Windows XP / Getting Started

Using the quick boot feature of the BIOS

All systems initialize in more or less the same way. During the power on self-test mentioned earlier, the BIOS checks the hardware devices and counts the system memory. Out of all of the different types of system memory, the random access memory, better known as RAM, takes the longest to be counted. Counting the RAM takes time, and on a machine that has large amounts of RAM, this calculation can take several seconds. For example, a machine that has 512MB of RAM may take up to 3 seconds just to count the memory. On top of the RAM counting, a few other tests need to be done because your computer wants to make sure that all of the hardware in your computer is working properly.

All of these system tests are not needed every time you boot, and can be turned off to save time. Most BIOS's offer a feature called quick boot. This feature will allow the user to turn off these tests. Other BIOSs only allow you to turn off the memory check, which will still cut down on a lot of time. To turn on the quick boot feature or turn off the memory check, just do the following:

  1. Enter the BIOS again by pressing F2 or the correct system setup Enter key upon the POST screen.
  2. Once you are in the BIOS setup, locate where it states Quick Boot or Memory Check. Navigate with the arrow keys until the option is highlighted.
  3. Use the Change Value keys to cycle through the options and select enable for the quick boot feature or disable if your BIOS has the memory check feature.
  4. Once you have made the changes to the setting, exit the BIOS by pressing the Esc key and make sure to save the changes upon exit.

Use of the quick boot feature or the disabling of the memory check will not harm your system. In fact, there are even some computer manufacturers that ship their computers with these settings alread1y optimized for performance. The only downside to disabling the tests is the rare situation in which your RAM self-destructs, the BIOS will not catch it and you may receive errors from the operating system or your system could become unstable. If you notice that your system becomes unstable and crashes frequently or will not even boot, try going back into the BIOS and re-enable the tests to find out if your system's memory is causing the problems.

[Previous] [Contents] [Next]