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How to Optimize Windows Boot With Startup Delayer

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Does your Windows installation take ages until you reach your desktop? Do the apps that start automatically make your PC crawl, but you don't want to disable them? If so, Startup Delayer can help.

With Startup Delayer can delay the apps that take longer to load so you can your desktop sooner. You can have some apps wait until you give the go-ahead to proceed with loading. Or, you can have them launch automatically in a particular order, and only when enough resources are available to avoid annoying pauses.

So, let's see how you can optimize your Windows boot process with Startup Delayer.

The Quick Path to a Quicker Windows Boot With Startup Delayer

You can control which apps start automatically with Windows' built-in tools, as we saw in our article about how to add or remove startup programs in Windows 11. However, with Startup Delayer, you don't just control which apps will run after login, but also when.

Our computers have limited resources and many bottlenecks. For example, files are always loaded in sequence from storage. When an app is reading data, another one can't load.

In the context of the boot process, that means that while an auto-starting app is loading, it induces a delay to everything that will load after it. Postpone the app's loading or entirely disable it, and everything else will load faster.

The first step to doing that, though, is running Startup Delayer. You'll have to download it first from its official site and install it on your PC.

After you choose the interface language you prefer, you'll meet the most critical configuration option of the app in the form of a question and a slider. How would you like Startup Delayer to Behave?

Startup Delayer behavior requester

Your answer to this question will set up the default values Startup Delayer will enforce on all auto-loading apps.

Since the app offers extended descriptions for all "nodes" on the slider bar, it would be redundant to replicate them here. The short version's this:

  • The closer you move towards Start Fast, the quicker your apps will load, but also the higher the chances they'll "choke" one another, fighting for resources.
  • The closer you go towards Start Smooth, the quicker you'll be able to use your desktop and any apps that have already loaded. However, the rest will take somewhat longer to load.

Note that this slider is simply the quick and straightforward way to configure Startup Delayer. As we'll see next, if you want to invest the time and effort, Startup Delayer offers even more control over all startup entries.

The Easy Way to Optimize the Boot Process

Although not as straightforward as dragging a single slider, Startup Delayer looks more complicated than it is. A list of every piece of software that loads automatically during boot dominates the app's window.

Startup Delayer startup entries list.

You may not be using every app that starts with Windows, yet they might lay dormant, eating resources. Check the list, locate those you can do without, and remove them from the boot process entirely. Why load them if you aren't using them?

There are two ways to do that with Startup Delayer. It's best to right-click on any undesirable entry and choose Disable Selected from the menu that pops up.

Startup Delayer disable selected.

By disabling an entry, it won't start automatically anymore. However, Startup Delayer will keep it in its Disabled list, which you'll find by scrolling down.

Startup Delayer disabled entries list section.

You could start by removing the entries we've mentioned in our list of the 10 startup programs you can safely disable to speed up Windows.

The alternative is more drastic: you can right-click on an entry and choose Delete Selected instead. This will entirely remove its entry from both the boot process and Startup Delayer's list. We advise against it if you aren't sure you don't need an app to auto-load.

As stated by its name, Startup Delayer's superpower is that it can delay an app's loading. The most straightforward way to do this is:

  • Choose one or more entries to which you want to apply an automatic delay.
  • Set X % of CPU must be idle, at the bottom of the window, to your desired value. The lower the number, the more aggressively the app will eat resources to load, and vice versa.
  • Below the CPU setting, do the same for X % of Disk must be idle, with the higher the number, the less the selected app will fight with others for access to your storage.
Configuring automatic delay from Startup delayer's main window.

Instead of setting a delay based on free resources, you can also do it in a more familiar way: using time. Choose Manual Delay instead of the pre-selected Automatic Delay, and the fields on its right will change to three pull-down menus. You can use them to define a delay in Hours, Minutes, and, unsurprisingly, Seconds.

In both cases, remember to click on Apply on the bottom right of the window to save your changes.

Setting a manual delay from Startup Delayer's main window.

The Manual Approach to Tame Auto-Loading Apps

Startup Delayer offers another way to control how and when your apps will load. Some might find it much more straightforward than what we already saw. Still, some may regard it as a chore. That's because it involves dragging entries around—more than once.

If you followed along up to now, you'll have some entries in the Delayed section of Startup Delayer's list. They'll be listed in their loading order. You can control this sequence by left-clicking and holding on to an entry, then dragging and dropping it to a new spot in the Delayed section.

Dragging apps arround Startup Delayer's list to rearrange their loading sequence.

You can also move entries between the sections of the whole list. For example, you can "pick" an entry from the Normal Startup section and "drop it" on a slot in the Delayed section. This way, you can delay loading an app and define if it should load before or after other entries in one move.

Repeat until you have all your automatically loading apps in the order you'd like to have them available. The closer you bring an app to the top, the sooner it will load after you log in to your desktop.

How to Get Even More Control

Would you like to ensure some crucial apps load entirely as quickly as possible while booting? For that, you'll have to dive into their Properties. The instant way to do it is by double-clicking on any entry.

Startup Delayer general options tab

The first tab you'll see is Launch Details > General, but it's useless for what we see here. You'd need those options if you wanted to rename an entry or swap it for a different app.

The Delay tab offers the same options available from Startup Delayer's main interface. So, you can (also) set an Automatic Delay or Manual Delay from this point.

Startup Delayer delay options tab.

The Wait tab is where things get interesting. From here, you can enable Ensure this Application has completely loaded before continuing, which we believe is self-explanatory.

Keep the default app-loading behavior by leaving "Don't Wait" as the setting under Before launching the next Application. Alternatively, you can define that you want to acknowledge the app has loaded by choosing Wait for User confirmation. Or that the boot process should only continue when the app has exited, with Wait for this Application to terminate.

Startup Delayer wait options tab.

Finally, the Advanced tab justifies its name by including all the options that don't fit elsewhere.

Startup Delayer advanced options tab.

We won't get into details, but from here you can:

  • Choose if the app will start minimized or maximized.
  • Set its window to "have focus" (be the active one).
  • Define the app's Process Priority to have the OS prioritize it (or not) over others.
  • State that the app should only load on specific dates.
  • Have the app launch with elevated privileges.
  • Run only if there's an active Internet connection.

Getting Your Boot Order in Order

JAVA's updater isn't as critical as a mail client for most of us. And what's the point in loading a BitTorrent client when there's no Internet connection? Startup Delayer is a great solution, since you can use it to prioritize the sequence in which all auto-starting apps load. Or when they will load. Or if.

Still, it's useful even for those that don't want to invest the time and effort to customize how each auto-running app loads during boot. Just set that initial slider, and enjoy a smarter, zippier boot sequence.

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