Stopping Unneeded Startup
Along with the core operating system and programs that Windows
XP runs when it starts, there is also a host of services
involved. Many of these services are necessary for Windows XP to
operate correctly. However, many of them are for features in
Windows XP that you may not use at all. You can peruse the
services and disable any service that you do not want to run.
The fewer services that run, the more quickly Windows XP will
Caution: Exercise caution when stopping
services. If you do not know what a service does or are unsure
of the ramifications of stopping the service, leave it alone.
Some services are critical to Windows XP's operations, so make
sure you understand what the service is before you disable it.
To reduce the number of services that start on bootup, you can
access two different areas of Windows XP. The first is the
System Configuration Utility. The Services tab shows you the
services that start when the computer boots.
You can stop a service from starting by simply clearing the
check box next to the service and clicking OK. However, before
you do so, there is another way to disable services that you may
prefer because the interface gives you more information about
the service in question.
Open Control Panel/Administrative ToolsServices or else select
Start/Run, type services.msc, and click OK. Either way, you see
the Services console.
I prefer to use the Services console instead of the System
Configuration Utility because it describes what the service
does. Additionally, you can double-click a service and examine
Notice the Startup Type column in Figure 4-2. This information
lists whether the service is automatic or manual. Manual
services are only started in Windows XP when you start a process
that requires the service. Some other process may require the
service that has a "dependency" relationship with it; in this
case, the dependency service will start, as well. Because these
services do not start automatically when you boot Windows XP,
you do not need to do anything with manual services.
However, all services listed as automatic start when Windows XP
boots. These are the services that increase boot time. As I have
mentioned, many of them are necessary and important, so you
should not stop automatic services from booting unless you are
sure of the ramifications. You can get this information by
looking at the Description column. Here's a quick look at common
services you may want to live without:
This service enables Windows XP to check the Web
automatically for updates. If you don't want to use
Automatic Updates, you can disable the service. You can
always check for updates manually at the Windows Update
Computer Browser: If your computer is not on a
network, you don't need this service. If you are on a
network, leave it alone.
DHCP Client: If you are not on a network, you do
not need this service. If you are on a small workgroup,
you can still increase boot time by configuring manual IP
addresses (which I explore later in this chapter).
DNS Client: If you are not on a network, you do not need
this service. If you are, leave it alone.
Error Reporting and Event Log: You don't have to use
these services but they can be very helpful, so I would leave
them configured as automatic.
Fax: If you don't use your computer for fax services, you
can disable this one. Help and Support: If you never use the
Help and Support Center (found on the Start menu), you
can disable this service.
IMAPI CD-Burning COM: This service enables you to burn
CDs on your computer. If you never burn CDs, you can disable the
Indexing Service: Your computer keeps an index of files
but if you rarely search for files, the service is just a
resource hog. You can stop it and turn the service to manual.
Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing: If you do
not use these features, you can disable them.
Infrared Monitor: If you do not use infrared devices, you
can disable this service.
Messenger: This service sends alert messages on a local
area network (it is not the same as Windows Messenger). If you
are not on a network, you can disable this service.
Print Spooler: If you do not do any printing from the
computer, you can disable this service. If you print, make sure
you leave it as automatic.
Remote Registry: This service allows remote users to
modify the Registry on your computer. If you are not on a
network, you can disable this service.
System Restore Service: This service allows you to use
System Restore. If you have turned off System Restore anyway,
you do not need to turn off the service. If you do, you turn off
Themes: If you do not use themes, you can disable this
Windows Image Acquisition: If you do not use scanners or
digital cameras, you can disable this service.
Wireless Zero Configuration: If do not use wireless
networking devices, you can disable this service.
|You may have a number
of other automatic services, depending on software and
other configurations on your computer. So it's a good idea
to look through the services and learn more about them. If
you double-click a service, a Properties dialog box
Notice that on the General tab, you see a Startup Type
drop-down menu. If you want to change an automatic service
to manual, select Manual here and click OK. As a general
rule, don't disable a service unless you are sure you will
never use it.
