Analyze (And Optimize) Your Windows XP Boot Time

Over time, your Windows XP machine can start to slow on bootup time. This is either due to impatience on waiting for the machine to load (sound familiar?), but most likely to additional software which adds overhead to the boot process. The obvious tool to use to analyze and modify the bootup process is MSConfig, but unfortunately it doesn’t actually tell you the benefits you get from removing items from the startup process. In order to get a full analysis, use Microsoft’s free tool, BootVis (download it here).

BootVis analyzes the time it takes for each step of the process so you can see where most of the time is spent and adjust accordingly. The use of BootVis is relatively simple, just go to Trace > Reboot to have your system analyzed and then adjust accordingly. There is even an “optimize” function built in for those of you who want to let BootVis determine the best setup for your system. Of course, be careful when you use the optimize function because it might disable something you need.

Overall the goal of BootVis is to get your computer to boot to a usable state in 30 seconds or better. Depending on machine speed, this is a very reasonable amount of time. Either way, this is a great tool to have.


  1. The tip published bout boot.vis is completely false according to Microsoft. I think you need to verify the validity of the tips you accept.

  2. Gary,

    Please let me know what is false regarding this tip.

    In addition to my personal usage, after a quick Google search, many are reporting this tool is very useful. Here a just a few links:

    Again, please elaborate on what is false.

  3. Steve Turpack says:


    Actually what Gary said was pretty much what Microsoft states in the link you provided on Bootvis. You said “Overall the goal of BootVis is to get your computer to boot to a usable state in 30 seconds or better. ”

    Micorsoft states:

    “The design goals for Windows XP on a typical consumer PC are:

    • Boot to a useable state in a total of 30 seconds

    • Resume from Hibernate (S4) in a total of 20 seconds

    • Resume from Standby (S3) in a total of 5 seconds

    Bootvis.exe is a performance tracing and visualization tool.

    Bootvis.exe is not a tool that will improve boot/resume performance for end users. Contrary to some published reports, Bootvis.exe cannot reduce or alter a system’s boot or resume performance.

    The boot optimization routines invoked by Bootvis.exe are built into Windows XP. These routines run automatically at pre-determined times as part of the normal operation of the operating system.”

    So, while this is a useful process visualization tool, by itself it cannot change boot times or affect performance.

    But, continue the tips. They’re all still interesting and useful.

  4. I found this reference at Microsoft .com that this is no longer supported .

    I tried to use it and it doesn’t work on my P4 2.4 processor . I get an error that no drives are recognized ., and no log is created . All the links to ” resources ” go to ” unable to service your request ” or ” There is no Microsoft webpage ” .
    It would be a nice tool if it worked , perhaps someone with more knowledge than I have could research this and repost it on your newsletter .

  5. Steve, thank you for the explanation.

    I think this brings up an interesting point as to why the program is no longer available for download from Microsoft. My guess is people unrealistically would expect BootVis to magically make their computer boot faster without realizing it is only a tool for analyzing. In the same way that a hammer will not build a house untouched, BootVis is a tool to help you figure out what is slowing down your boot process.

    With the exception of a poorly worded sentence (thanks for bringing it to my attention), I believe I made it very clear in the tip that BootVis, again, is merely a tool and not a magic wand. I think going so far as to say it is “completely false” is a bit overzealous, but this is just my biased opinion.

    Thanks again for the constructive reply Steve.

  6. george nesbitt says:

    I’ve so enjoyed your help in optimizing the xp operating system and now I’m at a loss to finding those pages of help. Would you please orward a link .

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