I’ve been curious to see how much a tune-up could reduce the amount of time it takes to boot up and load the desktop. My sister recently acquired a new netbook for her transition to college, and I have the pleasure to experiment with the Gateway. The laptop hasn’t seen any type of maintenance and software installations were typically carefree – this, along with the nature of Windows’ operating systems to accumulate junk over time, lead to a computer with poor performance. I knew the state the laptop was in and that anything I do would have a noticeable, positive effect. How much time was I able to shave off? Read on.
- Gateway TA1
- Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
- Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz Processor
- 2 GB DDR2 PC2-5300 Hyundai Electronics RAM
- 80 GB Seagate Momentus 4200 RPM Hard Drive
A tune-up on the laptop would reduce the amount of time spent on the splash screen and the time it takes to load the desktop after login.
The experiment consisted mainly of the uninstallation of numerous programs, configuration of start-up, and deletion of registry entries. Most of the work was software-assisted — thanks to Piriform and the VS Revo Group among others. With the removal of numerous programs, hundreds of registry entries and miscellaneous things followed (temporary files/folders, dll’s, unused file extensions, etc.). I also performed a quick defrag of the hard drive because a full defrag probably would have taken days.
Partial list of uninstalled programs:
- Symantec Antivirus
- LiveUpdate 3.0 (Symantec Corporation)
- Antimalware Doctor
- Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
- Inspiration 7.6
- Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro
iTunes won the award for “most registry entries left behind” and Adobe Acrobat for “most files/folders left behind” — 145 and 120, respectively. This goes to show that the uninstall programs that come packaged with software do not always fully remove everything. The Windows uninstallation applet also suffers from this.
I measured the time from power on until I was able to right-click and see the menu on the desktop. I was able to trim a minute from the initial amount of time.
As you can see, the time was drastically shorter after the tune-up. In most cases, simply running software like these to clean your computer may not produce the same results as this was an example of an extreme case. This laptop is more than a few years old and excessively cluttered, with the presence of more than one anti-virus software and tons of miscellaneous programs installed for school and entertainment purposes.
Although the tablet was great in terms of usability and handwriting recognition, I was not satisfied even with the improved boot time. I was then curious to know how much faster booting up would be with a clean install of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx). This is the latest release of the popular Linux distribution from Canonical that touts faster boot times. After mistakenly locking myself out of the computer due to password issues, I decided to install Ubuntu:
Aside from the fast boot-up, the desktop is snappy and it sure does feel nice to have a clean operating system. My parents will be using the computer to surf the internet and view pictures. This is their first real use of a computer in their more than 25 years in the U.S., and they’re enjoying it. In the meantime, I will try to enable the tablet functionality. There will definitely be another post on that if I succeed.
Note: Make sure you back up your computer or create a restore point before you begin to do any type of major cleaning. Uninstalling programs and deleting registry entries can sometimes rid your computer of components that it may need to properly function. Installing a Linux distribution on will erase your hard drive by default, please remember to back up.