Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th Sep 2006 20:37 UTC
Windows "Most of us have had a brand new computer at one time. It's a great feeling. You boot up windows and within 30 seconds you are surfing the net, checking your email, or playing your favorite game. 10 months down the road things aren't so nice anymore. You power up your computer and it seems to take forever to load. Even when you are careful about what you install it seems that each day it takes longer for it to boot. It's not your imagination - and there are a couple of good tips to keep your boot time short and sweet."
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Fell at the first hurdle
by Al2001 on Fri 8th Sep 2006 21:21 UTC
Member since:

No wonder most Linux fans think ALL Windows users are clueless.

1. Prefetch Cache.

Blah Blah Blah....

Here's how it really works.

Seriously I think this article insults the intelligence of OSNews readers, defrag, oh plz spare me.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Fell at the first hurdle
by czubin on Sat 9th Sep 2006 15:21 UTC in reply to "Fell at the first hurdle"
czubin Member since:

Thanks, I didn't know anything about it so I was going to believe the article ;)

Reply Score: 1

Another "miracle"
by ChristOff on Fri 8th Sep 2006 21:23 UTC
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Please, stop posting this kind of article from digg here...
The first tip (cleaning prefetch folder) is the worst thing to do. I didn't read further after seing such bu...t.
More, the explanation ("winxp load what it found you use recently when it boots" - xp doesn't preload anything, vista will) is totaly wrong... How could anyone give credit to some tips if the first try to give an explanation is completely wrong?
It reminds me about some super uber applications that manage to optimize windows by setting cachesize because windows can't do it...

Edited 2006-09-08 21:25

Reply Score: 5

by diegocg on Fri 8th Sep 2006 21:33 UTC
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The problem is most people have been running windows for years, and the prefetch gets clogged with stuff that you almost never use. Windows takes forever to boot because it is prefetching a 1.0 copy of Napster, and you just want to check your email before you have to go to work

Duh, the windows prefetcher is not *that* stupid. There's two kinds of "prefetchs" that happen on windows system: a boot prefetch and a per-app prefetch. The "boot prefetch" prefetchs the data used when booting the system and stores the data in windowsprefetchlayount.ini. The "app prefetch" prefetchs every individual app when you start it and stores the data in individual windowsprefetch<nameoftheapp>-<somehash>.pf.

Sometimes you'll a lot of those individual files in the prefetech directory, but the fact is that those are used for the per-app prefetching so they won't be touched if you don't start the app. AFAIK they get updated regularly so they're probably uptodate in all windows systems (I also suspect that those are the files that the defragmenter looks when it tries to move the blocks in a optimized manner). Your computer won't speed up by deleting them, as many "optimizing tricks" love to tell. Actually, I think that windows deletes all those individual files ever x days, but I'm not sure, sadly Microsoft documentation in things like this is very poor. The Layout.ini file also gets updated regularly. Proof: Look at it, you'll find things on it that weren't there when you installed.

Conclusion: all those files are UPDATED regularly, and the individual files get used IFF you start the app.

It's fun to see that they "recomend" you to DISABLE it and prefetch only the boot info. Do it, it'll just make your computer slower, what a good advice. I don't know how people manages to invent all those "optimizing tricks" that are based in non-scientifical facts and that only harm your computer. It mentions stupid things that everybody knows, like the defragmenter, but it forgets to mention many other sources of huge delays: Bad drivers that introduce delays, additional software that introduces software that makes the boot slower (nero and other CD recording software installs kernel-side "filters" in your DVD drive, for example), all the programs that are run automatically when added to HKLMsoftwaremicrosoftwindowsRun or the programs->startup folder, etc etc.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Duh
by KenJackson on Sat 9th Sep 2006 14:20 UTC in reply to "Duh"
KenJackson Member since:

...sadly Microsoft documentation in things like this is very poor.

It was this more than anything else that encouraged me to transition from Windows to GNU/Linux. Microsoft generates huge volumes of documentation. But when I want to find how something like this works, or a file format or other technical detail, it's usually best to find a third party that has reverse engineered it.

It doesn't have to be this way. Microsoft could be excellent.

Reply Score: 1

My Tip :
by Al2001 on Fri 8th Sep 2006 21:44 UTC
Member since:

I used bootvis and found DHCP took 20 secs to do its stuff on my machine.

Turn off DHCP setup your network manually,

Reply Score: 3

I didn't see this mentioned ...
by WorknMan on Fri 8th Sep 2006 22:01 UTC
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Geez, some people love to over-complicate things ;) Get an app called Startup Control Panel:

And use this to keep programs from starting up when your computer does that don't need to so so. There's a companion app that to go along with this, Startup Monitor:

which will alert you when something tries to make itself run at startup. However, IMHO, this second app is just overkill.

Last I checked, my XP box booted up in about 27 seconds (P4 2.8ghz w/512MB RAM).

PS - If you have WinXP, you can also type 'msconfig' at the Run prompt and root around in there if you'd like.

