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It occurs to me that one of the reasons that bootup is so slow on some machines is that several startup programs are loading at the same time, causing lots of head seeks on the hard drive. It is essentially the same problem as occurs when you have a hard drive that needs to be defragmented.

Is there a way to load startup programs in series so that the next startup program loads only when the previous startup program has completely loaded?

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Are you talking Windows or Linux, or what? – Joshua Nurczyk Sep 28 '09 at 17:44
Which version of windows? I think as of Windows Vista, this is something that's totally controlled by the OS, and even gets faster over time on itself. – fretje Sep 28 '09 at 17:46
I'm on XP. I'm skipping Vista, waiting on Windows 7. – Robert Harvey Sep 28 '09 at 17:49
I doubt you would see significant improvements in doing this. – alex Sep 28 '09 at 17:59
@Robert: Just wait a little while longer then. Windows 7 is far superior! – fretje Sep 28 '09 at 18:09

All Windows versions since XP do rearrange files on the harddisk to reduce this problem. See this wikipedia article.

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Use Task Scheduler, and space the launch times for each program to be on login, but delayed by incremental minutes.

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I've tried Startup Delayer in the past for this. But beware, I found it didn't really end up speeding up the PC that much since basically until each program is loaded, the PC isn't very useful anyways.

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I found the reverse. Much of what I was loading simply wasn't necessary for most of what I did on the computer. Startup Delayer let me start using the computer almost immediately rather than waiting several minutes. – ChrisInEdmonton Sep 28 '09 at 19:35
I'll take a look at it, thanks. – Robert Harvey Sep 28 '09 at 20:40
I would also take a look at which programs are starting on startup using AutoRuns and remove the ones that are not necessary. This can probably give best benefit. – Sanjay Sheth Sep 29 '09 at 16:30
I only have one running now, but it reindexes itself on startup, and I would like to delay that process long enough to get some clock cycles for opening a browser window. – Robert Harvey Sep 29 '09 at 16:52

I have used a batch file in the past for things that needed to be started serially. Even though this was because of a different reason (some things depending on others) you can still use it to cause programs to start one after another (with appropriate delays).

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Take a look at a program called WinPatrol free edition. It lets you delay the start of whatever programs you want. And you get to pick the delay time. I put all my insignificant start ups in the delay section. It loads Windows faster, allows you to start using your computer faster and over a short period of time loads the rest of your start up programs.

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