Complete Guide To Speeding Up Your PC’s Boot Time – Under 10 Seconds is Possible

HARDWARE AND PHYSICAL CONNECTIVITY

CHECK FOR ULTRA FAST COMPATIBILITY

See if your UEFI motherboard has an Ultra Fast boot option. Sometimes it is called Hardware Fast Boot or Windows 8 Feature, or something similar in the UEFI.

Fast Boot Options

This option appears in Intel 7-series chipset motherboards and newer, such as Z77, X79, Z87, H87, Z97, etc. Some Z68 motherboards also support it. On the AMD side of things, normally the newer motherboards should support it. Overall, it really depends on the manufacturer adding support for this mode. As long as your motherboard has the Ultra Fast boot option in the UEFI you should be set for some of the fastest boots ever.

UEFI GOP COMPLIANT GRAPHICS

If you have this Ultra Fast boot mode, make sure your graphics card is UEFI GOP compliant. Just as with motherboard support, the manufacturer needs to add support.

 

AMD & NvidiaMost Nvidia 7 series graphics cards and newer are GOP compliant, however, 6 series cards can support it with an updated VBIOS from the manufacturer. Most manufacturers offer UEFI VBIOS update support through their online forums. For AMD cards, the cards after the 7 series usually support it, some 7 series cards support it with update VBIOS. Intel HD and AMD on-chip graphics support it as well. Be sure to double check with your manufacturer for your specific hardware.

CONNECT OS DRIVE TO NATIVE SATA CHIPSET SATA PORT IF USING A SATA DRIVE

Typically when installing a system, most people will just plugged their hard drive or SSD data cable into the first SATA port they see.  This is a bad habit that we need to break! Typically, most find Marvell and ASMedia SATA 6Gb/s controllers on motherboards to help boost the total number of SATA 6Gb/s ports for marketing, however, they can cause longer boot times and even system instability. We know of builders running into BSODs, system freezes, and slower performance because they had their OS drive connected to a non-native SATA controller. Once they switch over to a native Intel or AMD chipset SATA port, their issues disappear and boot times are better. Some manufacturers even state that those ports are for HDDs or non-system drives!

ASRock X99 WS-E SATA

Don’t worry about using a SATA 6Gb/s vs a SATA 3Gb/s port. After testing it out on a Z68 system with both native SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s ports, boot times were practically the same, so, just keep it native! If you have the option to use a native chipset SATA 6Gb/s port on a board, however, please do as sequential performance doubles when using a SATA 6Gb/s SSD.

Also, your motherboard manual will usually tell you which ports are which and when plugging the drive in we usually like to keep the OS drive connected to SATA port 0 on our motherboards out of habit.

DISCONNECT ALL DRIVES OTHER THAN THE BOOT DRIVE

We want all other drives disconnected from the system for two reasons. Firstly, we want to prevent data loss. We are doing a clean install onto the drive we are going to use for boot. That means we are going to first wipe it clean of its partitions. If you had a data drive connected and didn’t know what drive number it was when we go over how to wipe the drive, you could accidentally delete all your data!

The second reason to disconnect all other drives is that Windows doesn’t necessarily understand which drive takes priority. In the past we, and several other PC enthusiasts we know, have experienced Windows 7 creating the system reserve partition onto a secondary drive when installing on an MBR drive. The reason Windows does is that, if there is an issue with the OS drive and the secondary drive is fine, you can fix/recover the OS on the primary drive. There is one little issue with this set up; the boot loader is also put onto the secondary drive! That means that if you disconnect the secondary drive from your system Windows will not be able to boot and you would have to repair it. By disconnecting the secondary drives during install the boot loader will stay on the OS drive.

Continue on to the next page for the Motherboard UEFI/BIOS Settings section.

9 comments

  1. rather detailed, and informative. thanks

  2. Thanks!

    I always ensure that all my SSDs and HDs are partitioned using the GPT scheme and my Windows installs are in UEFI mode.

    What I didn’t know is about GOP. I have a motherboard with the P67 chipset. Recently I upgraded my video card to a Zotac GeForce 960 GTX AMP Edition and I needed to force legacy mode to get it working at POST, unfortunately. I’ve searched through the internet and I saw that other people have exactly this same issue.

    My motherboard’s UEFI Setup doesn’t have any choice related to Secure Boot or CSM, only “Legacy Mode”, which is apparently related to loading legacy BIOS or UEFI option ROMs. Didn’t affect the ability to install and boot Windows (or Linux) in UEFI/GPT mode.

