Make Windows Startup, Run, Shutdown Faster

These tips will tell you how you can make Windows startup faster, and run & shutdown faster too. Actually, this was my first post I wrote on for Windows Vista, a couple of years back – and was very popular, having received over 5000 Stumbles. I decided to update it and post it here, so as to make it applicable for Windows 8, Windows 7 – and Windows in general.

NOTE: For a regular user the first few points are usually more than sufficient to make Windows faster. The remaining are some more which a tweak enthusiast may wish to consider. I suggest you create a system restore point first before tweaking your system. I also suggest you do not make too many changes at one time or in a single day. Also see if the particular tweak applies to your version of Windows.

Make Windows Faster

While you can carry out the tweaks manually, using freeware like Ultimate Windows Tweaker or WinPatrol may make things that much easier for you.

Restrict the number of start-ups

Why have programs starting up when you don’t really use them. Even those you need, can always be started manually by clicking on the programs icon. I personally prefer not to have ANY startups – except my antivirus software running. So decide for yourself which one’s you really need to start-up every time your Windows boots. You may use msconfig in Windows 7 or Task Manager to manage startup programs. You can also delay Startup Programs or control the order in which they load, when Windows boots.

Remove pre-installed Crapware

Remove any crapware which may have come pre-installed on your new Windows PC, as many a time its this crapware that cause a machine to crawl!

Reduce Visual Effects

Open Control Panel and search for Visual Effects. Under Performance Options, you can Adjust for best performance or select or unselect the options manually. This will tweak visual effects and remove a lot of eye-candy. You may however want to check the Smooth edges of screen fonts, and therefore go in for a Custom selection.

make windows faster Make Windows Startup, Run, Shutdown Faster

Disabling all can actually negate the purpose of ‘eye-friendly’ Windows 7 | 8, and make it look and feel ‘bland’ – so use your discretion and chose your options wisely.

Defragment Drives

Defragment your Drives regularly. Of course, now-a-days, you don’t really need to do it manually as the built-in Windows 8 defragmenter does a good job at defragmenting files in the background whenever your system is idle. But if you wish you may use a third-party free defragmentation software too.

Check Hard Disk for errors

From time to time, it is a good practice to check your hard disk drive for errors using a tool built in to Windows called CHKDSK (for Check Disk). In Windows 8, Microsoft has redesigned chkdsk utility. The disk is periodically checked for file system errors, bad sectors, lost clusters, etc, during Automatic Maintenance and you now no longer need to really go and run it.

Delete Junk files, Clean Registry & optimize Windows

While deleting junk and temporary files may not exactly make your Windows faster, it is more a matter of good-housekeeping. You may use the built-in Disk Cleanup Utility or a freeware like CCleaner or Quick Clean to do the same. Whether one should use a free Registry Cleaner to clean up the Windows Registry occasionally is a matter of debate, so you may take a call on it. However I do use it once a month to remove left-over registry keys. Compacting the Registry occasionally is a good idea too. If you are looking for shareware optimizer, you may want to consider Tune Up Utilities, BoostSpeed or PowerSuite Pro. These beginners tips to optimize Windows for better performance will also interest you.

Fix It for slow Windows computers

Microsoft has released a Fix It for slow Windows computers. It will automatically diagnose and fix causes of poor system performance, such as the power saver setting, multiple anti-virus programs running, multiple startup programs running, and too many users logged on to the computer.

Use High Performance Power Plan

The default Power Setting in the “Power Saver” plan limits the CPU to 50 percent in Windows 7 | Vista. Open the Power Options Control Panel and change it to “High Performance” to give your CPU full throttle.

If you follow the above-mentioned tips, it should suffice. If as a tweak-enthusiast, you are looking for more tips and tweaks, read on.

Processor Scheduling

Depending on the usage of your Windows computer, you can configure processor scheduling, so that it gives you the best performance while using Programs or for Background Processes.

Performance Information and Tools

Identify programs, features, drivers slowing down a fast start up, shutdown or hibernation using built-in Performance Information and Tools.

Windows Boot Performance Diagnostics

You can also use the inbuilt Windows Boot Performance Diagnostics to detect Windows Boot Performance problems and attempt to determine their root causes.

