Have you ever been running late for a conference call and it seems like your computer takes forever to start up? While the delay may only be a matter of seconds, it can feel like an eternity. Here are some things you can do to cut the time it takes for your PC to be up and running.

Start by checking that Fast Startup has been turned on. Note that this is available to Windows 10 users only. In the search bar at the bottom of your screen, type in “Power & sleep” and then click on “Additional power settings” on the right side of the panel. From there, click “Choose what the power buttons do” and make sure there’s a checkmark in the box next to “Turn on fast startup (recommended).” This will help your PC start faster after it has been shutdown.

With the easy one out of the way, let’s turn to the programs that launch at startup. As you might have guessed, the more programs that have been selected, the longer this process will take. When you’re in a hurry, you may be right-clicking icons like mad to stop them from starting up altogether. I was doing this with Skype and Spotify, both of which took a minute to load and were unnecessary for my work. But it wasn’t until I took the time to go into the Task Manager that I realized I had 24 processes enabled at startup.

To get a look at yours, type in “Task Manager” in your Windows search bar. You’ll see several tabs across this window. Choose “Startup” to see your list that will include the name, publisher, status and, most important, startup impact to each. Prioritize the programs that have a high impact on startup time. Click on a name and then click on the Disable button in the lower right corner of the window. Do not worry about disabling something you need — you can go back in at any time and enable it. I turned off all high-impact items other than Microsoft Teams.

While you’re at it, now is a good time to remove any apps you no longer use. This won’t help your PC start faster, but it will free up space on your hard drive and may boost your processing power a bit. Navigate to “Apps & features” to see a list of what’s running on your PC. Look for programs you no longer use and things like Adobe Flash Player that you shouldn’t use because of security risks. Click on a target item and then choose Uninstall. This can be a tedious process, but one that will be worth it.

You can also set Windows updates to run when you’re not using your computer. These updates may often run during startup indicated by a message that reads: Getting Windows Ready. You’ll want to type “Windows update settings” into your search bar and then click on the “Change active hours” link. You can select a start and end time for your typical working hours so your system will run automatic updates and reboots outside those hours.

Finally, instead of shutting down your computer at the end of the day, put it in Sleep Mode. Powering up completely will always take longer than resuming from sleep, and the extra bit of electricity will not be noticeable. Do all of these things and you’ll minimize startup time and enter your online meetings far more calm and composed.

Leslie Meredith has been writing about and reviewing personal technology for the past nine years. She has designed and manages several international websites and now runs the marketing for a global events company. As a mom of four, value, usefulness and online safety take priority. Have a question? Email Leslie at asklesliemeredith@gmail.com.

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