In the Forums...
Posted: October 23, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
The time that the computer takes to boot up is one of the most annoying parts about a computer. Couldn't those damn things just turn on like a toaster or a coffee pot? However, because of the nature of the computer (you can add to its programming after you receive it), you will always have to deal with some kind of boot time. As is the point and focus of this guide, that time can be minimized - saving you several seconds every time you go to turn on your computer.
Flashing Your BIOS
There are basically only two sections to tweaking your boot time - your BIOS and your startup files. The first thing that you need to do when tweaking out the BIOS for boot time is download the newest image and flash your BIOS.
To flash your BIOS, first you extract the BIOS flash image to a floppy disk and boot into DOS (or if you no longer have real DOS mode, WinMe users, load your emergency disk and then insert the disk with the new BIOS on it). Then you will need to run the program that flashes the BIOS. You will probably have to put a command into the command line like execute.exe bios.img - the names might be different but you get the idea. For more specific instructions, read the readme that's included with the new BIOS.
To enter your BIOS setup utility, hit DELETE or the indicated key when the PC says something along the lines of "Press DELETE to setup".
There are a few settings within the BIOS that you can change/set that will speed up boot time. One of the most important ones is QuickPOST (might also be called QuickBoot or something along those lines). You will want to enable this setting because it will tell the computer to skip over some of the system tests that it usually does before letting the computer load the OS. Another thing that I would consider setting would be the settings for all of the hard drives in the system. You can do this by running the IDE Auto-Detection program and letting it detect your hard drive(s). Once it has done that, go back to the main BIOS screen and make sure all of the other channels are set to none. Don't worry if you have a CD-ROM drive connected to one of those 'none' channels, the computer detects CD-ROM drives differently than it does hard disks.
The next thing to go through and check would be the boot sequence and set it to boot the C drive (hard disk) first. Now, this means you won't be able to boot using a floppy unless you entirely disable the hard drive, or you go back to this setting and change it later - but it is worth the extra effort on those rare occasions that you need to boot using a floppy disk, because this will speed up your boot time by 3 to 4 seconds in many cases. After that is done, go and make sure that floppy boot seek is disabled - the BIOS will detect the location of the floppy drives anyway, it doesn't need to independently test each one during the power on self test.