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Home Hardware Speed up boot and shutdown times in Windows XP

Speed up boot and shutdown times in Windows XP

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Here are some great ways to improve your PC's startup and shutdown times.

Perform a Boot Defragment

There’s a simple way to speed up XP startup: make your system do a boot defragment, which will put all the boot files next to one another on your hard disk. When boot files are in close proximity to one another, your system will start faster.

On most systems, boot defragment should be enabled by default, but it might not be on yours, or it might have been changed inadvertently. To make sure that boot defragment is enabled on your system, run the registry editor and go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction
Edit the Enable string value to Y if it is not already set to Y. Exit the Registry and reboot. The next time you reboot, you’ll do a boot defragment.


Hack Your BIOS for Faster Startups

When you turn on your PC, it goes through a set of startup procedures in its BIOS before it gets to starting XP. So, if you speed up those initial startup procedures, you’ll make your system start faster.

You can speed up your startup procedures by changing the BIOS with the built-in setup utility. How you run this utility varies from PC to PC, but you typically get to it by pressing the Delete, F1, F2, or F10 keys during startup. You’ll come to a menu with a variety of choices. Here are the choices to make for faster system startups:

  • Quick Power On Self Test (POST) When you choose this option, your system runs an abbreviated POST rather than the normal, lengthy one.
  • Boot Up Floppy Seek Disable this option. When it’s enabled, your system spends a few extra seconds looking for your floppy drive—a relatively pointless procedure, especially considering how infrequently you use your floppy drive.
  • Boot Delay Some systems let you delay booting after you turn on your PC so that your hard drive gets a chance to start spinning before bootup. Most likely, you don’t need to have this boot delay, so turn it off. If you run into problems, however, you can turn it back on.

Speed Up Shutdown Times

It’s not only startup times that you’d like to speed up; you can also make sure that your system shuts down faster. If shutting down XP takes what seems to be an inordinate amount of time, here are a couple of steps you can take to speed up the shutdown process:

  • Don’t have XP clear your paging file at shutdown. For security reasons, you can have XP clear your paging file (pagefile.sys) of its contents whenever you shut down. Your paging file is used to store temporary files and data, but when your system shuts down, information stays in the file. Some people prefer to have the paging file cleared at shutdown because sensitive information, such as unencrypted passwords, sometimes ends up in the file. However, clearing the paging file can slow shutdown times significantly, so if extreme security isn’t a high priority, you might not want to clear it. To shut down XP without clearing your paging file, run the Registry Editor and go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
    Change the value of ClearPageFileAtShutdown to 0. Close the Registry and restart your computer. Whenever you turn off XP from now on, the paging file won’t be cleared, and you should be able to shut down more quickly.
  • Turn off unnecessary services. ervices take time to shut down, so the fewer you run, the faster you can shut down. See the “Unnecessary Windows XP Services” page.

This material has been adapted from Windows XP Hacks, 2nd Edition by Preston Gralla, published by O'Reilly Media, Inc. Copyright O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2005.

 

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