My Computer Starts Slowly - The DIY Approach to Better Performance

By: Larry Donaldson

Most of us these days love the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to building, making, fixing, altering anything. There is something very empowering about the DIY approach to life. It offers us a certain sense of empowerment - giving us the feeling that we can do or fix almost anything in our daily lives that we may need or want.

And, there are plenty of companies these days willing to help each of us make that a reality. There are stores for helping you make your own home repairs and improvements. You can change your own automobile oil. You can assemble your own furniture and toys. You can even do maintenance on your own personal computer.

DIY Tune-Ups on Your Personal Computer

When it comes to computers, even the non-technical among us can perform simple DIY-style maintenance and repair work. For example, we can use canned air to spray-clean dust and other particles out of our keyboards or computer case. We can run some built-in utilities like disk defragmenter and disk cleanup in order to improve hard drive efficiency. We can empty our "recycle bin" full of unused files, thereby freeing up room on the hard drive. The slightly better-trained among us may even new memory or replace our processor when it becomes outdated.

My Computer Starts Slowly - What to Do

One commonly-experienced computer problem that does not seem to always have an easy DIY fix is that of a super-slow startup. If you are saying to yourself almost every day, "My computer starts slow," it means that the problem is serious enough to warrant a fix. If your computer is taking more than 2-3 minutes to start up, it is starting too slowly.

The reason why slow computer startups are so frustrating is that when you want to use your computer, you want to use it NOW. Nobody wants to have to wait for the computer to get going just to be able to use it.

What Happens at Computer Startup

To understand why computers sometimes take too long to start up, it is important to get a handle on what happens during startup. The basic process that occurs during startup is:

a. the system is supplied with power

b. the operating system is loaded into the computer's RAM (memory)

c. hardware is connected and made operational

d. any applications that are set to "run at startup" are launched

Why Some Computers Start Up Slowly

Your computer is starting up slowly for one or both of the following reasons. The first reason is that you have too many applications set to run at startup. Over time, most of us install more and more applications onto our computer. Many of them, unbeknownst to us, are set to launch at computer startup. Your computer may be currently launched 10, 20, 30 or more computers at startup. If this is the case with your computer, disable all of the unneeded programs that launch at startup.

The second reason has to do with something called your computer registry. This is a database that acts as a control mechanism for your computer. The registry operates at a level just below that of your operating system (OS) and hardware. It records all of the personal settings and other control features for your OS. The trouble is, over time, every computer registry starts to accumulate a lot of invalid "registry keys" (the files that make up your registry). Having too many invalid or incorrect registry keys can slow the performance of your computer during and even after startup.

How to Fix Your Computer Registry

You can run a reputable registry scan software application that will identify how many registry errors your computer currently has. If more than 20 registry errors are found, you should run the registry fix utility built into the software. This will remove or "clean" the invalid registry keys, helping restore your computer to its previous, faster startup times.

Try these DIY approaches to shortening your computer's startup time.