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We Shall Scrimp & Save

Does your computer takes forever to start up and shut down? If you follow the easy steps below, your computer will boot up faster than ever before, and will use less memory upon startup.

Things to Do on the Isle of Wight:

1. First, you'll need to rid your computer of any spyware that might have infected it. Ad-Aware might require a restart and a second run (happens automatically with your consent) to remove particularly nasty spyware.

2. Get rid of all those unnecessary services!

3(a). Next, go to the Start menu, and choose Run. Type "regedit" and press enter. Browse to this registry location: "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run". Browse through the files contained inside. Don't delete the "default" key, entries for anti-virus programs, StyleXP, or other things that you need to run upon startup, but delete everything else. You can definitely delete things related to Quicktime, Real, Creative, nVidia, etc. Next, in the registry editor, go to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" and do the same thing to the contents of that folder.
  (b). Start - Run - "msconfig" (no quotes). Go to the startup tab, and uncheck everything except antivirus and other vital programs. If you don't know what something is, go to Google to find out.

4. Go to the WINDOWS\Fonts folder, and delete any old fonts you don't need. I wouldn't recommend deleting any of the default fonts, just ones you may have installed yourself. The more fonts you have, the longer your computer will take to load them upon startup.

5. Sort out your desktop. The more items on your desktop, the longer your startup will be. Maybe make a few folders and sort the files. Just get the clutter off your desktop.

6. If you running a dual-OS system (even two versions of Windows), you may experience a 30-second wait during startup, as it asks you which OS you'd like to run. To shorten the time it waits before automatically selecting (if you're off in the bathroom or whatever), right-click on My Computer, and choose Properties. On the "Advanced" tab, in the "Startup and Recovery" pane, click "Settings". In the windows that opens, you can set a shorter interval (in seconds) for the computer to wait, or ever turn off the wait completely (not advised if you are dual-booting).

7. If you have multiple hard drives, you can set your page file to be on the non-OS hard drive. Page file access is faster from the non-OS hard drive than from the hard drive with the OS you're booting. To change the location of your page file, right-click My Computer and choose "Properties". Go to the "Advanced" tab and choose "Settings" in the top pane. Go to the "Advanced" tab of the window that appears, then click the "Change" button under the Virtual Memory pane. If you have two hard drives, turn off the page file for the OS-containing drive, and create one on the non-OS drive. Whether or not you dual-boot, set the page file to Custom Size. If you have less than a gigabyte of RAM, I recommend setting both Initial and Maximum sizes to 1024 MB. If you have a gigabyte of RAM, a 512 MB page file should suffice. This change will require a restart.

8. Turn off "GUIBOOT". Here's how: Go to Start, choose "Run", type "msconfig", and press enter. Go to the "BOOT.INI" tab and check the box next to "NOGUIBOOT".

9. Some websites will tell you deleting the entire contents of the WINDOWS\Prefetch folder will improve your startup times and performance. Others say it will make your computer slower. After deleting the contents, I didn't notice any difference at all. Your call on this one.

There you have it. With these settings, a computer with 1 gigabyte of RAM, and a modest 1.60 GHz processor started up in 1 minute, 11 seconds (from pressing the power switch to the GUI fully loading). It took 56 seconds to go from pressing the power switch to the password protection window. Not too shabby, I think.

Update: With a 1.8 GHz AMD Athlon 64 processor (Venice core) and PC3200 RAM, I was able to start up my computer completely in 46 seconds. It took 37 seconds to get to the password protection window. The computer uses about 129 MB of RAM upon startup, thanks to the deactivation of many superfluous services.