Thursday, 16 August 2007

Making Windows run faster: programs that run automatically

The more programs you have running on your computer the slower it is. So one way to squeeze better performance out of your PC is to run fewer programs. Many applications you have installed will run programs when you start up Windows. Not all of these programs are essential, although, some are - such as your virus checker and anti-spyware software. In this article we will look at the various ways that Windows runs these programs and how to remove the non-essential ones.

The safest way to stop these programs from running is to tell them not to run in the first place. If you look down by the time on your taskbar you will see a line of icons. Each of these icons indicates a program that is running. Hover the mouse over them to see what they are. Select one that you have decided is non-essential, for example, an icon for a media player update checker. Right-click on the icon to reveal a menu. From this menu select 'Options', 'Settings' or 'Preferences' (whichever appears). Look around these options and try to find one that says something along the lines of 'Run at start-up.' De-select this option and the next time you start Windows that icon should no longer appear.

You may find a few icons from applications that you installed and now never use. The best way to deal with these is to uninstall them. To do this go to 'Add/Remove Programs' in your Control Panel. (Comment to this article if you need help doing this. If there is enough interest I will write a beginners guide to removing applications).

Windows has a number of other ways to start programs: there is a Startup folder in the All Programs section of your Start Menu; there are settings in the mystical thing known as the Registry. To manage all these I use Mike Lin's excellent free Startup Control Panel. Follow the instructions on the Mike's website to install and run the program. A major advantage of Startup Control Panel is that you can remove the tick from the entries on the various tabs and see what the results are. If you then decide that you do need to run a program when Windows starts you can go back to Startup Control Panel and tick them again.


meriweather said...

Thanks for the tip Kevin - works great.


Stepterix said...

My pleasure

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I ran across your post. I'm not a computer oriented person and I have troubles understanding what people are trying to explain to me, but your instructions were very easy to understand.
A friend told me that in order for me to make my computer start up and run faster that I would need to order another memory card. So I did. I did some research and found someones blog who suggested I go to I believe I ordered a 2GB memory card, whatever that means. I'm just wondering if that is a step I can use to help my computer start up faster... My friend said that if my computer had more memory on start up that it would be able to turn on faster... Is this true??

Stepterix said...

Dear anonymous

The simple answer is 'yes', installing more memory will mean that the computer will start up a little faster for reasons I have detailed in another post.

Defragmenting your hard drive will also give a boost to the time it takes to boot up too.

GoToMyPc said...

Also the more programs you install the slower your computer will be. Too many things have to start up when and they take up memory.

Thank you,

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