Disable Windows Services

Windows has over 130 services installed! Disable the services you are sure you do not require. For example, if your PC is a stand-alone one, there may be several services which you can disable or switch over to manual mode. Auto-starting and closing down of services takes time & resources. These can be saved. BlackViper’s Service Configurations is an excellent guide to follow. Based on BlackVipers recommendations, we have created SMART, a utility to tweak Windows Services in Windows 7, Vista, XP Services.

Personal preferences will dictate which you should consider disabling. But there are a few Automatic services you could consider setting to Manual:

  • If you don’t use a printer, disable the “Print Spooler” service.
  • If you’re not running a Tablet PC, disable the “Tablet PC Input” service.
  • If you don’t connect cameras, webcams, or scanners to your PC then disable the “Windows Image Acquisition” Service.

I wouldn’t disable the “ReadyBoost” service even if you don’t use it as “ReadyBoot” is integrated into this service so setting this service to manual or disable with slow down your boot time.

Disable Search Indexer

If you do not use Search regularly, you may want to considering disabling Search Indexing. To do so, open Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Performance Information and Tools. On the LHS you will see options to Adjust Indexing options, Visual Effects, Power Settings, etc. Untick files to index under “Indexing Options” in the Control Panel, however the complete way to disable indexing would also involve going into your hard disk’s properties and unticking the option “Index this drive for faster searching”. Then you must go into Services.msc, disable and stop the “Windows Search” Service. Do note that the Search Indexer only runs when the computer is idle, so you need not turn off this very powerful feature in Windows 8 and Windows 7.

Disable Transient Multimon Manager (TMM)

The Transient Multimon Manager (TMM) is a Microsoft Windows operating system feature targeted at improving the user experience of connecting and disconnecting displays, particularly for the mobile user.When you start Windows Vista (or later), you see a 2-3 sec delay followed by a blank black screen. This is the time Windows searches for external monitors. So if you don’t use an external monitor, you could always safely turn this off!

To disable TMM, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Task Schedular. On LHS, expand “Task Scheduler Library” then expand “Microsoft”, then expand “Windows” and finally click “MobilePC”. You will see a task called “TMM”. Rt-Click on it, and select “Disable”.

Boot Defragmentation

Ensure that boot defragmentation is enabled, so that files used during start-up are clubbed together. To check this, start Regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Dfrg\ BootOptimizeFunction

Select Enable from the list on the right. Right-click on it and select Modify. Change the value to Y to enable and N to disable. Reboot.

Disable Clear page file on shutdown

If you have set your Page file to be cleared on every shutdown for security reasons, it will take some time. Cleaning the page-file on every shutdown means overwriting the data by zeros, and it takes time.

To change this setting, open Registry Editor and navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Control\ Session Manager\ Memory Management

Modify (and if not present, right-click in open space and create) the Value Data Type/s and Value Name/s :
Data Type: REG_DWORD [Dword Value]
Value Name: ClearPageFileAtShutdown
Setting for Value Data: [0 = Clear Page File Disabled / 1 = Clear Page File Enabled]
Exit Registry and Reboot.

You could also use this Microsoft Fix It or our Ultimate Windows Tweaker to do it easily.

Other Miscellaneous tips

1) One small and simple tip! Restart your PC at least once a week, especially if you use it a lot. Restarting a PC is a good way to clear out its memory and ensuring that any errant processes and services that started running get shut down.

2) Generally people also recommend emptying the Prefetch directory once in a while. But Windows uses this directory to speed up launching applications. It analyzes the files you use during startup and the applications you launch, and it creates an index to where those files and applications are located on your hard disk. Using this index, Windows can launch files and applications faster. Utilities like CCleaner too have an option to clear the prefetcher. Should you choose to use this option of ‘clearing prefetcher’, be ready to run an ‘un-optimized’ windows for a little while. The Prefetcher is best left alone! In any case, Windows cleans it at 128 entries down to the 32 most used application’s prefetch files.

