Speeding Up Windows Vista… (Yeah, Right)

I tested that it took about 3 minutes 40 second for windows to boot in such shape that there was several programs running, without the timer (Tweetdeck, MSN, Explorer, Mail, Firefox were my test candidates).

I took pretty much the whole day (except little bbq and child caring in the middle ;) to clean my computer. I removed programs that I don’t use, I deleted useless downloads from the harddrive, I disabled certain services (according to these tips), and run the defragment analyzing (“no need to defragment”), and then got rid of some startup programs.

After this, the boot took over 4 minutes (maybe even more than 5 minutes, but I don’t know since I threw away the watch around that 4 minute mark). After second boot, it was 2-3 minutes, so bit faster.

Yes. Cleaning my Windows actually increased the load time. I didn’t mess anything. That’s a promise. (Maybe next boot will go faster – who knows what kind of post-setup-defragment-hidden-install-something the Windows did).

For this, I considered different options on how to handle this:

  • Clean registry (that’s something I prefer not to mess with).
  • Install linux, Ubuntu boots so fast (I would, but Blide isn’t working on Linux so I’m stuck on Windows)
  • Get SSD drive (they are fast… but bit on the expensive side, for example a 64GB SSD thing costs 200ish EUR)
  • Buy & Install Windows 7: costs either 160 EUR (oem) or 270 EUR. This kind of sucks since (1) I already have Vista business version that I’d like to upgrade and (2) Windows 8 is scheduled for year 2011 if I remember correctly.
  • Consider getting more memory: I have 32 bit Vista, but this probably wouldn’t do much since there’s already quite a bit of free memory (I got 3 Gigs in use).
  • Hibernate more often. The computer. It’s supposed to help with this.

I’m sort of slightly not satisfied with my Vista purchase. I mean… I get this superfancy fast computer. I get Vista. End result is: Vista eventually gets slow. I want to upgrade and they say to me “sorry, you gotta buy this new Windows 7”.

I feel bit stupid to even consider spending additional 160 euros (not to mention 270 euros) to get my bloody OS to boot in such time that I don’t need to order pizzas while waiting.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. The hibernate thing has been great: it’s definitely been much faster thing. I’m now considering adding an SSD drive and moving Windows to it (or installing in case moving is no no).

    I’m not going to get Windows 7 now as Windows 8 is supposed to come out next year..

    Anyway: hibernate, totally recommend. Also recommend changing power options so that when you push the shutdown button in your computer tower, it actually hibernates.

  2. I just tried installing the free version of BLIde on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx. Didn’t work. It installed fine, but won’t run. I suppose there’s ways of tweaking settings to get it going, but it’s not worth the effort.

    Tortoise SVN can be replaced by http://rabbitvcs.org/ It works almost exactly the same.

    Not sure about the other two programs you mentioned.

    Also, it’s easier for me to find the apps I need on Linux that it is on Windows. So, ‘no apps’ doesn’t really apply unless you are talking about no Windows apps.

    So, yeah, Linux is awesome. Unless you need a program that only works on Windows. Then you’re stuck.

  3. Go back to XP if you don’t want to upgrade to Win7. I don’t see any advantage that Vista brings, besides some eye-candy that’s not useful at all.
    Don’t make the mistake of switching to Mac. I’m using both WinXP and Mac and I can tell you that it’s not worth it. I’m using Mac just for iPhone development, movies and browsing, nothing more. The only available games are Team Fortress 2 (but on low details on my top-of-the-line MacBook Pro) and browser games. Forget about the “stability”, I have to reboot it about once every 2 days because some programs just hang, especially XCode. Don’t believe the mac fan-boys that clap when Steve announces that the new MacBook will have a card reader (my 4-years old laptop has one) and the new iPhone is so revolutionary that it can make video calls (but only on wifi). I had a phone that could make video-calls in 2005 but the apple fan-boys still clap and think apple is the best thing ever.
    Ubuntu is nice, but only for browsing and development. Again no games (ok, besides quake) no apps (couldn’t get total commander + beyond compare + tortoise svn to work together, only separately with wine).
    My conclusion: go for XP :)

  4. Hmm, what virus software are you guys using? I have AVG which – I feel – is doing nasty things in the background :)

  5. These are good suggestions all. I’ll try that jkdefrag – or MyDefrag as it’s nowadays :)

    @Jerrac: “I personally use Ubuntu 97% of the time. I only boot Vista if I want to play a game on it, or some other Windows only task.” => this was the thing I was thinking of. I could consider Wine I suppose. No idea if it works though.

  6. Unity runs awesome on my Mac. ;) I wish I had an actual solution. Every Win box I’ve ever owned got slower over time. Sludge magnet, I guess.

  7. A few tips:
    – Use jkdefrag (http://kessels.com/jkdefrag/) to defragment and optimize your hard drive. It moves windows’ files to the beginning of the hard disk to increase loading speed.
    – If you are on a laptop, you probably have a 5400RPM hard drive. By switching to a 7200RPM one, you will have much better loading times at a fraction of the cost of an SSD
    – Use Autoruns by SysInternals to disable useless startup programs (hello adobe reader preloader)

    And finally yeah, hibernate is much faster than shutdown/startup, especially considering that you can leave your programs open :)

  8. Heh, yeah, Vista is way slower than Ubuntu. It stinks that you can’t get Blide for it. Have you tried Wine? Sometimes things work with Wine.

    I personally use Ubuntu 97% of the time. I only boot Vista if I want to play a game on it, or some other Windows only task.

    My solution to slow start up times is to never shut down. I’ve gone over a month on Ubuntu without even having to restart.

  9. Check your start-up programs (Run–>msconfig–>Startup OR install CCleaner.) Disable(NOT DELETE) everything that is not needed at startup. There should not be much left.

    Other than that, reinstall the OS, especially if you never did when you bought the computer(yay bloatware). A fresh install after a year improved my boot time from 4 minutes to around a minute.

  10. Windows 7 is an obvious answer but you said that =P I stayed on XP over Vista and got 7 as soon as it was available and I haven’t looked back.

    Other than that; yeah the boot after uninstalls will probably go. Instead of Hibernation, I’d recommend Sleep/Stand-by instead. Stand-by is almost an instant wake/sleep on most computers (usually slower on desktops, but still faster than hibernating.) the main difference is that Sleep keeps the ram powered so it doesn’t have to copy it all to the hard disk.

    Also, I HIGHLY recommend WinPatrol http://www.winpatrol.com/ basically, it will notify you if a program trys to add its self to the auto-startup lists or services, and allows you to deny it. It is very lightweight and a must-have for any Windows installation. (That way you don’t have >9000 updaters from misc software you probably never use that much)

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