Windows startup times are normally affected by very many factors, ranging from hardware to software related factors as well as system settings and configurations. Although there isn’t any standard range of startup times to define fast or slow Windows startup, however, as you use different computers over time, you begin to create some intuitive reference and estimations of what a fast or slow startup should be. On Windows computers, the scale of diversity is so wide that sometimes computers with the same hardware specifications and components can still have different startup times. Here we define startup time as the time from the press of the power button to having a responsive start menu.
Sometimes the startup time can be so long that one might mistake it for a black screen problem. Generally, if your Windows startup time exceeds 60 seconds, then it’s worth improving either through hardware upgrade or software optimizations as discussed in this article.
Before proceeding to different ways of solving this problem, here are the four main factors that influence Windows startup times.
Certain hardware components can directly influence the startup time, speed and performance of your Windows PC. A good example is the Solid-State Drive (SSD). Replacing your mechanical hard drive with an SSD will lead to a dramatic improvement in speed and performance. An increase in RAM size could also lead to substantial improvement in performance especially when running multiple demanding applications simultaneously. The processor is another key component that influences speed and performance, however, the complexities of upgrading from one processor to another makes it a rare factor to consider during an upgrade, except if one chooses to upgrade to another PC entirely.
On the software side, a number of factors are also in play during startup. First is the loading of the Windows operating system. The time required for this depends on the Windows version, edition, and architecture. Keeping all other factors constant, some Windows versions take longer time to boot than others, the same also goes for different versions and architectures. In addition to the loading of Windows, certain applications are configured by default to also load upon startup. Sometimes these startup apps tend to substantially increase the overall startup time for Windows devices.
This is another factor that can influence Windows startup time significantly. A typical Windows device like laptop could have tens to hundreds of services that run on the background whenever you startup Windows. Some of these services tend to impact startup time more than others, however, not all of these services are required in order to get Windows running and definitely not all are required to start running during startup. Hence, being able to minimize such startup services could help improve your Windows startup time substantially.
Windows 10 is designed to run across hundreds of different hardware components, platforms, and chipsets. As such, is difficult to have a set of universal settings that will work best for all these different platforms and components. The default Windows settings might at times be inefficient for some system configurations and chipsets. As such, one might need to manually adjust some settings to suit the particular platform or component where Windows run.
Other than upgrading from mechanical hard drive to SSD and possibly increasing your RAM size, here are other possible ways to adjust your Windows settings to avoid slow startup.
SOLUTION 1: Check ULPS Settings (For AMD GPUs)
If your computer is running on an AMD GPU chipset, then this is the first factor to check. The Ultra-Low Power State (ULPS) is an energy saving technique for the GPU, having this technique active at startup could substantially delay Windows startup time. This is more likely to be the cause of your slow startup if you experience a prolonged black screen after the initial Windows logo and the spinning circle. If you’re not sure what GPU you have on your computer, then you can simply check from your Device manager, under display adapters.
Another way to verify would be to try to follow the steps described in this fix, and if you are not able to find the file “EnableULPS” as described below, then it implies you don’t have an AMD GPU in which case you should skip this fix and proceed to the other suggestions in the article.
For AMD GPUs;
- Go to Windows search and type regedit, right-click on Registry Editor from the search results and select Run as administrator. (If you don’t find registry editor from the search, then search for “run”, click on Run to open your run dialog box. Type in the command regedit and hit enter).
- On the registry editor window that pops up, click ctrl-F to open the find dialog box and type in enableulps and hit enter. Wait for the system to search for the ULPS configuration file.
- After the search, locate the file EnableUlps and double-click on it.
- On the dialog box that pops up, under Value data, change the value to 0, and hit ok.
- Close the registry editor and restart your computer.
SOLUTION 2: Check Startup Services
As described earlier, some Windows services are designed to kickstart during startup. However, not all of these services are actually needed at start up. Startup impacts vary depending on the services. We have high, medium, and low impact startup services. Here we will be checking for optional services in this category especially those with high and medium startup impacts and adjusting the settings to either turn them off or delay them till after startup. To do that:
- Press the key combination “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” to open the Task Manager.
- On the task manager, click on the Startup. Here you will find all startup services, their Status and their Startup Impacts.
- Check each service and see which ones are actually needed at startup, beginning with those with high startup impacts.
- Here for instance, I don’t need Adobe Creative Cloud service and Adobe Updater Startup Utility during startup, as such I will disable them.
- To do that, simply select each service, and click on Disable at the bottom right corner of the page to disable them.
- You can also disable service with Medium startup impacts if you don’t need them.
- Afterward, close the device manager Windows and restart your computer.
SOLUTION 3: Check Fast Startup Utility
The fast startup utility is a default feature in Windows that helps to speedup your startup time. Sometimes this mechanism runs into errors and begins to do the opposite of what is designed to do. To fix this you first need to turn off this feature, restart your PC, observe the difference it makes, and then turn it back on. To do that;
- From Windows start, click on the gear icon to open your settings.
- On the settings page, click on System.
- On the left panel. Click on Power and sleep.
- On the right panel, under Related settings, click on Additional power settings.
- On the left panel, click on Choose what the power buttons do.
- You should see “Turn on fast startup” under Shutdown settings.
- Initially, this option will be in grey, so you are unable to uncheck it. To change that, click on Change settings that are currently unavailable.
- Then uncheck the “Turn on fast startup” and click on save changes.
- Close the page and restart your Windows.
NB. If after changing all three or two settings you still experience delayed startup, then reset each setting (one at a time) and restart your PC to see if there are improvements in your startup time.
Please share your comments, questions, and feedbacks in the comment section below.
The following video demonstrates the solutions in this tutorial.