3) During boot time, enter the BIOS settings, by pressing Del key during boot-up, and disable ‘Seek floppy drive’ option. This saves time for those who do not use floppy drives. There are also some BIOS hacks like Enabling Quick Post, Disabling Boot Delay, etc, but best to refrain from these.

4) Change Boot-Order Sequence. Normally, the BIOS is set to boot from floppy first, then CD and then Hard Disk. Changing the Boot-Order to be: Hard Disk first, then maybe CD/Floppy, could possibly “shave” a second.

5) Disable Windows startup/shutdown/logon/logoff sounds. Open Control Panel > Sounds & audio devices > Sound tab. In Program Events select ‘No sound’ for these events.

6) Disable the Screen Saver if you don’t need it. Right-Click on your Windows 8 Desktop > Personalize > ScreenSaver > None > OK.

7) Fonts take time to load. Removing some can save on resources. But one must be careful in deciding which fonts to remove. If you delete some system fonts, you may be in for trouble.

8) To really reduce your shutdown time, open Regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlSet / Control

Click on the “Control” Folder. Select “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” Right-click on it and select Modify. The default value is, I think, 20000. Setting it to a lower 4 digit value, (say 5000) will make your PC shutdown faster, but you could end up losing data or cause possible disk corruption, so use this tweak judiciously. Remember, Windows does not in any case, recognise a 3-digit numeral here.

9) Uninstall some built-in extra programs Windows installs, that you do not use. You may not be using some like Games, Meeting Space, Fax, etc. To do so, open Control Panel\ Programs\ Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features On or Off and do the needful. But wait, before you rush, exercise a little caution here! For instance you may want to turn off “Tablet PC Components etc” – but then get set to miss the Snipping Tool too! 

10) Disabling Aero will NOT really improve performance in Windows 7.

11) Windows may take time to start or shutdown soon after its installation due to ‘OOBE’ (Out Of Box Experience), but that should go away after a few restarts. Also, do remember that your Windows machine will tend to run a little faster, after the first few weeks, after the OS is installed, thanks to its new feature called SuperFetch, which basically studies the programs that the user frequently runs and loads them into memory automatically.

12) You can also check out Soluto which makes Windows boot faster.

Ryan Wieser, a performance enthusiast, from USA, has added a few more of his own here :

Disable 8.3 filename creation

The NFTS file system is set to automatically create a “short filename” for any file considered a “long filename” in Windows. This is done so files are compatible with old 16bit legacy applications. Microsoft admits the creation of 8.3 filenames can degrade your file system performance. To disable 8.3 filenames for future files you will need to open “regedit” and navigate to: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Control\ FileSystem” and find the DWORD “NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation” and set its value to 1. To disable 8.3 filenames for existing files you will need to open a command prompt and type “fsutil.exe behavior set disable8dot3 1″. Source Microsoft.

Stop ehtray.exe

When you use Windows Media Center in Windows Vista, for the first time it will automatically add a background process to startup called “ehtray.exe”. This startup entry cannot be simply unticked in msconfig or deleted and expected to never appear again. Once you start Media Center again it will create a duplicate entry regardless if the existing entry has been disabled or deleted. “ehtray.exe” is supposed to be a tray icon process for easy access to the “Digital Media Manager”. This process is completely useless to me and uses memory. To prevent ehtray from running you can rename the file itself or delete it all together, which will not hamper Media Center functionality. In order to rename or delete this system file you must first take ownership and full control by simply adding this context menu extension. The file is found under the C:\Windows\ehome directory. Simply rename it to ehtray.old or delete it after taking ownership.

Enable Direct Read and Write Cache

Purely from a tweakers point of view, you can squeeze a little more performance out of your SATA hard disk drive by enabling write caching. But there is an increased risk for data corruption or loss, should you experience a power loss ! Click on the Start Button, write Device Manager and click Enter. Then expand the Disk Drives. Now Right-click on hard disk drive and select Properties. Here, on Policies, check on Enable Advanced Performance. Click OK. By default Windows will write data to disk and then store the datain cache for better performance. You can change this behavior for even better performance by allowing your hard disk to skip writing data directly to your hard drive and rather just throw the data straight into cache. This will result in even better performance butthere is a small risk. If your power goes out suddenly you will lose the data that had been written to cache and since the data has not been written to disk you may end up with lost files or even a corrupted Windows installation depending on what kind of data the hard disk had in cache. If you have a UPS then it should be perfectly safe to enable this setting. I do not have a UPS but the risk isn’t big enough to me, so I enable this setting. To do so, simply go into device manager, look under your hard drive properties, click the policy tab, and tick “Enable advanced performance”.

