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How to boost your Windows Start Up, Put this together from
several different sources for you Options
Whenever you start your computer, you are faced with a few moments of
thumb twiddling while Windows XP boots and prompts you to log on.
Although you should expect to wait for a few moments, sometimes Windows
XP seems to boot rather slowly. In fact, you may notice that over a
period of time the PC that used to roar to life seems a bit sluggish
instead. Fortunately, you can perform several techniques that help
Windows XP get the boot-up speed you want. This chapter explores how to
put these techniques to work.
Stopping Un-needed Start up Services
Along with the core operating system and programs that Windows XP runs
when it starts, there is also a host of services involved. Many of these
services are necessary for Windows XP to operate correctly. However,
many of them are for features in Windows XP that you may not use at all.
You can peruse the services and disable any service that you do not want
to run. The fewer services that run, the more quickly Windows XP will
Exercise caution when stopping services. If you do not know what a
service does or are unsure of the ramifications of stopping the service,
leave it alone. Some services are critical to Windows XP's operations,
so make sure you understand what the service is before you disable it.
To reduce the number of services that start on boot-up, you can access
two different areas of Windows XP. The first is the System Configuration
Utility. The Services tab shows you the services that start when the
You can stop a service from starting by simply clearing the check box
next to the service and clicking OK. However, before you do so, there is
another way to disable services that you may prefer because the
interface gives you more information about the service in question.
Open Control Panel/Administrative Tools Services or else select
Start/Run, type services.msc, and click OK. Either way, you see the
I prefer to use the Services console instead of the System Configuration
Utility because it describes what the service does. Additionally, you
can double-click a service and examine its properties.
Notice the Start up Type column in Figure 4-2. This information lists
whether the service is automatic or manual. Manual services are only
started in Windows XP when you start a process that requires the
service. Some other process may require the service that has a
"dependency" relationship with it; in this case, the dependency service
will start, as well. Because these services do not start automatically
when you boot Windows XP, you do not need to do anything with manual
However, all services listed as automatic start when Windows XP boots.
These are the services that increase boot time. As I have mentioned,
many of them are necessary and important, so you should not stop
automatic services from booting unless you are sure of the
ramifications. You can get this information by looking at the
Description column. Here's a quick look at common services you may want
to live without:
-Alerter - Disable it unless you are a system admin and have subscribed
for administrative alerts
-Application Management - Disable it unless you are in a domain.
-Automatic Updates: This service enables Windows XP to check the Web
automatically for updates. If you don't want to use Automatic Updates,
you can disable the service. You can always check for updates manually
at the Windows Update Web site.
-Background Intelligent Transfer Service - If you have disabled
Automatic Update and you don't have any application that uses BITS (Most
likely you don't have), disable it.
-Computer Browser: If your computer is not on a network, you don't need
this service. If you are on a network, leave it alone.
-DHCP Client: If you are not on a network, you do not need this service.
If you are on a small workgroup, you can still increase boot time by
configuring manual IP addresses (which I explore later in this chapter).
-Distributed Link Tracking Client - Disable it unless there are
Distributed Link Tracking Servers in your network.
-Distributed Transaction Coordinator - Disable it unless you connect to
a SQL Server.
-DNS Client: If you are not on a network, you do not need this service.
If you are, leave it alone.
-Error Reporting and Event Log: You don't have to use these services but
they can be very helpful, so I would leave them configured as automatic.
-Fast User Switching Compatibility - If you don't want to use welcome
screen or fast user switching, disable it.
-Fax: If you don't use your computer for fax services, you can disable
-Help and Support: If you never use the Windows XP Help and Support
Center (found on the Start menu), you can disable this service.
-IMAPI CD-Burning COM: This service enables you to burn CDs on your
computer. If you never burn CDs, you can disable the service.
-Indexing Service: Your computer keeps an index of files but if you
rarely search for files, the service is just a resource hog. You can
stop it and turn the service to manual.
-Infrared Monitor: If you do not use infrared devices, you can disable
-IPSEC Services - If you don't have a site-to-site VPN in place, disable
it. If you are home user and you don't know what is a site-to-site VPN,
then you don't have it.
-Messenger: This service sends alert messages on a local area network
(it is not the same as Windows Messenger). If you are not on a network,
you can disable this service.
-M*cros*ft Security Center - (XP Service Pack 2 Only) Disable it if you
are experienced enough to keep track of your computer's
-Print Spooler: If you do not do any printing from the computer, you can
disable this service. If you print, make sure you leave it as automatic.
-Remote Registry: This service allows remote users to modify the
Registry on your computer. If you are not on a network, you can disable
-System Restore Service: This service allows you to use System Restore.
