Professionals can only be as productive as their tools let them. As such, even if you’re all geared up to go, you cannot exactly start working productively if your equipment is still booting up. This has been the complaint of many workers using notebook and desktop computers, especially those that run what can be considered bloated and heavy operating systems.
Windows is often considered a culprit here, although other operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux can also be slow in starting up, given the presence of bloatware, software problems or even hardware limitations. Modern tablet computers are starting to address the slow desktop interfaces, although it’s not always feasible to use an iPad or Android tablet in the workplace, especially when the task involves heavy text input or data processing.
Considering that more than 90% of business environments use Windows, we can address slow start-ups that focus on this operating system.
Clean up startup items. One of the biggest culprits of slow startup times is a bloated startup list. When you boot up your computer, Windows loads a lot of software in memory, which are mostly update services, launchers, antivirus software, and the like. Even new computers are not free from so-called bloatware or “crapware” as some technicians would call it. Manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo and the like are fond of installing applications and services on their new laptops and desktops, which contribute to slow startup times.
As such, you might want to make a clean install of Windows, if the bloatware becomes worrisome. However, you might have to worry about installing drivers and software, which can require extra effort. Applications like PC Decrapifier or Autoruns for Windows are good tools in removing bloated applications that run at bootup.
Sleep or hibernate instead of shutting down. Since notebook computers became popular, power management has also been important, especially for road warriors who need to squeeze out as much battery power from their devices possible. This has given rise to features like Sleep and Hybernate, which not only extend battery life, but can also make startup times faster.
Both Sleep and Hybernate store an image of the computer’s current state in memory, so that waking up will let you return to whatever you have been working on, instead of starting from a cold boot. Sleep stores this in the computer’s RAM and requires a small amount of power (works best with laptops). Hybernate, however, stores an image onto hard disk, and totally powers down the computer. Waking up from Sleep state is faster, though, and is recommended when you’re leaving your workstation for only a few minutes.
Switch to faster storage. Startup is only one part of optimization, though. More importantly, you will need to improve your computer’s speed all throughout operation. Processor speed and memory size are only two components, but you might experience a speed bottleneck from a slow storage media. As such, upgrades like buying a faster hard drive (7,200 RPM versus a slow 5,400 RPM or 4,200 RPM) for your laptop. An even faster option is a solid-state drive or SSD. This can be expensive, though, but a reasonably-priced option when buying a new computer. SSDs greatly speed up bootup and access times, and will help improve productivity by reducing read and write times.
The cost and effort involved in cleaning up one’s system will be well worth it, especially if they translate to efficiency and productivity in the long run. Time-savings from a faster startup time and faster operating time will mean you get to do more work, and get to do things faster, too.