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Windows XP Hacks
By Preston Gralla
February 2005
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HACK
#3
Speed Up Boot and Shutdown Times
Shorten the time it takes for your desktop to appear when you turn on your PC, and make XP shut down faster as well
[Discuss (2) | Link to this hack]

No matter how fast your PC boots, it's not fast enough. Here are several hacks to get you right to your desktop as quickly as possible after startup.

Perform a Boot Defragment

There's a simple way to speed up XP startup: make your system do a boot defragment, which will put all the boot files next to one another on your hard disk. When boot files are in close proximity to one another, your system will start faster.

On most systems, boot defragment should be enabled by default, but it might not be on yours, or it might have been changed inadvertently. To make sure that boot defragment is enabled on your system, run the Registry Editor [Hack #83] and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction

Edit the Enable string value to Y if it is not already set to Y. Exit the Registry and reboot. The next time you reboot, you'll do a boot defragment.

WARNING

I've found many web sites recommending a way of speeding up boot times that might in fact slow down the amount of time it takes to boot up and will probably slow down launching applications as well. The tip recommends going to your C:\WINDOWS\Prefetch directory and emptying it every week. Windows uses this directory to speed up launching applications. It analyzes the files you use during startup and the applications you launch, and it creates an index to where those files and applications are located on your hard disk. By using this index, XP can launch files and applications faster. So, by emptying the directory, you are most likely slowing down launching applications. In my tests, I've also found that after emptying the directory, it takes my PC a few seconds longer to get to my desktop after bootup.


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