Image via WikipediaThis week I received an email from my brother complaining about his Windows XP computer's slow start up time. He said the normal startup time was about 40 minutes! Ray said, "the computer runs fine once it starts, the problem is totally within the boot up process".
Well, big sister to the rescue. Or, more like it, Sysinternals Autoruns to the rescue. My brother is in South Carolina, and since I am in Long Island, I used GoToAssist to do a remote dial-up session to his computer. After the session started, I quickly went to Live SysInternals to download Autoruns, written by the great Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, co-founders of Sysinternals, before it was acquired by Microsoft in 1996.
With Autoruns, you can check to see what is actually running at startup on your Windows computer, and I mean everything that's running at startup. Autoruns shows you much more than the included Msconfig Windows utility. You will be surprised by the number of third party items loaded into your system at startup. The longer you have had the computer, the more 'stuff' will be configured into registries and directories and loading automatically when you boot up.
Select the Options menu and click on Include Empty Locations, this will cause Autoruns to show all the locations it inspects. Under the Options menu, you also have the ability to hide Microsoft entries, a good thing to do so you won't deselect one of the needed system files by accident from your startup. You should always combine the option to hide Microsoft entries with the option to Verify Image Signatures, to prevent hiding malicious programs. Uncheck the unwanted third party items. If you are unsure about a particular item, Google it to see what it is.
I went through the Autoruns and unchecked many, many boxes. After closing Autoruns, I proceeded to restart the computer. This disconnected my GoToAssist session, so I waited for Ray to tell me how fast the boot up was. Ray was ecstatic. He has never seen such a quick boot up on a Windows computer.
I also have Autoruns loaded on my Windows Vista computer. My boot up is almost instantaneous, actually faster than my Macbook. And, I never thought I'd see that day. Thank you Mark Russinovich! Windows is getting better and better!