Windows Startup Folder: One Key to Shortening Long Boot Times

If your computer takes several agonizing minutes to boot up, you might want to check your system’s “startup” folder. If this is filled with programs that are set to launch every time the computer boots up, the process takes longer than necessary.

In many cases, it’s better to manually start some programs than to have them automatically launch every time you turn on your computer. Fixing this problem will decrease startup time, making you a happier and more productive computer user.

Windows XP users can access the Startup folder by clicking on “Start” and then hovering over “All Programs.” When you leave your mouse on the “startup” folder icon, you’ll see a list of all the programs included in this folder. You can right-click on each icon that you don’t want in this folder and then click on “Delete.”

Note: you won’t uninstall your software this way. You’re only removing unnecessary programs from the startup folder. If you want to completely rid yourself of a certain software title, use Windows XP’s “Remove Programs” feature, which is accessible through the Control Panel.

Some programs aren’t listed in the startup folder, but launch anyway. By changing the program’s preferences – usually in an “options” menu listing – you can prevent most software from opening the moment your computer’s on. If you have problems finding these options, consult the software’s help files for guidance.

You can safely stop most programs from opening when your computer restarts, but a few should stay in the “startup” folder. Any Internet security programs – from your firewall to the anti-virus software – should remain in the status tray at all times. Even if you aren’t constantly connected to the Internet, leaving these programs running will save you the trouble of remembering to launch them when you connect to the Internet.

Now that you’ve cleared out all of the unnecessary startup programs, reboot your computer. If you removed even just a couple of programs, you should experience a shorter startup time.