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What should be done to make booting faster? Answer in terms of RAM, OS, etc.

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As for OS, Windows 3.1 boots really fast ;) –  Hugh Allen Apr 7 '10 at 11:40
    
Windows 3.1 is not really an OS but a GUI for DOS. And DOS was really fast. –  StampedeXV Apr 8 '10 at 11:40
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migrated from serverfault.com Apr 7 '10 at 10:48

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4 Answers

Currently one of the best options is to buy an SSD (Solid-State-Disc). The Harddisk is the single point of hardware that slows booting down the most (at least if we are talking about a pretty current system and not about a 486 DX2 or something ).

When not thinking about hardware: Try Hibernate or Stand By. Nothing will be faster than stand by and it still has a moderate power consummation. Hibernate does not use any power but is slower to wake up. Still all programs are running when you start, which makes booting up a lot faster (that's what I do).

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It depends on so many things that the only possible answer for such a question is "purchase faster hardware and install a fresh copy of your OS on it".

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As well as the existing suggestions (faster drive(S), moving to SSD drives, using standby/sleep instead of power-off, ...) it is worth reviewing what is run on startup. You may be able to decrease the amount that goes on during boot+login without causing other problems.

For example:

  • Do you really need that icon for your office apps, cd/dvd writing software, and other random jnuk, in your task tray? Those can usually be turned off without affecting the associated app when you do want to use it.

  • Some programs have a small program that runs on startup the sole purpose of which is to ready a bunch of the program's files so they are pre-loaded into the OS's cache to give the illusion of starting faster when first actually run. You can usually get rid of antthing like this. Start time "optimisers" and tray shortcut apps are often integrated into the same code so turning off one turns off the other.

  • Check Windows services for those that you don't need, or don't need to be started on boot. For instance I sometimes develop/test against MSSQL databases on my home machine and have three instances installed, but the relevant services usually stand idle most of the time - so I could have them set not to autostart on boot and start them as and when I need them.

There are utilities out there that scn the relevant startup/login hooks to give you a list of what your system is doing at those times. This tool by systeinternals is a popular choice.

[as a related but off-topic aside, bootchart is very useful when trying to optimise Linux startup times]

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If you do a Google search on this there are tons of articles out there. As other have said you can: Change your hard disk to a solid state disk which will speed up the slowest part of the computer.

Purchase faster hardware (CPU, memory, SSD, motherboard, etc.)

Another thing not mentioned is to remove anything you do not need / want from automatically starting up. This includes things like Quick Time, Adobe, Windows / Mac / Linux services you do not use (you did not specify your OS). The "how" for this step is OS dependent.

There are settings in your computer's BIOS that can also speed up your boot times, like fast POST and many others, which are motherboard dependent (you gave no details here either).

If you give your specific configuration we could be much more helpful.

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