In Pictures: Time-saving PC tips and tricks

What’s the best way to tell an expert PC user apart from a bumbling amateur? The expert doesn’t waste time.

If you’ve been using the same computer for months or years, chances are it has become sluggish and boot times have expanded. The culprits are startup programs—software that’s so self-important that it runs every time you power up. Often these are useless updaters and utilities for hardware you don’t even use.

Download a free program like Autoruns to see which programs are taking liberties with your Startup folder, and clear out the ones you don’t need. If your boot process is still painfully slow, try using Startup Delayer to spread out your startup programs, so they don’t all try to run at once.

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