However, manual configuration allows the
service to be started when you find it necessary, thus speeding
up your boot time. However, before you change a service to
manual, look at the Dependencies tab (see Figure 4-4). This tab
shows you which other services depend upon the service you are
Keep in mind that services are necessary for the vast
functionality you get with Windows XP. Change only those
services that you understand and do not use. How you use your
Windows XP computer should be the best guide in terms of
optional startup services.
The Indexing service and the System Restore service take up a
lot of disk space and system resources across the board.
You can live without the Indexing service but I suggest that you
keep using System Restore. It works great when you are in a bind
and this is one case where the loss of speed may not be worth
the ramifications of not using System Restore. Speed Tips and
Tricks for Windows XP Startup Aside from startup programs,
services, and the Prefetch folder, there are a number of other
startup procedures and issues you can modify to help Windows XP
start faster. The following sections explore those tips and
tricks. Manual IP Addressing on Small Office/Home Networks
Windows XP is configured to help you take care of networking. It
uses the TCP/IP protocol for networking in workgroups, or what
you might call small office or home networks that do not use a
dedicated server. The problem is that automatic IP addressing
can be slow. When your computer boots, it has to query the
network to see what IP addresses are already in use and then
assign itself one. If you want to speed up the boot time a bit,
consider manually assigning IP addresses to all computers on the
network. This way, the network computers do not have to worry
about locating an automatic IP address. Because one is manually
configured, the operating system doesn't have to spend time
solving this problem. This isn't a networking book, however, so
I won't delve into the implications of using a manual IP
address, but if you are using a computer that functions as a
host computer to the Internet (using Internet Connection Sharing
[ICS]), you can get into connectivity problems if you change the
configuration of the IP address. However, you can still work
around this problem by starting with the ICS host computer.
Select Start/Connect To/Show All Connections. Right-click your
network adapter card and click Properties. On the General tab,
select TCP/IP in the list of services and click the Properties
button. In the TCP/IP properties, you can see if you use an
automatic or manual IP address. In the example in Figure 4-5, I
have configured a manual IP address of 220.127.116.11 and a default
subnet mask. The other computers on my office network each use a
different IP address in the same class, such as 18.104.22.168,
22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, and so on. This way, each computer has a
permanent IP address, which helps increase boot time. Note that
if you change the IP addresses of your computers, they must all
use the same subnet mask. A default subject mask of
255.255.255.0 will keep you in good shape. Make sure you
understand the implications of changing IP addresses on your
network. If you have no networking experience at all, you may be
wiser to leave the automatic IP addressing as is and try to gain
some speed using the additional suggestions in this chapter.
Disabling Recent Documents History Windows XP includes a feature
that keeps track of all recent documents you have opened or
used. The idea is that you can select Start/Recent Documents
History and quickly reopen any document you have recently used.
I use many documents each day and never use the feature myself.
In my opinion, I can keep up with what I want to use without
Windows XP doing it for me. The bad thing about Recent Documents
History is that Windows XP has to calculate what should be put
there each time you boot Windows, which can slow things down.
So, if you never use the Recent Documents History, it's a good
idea to disable it.
1. Open the Registry Editor (select Start/Run, type regedit, and
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mcft\Windows\
3. Create a NoRecentDocsHistory D_WORD key. Double-click the
value to open it once it is created.
4. Set the Data Value to 1 to enable the restriction.
5. Click OK and close the Registry Editor. You'll need to
restart the computer for the change to take effect. Disabling
the Boot Logo You can remove the boot logo that appears when you
start Windows XP. This little tweak probably shaves only a few
seconds off your boot time but seconds count if you are serious
about trying to get Windows XP up and running as quickly as
possible. The only negative is that if you remove the boot logo,
you will also not see any boot messages, such as check disk.
(But if you are not having problems with your computer, this
isn't such a big deal.)
