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

MOTHERBOARD BIOS/UEFI SETTINGS

UPDATE YOUR FIRMWARE

At this point I would normally check to see if all my hardware’s firmware is up to date and if it isn’t, update it. For example, HDDs, SSDs, motherboard, RAID card, etc. Others, however, like to stick with the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality so this part is optional. If something goes wrong during a firmware update, you could potentially brick your hardware, which is never fun.

SET YOUR SATA MODE

Make sure your SATA mode is set to AHCI or RAID. This will enable your SATA drives to perform at their best.

UEFI SATA modeIDE is there for compatibility and IDE restricts overall performance in comparison to AHCI.

Advanced Host Controller Interface or AHCI enables Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and hot-plugging/hot swapping support as well as the ability to enable Aggressive Link Power Management or ALPM for power savings. NCQ allows the drive optimize it’s read and writes order to complete up to 32 commands concurrently, which increases performance.

Redundant Array of Independent Disks or RAID has all the benefit of AHCI as well as allowing you to create striped or parity storage volumes with the onboard SATA controller.

DISABLE EXTRA IO CONTROLLERS THAT GO UNUSED

Some, if not all motherboards will have a few extra compatibility and connectivity devices and controllers onboard. Their enable/disable options are usually found in the Advanced menu tab of the UEFI.

UEFI Advanced Menu

For example, our consumer test system has an extra ASMedia controller for extra SATA 6Gb/s ports. Since we do not use it, as it allocates lower performance over the native chipset, we disable it. Same goes for any serial controller, network controllers, Bluetooth, onboard audio, etc. Look around in your BIOS or UEFI and see what you can disable. A quick Google helps to figure out what some of the settings do if you don’t know what they are.

DISABLE ALL OTHER BOOT OPTIONS

This one is pretty straight forward, just disable any other boot option other than the boot drive (after you install the OS).

Boot Options

For a BIOS/MBR configured install the only boot device should be the OS drive. For a UEFI/GPT install the only boot option should be the Windows Boot Loader.

IF UEFI BOOTING, DISABLE CSM OPTIONS

Compatibility Support Module or CSM provides BIOS compatibility in a UEFI system. By disabling CSM support you can ensure your install will be a native UEFI install and at times it will even disable all other boot options other than the UEFI: and Windows Boot Manager.

UEFI CSM Setting

This setting is usually found somewhere in the Boot tab of the UEFI. You can see in ours we have different options to enable and disable for legacy compatibility. Some hardware may need this enabled, however, to enter its OPROM and change settings such as a RAID card. If you have hardware and need to change an OPROM setting you can always temporarily enable CSM to do so.

SETUP PROMPT TIME

There is usually an option that you can change the time for how long the BIOS or UEFI set up message/splash screen will appear for. Set it to 0 seconds or 1 second to ensure the fastest boot time.

Boot Setup Prompt Time

Continue on to the next page for the Windows Installation 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.

Leave a Reply