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How to speed up your Windows 8 / 8.x computer startup?

 

Speed up Windows 8 startup

Speed up Windows 8 startup

Why slow?

There could be many reasons for a computer to startup slow. Anything from having dozens of programs at startup to slow hardware can slow down your computer startup time. We will specifically discuss the reason which is most common and easiest to fix – the loading of dozens of unnecessary programs along with your computer. If you notice completely unknown programs starting up with your computer, then read this article: How to avoid installing unwanted toolbars and software? & download Unchecky( to prevent these programs from self installing on your computer

Speed up Windows 8 / 8.x startup time

Before I begin, Windows 8.x here refers to all versions of Windows 8, i.e 8.0, 8.1, 8.1 Update, 8.1 Update 2 etc.. In my previous guide: How to disable unnecessary startup programs in Windows 7 ?, we went through the steps required to cut the computer startup time by disabling unneeded programs that start with your computer. This article will guide you on obtaining similar results on a Windows 8 computer as the required steps are little different compared to Windows 7. We will also have a look at Fast Startup feature in Windows 8 which will help us to further speed up Windows 8 computer startup time.

Required tools to speed up Windows 8.x startup time:

Keep the following websites open, to help us decide on what to disable from startup and what to keep in startup: google.com and Startup Search Database (opens in a new tab)

For Windows 7, we disabled unwanted startup programs and background services using the msconfig utility. For Windows 8.x, we will use task manager and msconfig as Microsoft decided to move the startup programs list into the new task manager.

Let’s begin our quest to reduce Windows 8.x startup time:

We will focus on:

1) Disabling unnecessary services from the computer. What are these services? Services are just like the programs that run on your computer, but services run in the background and you cannot see them on the screen. Most of the non windows services link to a program or programs that you run on your computer. For example – Google Update Service silently and automatically updates all the Google developed programs in your computer – like Google Chrome, Google Drive, Google Earth, etc.. Some programs need the services to run in the background for them to work properly.

2) Disabling unnecessary start-up programs which will help us save time by not starting these startup programs every time we start our computer.

3) Ensuring that we are using the Windows 8 Fast Startup feature, as the name suggests – it enables Windows 8.x computers to startup faster by saving the  important system information file on the Disk and using the same file when you start the computer to give your computer information to Windows instead of gathering all the information again from scratch.

Step 1: Right click on the start button on the bottom left corner of your Windows 8.x computer and click Run. On Windows 8 (not 8.1), you will not see the start button but still right-click on the small empty spot where you would usually see a start button and click Run:

Right click the start button and click Run

Right click the start button and click Run

Step 2: In the run box, type msconfig and click OK:

Type msconfig and press OK

Type msconfig and press OK

Step 3: On the msconfig (System Configuration) screen – click on the Services tab on the top and check Hide all Microsoft services as we do not want to play with them. It is very important that you only disable the services that you are surely not going to use. You can use google to learn more about each listed service. Please do not uncheck any service which you are not aware about. Once you are very sure that you do not need a particular service(s), uncheck it/them and press Apply:

Uncheck the services that you want to be disabled and press Apply

Uncheck the services that you want to be disabled and press Apply

Step 4: Click on the Startup tab on the top and click Open Task Manager:

Click on the startup tab and click Open Task Manager

Click on the startup tab and click Open Task Manager

Step 5:  You would now see the Startup list with 4 columns – Name, Publisher, Status and Startup impact. This is the best part about the new Startup list compared to Windows 7. Windows 8.x Startup programs list actually measures and displays the impact that each startup program has on the boot time of your computer:

The new better Task Manager in Windows 8

The new better Task Manager in Windows 8

Step 6: Go to Startup Search Database (opens in a new tab) and search for the name of startup item in the search box at the center of the web page:

Type the name of the startup item that you are not sure about; For e,g I typed CursorMania Home Page Guard. Press search to get results

(Click to Enlarge) Type the name of the startup item that you are not sure about; For e,g I typed CursorMania Home Page Guard. Press search to get results

 

You will either get matching results or you wont, if you don’t get results – search the program name on google.com. You should get results most of the times:

In search results: 1) Confirm the starup item name, 2) Check Status and 3) Check description and recommendation

(Click to Enlarge) In search results: 1) Confirm the startup item name, 2) Check Status and 3) Check description and recommendation

Once you find the matching item name in the search results, check the status of the startup item – whether it is normally good to leave it on, whether if it is not required, or if it is your choice to leave it on or disable it.