To remove the boot logo, follow these steps:
1. Select Start/Run, type msconfig, and click OK.
2. In the System Configuration Utility, click the BOOT.INI tab.
3. On the BOOT.INI tab, click the NOGUIBOOT check box option.
Click OK. Removing Unwanted Fonts One trick that increases your
boot time a bit is to lose any fonts in the Fonts folder in
Control Panel that you never use. The more fonts you have, the
more processing Windows XP has to do to prep all of those fonts
for use. You must be a bit careful here to not remove fonts that
you might want, but there is a good chance that you can live
without many of them. For instance, you may have foreign
language fonts and other symbol fonts (such as Wingdings) that
you never use. To delete unneeded fonts, follow these steps:
1. Open the Fonts folder in Control Panel.
2. Select Edit/Select All and then Edit/Copy.
3. Create a new folder on your desktop, open it, and select
4. In this new folder, delete any of the fonts you do not want.
5. Return to the Fonts folder in Control Panel. Right-click the
selected fonts and click Delete.
6. Go back to your new desktop folder and click Edit/Select All.
7. Return to your Fonts folder and click Edit/Paste. You now
have only the desired fonts in the Fonts folder. Tip: You can
directly delete fonts from the Fonts folder without creating the
secondary folder. However, I recommend the preceding steps to
help ensure that you do not make a mistake in the deletion
process. Stopping Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Sharing
In Windows XP Professional, you have two remote networking
features called Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Sharing.
These remote networking features are very helpful in a variety
of situations but if you don't use them, it is good idea to
disable them to save boot time. You can always enable them later
if you want to use them. Note: If you are interested in using
Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance, see my book Windows XP for
Power Users: Power Pack published by John Wiley & Sons.
1. Open the Start menu, right-click My Computer, and choose
2. Click the Remote Tab.
3. Clear both check boxes to disable Remote Assistance and
Remote Desktop. Speeding Up the Dual-Boot Timeout If you
dual-boot your computer with Windows XP and another operating
system, you see an operating system selection menu on startup.
If you typically boot into Windows XP and not the other
operating system, you can speed up the dual-boot timeout value
so that you do not wait so long for the boot process to select
your default operating system and continue with the boot
process. The default timeout value is 30 seconds but you can
change this setting to 10. This gives you enough time to select
the alternate operating system if you want but also speeds up
the boot process. You can skip this section if you do not use a
Follow these steps:
1. Locate the boot.ini file on your computer. It is a hidden
file by default; mine is located in C:\boot.ini.
2. Open the file with Notepad (which is what opens it by
3. Change the Timeout value to 10 (see Figure 4-11).
4. Select File/Save and close Notepad. Speeding Up Your PPPoE
Connection If you use a Point-to-Point Protocol connection over
Ethernet (PPPoE), you may notice a delay in using the PPPoE
connection after startup. By default, there is a 120 second
delay but you can stop this behavior by manually configuring an
IP address for the network adapter card. If you do not use a
PPPoE connection, you can skip this section.
1. Select Start/Connect to/Show All Connections.
2. Open the TCP/IP properties for your LAN network interface
3. Manually set the IP address on the TCP/IP properties to an
appropriate IP address and subnet mask for your network.
Reducing the Wait Time When you start to shut down Windows XP,
it has to quit, or "kill," any live applications or processes
that are currently running. So close all applications first.
However, some applications and processes are always running in
the background. You can reduce the amount of time that Windows
XP waits for those applications and processes to close before
Windows XP kills them. Edit three different Registry settings to
1. Open the Registry Editor.
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Select
WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000.
3. Select the HungAppTimeout value and set it to 1000 as well. 4
. Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop. Set the
WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000. Select the
HungAppTimeout \newline value and set it to 1000 as well.
5. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Contro
l. Select the WaitToKillServiceTimeout value and set it to 1000.
6. Close the Registry Editor. Automatically Killing Tasks on
Shutdown You know the drill. You start to shut down the
computer, you wait a few moments, and then you see a dialog box
asking if you want to kill an application or service that is
running. Instead of prompting you, you can make Windows XP take
care of the kill task automatically. Here's how:
1. Open the Registry Editor.
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.
3. Highlight the value AutoEndTasks and change the value to 1.
4. Close the Registry Editor.