  3. Much of the article has to do with performing a UEFI install of Windows 8 as opposed to getting the fastest boot possible–but still, it’s good to see this instruction out there for people who don’t know what a “Legacy” install is–but that info should probably be put in a separate article. In Windows 10 10162 my hidden partitions are automatically sized, created, and formatted correctly by the Win10 install program–when I install clean to a *raw* partition–creating a 450MB Recovery and a 100MB EFI partition.

    A few comments…

    *My HD7850 2GB card I bought a long-time back already has a factory GOP bios, no need to flash…I haven’t heard of any 7xxx-series cards that don’t–I believe all of AMD GCN discrete GPUs from 1.0 on have a GOP bios….

    *Also, the thing about the hybrid Windows “fastboot” (using hibernation) to remember is that it takes extra time during shutdown to save the kernel state–so shutdowns increase by the length of time that boots decrease, roughly…:) I didn’t realize that myself until recently. I keep hibernation turned off–but I have only desktops–no laptops.

    *With the Samsung EVO SSDs on current AMD core-logic systems, RAID won’t work even with the latest AMD SATA drivers–have to set the system for AHCI. That’s a peculiarity of the Samsung drives and the current AMD SATA drivers, imo (dated 9/2014.) WIth regular HDDs the RAID setting incorporates the AHCI function without a problem. (I found out, though, that using Dynamic formatting and then having Windows stripe my RAID 0 drives resulted in RAID 0 performance very close to using the RAID controller mode on basic-format HDDs.)

    *Most “fastboot” options (on my motherboard, an MSI 970-Gaming) are the same but may be labeled differently than in your article. Mine are “Windows 8 Fastboot” and “MSI Fastboot.” I suspect that the “MSI Fastboot” is equivalent to your “Ultra Fastboot”…;) Seems like the only thing it does differently is skip the bios entry screen–if I use it I have to boot to windows first, then run a little MSI proggy to reboot and then go into the UEFI settings from there. I use only the Windows 8 fastboot option in my UEFI settings, accordingly…;) (The second or two saved in the boot with MSI Fastboot isn’t worth the hassle on the other end when going back into the UEFI.)

    *I mentioned Legacy mode…I gather that it isn’t widely appreciated that if you aren’t doing Secure Boot (Secure Boot state = ON, in msinfo32.exe) you really aren’t doing a UEFI install or running Windows in true UEFI mode. The whole point of UEFI over bios is that it protects the boot process, so secure boot should be running. I’ve often wondered how many people think they are in UEFI mode but run with secure boot off. Must be a bunch, maybe–my UEFI bios allows that setting, but I just thought I’d mention it.

    OK, so with hibernation turned off, in AHCI mode booting from the Samsung SSD (250GBs), Win10x64 build 10162, no “ultra fast” mode used, and secure boot on, I’m delighted to say my boots are under 10 seconds..! THe great thing is that it is consistent–ie, there’s no difference between a cold boot and a warm boot–they are all under 10 seconds–if I cut out the UEFI entry screen at boot–I can shave 2 seconds off that, maybe…but I’d rather take the extra second or two so that I can hit the DEL key at boot and go right into the UEFI whenever I want–don’t want to have boot to windows and then boot again to get there…;) And, also, my shutdowns are much shorter than they were when I was monkeying around with hibernation & hybrid boot.

  4. I have to ask: what is this obsession with boot time? Why does it matters in 2015? I don’t remember the last I rebooted my computer. Why does saving 10 seconds every blue moon matters? I’m not trolling, I’m really curious to know.

    • This article is as much meant to those moving to SSDs as as much as those with SSDs. For those moving to SSDs, the typical PC start time is more than a minute. If the average person starts their PC 5 times a day that is 5 minutes or 1 day and 6hrs a year…sat waiting for your PC to start.

      • I wonder why someone would do full shutdowns and reboots instead of using the sleep mode, but I can see boot time being important for them. Thanks.

      • To save electricity, I do it all the time. My computer boots in 7 seconds so it’s never an issue. SSD+Win8+uEFI, It’s not rocket science.

      • I don’t know how much you pay for electricity, but over here it cost me about 2-3$ a year to keep my computer in sleep mode 20 hours a day instead of shutting it down. A computer also consume a lot more power when booting up than while sitting idle, offsetting some of that saving. But every dollar counts, I can appreciate that. Thanks for your reply Quix!

      • I always disable hybrid shutdown on Windows. Some hardware, especially on USB can have trouble. Some drivers really don’t like it, sometimes the power is still here on USB ports and when you boot up, there is no full reset of the hardware and problems happens.
        Another thing is when you dual boot, Windows lock the access to the partition if it wasn’t a full shutdown (or restart).
        If you’re on a laptop, sleep is probably not a problem but on a workstation, it can be different.
        Anyway, on a SSD , the POST can be longer than Windows full boot time.

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