January 20, 2011, 8:28 AM — If there's a universal truth among computer users, it's that all of them want their PC to start up faster. Nobody in the history of computing ever said, "Wow, I love this 2-minute wait between pressing the power button and actually using my machine!"
[ See also: How to make sure your BIOS update goes without a hitch ]
You can tweak Windows so it boots faster, of course. For instance, you can install more RAM, reduce the number of startup programs, and optimize your Registry. But let's take a look at the other piece of the puzzle: the Basic Input-Output System, or BIOS. This motherboard-hosted area of your PC controls what happens the moment you press the power button. And with a few simple changes, you may be able to cajole your system into starting a little quicker--maybe even a lot quicker.
Before we get started, let me issue a few warnings. First, monkeying with the BIOS can have unintended (and undesirable) results. If you aren't terribly tech-savvy, you might want to steer clear. Though you're unlikely to inflict any permanent harm on your system, changing the wrong setting could leave you with a PC that doesn't boot properly.
Second, before you change any individual setting, note its current state so you can restore it if necessary. Since there's no easy way to capture a screenshot of a BIOS screen, consider taking a photo with your camera or jotting down the setting on paper.
Finally, your after-tuneup mileage is impossible to predict. BIOS menus and settings differ greatly from one PC to another. Some of the options listed here might not be available on your system, and your system might have options in addition to these.
Update the BIOS
If your machine is more than a year old, chances are good that you can find an updated BIOS for it. Motherboard manufacturers often issue updates to solve problems, update features, and improve system performance.
To find out whether an update exists for your system, start with the vendor's support page--especially if you bought the PC from a company like Dell or HP. If new BIOS firmware appears on the downloads list for your system, the vendor probably has tested and approved it. Alternatively, if you know the make and the model number of your motherboard, you can check the manufacturer's Website for updates.