Tip: Use delayed service starting to speed up the boot process of your development machine

Waiting on the computerOne of the minor aggravations in my life, right behind lyricists who want to “hold me tight” despite all the homeless adverbs in the world,  is time required to get my Windows development machine from a cold brick to a state where I can do productive work.

This is exacerbated by the fact that I, as a developer,  tend to re-start my machine more often than a typical computer user. Also, I’ve got A number of heavyweight services than run on my development machine including web and database servers so I can work on my projects when disconnected from the mothership.

I’ve been doing my best to set the services that I use sparsely to manual and then start them only when I am ready to use them to minimize boot time. But today I found another option. While I was in services manager starting up a local SQL instance I noticed an unfamiliar value in the Startup Type column: Automatic (Delayed Start).

Automatic (Delayed Start) Service Startup Type

Delayed Start? What's that all about?

After some quick research, I discovered that this new startup option was introduced in Vista to expedite the boot sequence by de-prioritizing services that need to be launched at startup, but for which there is no hurry to get them spun up.

The gist of it is this: Services with this setting will be launched at the end of the start-up process and the initial thread is given a priority of THREAD_PRIORITY_LOWEST to avoid sacrificing UI responsiveness during the start-up sequence just to get things like “Google Updater” running immediately.

Some candidates for delayed start-up immediately come to mind:

  • Local development  instances of Database or Web Servers.
  • Updaters: Windows Update, Google, Windows Search, Any type of indexer.
  • Any of the crapware  from Apple or Adobe that they insist are so important they must run at all times.

Maybe I’m late to the party discovering this feature, but like many companies mine completely ignored Vista and are just now getting around to Windows 7  and in the process discovering a lot of nice “new” features that may have technically been around a while.

I’m not proud. I’m willing to admit my extended ignorance of this feature if it can benefit another developer out there.

Did you guys know about this? Anyone know of other nice goodies in Windows 7/Vista  that are especially handy for tweaking development machines?

Let me know in the comments!

One Response

  1. Not exactly dev-specific, but cool nonetheless: GodMode aka Control Panel on steroids. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10423985-56.html

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