Edited 2006-09-08 22:02

Reply Score: 3

by jaylaa on Sat 9th Sep 2006 01:20 UTC in reply to "I didn't see this mentioned ..."
jaylaa Member since:

That first app looks like it does the same thing as msconfig.exe does, which is already built in.

But, whatever works. I can vouch wholeheartedly for msconfig. I got my gf's laptop back to a useable state by just disabling 2/3 of the crap that was starting a boot. None of it was even spyware or virii AFAIK. Just too many damn useless apps that like to load stuff into memory.

Reply Score: 1

Crank 'er up
by moleskine on Fri 8th Sep 2006 22:49 UTC
Member since:

Just my 2 cents, but my XP boot up (and shut down) times have improved dramatically since I wiped and reinstalled, and this time left off resource-hogger Norton Internet Security once and for all. AVG and ZoneAlarm free seem to do the job just as well without introducing system sluggishness.

Reply Score: 2

by SlackerJack on Fri 8th Sep 2006 22:52 UTC
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Windows boot time does slow down over time, even I noticed that. Defrag windows after a fresh install and after you've installed your app and you'll see.

Gentoo loads same time, all the time here.

Reply Score: 2

by DjLizard on Sat 9th Sep 2006 00:08 UTC
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This article just straight-up sucks. There is no real information in it at all.

Reply Score: 1

The real reason XP boots so slowly
by acobar on Sat 9th Sep 2006 00:41 UTC
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1. First rime your Windows is pristine, not too much to load;

2. You realize you need an antivirus, yup, it gets a bit slower;

3. Someone say to you that the Microsoft firewall is a joke, you install a new one, i.e., a bit more time to load;

4. Hey dude, you need also a resident antispyware, gosh, add a couple of seconds to be ready;

5. Ha, what is Windows without Office? You know Microsoft is very smart and know how to speed up the interval expended between your click and to get Word/Excel/Access/Powerpoint useful, guess what, preload, well here we go ..;

6. Did life exist before Messenger? Time to coffee;

7. You keep installing and uninstalling software just for fun, registry gets a bit polluted as your HD too, the waste of time starts to annoy;

8. Despite all your efforts, you start to be almost fond to the adware you always get with IE, well thats a life fact, a new interval barrier vanishes;

9. Oh, its so practical to let Windows assign automatically to itself an IP and connect to shared devices isn't it?

10. Did I mention antispam? It is impossible to have a good relationship with your email account without it now. Yep, crawlling time;

11. (insert here that new shine nifty little app you can not live without: screensaver, media player, and the like).

Bah, come on, most of us turn the computer on one or two times a day (some just keep it on) and really enjoy to click-and-run-as-fast-as-possible. Power it on and go grab coffe, water, snacks or whatever you like, when you come back it will be ready.

Reply Score: 4

helf Member since:

uh huh. Not always the case ;) probably the case for the majority of windows users though. But my XP install never get crufty and i don't have constant running AV/firewall/malware remover etc...

Reply Score: 1

cleaning the registry
by rapidwire on Sat 9th Sep 2006 00:53 UTC
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I'm surprised the article didn't mention anything about cleaning out the registry. For this task, I recommend Regseeker from Hoverdesk (

Reply Score: 2

Just for the record
by OSGuy on Sat 9th Sep 2006 01:03 UTC
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I followed all the instructions in the article presented and my XP machine did increase the booting speed noticeably. I don't know if anyone read the entire article but let me show you some of the text:

The first thing to note is the next reboot will be slow. This is because windows needs to relearn the prefetch for system files. Subsequent boots will run much faster since the sludge of programs has been removed, and only new ones are in the cache.


The trouble is that it will only help you for a while - until the prefetch gets clogged up again. We need to edit a registry key to tweak it. Open regedit and browse to this key:

We don't want to disable it entirely. This would actually make boot times *longer*. This is because this feature is also used to speed up the loading of boot files. That is why we are going to pick the number 2 option. It allows us to keep the advantage of caching system files, without continually clogging the system up with applications.

Set the value to 2 and reboot.

The 2nd time you boot it should boot much faster

and now you need to read on. I followed the instructions carefully. I don't know who is right and who is wrong but my XP machine DEFINITELY loads quicker, pretty much like when I first installed XP.

You will need to restart Windows a few times before you notice the difference. I guess it detects which are the new files that need to be prefetched. Also the article has been updated:

Update (09/08/2006) - There has been some controversy about the prefetch folder. I think this issue needs to be looked into. I did have a reputable source for this information: It was the "Windows XP Annoyances" book by O'Reilly. Page 210. Titled "Keeping an eye on prefetch"

Edited 2006-09-09 01:09

Reply Score: 5

by ubit on Sat 9th Sep 2006 01:10 UTC
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I could never figure out if this thing actually worked or not

Reply Score: 0

RE: Bootvis?
by ValiantSoul on Sat 9th Sep 2006 03:47 UTC in reply to "Bootvis?"
ValiantSoul Member since:

From the Microsoft site linked from the Wikipedia page:

"Please note that Bootvis.exe is not a tool that will improve boot/resume performance for end users. Contrary to some published reports, Bootvis.exe cannot reduce or alter a system's boot or resume performance. The boot optimization routines invoked by Bootvis.exe are built into Windows XP. These routines run automatically at pre-determined times as part of the normal operation of the operating system."