If you have turned off System Restore anyway, you do not need to turn
off the service. If you do, you turn off System Restore.
-Terminal Services - If you don't use Remote Desktop/Remote Assistant
and are not connected to a terminal server in a domain network, disable
-Themes: If you do not use themes, you can disable this service.
-Windows Audio - For server system or administration system which don't
need events to be alerted with voice.
-Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing: If you do not use these
features, you can disable them.
-Windows Image Acquisition: If you do not use scanners or digital
cameras, you can disable this service.
-Windows Time - If you don't want to update your computer's time from
intenet or a time server, disable it.
-Wireless Zero Configuration: If do not use wireless networking devices,
you can disable this service.
You may have a number of other automatic services, depending on software
and other configurations on your computer. So it's a good idea to look
through the services and learn more about them. If you double-click a
service, a Properties dialog box appears Notice that on the General tab,
you see a Start up Type drop-down menu. If you want to change an
automatic service to manual, select Manual here and click OK. As a
general rule, don't disable a service unless you are sure you will never
use it. However, manual configuration allows the service to be started
when you find it necessary, thus speeding up your boot time.
However, before you change a service to manual, look at the Dependencies
tab (see Figure 4-4). This tab shows you which other services depend
upon the service you are considering changing.
Keep in mind that services are necessary for the vast functionality you
get with Windows XP. Change only those services that you understand and
do not use. How you use your Windows XP computer should be the best
guide in terms of optional start up services.
The Indexing service and the System Restore service take up a lot of
disk space and system resources across the board. You can live without
the Indexing service but I suggest that you keep using System Restore.
It works great when you are in a bind and this is one case where the
loss of speed may not be worth the ramifications of not using System
Speed Tips and Tricks for Windows XP Start up
Aside from start up programs, services, and the Prefetch folder, there
are a number of other start up procedures and issues you can modify to
help Windows XP start faster. The following sections explore those tips
Manual IP Addressing on Small Office/Home Networks
Windows XP is configured to help you take care of networking. It uses
the TCP/IP protocol for networking in workgroups, or what you might call
small office or home networks that do not use a dedicated server.
The problem is that automatic IP addressing can be slow. When your
computer boots, it has to query the network to see what IP addresses are
already in use and then assign itself one. If you want to speed up the
boot time a bit, consider manually assigning IP addresses to all
computers on the network. This way, the network computers do not have to
worry about locating an automatic IP address. Because one is manually
configured, the operating system doesn't have to spend time solving this
This isn't a networking book, however, so I won't delve into the
implications of using a manual IP address, but if you are using a
computer that functions as a host computer to the Internet (using
Internet Connection Sharing [ICS]), you can get into connectivity
problems if you change the configuration of the IP address. However, you
can still work around this problem by starting with the ICS host
Select Start/Connect To/Show All Connections. Right-click your network
adapter card and click Properties. On the General tab, select TCP/IP in
the list of services and click the Properties button.In the TCP/IP
properties, you can see if you use an automatic or manual IP address. In
the example in Figure 4-5, I have configured a manual IP address of
18.104.22.168 and a default subnet mask. The other computers on my office
network each use a different IP address in the same class, such as
22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, and so on. This way, each computer has a
permanent IP address, which helps increase boot time. Note that if you
change the IP addresses of your computers, they must all use the same
subnet mask. A default subject mask of 255.255.255.0 will keep you in
Make sure you understand the implications of changing IP addresses on
your network. If you have no networking experience at all, you may be
wiser to leave the automatic IP addressing as is and try to gain some
speed using the additional suggestions in this chapter.
Disabling Recent Documents History
Windows XP includes a feature that keeps track of all recent documents
you have opened or used. The idea is that you can select Start/Recent
Documents History and quickly reopen any document you have recently
used. I use many documents each day and never use the feature myself. In
my opinion, I can keep up with what I want to use without Windows XP
doing it for me.The bad thing about Recent Documents History is that
Windows XP has to calculate what should be put there each time you boot
Windows, which can slow things down. So, if you never use the Recent
Documents History, it's a good idea to disable it. Here's how:
1. Open the Registry Editor (select Start/Run, type regedit, and click
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mcft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
3. Create a NoRecentDocsHistory D_WORD key. Double-click the value to
open it once it is created.
4. Set the Data Value to 1 to enable the restriction.
5. Click OK and close the Registry Editor. You'll need to restart the
computer for the change to take effect.
Disabling the Boot Logo
You can remove the boot logo that appears when you start Windows XP.
