How to Make Windows XP Boot Faster

April 26, 2009

in computer performance,Windows

by Tina Gasperson

Q: How can I make XP start up (boot) faster? — P. Taylor

There are many things you can do to nudge your Windows XP system into wakefulness a bit faster. Most of them only shave off a fraction of a second or so, but combine them and you can really make a difference. There are too many tweaks to list in one Tiplet, so let’s concentrate on just a few ways to kick it up a notch when it comes to getting your system up and running quicker.

One of the more effective things you can do to speed up your boot is to reduce what I like to call “puttering” that your system does every time you boot it. If the boot order is set up so that your computer checks the CD drive and the USB port before it finally boots from the hard drive, you’re wasting several seconds. Consider editing your BIOS so that the computer boots from the hard drive first. Of course, if you need to boot from a CD you’ll have to change the BIOS, so if you do a lot of CD or USB drive booting, don’t change this setting.

The second tip will come as a painful revelation to those of you who are font freaks. All those fonts on your system are slowing down your computer, which has to load the fonts one by one each time you boot the computer, and then work with them whenever you run an application that uses fonts. If you have hundreds and hundreds of fonts on your computer, you’re bogging it down. And be realistic – do you really use all those fonts on a regular basis? Or are you just a collector? You will do better to remove as many fonts as you can so that your computer can run faster. Temporarily install fonts when you’re doing a special project, and then remove them again when you’re done. Keep just the basic fonts and your computer will thank you. You can store the extra fonts either in a separate folder on your computer (just don’t install them), or copy them to a CD and keep it handy.

The final tip is to defragment your computer’s hard drive. If the files that your computer needs to access to boot up are fragmented and spread out all over the hard drive, it takes longer to find them and run them. So use the Windows XP disk defragmentation tool regularly to keep your files “defragged” and ready to load.

Use these three tips and you’ll shave a noticeable amount off the time it takes to boot your system.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.


Bob 04.27.09 at 2:21 am

I have never really been impressed with windows disk defrag. I feel that there are many free alternatives which do a much better job. I use JKdefrag or Smart defrag.

It may also be worth cleaning and defragging your registry for cleaning I quite like the quicksys options and or erunt

What would be nice if you could tell us a little more about ‘removing these fonts’ which slow everything down. I agree with you but could you be a little bit more specific about how!

John 04.28.09 at 12:21 am

You guys make valid points but should also consider talking about the bigger slowbugs that increase bootup time.

One using MSCONFIG and removing the many programs that auto start up everytime your computer boots up. Example program being printer software, instant messaging software and other little programs that always start up but you may never use.

Another is removing services from starting up that aren’t needed. I’d advice only people with knowledge in the technical field to modify the services.msc file.

And another would be modifying the registry to force auto shutdown when turning off your computer from 20 seconds (windows default) to 1 second. This will dramatically decrease shutdown time if you have antivirus programs that fight to stay on while your shutting down your computer.

Those are just a couple ones however I believe those are most valuable when it comes to decreasing bootup/shutdown times.

Bob 04.28.09 at 6:55 am

John, I agree with what you said but I wasn’t sure how technical this site was and as you quite rightly say messing around with the registry and services can cause problems if not done correctly. gives a fairly comprehensive list for most flavours of windows

Brad 05.26.09 at 2:41 pm

I agree with Bob; your advice to remove hundreds of fonts (guilty!) sounds great, but that raises the questions: 1) where are they?; and 2)how do I remove them?

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