What’s the most frustrating thing about your computer? I’d be willing to bet that it’s how long it can take to start up. Even if you have a fairly new PC that opens program quickly and generally operates fast enough for your needs, if you have to wait ages for the desktop to reach a useable state you’re likely to get annoyed before even get started on whatever you switched your computer on for.
Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to help reduce start up times, and one of my most recent discoveries is Argus Boot Accelerator. This is an intriguing free app that includes a number of options for keeping your boot time to an absolute minimum.
There’s a lot that you can do yourself to help prevent Windows from taking forever to load, such as uninstalling applications you no longer need and trimming down entries in the Startup group of the Start menu. Argus Boot Accelerator gives you even more options such as the ability to stagger the loading of any apps you do want to have set to launch automatically with Windows.
Having too many programs launching at the same time is a surefire way to make your hard drive grind to a crawl and cause your computer to run in slow motion. Using this free tool you can specify the apps you would like to have loaded first – maybe your instant messaging tool and AV software – so these are available for use straight away while other, less important apps are loaded when the load on your system is lighter.
You can grab yourself a copy of Argus Boot Accelerator by paying a visit to the program web site – it may not look like much, but this is a seriously useful tool – and clicking the Download button. The installation is nothing out of the ordinary, so run through this in the usual way and then launch the program. You will be presented with an exhaustive list of everything that is currently set to start with Windows.
In order to change the settings for any program you see listed here, you will need to add it to the Managed Startup Items section. To do this, simply locate any items that are listed as being Startmenu or Registry items and drag them to the Managed Startup Items section at the top of the Argus Boot Accelerator window.
One of the easiest ways to speed up boot times is to reduce the number of programs that you have configured to run at startup. This can be achieved by simply unticking the box next to an app you have added to the Managed Startup Items section.
Delaying App Startup
There are two ways in which the startup of individual applications can be staggered to help spread the load and reduce bottlenecks that lead to slowdown. The first option is to simply place a timed delay on individual apps so that the first app is launched immediately, the second after a pause of a few seconds, and so on.
Select the app you would like to work with and then turn your attention to the lower left hand corner of the program window. Use the arrows in the Delay section to specify the delay that should be applied to. You can also use the Priority drop down menu to opt to assign that particular app more or fewer system resources as you see fit.
While a timed delay can be helpful, if your hard drive is tied up with other things – such as launching a program that you have manually launched after Windows loads – you may still experience slow-down.
Using the CPU Load drop down menu you can specify that the program should not be launched until CPU usage drop to or below a particular level – just make a selection from the list that appears. Another option that can be useful is the ability to choose whether app should be launched in full screen mode, windowed or minimized. These are settings that you can configure with Start menu shortcuts but it’s handy to be able to change this setting from within Argus Boot Accelerator
The free version of the program can be used to manage your startup applications, but you’ll have noticed that it also lists Windows services. If you want to take control of these as well, you will need to upgrade to Professional version of the program – but this will set you back a mere $2.99 (or €1.99).
Whether you decide to stick with the free version or make the upgrade, Argus Boot Accelerator is a powerful tool to have your in your software arsenal. Providing you don’t mind getting a little hands on, the program gives you a great deal of control over exactly what your computer is going. This is just one reason I was so impressed with the app; it’s great to be placed in control of exactly how you want your computer to operate.
Let us know how you get on with the app in the comments below. Here you can also suggest any other start up acceleration tools you find to be helpful.