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Computers have come a long way from the old beige boxes, but even when measured in gigahertz and gigabytes per second, they still require the occasional wait. If you’re tired of solving Rubik’s cubes while waiting for your computer to boot, here are some ways to speed up the process.
How To Make Your Pc Run Faster Windows 10 For Gaming
Windows has a feature called “Fast Startup” that does exactly what it sounds like, and it’s obviously the first stop on your quest. Essentially, it is an intermediate mode between hibernate and shutdown. It won’t save your open apps as hibernation, but the operating system under the hood will go into hibernation mode, helping you boot into a clean state faster.
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However, restarts are not affected, so if you have problems with Windows Update or entering the BIOS, you may need to restart your computer to perform these tasks instead of shutting down. This is probably enabled by default on many machines, but if you disable it – or if it’s not enabled on a desktop you’ve built – you can easily change the switch.
Open Control Panel and select Power Options > Choose What the Power Buttons Do. You should see a checkbox next to Enable Fast Launch in the list of options. If it is grayed out, you will first need to click on the Change settings that are currently unavailable link at the top of the window and then enable the Quick Launch feature. Be sure to click Save Changes when you’re done.
Some computers have fast boot settings in the BIOS. Unlike Fast Startup in Windows, the Fast Startup setting (or as it’s called on the motherboard) bypasses some of the initial tests that are run when the computer is first booted. If you are overclocking or need regular access to the BIOS, you may want to disable it, but most people can benefit from enabling it if it is not already enabled.
Restart your computer, press the Delete key to enter BIOS Setup (or another key if prompted) and search the menu for fastboot settings. Some people also suggest changing your boot order priority (make sure your hard drive is at the top of the list, not a DVD drive or network boot), but I never found that to change that much.
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Every motherboard is different, so check your UEFI/BIOS settings to see if there are any other features you can turn on or off to speed up the boot process – your motherboard or PC manual may point you in the right direction.
The more programs you set to start at startup, the longer it takes for the computer to become usable at startup. Some of your startup programs may need to run all the time, but many do not.
To see what launches on startup, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. Click on More details at the bottom and go to the Startup tab. You’ll see a list of programs that start on your computer and how much Windows estimates it’s affecting your startup time.
You will also see “BIOS last hour” in the upper right corner – it tells you how long it takes for the BIOS to hand over control to Windows, so if that number is more than a few seconds then it may take you a second see the above in the configuration of the BIOS. In some cases you might 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 high impact on startup), go to that program’s settings and uncheck the option to start it using Windows. (For example, Dropbox deserves a launch effect because you want it to run all the time – but the Epic Games Launcher probably doesn’t need to launch on your PC.)
If you don’t see an option in the program’s startup settings, you can disable it in this task manager window to prevent it from starting at startup. You can also open Settings > Applications > Startup and disable everything you don’t want open on startup.
Enter the address bar to access your startup folder. Any shortcuts added here will automatically launch on startup – so if you don’t want to launch something here, just delete it from the folder.
Finally, if you see any programs along the way that you don’t need, go ahead and uninstall them completely – and it never hurts to run them while you’re scanning for malware. Bad actors running in the background can definitely slow down your startup process.
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When Windows is updated, it takes some time to install these updates when shutting down and usually when restarting. If you just want to play some games and get tired of your computer “ready for Windows” after an upgrade, then you should let Windows do its work when you’re not using your PC. That means having your machine running automatic updates, though.
To do this without interrupting your 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, click Active Hours and change the drop-down menu – scroll down to Manual if using Windows 11.
Tell Windows when you use your device the most (e.g. 9 am to 5 pm) and it will try to run automatic updates and restarts when the system is idle. Read more about how it works in our Windows 10 upgrade control guide.
More and more modern computers have abandoned the spinning mechanical hard drives of the past in favor of solid state drives or faster SSDs. If you’re still using one of those old disks, it’s time to upgrade. Not only will programs start almost instantly, but your computer will start up faster than with your old hard drive.
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Pretty much any computer with spinning disks should be easy to upgrade to an SSD like the Samsung 870 EVO, and you can get a 500GB SSD for $65. If you don’t want to start from scratch, our guide can help you copy your Windows installation to an SSD. Find complete repair instructions for your specific laptop or desktop as they may vary from machine to machine. For most computers, all you need is a screwdriver (and sometimes a torx drill).
Here’s the thing: restarting from a hard drive is always slower than waking up from sleep. If you’re frustrated with how long it takes to start your computer, consider putting it to sleep. Sleep can use more energy than a complete shutdown, but the difference in electricity bills is negligible. Sleep can also get complicated if you have background programs waking your computer at random times, but we have a guide on how to fix that.
Closing still has its place, however. For example, if I leave my laptop in a bag for a few days, I can turn it off completely. However, the more you use sleep, the less you have to worry about annoying boot times.
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Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer and tech geek who has been developing PCs for 10 years. He eats French fries with chopsticks so his mechanical keyboard doesn’t get greased. Galaxy Z Fold 4 Review Movie Ticket Deals Asus Zenbook Fold OLED Review Best Apple Watch Bands Password Manager Picks Laptop Deals Best Apple TV Plus Phones: New Shows
Matt Elliott has been a technical writer for over a decade, PC tester and Mac user in New Hampshire.
Sarah is a freelance writer and likes to blog. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile technology to video games and DIY hardware projects. She likes to push buttons to see what happens, so keep her away from any control panels.
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