“Status” key:

  • “Y” – Normally leave to run at start-up
  • “N” – Not required or not recommended – typically infrequently used tasks that can be started manually if necessary
  • “U” – User’s choice – depends whether a user deems it necessary
  • “X” – Definitely not required – typically viruses, spyware, adware and “resource hogs”
  • “?” – Unknown

“Y” is self-explanatory, leave that startup item on, “N” – I would recommend unchecking this to disable it from starting up with the computer unless you are aware of the program and want it start with computer, for “U” – Uncheck these programs unless you are aware of the program and do want it to startup with your computer. But most of the “U” programs would be unnecessary while computer is booting up. If you find “X”, uncheck it immediately and run a good antivirus/spyware scan on your computer because “X” is typically rated for viruses, spyware & adware. For “?” programs, research a bit more on google.com before deciding to leave them checked or unchecking them.

Most of the programs in your startup list would be “U” or “User’s choice – depends whether a user deems it necessary”

I would give you some decision-making tips on deciding on “U” programs:

a) Firstly, decide whether you use that program or you don’t? If you don’t, then uncheck it from startup items list. If you do use that particular program in startup items list then proceed to step b)

b) If you do use a program listed on the startup item’s list then decide whether you need that program to start and run in the background as soon as you start your computer? Few programs might not need to start as soon as you start your computer – you can uncheck them from the startup items list to prevent them from starting up with your computer. You can manually launch most of such programs when you need them by clicking on the program shortcut icon on your desktop, quick launch bar or start menu.

Example: “uTorrent” a popular torrent / P2P files downloading program , you can disable uTorrent to start automatically with your computer to save few extra seconds off your computer’s startup time. You can start uTorrent manually by clicking on its icon when you need to download a legally available movie/ music or other files from a torrent website.

This way, although you have disabled a particular program to start along with your computer, you can still use the program when you need it by clicking its icon.

If you do not find a program in the startup items database, research it on google or other search engines to decide its fate.

Step 7:  Right click and Disable all the unwanted programs that you have narrowed down from the Step 6 above and close the Task Manager window.

Right click and disable unnecessary startup programs

Right click and disable unnecessary startup programs

After you close the task manager, you will still have the msconfig (system configuration utility) open . Press Apply and OK to close it. Press Exit without restart if you have any open programs with unsaved work. Or simply press restart to restart the computer immediately if you do not have any unsaved work:

Press restart after saving all of your work or press restart later if you wish to save your work first

Press restart after saving all of your work or press restart later if you wish to save your work first

Go to the Next page to know on How to enable Windows 8 Fast startup feature from the control panel:

2 Comments

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  1. Very interesting article, Shahid Fakih. I find that it was quite technical and to the point. However, without repeating what you’ve mentioned in your article, I’d like to add that there are other simpler ways to increase the boot/start time of Windows 8. These steps include installing a simple anti-virus scanner and others as shown in this article errortools.com/windows/how-to-optimize-pc-start-up/ .

    1. Hi Samantha, I agree that virus infections can also slow down your computer start up time. I would recommend scanning the computer with freeware version of MalwareBytes Anti Malware from malwarebytes.org as it is a reputed software and cleans even the toughest infections. I would also recommend using a security suite from one of the well known brands like Kaspersky, BitDefender, Norton, etc…

      Lastly using unchecky from unchecky.com can prevent adwares and browser toolbars from getting installed without your knowledge.

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