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

CHECK CURRENT INSTALLATION

If you already have the OS installed, before you continue you can first check to see if your current install is a native UEFI install. If it is already set up, then you are set, if not, then you are going to need to do a re-installation.

To check your current install we are going to use Disk Management.

Disk management

Open Disk management by typing it into search and choosing the “Create and format hard disk partitions” option.

EFI Partition

Once loaded look for your C: partition, if you have a 100MB (EFI System Partition) on the disk your C: partition is on, then you already have a UEFI/GPT install. All you need to do is make sure that Ultra Fast boot is enabled in your UEFI and you can skip ahead to the ‘Finish Install And System Setup’ section.

WINDOWS INSTALLATION

ENABLE ULTRA FAST/FASTBOOT IN UEFI

If you are doing a clean install because it is that time of the year or your current installation isn’t a native UEFI install, the first thing we want to do before we install Windows is set our UEFI boot mode to Ultra Fast. We want to have this already set as we don’t want to risk not doing a native UEFI installation.

Fast Boot Options

BOOT FROM YOUR INSTALL MEDIA

In order to boot and do a UEFI install properly you must boot off of a UEFI: option. This could typically be a Windows DVD installer or USB installer. As you can see in the picture below we have a UEFI: USB option with our Windows 8.1 ISO on.

Windows Install Media Option

***If you want to use a USB you can simply extract/copy contents of your Windows 8 ISO or DVD installer onto the root a FAT32 formatted USB and mark that partition as active in disk management. It is important that your USB is formatted to FAT32 or else the UEFI shell may not boot off of it for a UEFI install and just do an MBR install, however, some motherboard UEFIs can boot off of a NTFS formatted USB for a native UEFI install, like our ASRock motherboards. In this case we could also use the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool instead.

WIPE THE DRIVE CLEAN

Once the Windows installer is loaded we want to make sure that the drive we are installing to is blank so that Windows will partition it properly as a GPT drive. This is quite simple to do. Before you click install or anything press Shift + F10 at the same time. Command prompt should now be open. Do the following steps to clear off all partitions on the drive.

  1. Type diskpart, hit Enter
  2. Type list disk, hit Enter
  3. Type select disk X (X being the drive you are installing to), hit Enter
  4. Type clean, hit Enter
  5. Type exit, hit Enter
  6. Type exit, hit Enter again

Windows 8 Install Diskpart

CHOOSE ADVANCED INSTALL AND CREATE THE PARTITIONS

Once the drive is clean you may continue through the installer until you get to where it asks you to do an upgrade install or Advanced install.

Choose advanced.

Custom Advanced Install

You will now see the option to choose your blank drive to install to. Before clicking next, select your drive and click the New button. It should automatically create the four following partitions:

  • Recovery – Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) Tools
  • System –  Extensible Firmware Interface System Partition or ESP
  • MSR (Reserved) – Microsoft Reserved Partition
  • Primary – Windows and Data

Windows 8.1 UEFI GPT Partitions

This will tell you that the system has booted to a UEFI boot and things are going to install properly.

You may now continue with your installation.

FINISH INSTALL AND SYSTEM SETUP

Once everything is complete install your motherboard drivers, run Windows update and then check to see that the Windows fast startup option is enabled. To check this setting simply:

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Click System and Security
  3. Click Power Options
  4. In the left side panel click “Choose what the power button does”

Windows Shutdown SettingsHere you should see under Shutdown settings that it has a check box checked next to Turn on fast startup (recommended). If it isn’t checked go to the top of the page and click “Change settings that are currently unavailable” and check off the check box and save changes.

OPTIMIZATIONS AND TWEAKING

To get some more responsiveness out of your system you may want to check out our Windows Optimization Guide where you will find a plethora of tweaks and settings to mess with to get your system running in tip-top shape!

Now, let’s get onto actually testing the different UEFI fast boot settings to see if changing them will actually make a difference and if so, by how much.

Continue on to the next page for Test Results and Final Thoughts.

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