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By Jamie Kavanagh

Speeding Up Vista Boot Time

Windows Vista has a lot of great new features and visual enhancements that make it the most feature-rich and pretty version of Windows to date. However, with all the new features and effects, it has a much higher system overhead. If you don't always have the fastest hardware, this quick guide will help you get the most out of your system by reducing the heavy workload put on it during the boot process.

Working with the BIOS
Every PC has a BIOS (basic input/output system), which is what takes control of your computer the moment that you turn it on. The screen that you first see when you turn on your computer is called the power on self-test, better known as the POST screen. BIOS on each and every PC may be made by different companies or accessed by a different method. The most common way to access the setup screen is to press F2 or the Delete key when you see the POST screen.

Caution: While you are making changes in the system BIOS, make sure you don't change any other settings. If you accidentally change a value and don't know what to change it back to, just exit the BIOS setup screen and choose Do Not Save Changes.

Changing the boot order of your drives
Most computers are set up so that when you first turn on your PC, it checks to see whether you want to boot from drives other than your hard drive. The BIOS automatically checks to see if you have a bootable CD in your drive. If you have a floppy drive, it checks to see whether you have a bootable disk in the floppy drive, too. Then, after it has checked all possible locations for a boot disk, the system defaults to your hard drive set in the BIOS and starts booting Windows.

To change the boot order, you have to enter the system BIOS setup screen.

1. Press F2, Delete, or the correct key for your specific system on the POST screen (or the screen that displays the computer manufacturer's logo) to enter the BIOS setup screen.

2. Look for where it says Boot, and enter the submenu.

3. Navigate to where it states 'first device' and cycle through the list to where it states 'Hard Disk Drive'. If your setup screen does not specifically state 'first device' but rather just a list of all the devices, simply select the hard disk and move it to the top of the list.

4. After you have made the changes, exit the system BIOS by pressing the Escape key, and make sure that you select to save your changes upon exit. After you reboot, the new settings will be in effect.

Using the Quick Boot feature of the BIOS
To turn on the Quick Boot feature, do the following:

1. Enter the system BIOS again by pressing F2 or the correct system setup Enter key on the POST screen for your system.

2. After you are in the BIOS setup, locate the text 'Quick Boot'. Navigate with the arrow keys until the option is highlighted.

3. Use the keys to cycle through the options and Enable the Quick Boot.

4. After you have made the change to the setting, exit the system BIOS by pressing the Escape key. Ensuring you save the changes.

Modifying the Operating System Boot
You can use several different tricks to shave a few more seconds off the boot time. For example, you can reduce Timeout values and slim down the system to get rid of all the extra features and services that you do not use or need. Check out the following ways to do this.

Windows Boot Manager
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If you have more than one operating system installed on your computer, you'll have to deal with the Windows Boot Manager installed by Vista. By default, the Windows Boot Manager gives you 30 seconds to select an operating system before it reverts to the default operating system. If you use one operating system the majority of the time, you will definitely save a second or two if you set that one as the default and lower the Timeout value to 1 or 2 seconds.

Lowering OS Timeout values
Again, if you have multiple operating systems installed on your computer and the Windows Boot Manager is installed, the default selection timeout is often way too high. It is much better to set a lower timeout so that if you do not make a selection, it quickly reverts to the default OS, making your boot time much faster.

1. Click the Start button, type msconfig in the Search box, and press Enter.

2. When the System Configuration utility loads, click the Boot tab.

3. Locate the Timeout box and replace 30 with a much lower value. I suggest a setting between 2 and 5.

4. After the value has been updated, click OK to exit.

Even though this is a simple tip, it really helps a lot if you have multiple operating systems installed.

Setting the default Operating System
Setting the default operating system is a little more difficult because you need to use the Boot Configuration Editor

1. Click the Start button and navigate through All Programs and Accessories.

2. Locate the Command Prompt shortcut and right-click.

3. Select Run as administrator from the context menu.

4. When the command prompt has loaded, use the bcdedit.exe command. First, you need to get the ID of the operating system that you want to set as the default. To do this, type bcdedit /enum all in the command prompt window. Scroll through the list of different entries and look for the one with the description matching 'Microsoft Windows'for Windows Vista.

