Your laptop’s startup speed can be affected by many different factors. We’ll go over some of the most common startup maladies and how to resolve them.
Install an SSD
The most surefire way to improve your laptop’s startup speed is to replace your old spinning hard drive (HDD) with a solid-state drive (SSD). SSDs are considerably faster because they don’t need to locate data by physically spinning like an HDD does. This need to spin substantially hinders your computer’s ability to send and retrieve data.
To install an SSD, you’ll have to open up your laptop, remove the old hard drive and connect the new SSD in its place. It’s a fairly simple procedure and all you really need is the right screwdriver and the new drive.
But before you take the old drive out, you’ll want to clone all of your data over to the new drive. You’ll also want to do some research before purchasing your SSD to make sure it’s compatible with your laptop’s model. The price of SSDs cover a wide range depending on the amount of storage and the brand.
If you happen to have an older model MacBook Pro, CNET has a good article on how to upgrade your HDD to an SSD.
Other Simple Fixes
If you don’t want to spend the money or time on an SSD, there are few other noninvasive things you can do to help improve your laptop’s boot speed.
Most of the applications you install automatically include themselves on your list of login items. The applications on this list will automatically load when your computer starts up. The more applications you have on this list, the more computing resources are taken up, slowing down your startup speed.
On Mac, you can manage your login items by going to System Preferences and selecting Users & Groups. Then click on your username in the left-hand panel. To the right you’ll have two tabs: Password and Login Items. Click on Login Items. All the applications on this list will open when you log into your laptop. To remove an app from the list, you first have to click on the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner and enter your login password. Then, highlight the app by clicking on it. Then click the minus button (“-”) located below the list. The fewer apps you have on this list, the faster your computer should boot.
NOTE: Removing applications from the login items list does not delete them from your computer. It simply stops them from automatically loading when you first log in.
On Windows, open your Task Manager and click the Startup tab. Here you’ll see your list of programs that start automatically when you boot your computer. To stop a program from loading during startup, right-click it and click Disable. Programs listed as having a high startup impact are good candidates for disabling.
Windows: Fast Startup
Windows 10 has a setting called fast startup. It cuts down on startup time by creating a state between shutdown and hibernation where your system state is saved as a hibernation file. This file will load when you start up your laptop again, saving it the trouble of reloading the kernel, drivers, and settings. The fast startup setting differs from hibernation mode in that your open folders and apps are not saved.
Your Windows 10 computer should enable fast startup by default, but it’s worth checking to make sure it’s on.
To do this, go to Control Panel>Hardware & Sound>Power Options. Then click Choose what the power buttons do from the left panel. From here, click Change settings that are currently unavailable at the top of the window and scroll down to the bottom and make sure the box is checked for Turn on fast startup (recommended).
OS X: Automatic login
For Mac owners that have more than one user account set up, automatic login should help speed things up. With it, you can bypass the login screen and log right into one of your accounts. The one drawback to this is security. If you frequently take your laptop on the go with you, then it wouldn’t be good practice to allow anyone to open it up and start using it. However, if you leave it safely at home most of the time, enabling this setting should cut a few seconds off your boot up time.
To enable automatic login, open System Preferences and click Users & Groups. Then click the lock button in the lower-left corner and enter your login password. Click Login Options in the left panel. Finally, choose an account from the Automatic login pull-down menu and enter the password for that account.
For more tips on how to speed your computer, see Why Your PC Slows Down and How to Fix It.