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Computers have come a long way from the beige boxes of yesteryear, but even with speeds measured in gigahertz and gigabytes per second, they still require some waiting from time to time. If you’re tired of solving Rubik’s cubes while you wait for your computer to boot, here are some ways to speed up the process.
How To Make My Laptop Load Faster
Windows has a feature called Quick Start that does exactly what it sounds like, and this is the obvious first stop on your mission. It’s basically something halfway between hibernation and shutdown. It won’t save your open apps like hibernation, but it will hibernate the operating system under the hood, helping you boot into a clean state faster.
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Restarting is not affected, so if you encounter problems with Windows Update or get into the BIOS, you may need to restart your computer to perform these tasks instead of shutting down. This may be enabled by default on many computers, but if you’ve ever turned it off—or if it wasn’t enabled on a desktop you’ve created yourself—you can toggle the switch pretty easily.
Open Control Panel and select Power Options > Choose what the power buttons should do. You should see a check box next to Enable fast startup in the list of options. If it is greyed out, you must first click on the link Change settings that are currently unavailable at the top of the window and then enable the quick launch feature. Don’t forget to click the Save Changes button when you’re done.
Some computers have a fast boot setting in the BIOS. Unlike fast startup in Windows, the fast startup setup (or whatever it’s called on your motherboard) runs some of the first tests your computer runs at startup. If you overclock or otherwise need regular BIOS access, you may want to leave this setting off, but most people can benefit from turning it on if it isn’t already.
Restart your computer, press the Delete key to enter the BIOS settings (or another key if prompted) and look for fast boot settings in the menu. Some people also recommend changing the boot order priority (make sure your hard drive is at the top of the list and not the DVD drive or network boot), but I’ve never found that to move the needle much.
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All motherboards are different, so look around your UEFI/BIOS settings to see if there are any other features you can enable or disable to speed up the boot process – your motherboard or PC manual can point you in the right direction.
The more programs you have set to run at startup, the longer it takes to get your computer into a usable state after startup. Some of your startup programs may need to be running all the time, but many probably aren’t.
To see what starts at startup, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. Click More Info at the bottom, then go to the After Launch tab. You’ll see a list of programs running on your computer, along with Windows’ estimate of how much it’s affecting startup time.
You’ll also see “Last BIOS Time” in the top right corner, which tells you how long it takes for your BIOS to hand over control to Windows, so if that number is longer than a few seconds, you might want to take another look at your BIOS settings, like is described above. In some cases you may have a slow motherboard like me.
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If you see a program in this list that you don’t need at startup—especially if it has a big impact on startup—go to the program’s settings and uncheck the option to run it with Windows. (For example, Dropbox is worth the launcher effect because you want it running all the time – but Epic Games Launcher probably doesn’t need to launch with your PC.)
If you don’t see the option in the program’s startup settings, you can turn it off in this Task Manager window to prevent it from starting at startup. You can also go to Settings > Apps > Startup and turn off anything you don’t want to open at startup.
In the address bar to get to the startup folder. Any shortcuts added here will automatically run on startup – so if you don’t want to run something here, just remove it from the folder.
Finally, if you see any programs during this process that you don’t need at all, go ahead and uninstall them completely—and it never hurts to run an anti-malware program while you’re at it. Bad actors running in the background can definitely slow down the boot process.
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When Windows is updated, those updates must take a while to install when you shut down—and often when you’re running a backup. If you’re tired of your computer “Preparing Windows” after an update when you just want to play some games, you should let Windows do its job when you’re not using your computer. However, this means that you will allow your computer to update automatically.
To do this without interrupting work, go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Change active hours and click the Change button in Windows 10. Open Settings > Windows Update > Advanced options, then click Active hours and change drop-down menu. except manually if you are using Windows 11.
Tell Windows when you use your device most often—say, 9 a.m. to 5 a.m.—and it will try to run automatic updates and reboot when the system is idle. Read more about how it works in our guide to checking for updates in Windows 10.
More and more modern computers have abandoned the spinning mechanical hard drives of the past and switched to hard drives or SSDs, which are much faster. If you’re still using one of these old drives, it’s time to upgrade. Not only will programs start up almost instantly compared to your old hard drive, but your computer will also start up much faster.
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Almost any computer with a spinning disk should be easily upgradeable to an SSD, like the Samsung 870 EVO, which you can get for as little as $65 for 500GB. Our guide can help you copy your Windows installation to an SSD if you don’t want to start from scratch. Look up the repair instructions for your specific laptop or desktop computer for complete step-by-step instructions as they may vary from machine to machine. For most computers, you shouldn’t need more than a screwdriver (and sometimes a torx bit).
Here’s the thing: booting from the hard drive will always be slower than resuming from hibernation. If you’re frustrated with how long it takes to start up your computer, consider putting it to sleep. Sleep may use a bit more energy than completely off, but the difference is negligible in terms of electricity costs. Sleep can also be annoying if you have background programs that wake your computer at random times, but we’ve got a guide to fix that.
Shutting down still has its place. For example, if I put my laptop in my bag for a few days, I’ll probably turn it off completely. But the more often you use sleep, the less you have to worry about that pesky start time.
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Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer and tech geek who has been building computers for 10 years. He eats potato chips with chopsticks so as not to grease his mechanical keyboard. There is nothing more frustrating when your computer is running slowly, but buying a new laptop is out of the question. Before you give up, there are various things you can check to make sure your computer is running as efficiently as possible. Here are some ways you can speed up your computer. Read the detailed list or check out our infographic for a summary of ideas.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your hard drive 15% free. If you find that your hard drive is almost full, you can remove some programs and files to increase the speed.
PC: There are cleaning programs that can help you free up space on your hard drive by deleting temporary files, clearing browser history, deleting cookies, cleaning the Windows registry, and defragmenting your hard drive. Panda Cleanup lets you try it out for the first month
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If you’ve been working on a big project and have a million tabs, it might be a good idea to close them and restart the browser. Most browsers have the ability to restore previous tabs after reboot or compression.
All temporary files used in the installation process, caches and cookies from the Internet may be logged
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