Hack 104: Clean Up Your Startup
Level Easy to Advanced
Does your computer seem a lot slower starting up now than it did the day you took it out of the box? When it comes to computer slowdowns that get worse over time, one of the biggest culprits is software installations that plant themselves in your PC’s login sequence and start up automatically with your computer. These programs — which you may or may not use during your session — are unnecessarily taking up memory and CPU cycles.
Say you install a media player such as Apple’s popular QuickTime player. QuickTime wants to be your media player of choice, and it wants to start up fast whenever you need it. To that end, QuickTime places a link to start itself up in the background whenever you start your computer, whether or not you need to run QuickTime, so that it can detect when you come across a QuickTime playable file and run. When several different pieces of software also do this, the result is a much longer lag between the time you log into your PC and the time it’s ready to get to work for you.
A few methods and utilities of varying levels of difficulty (easy to advanced) are available to prune those unneeded programs from your computer’s Startup directory and speed it up again.
Start Menu (Easy)
A special folder in your PC’s Start Startup (see Figure 11-4).Programs menu contains shortcuts to programs that start automatically when you log in. This folder is called, appropriately,