You can find plenty of Windows programs to shorten boot times, but they are not necessary. Everything you need to speed up Windows is already waiting for you in an old built-in utility: Task Manager.
This legendary program isn’t just the place to stop annoying processes that refuse to shut down. The Task Manager can also help manage start-up times. Open Task Manager by tapping Ctrl + Shift + EscYou can also press the Windows key, type “Task Manager” and select Task Manager from the search results that appear.
If the Task Manager is in minimum view mode, click More detail at the bottom left of the window to see the full program.
In the expanded view, select it To start tab. This section lists all the various third-party programs that try to launch during startup. Almost all of them can be turned off, but there are probably a few you’ll want to leave untouched.
Look at it Boot impact column. All programs classified as “High” or “Medium” should qualify for shutdown. The exception is all mission-critical programs, such as a sound card’s desktop program, a password manager, or anything related to the graphics card. Items such as web browser helpers or VPNs, on the other hand, can wait until you actually need them.
To disable a program, select it so that it is highlighted and then click on it in the lower right corner of the window Switch off button. Below the Status column you will now see that the program has switched from Switched on to HandicappedIf necessary, go through the list of third-party programs.
Reducing the number of installed applications fighting for resources at startup is a great way to speed things up. But what about cutting back on Windows’ built-in features that could slow things down?
There are a few additional things you can do to speed up Windows 10 boot times, but your options are limited. First, if you regularly shut down your PC, you should activate the Fast Startup feature if it is not already enabled. This option shortens boot times by saving the system state on shutdown to boot slightly faster. We have an article that explains how to enable Fast Startup.
To get a little more speed out of your boot time, you can also run Disk Cleanup. This removes all junk files and makes your SSD or hard drive run a little more efficiently.
Speaking of hard drives, if your PC still uses a mechanical drive as the primary drive, take boot times to the next level by upgrading to an SSD. If your motherboard can accept an M.2 “gumstick” NVMe drive, that’s ideal, and with an M.2 drive you can even keep your old hard drive as secondary storage. If the manual for your PC or motherboard states that you do not have an M.2 slot, then a 2.5-inch SSD is a great second choice. Installing an SSD is one of the simplest hardware upgrades you can perform, and the difference it makes to the overall performance is dramatic.
Check out our guide to the best SSDs to buy in 2021 for help choosing an SSD, including choices that are a good mix between performance and affordability.
With these tips, you should see a noticeable improvement in your PC boot time, and the best part is that no special third-party software downloads are required.