So in short, no it does not.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bootvis?
by Al2001 on Sun 10th Sep 2006 16:55 UTC in reply to "Bootvis?"
Al2001 Member since:

It isn't a tool for miracles as some people would have you believe it simply points you in the right direction.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Fell at the first hurdle
by JamesTRexx on Sat 9th Sep 2006 06:23 UTC
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If you think defrag doesn't help, you've never used Windows that much. A defrag after 6 months on a laptop from work improved the startup time by almost half.
This is why I keep Windows, pagefile, programs and data on seperate partitions. The less the first and third items are touched, the less chance it'll be the cause of slowdown. (and you only need to defrag once in a while)

Next to that is of course keeping your browser cache to a reasonable level (not 100's of MB's) and removing useless items in the various startup locations, registry, and disabling unneeded services.

And if you install/uninstall regularly, use something like Total Uninstall to remove the last bits after uninstalling programs.

For more advanced use there's always nLite to strip a Windows installation cd, and a way to move program files and profiles to separate partitions. (which I use for Terminal server installations)

Reply Score: 2

Why Windows Takes So Long to Start up
by junior on Sat 9th Sep 2006 07:10 UTC
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Yes, this, among other symptoms, is caused by a phenomenon called WinRot™ (although its existence is firmly denied by some members of a certain computer tech site).

Edited 2006-09-09 07:18

Reply Score: 1

Who needs to boot, anyway?
by dimosd on Sat 9th Sep 2006 10:59 UTC
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Nowadays, most computers should use ACPI S3 "Suspend-to-ram", rather than poweroff. In fact, that's what you are getting in Vista - the "shutdown" button simply suspends the computer. The real shutdown is in a seperate, special case menu - and it's all the same for the clueless user.

Therefore, you should rarely reboot and not worry about boot time.

Linux distributions might want to adopt the same strategy - focusing on improving suspend support rather than boot time (parallel init, etc).

Edited 2006-09-09 11:04

Reply Score: 1

by Mastertech on Sat 9th Sep 2006 12:36 UTC
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Leave the Prefetch Folder and all it's settings ALONE! Every single Prefetch "Tweak" is a Myth and will do nothing but SLOW DOWN your system. Every single person who has claimed that this guide improved boot times needs to know it has absolutely nothing to do with the BAD MISINFORMED and IRRESPONSIBLE Prefetch "advice" in this guide that will REDUCE boot times.

IntelliAdmin has absolutely NO idea how the Windows Prefetcher works. Following there advice will SLOW DOWN your system. Anyone who claims otherwise has NEVER properly tested it. I have personally spoken to Microsoft Engineers on the Windows Client Performance Team who can confirm this.

The Prefetch is NOT a Cache. It is a folder that holds Prefetch (.pf) Trace Files that are REFERENCED NOT Loaded upon Windows Startup or an initial Application load. They have only ONE purpose and that is to ACCELERATE the loading time of Windows and your applications. By Default the Windows XP Prefetcher is already configured optimally. Cleaning the folder will REDUCE both Windows XP Boot times and ALL your application’s cold start load times. The folder is already self cleaning at 128 entries and consumes almost no disk space. Setting the EnablePrefetcher to 2 will Cripple ALL of your application’s cold start load time. The default value of 3 has ABSOLUTELY NO NEGATIVE EFFECT on Windows Boot times.

IntelliAdmin have no business giving anyone advice ever again with their blatantly irresponsible and misinformed article that shows people how to SLOW DOWN Windows Boot and your application’s cold start times. All the information you need is here and can be backed up IRREFUTABLY:

BootVis does improve Boot Times. Windows by default (if you have not broken the prefetcher with some stupid tweak) will every three days, at system idle time (after 10 minutes) use the Disk Defragmenter to arrange all the files referenced in the layout.ini together on the Harddrive. Running BootVis does this for you NOW instead of waiting three days. If you have new applications loading at startup this can improve Windows Boot Times immediately.

It is a total fabrication that Windows continually boots slower. My five year old installation of XP still boots in the same amount of time it always has. Anyone who has noticed reduced performance may want to use this guide to get full performance back without any of the useless tweaks in the IntellAdmin guide:

Reply Score: 1

DjLizard Member since:

Ah, there you are ;)

Reply Score: 1

Here comes a flaming rock!
by jamesrdorn on Sat 9th Sep 2006 14:16 UTC
Member since:

I have yet to re-install my OS.
I never defrag
I dont even touch the registry
and after almost 2 years... OS X still starts in aprox 30 seconds.

Reply Score: 4

by Mastertech on Mon 11th Sep 2006 04:10 UTC
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Bootvis simply forces what Windows XP does every three days at system idle time to happen now. This is why you get an immediate improvement using it.

Hey Dj, good to see you.

Reply Score: 1