Fast Booting Windows

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Now that you have spent some time hiding Windows to create the illusion that your home arcade machine is a 'real' arcade machine, it would be nice to speed up the boot time so you can get to your front end faster. There are several ways of improving bot times, let's have a look at your options...

note: this article deals with extensively changing/tweaking/removing core components the operating system in way that may cause certain things not work. You have been warned. Back up everything first

Basic Tweaks

Remove Software you do not use

Remove software you no longer use
Control Panel -> Add/Remove Software

Clean your registry

Download and install the Tweaknow registry cleaner RegClener
Click 'Scan now' -> After the scan is completed -> View details -> Delete problems

Backup Fonts you do not use

Note: You could mess up your systems appearance by removing XP fonts. Open Explorer and create a new directory 'backup_fonts'
Control Panel -> Fonts -> Drag the fonts you want to delete to the new directory 'backup_fonts'
NB Keep the following fonts:
Comic Sans MS
Estrangelo Edessa
Franklin Gothic
Microsoft Sans Serif
MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24
MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24
Mv Boli
Small Fonts
Times New Roman
Trebuchet MS

Turn off un-needed features

Turn off system restore
Right-click My Computer -> Properties -> System Restore tab -> Enable Turn off System restore on all drives

Disable Indexing Services
Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs -> Add/Remove Window Components -> Uncheck the Indexing services

Disable Hibernation
Set Windows to auto-logon a single user
Disable Fast-user Switching
Disable System File Proctection

Disable Unneeded Services

Go to Start and then Run and type 'services.msc' -> Doubleclick on the service you want to change
Try disabling the following services (unless you think you need them):
Error Reporting Service
Fast User Switching
Help and Support
HID Input Service
Indexing Service
Infrared Monitor
MS Software Shadow Copy
Network DDE
Network DDE DSDM
Network Time Protocol
Portable Media Serial Number
Remote Desktop Help
Remote Registry Service
Secundary Logon
Shell Hardware Detection
TCP/IP Netbios Helper
Terminal Services
Universal Plug and Play Device Host
Windows Time
Depending on the use of your computer you could disable more services.

Delete excess Prefetch items

See [1] for more info

Defrag the System Drive

Defragment your system drive with the XP Disk Defragmenter
Use a more extensive defragmenter
e.g. O&O: O&O Defrag 2000 Freeware Edition

Advanced Changes

Replace XP with a cutdown version

Probably the most effective method of speeding up your boot times is to use a cut down version of XP/Vista.

This vastly slimmed down versions can be customised and created before OS installation using the nlite utility (or vlite for Vista).

There are also pre-stripped down versions available, called TinyXP and TinyVista.

HORM = Hibernate Once Resume Many

HORM is where you set up the system as you like, hibernate at that point, and then everytime you power on the system it will resume from that point instead of booting normally. This is usually much faster.

HORM is a XP Embedded feature, and not normally available for standard XP, although it is possible to make it work:
(NB - this info was sourced from this thread on

    1. You need to use files extracted from "XPeSP2FeaturePack2007.iso" downloaded from MS XPe site. Link.
    2. Mount or extract the Iso, you will see a file called 'XPEFP2007.EXE' which you can then extract with Winrar/Winzip.
    3. The files mentioned below can be found in the "rep" directory
    4. replace the original ntldr with renamed ewfntldr using recovery console on xp CD and restart
    5. copy ewfapi.dll, ewfdll.dll, ewfmgr.exe in system32 dir
    6. copy ewf.sys in system32\drivers dir
    7. copy horm.dat in root dir (same as ntldr), c:\
    8. add to the registry the ewf informations using a .reg file. Detailed info here. EWF reg file to download.
    9. enable hibernation support on the system if not yet
    10. restart and use command prompt to run "ewfmgr" (see below):
Microsoft Windows XP [Versione 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>ewfmgr
RAM (REG) Configuration
Device Name "\Device\HarddiskVolume1" [C:]
HORM Active

If you see "HORM active" now you can try to hibernate and resume as many times you want by the same hiberfile.sys

EWF protection is still disabled till you don't enable it using ewfmgr.exe (You probably don't want EWF active - it is designed to reduced writes when using Flash storage as a system drive)

NB It is best to hibernate with no external drives attached to prevent cached data being saved in the hibernation file.