Step-By-Step: Optimize Your PC for Faster Start-Up Times

For good or ill, we've come to expect instant gratification from our technology. Turn the key in your car ignition, hit the On button on your TV remote, or press Start on your microwave oven, and things happen immediately. But that isn't the case with a Windows PC, where--depending on a number of factors--you have to wait between 30 seconds and several minutes before your PC is ready to run.

This isn't, of course, the worst problem you can run into with Windows. You could use the extended boot-up time to get another cup of java (liquid variety) or smell the roses. But if you're the impatient type, there are ways to speed up your PC's emergence out of the starting gate. And some of these procedures can also help Windows run more efficiently overall.

As usual, make sure you do a complete system backup before you start tweaking. For backup tips, see the "Ultimate Backup Guide."

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