The early days of home computing came with very long boot times that were standard for most users. As operating systems have evolved and hardware components have improved, those load times have reduced from long minutes to seconds on some of the faster machines. However, if your computer suddenly takes longer than average to boot, it might signal a problem with the device or your setup.
What Causes Slow Boot Times?
Slow boot times are a frustrating daily reality for many users because of their hardware. Others experience them suddenly after a history of no booting issues. If your problems are the latter and something caused your booting process to slow, you can probably fix it without upgrading. If your boot slowness is hardware-related, your only solution might be an upgrade.
- Use of an HDD: An operating system installed on an HDD will boot more slowly than on a standard SSD. Putting your OS on an m.2 drive will make your boot times even faster. While your other hardware plays a role, the hard drive setup is one of the most significant factors in boot times.
- Wrong Settings: One of your settings isn’t optimized for a fast boot time. You can swap a few things around to increase the speed at which your computer starts up.
- System Overload: You’re trying to load too many programs when Windows starts. Reducing the number of tasks Windows has to accomplish on startup can help speed things up.
- Faulty Drivers: A bad or corrupt driver can increase boot time by creating a hang point while it attempts to start successfully.
- Corrupted Windows Files: Damaged or missing files in your operating system can also create slower boot times.
Whatever the source of the problem, you can improve your boot times by troubleshooting, identifying the cause, and fixing it.
How to Fix Slow Boot Times in Windows?
Check your computer for errors that might increase your boot time. Then optimize your settings and consider your hardware.
Scan for Errors
Windows has a few errors scans you can run to find problems in your system. You should check the system files and hard drives and run a hardware and devices troubleshooter. Doing these tests will help eliminate common problems so that you can focus on other issues – or fix errors as they appear.
System File Checker
System File Checker runs a scan to ensure all the files your operating system needs are present and accounted for. If they aren’t, it can often repair and replace what’s damaged without any additional work on your part.
- Navigate to the Windows installation on your hard drive. Go to
- Right-click the DISM logs already in the file and delete them.
- Press the Windows Key + X and click PowerShell (Admin).
- Confirm that you want to run PowerShell as an administrator.
dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealthand then press Enter. Wait for the scan to run.
- Open the new DISM log that appears in the DISM folder. Write down errors that it found and then delete the log again.
dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealthand then press Enter.
- Check the newly generated DISM log to see whether the errors were fixed. If they were, it might make your boot times faster now. Either way, continue to use the SFC scan.
sfc /scannowin your PowerShell Window. Press Enter and let the scan run.
Once the scan is complete, try rebooting to see whether it’s faster now than it was before.
CHKDSK scans your disk drive for errors. It can also repair some problems it finds during the scans. Problems with your drives could be preventing your computer from booting more quickly.
- Press the Windows Key + X and click PowerShell (Admin).
- Confirm that you want to run PowerShell as an administrator. It will give it access to more options required to run the proper command.
chkdsk X: /f /r /xand replace X with the letter of the drive your operating system is installed on.
- Type Y to confirm that you want to run the scan next time the system restarts.
- Press Enter.
- Restart the computer and prepare for the scan. It may take a while to finish.
Your hard disk should be good to go if it doesn’t find errors or fixes what it finds. However, if it finds many errors it can’t fix or many corrupt files, it might be time to replace your hard drive.
Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter
Another general-purpose troubleshooter that might help you is the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter. This utility requires using a PowerShell or Command Prompt window to run.
- Open a new PowerShell or Command Prompt window with administrative permissions.
msdt.exe -id devicediagnosticand then press Enter. A popup will appear with the troubleshooter.
- Click Next. The scan will start, and it will attempt to detect problems.
- Follow the prompts to find and fix any issues the scanner finds. It will be different for each person, depending on their system.
Fixes can be as minor as restarting your computer to apply driver updates. No matter how mundane, follow the instructions to see whether it can fix your slow boot times.
Reduce the Workload
You don’t need every program on your computer to come to life when you start it up. Instead, curate your list and only have the ones you use every time active during the boot process.
- Press Windows Key + X
- Choose Task Manager.
- Click the Startup tab.
- Look at the Status of each app. Enabled means it starts when the system starts.
- Right-Click an app you want to remove from the startup list.
- Click Disable.
- Repeat steps five and six for every app you want to remove from the startup list.
Now only the apps you’ve left enabled will start with the PC.
Toggle Fast Startup
For most people, Fast Startup makes their computer start faster by not shutting it down to an actual powered-off state. It’s OK to keep it on or off – it’s pure preference. However, you should try it both ways since, despite the name, it has created startup slowdowns for some users.
- Press the Windows Key
- Type Control Panel and choose the corresponding app.
- Click Hardware and Sound.
- Choose Change What the Power Buttons Do.
- Select Change settings that are currently unavailable.
- Change the Fast Startup setting by selecting or deselecting the box.
- Click Save Changes.
- Restart your computer.
Take note of how long it takes with the setting enabled and disabled. Leave it on the one that gives you the best startup time.
Change Your Paging File Allocation
Your paging file settings determine how much of your storage can be used as virtual memory. Virtual memory comes into play when your RAM is all being used, and Windows still needs more memory. Unfortunately, sometimes the paging file allocation settings can increase your boot time.
- Press the Windows key and type Appearance in the search bar.
- Click Adjust the Appearance and Performance of Windows.
- Choose the Advanced tab.|
- Click Change under the Virtual Memory section.
- Compare your Recommended memory and Currently Allocated memory. If the Currently Allocated memory exceeds the Recommended amount, you want to change it.
- Uncheck Automatically Manage Paging File Size for All Drives.
- Click Custom Size.
- Put the Minimum Allowed at the bottom as the Initial Size.
- Put the Recommended amount at the bottom as the Maximum Size.
- Press OK.
- Restart your computer.
If this helps fix the slow booting issue, you’ll notice immediately as the system restarts.
Update Your Drivers
You should attempt to automatically update your drivers, especially if you haven’t lately. Driver updates can help fix issues in your system, especially if one of them is what’s keeping your system from booting quickly.
- Press the Windows Key + X
- Click Device Manager.
- Unfold the Display Adapter, Network Adapter, Disk Drives, Audio Inputs, Sound and Video Controllers, USB Controllers, and others to see the hardware you’re running.
- Right-Click a piece of hardware that might need a driver update.
- Choose Update Driver.
- Choose to Search Automatically For Drivers and follow the prompts to complete the update.
- Repeat the update process for each device.
You can also download the latest drivers directly from the manufacturer’s website. For your GPU, updating the drivers from the NVIDIA and AMD management software is best.
Upgrade Your Equipment
Another option you have is upgrading to a faster hard drive. You can choose an SSD instead of an HDD to get a boost. It can cut your boot time in half.
Try a Refresh Installation
You can also try completely reinstalling your Windows installation if you still have issues. When your boot times are slower than they should be, it may help you get them faster. However, it’s a long process; you’ll have to back up your files and reinstall all the programs that aren’t bundled with Windows.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is My PC Taking So Long to Boot?
If you’ve eliminated all the other issues, look at the storage on your boot drive. Is it getting close to being completely full? If it is, that might be one of your problems. The hard drive might operate quite as effectively if it’s full. Move some files to other drives, delete what you don’t need, and then try booting again.
How Long Should Windows 10 Take to Boot?
It depends on your system specs. A swift build with all the correct settings might boot in less than ten seconds. Other setups could take up to a minute.