Change your DNS servers

Right now, your probably using your ISP’s DNS servers to translate web addresses, which in most cases are slow. OpenDNS claims to have high-speed DNS servers which in most cases are much more responsive than your ISP’s servers. Try it out and see if you notice an improvement.

Adjust your Page File

The Page File is virtual memory stored on your hard disk and is constantly in use regardless of how much RAM you have. Disabling it is not a good idea unless you have 3-4GB of RAM in which case you can experiment. If you have two hard drives you can store the Page File on a separate disk away from your Windows installation which will improve performance. If your second drive is slower than the root drive then I would recommend keeping your Page File on the root drive. It is important to set your Page File large enough and make it a fixed size to prevent it from expanding which can cause performance loss. So it is important to set the “initial” and “maximum” size of the Page File the same and allow yourself to have more than enough room for paging.
RAM: Initial and max size of Page File

  • 1GB: 2048-2048MB
  • 2GB: 1024-1024MB
  • 3-4GB: 512-512MB or none if you want to experiment

You can resize the Page File as necessary. It doesn’t matter how large it is. The only downside of a larger Page File is less disk space. Just be sure to keep it at a large fixed size.

Improve general Explorer performance

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Go into your root drive, click organize, pointto layout, and untick the “Details Pane”. The details pane seems to really slow down window responsiveness. Under the organize button click “Folder and Search Options”. Under the “View” tab untick “Display file size information in folder tips” and “Show pop-up description for folder and desktop items”. Then click “Apply to all folders” at the top of the Folder Option window to get rid of the Details pane on all folders.

Make various menu’s in Windows 7 | Vista appear faster

This was a popular tweak in Windows XP to do away with the slow start-menu delay. Since Windows Vista has a different start-menu this tweak would no longer apply to it but it still works on other various menu’s in Vista that otherwise have a long delay when pausing over them. Open regedit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Change the “MenuShowDelay” string to a value of “20″. You can set it as low as you want butI find “20″ to be a good value.

Happy Tweaking !

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • My Say! India.

    thats quite a helpful and detailed post on making things faster for start up and shut down !! thanks for the info share !!

  • mntncougar

    What a useless article. Despite what it claims, everything I looked at applies only to
    Win 8 – which nobody uses. Of course it should be included, but with 99% of all PC’s using another operating system, what good is this?

  • Anand Khanse

    If you had read the article, you would have realized that it applies to all versions of Windows – Windows Vista onwards. I therefore consider your comment frivolous.

  • markings

    Re: visual effects. It is a mystery to me why people spend of money on fast computers and then waste it on visual effects. Turning them off by selecting best performance is the first thing I do on any new computer.

    And if someone is using a remote control program like Teamviewer the visual effects are an absolute pain as a screen will have to be sent across the wire numerous times.

  • Peter Thompson

    Luckily TeamViewer by default disables some of these I believe

  • markings

    Up to, and including version 6 it doesn’t.

  • Peter Thompson

    Version 8 is a lot better and I recommend using it. Some versions I found when trying to do a remote reboot via TeamViewer it could get stuck as Windows would interrupt it giving warnings e.g. programs need to close etc. This is now very rare with the latest TeamViewer. Also finally with version 8 you can actually hear the audio of the computer your controlling which is handy when trying to fix a PC and listen to stuff that might help (I used to run a voluntary radio station so having this at the time would have been great)

  • bob

    how about tuneup utilities 2013 .been using it since it was called tuneup xp back in 2006

  • rodx

    thank you.. this was most helpful. and i appreciate what you have done , that being..sharing your knowledge to help others.

  • Anand Khanse

    Glad to be of help. :)

  • kayman63

    I like the suggestions above. I also use Krojam Cleaner to keep my laptop running fast.

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