Create a fast boot option

The trick is to set up Windows with two logons, as you would if the computer was being used by two people

TucsonTJ asked the Answer Line Forum for a fast, slimmed-down alternative way to boot Windows.

The trick is to set up Windows with two logons, as you would if the computer was being used by two people. It's actually pretty simple.

First, create a new user account. To launch the new account wizard:

In XP: Select Start, Control Panel. Click User Accounts, then Create a new account.

In Vista: Select Start, type control userpasswords and press ENTER. Click Manage another account, then Create a new account.

With either version, once you're in the wizard, name the account Fast Boot and make it an Administrator account (Computer administrator in XP). You can change it to a standard user account when everything is set up.

Now that you've created the account, you need to make Windows boot to it by default, because what's the point of a fast boot if it stops for a decision and a password. (If you feel you must password protect this fast boot option, you can skip this step.)

Select Start, Run, type control userpasswords2 (note that 2; this is a different command than the one above), and press ENTER. On the resulting dialog box's Users tab, check Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer. In the list of users, select Fast Boot. Then uncheck Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer. Click OK.

When the dialog box asks for Fast Boot's password, you can leave those fields blank.

Now when you boot Windows, it will load your Fast Boot environment by default. To get to your regular environment, simply log onto it. In XP, select Start, Log Off and make your choice. In Vista, select Start, the shutdown arrow (the one to the right of the lock), then either Switch User or Log Off.

Of course, a fast boot option isn't of much use unless it boots fast:

While you're still in your old logon, select Start, All Programs. Right-click Startup, and select Open. Then repeat that process, only this time, select Open All Users.

Now consider every icon in the second Windows Explorer window you just opened (the All Users one). Drag any that don't seem necessary for your Fast Boot environment to the other Windows Explorer window.

Now log off and on again into Fast Boot, and get passed all the introduction junk Windows throws at you the first time you boot into a new logon. You might also want to pick different wallpaper (Desktop Background in Vista) than you use in your old logon; it keeps you clear about what environment you're in at the moment.

Once again, select Start, All Programs. Right-click Startup, and select Open. Anything you don't need? Delete it.

Now select Start, Run (you can just select Start in Vista), type msconfig, and press ENTER. Click the Startup tab. Scan the Location column for anything that starts with HKCU (which stands, by the way, for HKEY_CURRENT_USER). Uncheck anything here you can do without.

If you're using Vista, see 12 Unnecessary Vista Features You Can Disable Right Now for other ways to lighten Fast Boot's load. Consider the first item in that article, the Sidebar, a must. Vista loads much faster without it.

Read the original forum discussion at http://forums.pcworld.com/message/217139.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows Vistawindows xp

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?