This little tweak probably shaves only a few seconds off your boot time
but seconds count if you are serious about trying to get Windows XP up
and running as quickly as possible. The only negative is that if you
remove the boot logo, you will also not see any boot messages, such as
check disk. (But if you are not having problems with your computer, this
isn't such a big deal.)
To remove the boot logo, follow these steps:
1. Select Start/Run, type msconfig, and click OK.
2. In the System Configuration Utility, click the BOOT.INI tab.
3. On the BOOT.INI tab, click the NOGUIBOOT check box option. Click OK.
Removing Unwanted Fonts
One trick that increases your boot time a bit is to lose any fonts in
the Fonts folder in Control Panel that you never use. The more fonts you
have, the more processing Windows XP has to do to prep all of those
fonts for use. You must be a bit careful here to not remove fonts that
you might want, but there is a good chance that you can live without
many of them. For instance, you may have foreign language fonts and
other symbol fonts (such as Wingdings) that you never use.
To delete unneeded fonts, follow these steps:
1. Open the Fonts folder in Control Panel.
2. Select Edit/Select All and then Edit/Copy.
3. Create a new folder on your desktop, open it, and select Edit/Paste.
4. In this new folder, delete any of the fonts you do not want.
5. Return to the Fonts folder in Control Panel. Right-click the selected
fonts and click Delete.
6. Go back to your new desktop folder and click Edit/Select All.
7. Return to your Fonts folder and click Edit/Paste. You now have only
the desired fonts in the Fonts folder.
You can directly delete fonts from the Fonts folder without creating the
secondary folder. However, I recommend the preceding steps to help
ensure that you do not make a mistake in the deletion process.
[size=2]Stopping Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Sharing
In Windows XP Professional, you have two remote networking features
called Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Sharing. These remote
networking features are very helpful in a variety of situations but if
you don't use them, it is good idea to disable them to save boot time.
You can always enable them later if you want to use them.
Note: If you are interested in using Remote Desktop or Remote
Assistance, see my book Windows XP for Power Users: Power Pack published
by John Wiley & Sons.
1. Open the Start menu, right-click My Computer, and choose Properties.
2. Click the Remote Tab.
3. Clear both check boxes to disable Remote Assistance and Remote
Speeding Up the Dual-Boot Timeout.
If you dual-boot your computer with Windows XP and another operating
system, you see an operating system selection menu on startup. If you
typically boot into Windows XP and not the other operating system, you
can speed up the dual-boot timeout value so that you do not wait so long
for the boot process to select your default operating system and
continue with the boot process. The default timeout value is 30 seconds
but you can change this setting to 10. This gives you enough time to
select the alternate operating system if you want but also speeds up the
boot process. You can skip this section if you do not use a dual-boot
Follow these steps:
1. Locate the boot.ini file on your computer. It is a hidden file by
default; mine is located in C:\boot.ini.
2. Open the file with Notepad (which is what opens it by default).
3. Change the Timeout value to 10 (see Figure 4-11).
4. Select File/Save and close Notepad.
Speeding Up Your PPPoE Connection
If you use a Point-to-Point Protocol connection over Ethernet (PPPoE),
you may notice a delay in using the PPPoE connection after startup. By
default, there is a 120 second delay but you can stop this behavior by
manually configuring an IP address for the network adapter card. If you
do not use a PPPoE connection, you can skip this section.
1. Select Start/Connect to/Show All Connections.
2. Open the TCP/IP properties for your LAN network interface card.
3. Manually set the IP address on the TCP/IP properties to an
appropriate IP address and subnet mask for your network.
Reducing the Wait Time
When you start to shut down Windows XP, it has to quit, or "kill," any
live applications or processes that are currently running. So close all
applications first. However, some applications and processes are always
running in the background. You can reduce the amount of time that
Windows XP waits for those applications and processes to close before
Windows XP kills them. Edit three different Registry settings to change
1. Open the Registry Editor.
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Select
WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000.
3. Select the HungAppTimeout value and set it to 1000 as well.
4. Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop. Set the
WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000. Select the
HungAppTimeout \newline value and set it to 1000 as well.
5. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control.
Select the WaitToKillServiceTimeout value and set it to 1000.
6. Close the Registry Editor.
Automatically Killing Tasks on Shutdown
You know the drill. You start to shut down the computer, you wait a few
moments, and then you see a dialog box asking if you want to kill an
application or service that is running. Instead of prompting you, you
can make Windows XP take care of the kill task automatically. Here's
1. Open the Registry Editor.
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.
3. Highlight the value AutoEndTasks and change the value to 1.
4. Close the Registry Editor.
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