How to Fix Slow Startup in Windows 11

By | December 26, 2021

Windows 11 is marketed as lightning fast, but, like its predecessors, can suffer from slow startup times. Here’s how to fix it.

Windows 11, with its improved memory and hardware resource management, is touted to be faster and more efficient than its predecessors. However, like all versions of popular operating systems, the slow startup issue is not a thing of the past.

Sitting through a slow startup is frustrating, but you can change a few things to speed up the process. Here we have listed some troubleshooting tips to help you fix slow startup in Windows 11.

What Causes Windows 11 to Have a Slow Startup

Common causes for slow startup include:

  • Configure default and third-party startup applications.
  • Problems with your system files and Windows installation.
  • Windows Update is bad.
  • Using a conventional hard disk via SSD as a Windows boot drive.

Fortunately, you can change some settings on your computer to improve startup times. Here’s how to do it.

Disable Unwanted Startup Apps Slowing Your PC

When you install a new app, it may configure itself to start at startup. With multiple applications trying to start at the same time, your system may struggle to start quickly due to the heavy load.

Apart from that, you can also use the good old Task Manager to disable startup applications.

To disable startup applications in Windows 11 using Task Manager:

  • Right click on button Start to open the WinX menu and select Task Manager. You can also use the button combo Windows + X to access the menu.
  • In the Task Manager window, go to the tab Startup.
  • Select each item and then click the button Disable.
  • Close Task Manager. Do a restart and check if there is a fix.

Note that some apps are hiding and may not appear under the startup tab. To disable those apps, dig into the respective app settings and disable startup launch.

Perform a Clean Boot (Clean Boot)

When you perform a clean boot, Windows starts with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs and disables all third-party services. This is useful for determining if third-party background apps are interfering with your system’s functioning.

Similarly, a clean boot can also help you determine if a background application is causing slow startup issues in Windows 11.

To perform a clean boot:

  • Press the button Windows + R to open a dialog Run.
  • Type msconfig.msc and click OK to open System Configuration.
  • When the System Configuration utility opens, click on the tab Services.
  • Next, select the box Hide all Microsoft services.
  • Then, click the button Disable all.
  • Next, go to the tab Startup and click Open Task Manager.
  • In tab Startup, select each item and click Disable.
  • Closed Task Manager.
  • In the System Configuration window, click OK and then restart your PC.

If boot time increases in a clean boot environment, look for startup applications that are hampering your computer. To identify the problematic application, enable all services and turn off clean boot in System Configuration.

Restart your PC and take note of all the applications running at startup. Disable each program individually to identify and remove non-working apps.

Update Windows

Microsoft tends to annoy users time and time again to update their computer to the latest Windows version. While they may seem annoying, newer updates usually consist of performance improvements and fixes for existing bugs.

If you’re running a previous edition of Windows 11, newer updates can often help improve performance as Microsoft fixes early bugs through updates.

To update Windows 11:

  • Press the button Windows + I to open Settings.
  • In the Settings window, go to the tab Windows Update in the left pane.
  • Click button Check for updates and wait for Windows to scan for pending updates.
  • Click button Download and install. Once the update is installed, restart your PC and check if there is a fix.

That said, at times, Windows updates can crash and break more things than they can fix. If you believe that a recently installed Windows update is the cause of your slow startup issue, try performing an in-place upgrade to fix the problem.

Enable Windows Quick Startup Mode

Fast Startup in Windows allows your computer to start up faster after shutdown. It’s a hybrid between full shutdown and hibernation.

When enabled, it will not save your active sessions and close running applications, but the OS will go into hibernation mode, thus helping you get started faster.

On hibernation compatible systems, Fast Startup is enabled by default. And if you’ve turned it off, here’s how to enable this handy feature on your PC.

To enable Fast Startup mode:

  • Press the button Windows + R to open Run.
  • Type control and click OK to open Control Panel.
  • Next, open System and Security > Power Options.
  • In the left pane, click Choose what the power buttons do.
  • Click Change settings that are currently unavailable.
  • Under section Shutdown settings, choose Turn on fast startup.
  • Click Save changes. Restart your PC and check if there is a fix.

Note that Fast Startup is not without its drawbacks. It can interfere with encrypted disk images, skip regular shutdowns, and lock the boot drive, making it inaccessible in the event of a dual boot. If you can’t live with this drawback, it’s better to turn off Fast Startup.

Upgrade Windows 11

You can fix slow startup issues in Windows 11 by performing an in-place upgrade. This involves reinstalling the Windows OS without deleting your files or programs.

While a clean install is recommended, an in-place upgrade works well if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up your PC from scratch.

To perform an in-place Windows 11 upgrade:

  • open Microsoft Windows 11 download page.
  • Scroll down to Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO Section).
  • Click the drop-down and select Windows 11.
  • Click button Download to continue.
  • Under Select the product language, click the drop-down, and select a language English or the language of your choice.
  • Click Confirm.
  • To download the Windows 11 ISO, click the button 64-bit Download.
  • After the download is complete, right click on the file Windows_ISO.iso and select Mount.
  • Next, double click the file setup.exe to run Windows 11 Setup.
  • In the settings window, click Change how Setup downloads updates.
  • choose Not right now if you don’t have a stable internet connection or low bandwidth. If not, leave it to default.
  • Click Next and then click Accept.
  • Make sure Keep personal files and apps displayed with a check mark in Ready to install screen.
  • Click Install, to start the upgrade process. This will take some time to complete depending on your hardware.
  • After the upgrade is complete, check if the slow startup issue is resolved.

Upgrade Your Boot Drive to SSD

Sometimes, the slow startup issue is usually caused by your hardware crash. Most modern laptops are equipped with an NVMe SSD boot drive to help improve system performance.

This is an important aspect of any computer buying decision. However, if you have purchased a budget machine with a HDD as your boot drive, now is the time to upgrade.

While it may seem like an expensive upgrade, an SSD can reduce your boot time to a few seconds while optimizing application loading speed. If you are still in doubt, here is our detailed guide explaining the difference between SSD and HDD.

Resolve Slow Startup Issues in Windows 11

Slow startup issues are relatively rare on SSD-equipped machines. However, sometimes bad Windows updates, file corruption, and lots of startup bloatware can drain your system resources, resulting in slow boot times.

Follow the basic and advanced troubleshooting steps listed in the article to fix slow startup issues with your computer. Also, review your system configuration to determine if a hardware upgrade can fix slow startup and performance issues.

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