How to Fix Slow Boot Times in Windows 10 and 11

You hit the power button, grab a cup of coffee, and… your computer is still booting up? Don’t waste time waiting! This guide provides solutions to tackle slow boot times in Windows 10 and 11, so you can get back to using your PC quicker.

How to Fix Slow Boot Times in Windows 10 and 11

1. Fine-Tune Fast Startup

The “Fast Startup” setting can be a double-edged sword. While it aims to speed up boot times, it can sometimes have the opposite effect. Let’s see if adjusting this setting helps:

  • Open the Control Panel. You can find it by searching “control” in the Start Menu.
  • Set the “View by” option in the top-right corner to Small icons.
    • Click on Power Options.
  • In the left sidebar, select Choose what the power buttons do.
  • You might need administrator privileges to change these settings. Click on the text that says “Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
  • Look for Turn on fast startup (recommended) and uncheck the box. Click Save changes.

Slow Booting Windows
Alternatively, if Fast Startup is already disabled, try enabling it to see if it improves boot speed. This might be the case especially if you have an SSD.

Note: If you don’t see the Fast Startup option, it means hibernation is disabled on your system. Follow these steps to enable hibernation and then try disabling Fast Startup again:

  1. Open a Command Prompt with administrator rights. Right-click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:  powercfg /hibernate on

2. Manage Your Paging File Settings

Sometimes, Windows might automatically adjust your virtual memory settings, leading to boot problems. Let’s check and optimize them:

  • Search for “Performance” in the Start Menu and choose Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.
  • Click on the Advanced tab.
  • Under the Virtual memory section, click Change.
  • In the new window, focus on the bottom section. You’ll see Recommended and Currently allocated values for paging file size.
  • If the currently allocated value is significantly higher than the recommended amount, it might be contributing to slow boot times.
  • Uncheck the box that says Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
  • Choose Custom size and set both Initial size and Maximum size to the recommended values displayed for your system.
  • Restart your computer and see if your boot times improve.

Similar to Fast Startup, if this option is not set to “Automatically manage…”, try enabling it and rebooting to see if the issue persists.

3. Disable Windows Subsystem for Linux

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a great tool for developers, but for regular users, it might be unnecessary and even slow down your boot process. Here’s how to disable it:

  • Open the Start Menu and search for “Windows features”.
  • Click on Turn Windows features on or off.
  • Scroll down the list and find Windows Subsystem for Linux.
  • Uncheck the box next to it and click Restart to apply the changes.

4. Update Graphics Drivers

Outdated graphics drivers can sometimes contribute to boot issues. Let’s update them:

  • Open the Device Manager. Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager.
  • Expand the Display adapters section. This will reveal your graphics card (e.g., Nvidia or AMD).

Finding Driver Updates

  • Many graphics card manufacturers offer dedicated software for managing and updating drivers. Check if such software is installed on your PC.
  • If not, head to the website of your graphics card vendor (or laptop manufacturer, if you have integrated graphics) to download the latest driver updates.

Install any available updates, restart your computer, and see if your boot times improve.

Consider Other Driver Updates

While updating graphics drivers is crucial, it’s also beneficial to check for updates for other device drivers. You can usually do this through Device Manager or the manufacturer’s website.

Keep Windows Updated

Regular Windows updates often include performance improvements and bug fixes that can address boot time issues. Install any pending updates by going to:

  • Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update (Windows 10)
  • Settings > Windows Update (Windows 11)

5. Disable Unnecessary Startup Programs

Many programs automatically configure themselves to run at startup, potentially slowing down the boot process after the lock screen. Here’s how to manage them:

  • Open the Settings, click on the Apps tab, then Startup. This list displays all programs set to run at startup.
  • Carefully review the list and disable any programs you don’t need immediately upon logging in. Essential system processes can remain enabled.

6. Run an SFC Scan

Corrupted system files can wreak havoc on your system, including slowing down the boot process. The SFC (System File Checker) command scans for such issues and attempts to fix them. Here’s how to run it:

  • Open a Command Prompt with administrator privileges. Right-click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  • Type the following command and press Enter:
sfc /scannow

This scan may take some time. Once complete, restart your computer and see if your boot times improve.

7. Upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD)

Traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) are significantly slower than solid state drives (SSDs). Upgrading your operating system drive to an SSD can dramatically improve boot times and overall system performance. While this involves an additional cost, it’s a worthwhile investment for a significant performance boost.

If your computer is quite old and lacks an SSD slot, upgrading to a newer machine might be the most efficient solution. However, if upgrading your current system with an SSD is feasible, it can breathe new life into your PC.

8. Reset Your PC (Last Resort)

If all else fails, resetting your PC might be necessary. This reinstalls Windows and removes any potential software conflicts or corrupted files causing boot issues.

You can access these reset options in:

  • Settings > Update & Security > Recovery (Windows 10)
  • Settings > System > Recovery (Windows 11)

Hopefully, these comprehensive solutions will help you diagnose and fix the underlying cause of slow boot times in your Windows PC. By following these steps, you can experience a faster and smoother startup process.