5. After you have found the correct entry, note its identifier.

6. While still at the command prompt, run bcdedit /default. Eg bcdedit /default {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}.

The default operating system on the Window Boot Manager is now set.

Disabling the boot screen
Vista has a new boot screen that looks much better than the previous ones. Disabling it can cut down on your boot time. In tweaking, every second counts . And when you apply all the performance hacks listed, you will see a definite performance increase. The process for disabling the system boot screen is similar to the process for modifying the default operating system timeout.

Start up the System Configuration tool:

1. Click the Start menu, type msconfig in the Search box, and press Enter.

2. When the System Configuration tool appears, click the Boot tab.

3. Locate the No GUI Boot check box and check it.

4. Click OK to close the System Configuration tool.

5. A small window will pop up and ask you if you would like to reboot your computer now or reboot later.

6. After your computer has restarted, the System Configuration Tool is going to load automatically, notifying you of the change. Check the box that says Don't show this message or start System Configuration when Windows starts and click OK.

Disabling unnecessary hardware devices
One of the most time-consuming portions of the boot is loading all the drivers for your system. Every driver for each installed hardware device must be loaded and then initialized by the operating system while the system boots. Although Vista is more intelligent than previous versions, loading those devices and initializing them takes time. In previous versions, the system would load one hardware device driver at a time in a series. The problem with loading the hardware this way was that it slowed down the boot dramatically if one hardware device was taking a long time to initialize.

Using Device Manager to disable hardware
Getting rid of extra hardware with Device Manager is an easy way to speed up your boot. Follow these steps to disable your extra hardware devices:

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1. Click the Start menu, type devmgmt.msc in the Search box, and press Enter.

2. After the Device Manager loads, you can browse through your devices that are connected and currently running or disabled by browsing though the device type sections. To disable a device, right-click the device name, and then select Disable.

3. To re-enable a device, right-click the device name and select Disable. This removes the check mark from the menu and re-enables the device.

Multimedia devices:
Take a look at the 'Sound, video, and game controllers' section in Device Manager. You will find a lot of device drivers that are loaded during your boot. Some are used by all users, but you will find a few that you do not use

Network adapters:
Especially on notebook computers, there is often more than one network device. Disabling the network devices that you do not use will definitely save you some booting time.

Some of the latest computer hardware includes biometric sensor equipment such as a fingerprint scanner. If you don't use these security features, you can save time by disabling these devices.

Not really necessary in most setups. If you don't have a network or broadband you will need this.

TPM security chips:
These chips are typically used as a secure place to store an encryption key that would be used for something such as hard drive encryption. If you are not using any of these advanced security features of Windows Vista, disable these devices.

PCMCIA cards:
If you are a laptop user, consider disabling your PCMCIA card controller located under 'PCMCIA adapters.' The slot is a special expansion that is rarely used today on laptops. Most laptops now have built-in network adapters, and some even have built-in wireless adapters. If you do not use your PCMCIA adapter, it is yet another device you can safely disable.

If you have 1394 connections, or FireWire, you might consider disabling them.

Removing extra fonts for speed
Vista has more than 200 different fonts and variations that it loads for use when the system boots up. Of these 200 odd fonts, only a handful are used on a regular basis. Every single font that Windows loads increases the amount of time the operating system takes to boot. You can go about removing the unneeded fonts from your font directory in a number of ways. The best way is to move the unused fonts to a separate folder on your system so that in the event that you ever want to use one of those extra fonts again, you just have to copy it back to the Fonts folder. When you remove fonts from your computer, you will no longer be able to use them in any software application, including Photoshop, Word, and Excel.

Before you start removing fonts, take at look at list below. Be careful not to remove any fonts which the system normally depends.

The variations of this font can be found in elements of the interface.

Often used on web pages and applications.

Another common web page font, and used in applications.

Common application font and used in some web pages back in XP days. Some older applications may still require it.

Windows font that you may want to hold on to for application and web page compatibility.

Times New Roman
The default font for web pages and word processing applications such as Microsoft Word.

MS Sans Serif
Default font for Visual Studio applications that is now required for a lot of legacy and newer applications.

So there are a few methods of speeding up the boot time of Windows Vista. The list isn't exhaustive and I hope to add another list in the coming weeks.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jamie_Kavanagh

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