt+Delete

If you must log on, and if you’re using the classic logon method (that is, you’re not using Windows XP’s Welcome screen), Windows XP usually asks you to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete before it displays the Log On to Windows dialog box. You can save a startup step by eliminating this usually unnecessary procedure.

Reducing or Eliminating Startup Programs

By far the biggest startup bottleneck is the array of programs scheduled to launch automatically when Windows XP loads. Loading many small programs or just a couple of large programs can slow the startup to an excruciating crawl. Use the techniques

Using Hibernation Mode

Hibernation mode, which is supported by most new PCs, saves the current contents of memory (running programs, open documents, and so on) to a file on your hard disk and then shuts down the computer. When you turn the machine back on, Windows XP bypasses the usual startup routines and restores the memory contents from the hibernation file. The result is that your system is back on its feet in just a few seconds.

Before you can use hibernation, you need to make sure that it’s enabled on your system by first opening Control Panel’s Power Options icon. In the Power Options Properties dialog box, display the Hibernate tab and activate the Enable Hibernation check box.

To put the computer into hibernation, you have two ways to proceed:

  • If you use the Welcome screen, select Start, Turn Off Computer, hold down the Shift key, and then click Hibernate.

  • If you use the Classic logon screen, select Start, Shut Down and then select Hibernate from the list.


The contents of your system’s memory are stored in a file called Hiberfil.sys in the root folder of the %SystemDrive% (usually C:). This is hardwired into the system and can’t be changed. Therefore, before enabling hibernation, make sure that you have plenty of free space on the %SystemDrive%. Note that Hiberfil.sys will be as large as the amount of RAM on your system. If you have 512MB RAM, the hibernation file will also be approximately 512MB.

Configuring the Prefetcher

Prefetching is a Windows XP performance feature that analyzes disk usage and then reads into memory the data that you or your system accesses most frequently. The prefetcher can be used to speed up booting, application launching, or both. You configure the prefetcher using the following Registry setting:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management\

Set this value to 1 for application-only prefetching, 2 for boot-only prefetching, or 3 for both application and boot prefetching. I recommend setting this value to 2 for boot-only prefetching. This will improve boot performance and, on most systems, have little or no effect on application performance because commonly used application launch files are probably in the RAM cache anyway.

Other -----------------
- Monitoring Performance with System Monitor
- Monitoring Performance with Task Manager
- Administering Your Network - Broadcasting Console Messages
- Administering Your Network - Managing a Remote Computer
- Administering Your Network - Monitoring Performance on a Remote Computer
- Administering Your Network - Connecting to a Remote Registry & Connecting to Remote Group Policies
- Sharing Resources with the Network
- Accessing Network Resources - Mapping a Network Folder to a Local Drive Letter
- Accessing Network Resources - Adding a Network Place
- Accessing Network Resources - Using My Network Places
Top 10
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 2) - Wireframes,Legends
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 1) - Swimlanes
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Formatting and sizing lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Adding shapes to lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Sizing containers
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 3) - The Other Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 2) - The Data Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 1) - The Format Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Form Properties and Why Should You Use Them - Working with the Properties Window
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Using the Organization Chart Wizard with new data
- First look: Apple Watch

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 1)

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2)
programming4us programming4us
Popular tags
Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Biztalk Exchange Server Microsoft LynC Server Microsoft Dynamic Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8
programming4us programming4us
Natural Miscarriage
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server
Game Trailer