Start Up Takes So Long...

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When I go to a client to fix something or install something, I find that once I’ve done that, they usually have a question about something else. And these are always great questions! Do you have something that you’ve been wondering about? Go ahead --- ask! In the meantime, here are some frequently asked questions from my clients and from people who read this column.

Why does it take so long for my computer to start up?
Good question. And without actually seeing YOUR computer, I can’t know for sure. But one of the most frequent causes of a computer being slow to start up is that there are a bunch of programs trying their best to start up right along with Windows.

Have a look at the System Tray (also called Notification Area) by the clock in the lower right part of your screen. If you see RealPlayer, QuickTime, AOL or MSN Messenger, photo or scanner programs and the like, you can keep those from loading with Windows and from running all the time. You can still use those programs whenever you need them.

To see what programs load when you start Windows:

  • Click Start Run
  • Type “msconfig” without the quote marks
  • Press Enter
  • Click on the Startup tab
  • You will see a list of programs that load when Windows starts. If you know or can guess what those programs are, clearing the checkmark next to a program will stop it from loading at Windows startup.
  • OK your way out.

    The next time you start the computer, you’ll receive a warning box telling you that you’ve made changes. You knew that, so just check the box that tells Windows not to nag you about it again.

    Using msconfig is fine if you know what all the files are. Most of us don’t, and that’s why I recommend a couple of good, free utilities. One is called What’s Running, and is available here:


    The other is called autoruns, and is available here:


    Running either will tell you more about your startup situation (and other aspects of your computer) than msconfig. If you still can’t figure out what something is or does, try searching Google with the name of the file. If you’re still not sure, I don’t recommend turning it off!

    To start a program you’ve taken out of the automatic mode, just use a desktop shortcut, or go to Start All Programs and start it from the menu there.

    When I print “Printer Friendly” documents, some of the pages come out wrong. I don’t think that’s friendly at all!
    The term “Printer Friendly” reminds me of “Paperless Office” in that neither term is based in reality!

    You’re probably looking at a PDF file. The trick to printing PDF files is to use the printer function in the PDF viewer, not the one in the browser.

    If you’re viewing the file with Adobe Reader, look for a picture of a printer in the menu bar.  It's not the same printer icon that you would normally use to print from your browser.  That should open up a properties sheet about your printer.  Make sure "Reduce to Printer Margins" is selected next to "Page Scaling" and that "Auto Rotate and Center" is checked.  On the right-hand side of that properties sheet there will be a little picture of how the pages will look.  It might say "Zoom 94%" or something like that.

    If you're using Foxit Reader, the idea is the same:  Click on the picture of the printer.  Page Scaling should say "Fit to paper" and both the Auto Rotate and Auto Center boxes should be checked.

    Internet Explorer used to remember my passwords for websites and it stopped doing that. How can I make it do that again?

    A somewhat obscure setting in Internet Explorer needs to be changed, and then you should be good to go.

  • Start Internet Explorer
  • Click on Tools Internet Options Content
  • Under "Personal information" click on AutoComplete
  • See if "User names and passwords on forms" has a check next to it.  Probably not, so put a check there.
  • Click OK
  • Click OK again to close the Internet Options dialog.
  • Close Internet Explorer
  • We're almost there! Now click on Start Run
  • In the Open box, type Services.msc
  • Click OK
  • That's going to bring up the Services snap-in.  Look down the Name list, and locate "Protected Storage."  Click once on it to highlight it.
    Look at the Status column to see if Protected Storage is running.
    If it is, "Started" will appear under Status.  If it's not started, start it by right-clicking on it and selecting Start. If the service is already started and running, then Stop and Restart the service
  • Close the snap-in.
  • Count to 10.  You should be all set.  If not, you might have to restart the computer.

  • More Getting Along With Your Computer articles

    About the Author

    The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

    Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

    Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

    E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

    Computer Care Kelowna

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    The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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