How To: Reduce Startup Delay for Windows 8 Desktop Apps

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Windows 8 delays the launch of all desktop applications that are set to run at startup. An official explanation has not been provided by Microsoft yet, but we do know this affects Startup items, apps that use a Registry key to run at startup and desktop-related apps.

This delay cannot be completely removed, but it can be significantly reduced through a simple Registry tweak.

1. The first thing you need to do is fire up the Registry Editor. You can do that by typing regedit in the Search box and selecting it from there.

Windows 8 - Run - regedit
Windows 8 – Run – regedit

You can also do it using the Run box which can be launched using the shortcut Win+R (or in Windows 8.1 you can also select Run from the Start menu) and type regedit in the box.

2. Now go to the Serialize key, which can be found at the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Serialize

The Serialize key might not be there (as in our case), so in this situation you need to create it (skip this step if you already have it). You can do that by right-clicking on Explorer and selecting New – Key from the pop-up menu. Name the key Serialize.

Windows 8 - Registry Editor - Create new key
Windows 8 – Registry Editor – Create new key

3. To continue, you need to create a new DWORD parameter under Serialize. Right-click in the blank area of the right pane or on Serialize and select New – DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it StartupDelayInMSec.

Windows 8 - Registry Editor - New DWORD parameter
Windows 8 – Registry Editor – New DWORD parameter

Double-click on it, type “0” (zero) in the Value Data field and click OK.

Windows 8 - Registry Editor - Edit DWORD parameter
Windows 8 – Registry Editor – Edit DWORD parameter

Now you can close the Registry Editor and restart your computer to apply the changes.

Like I already said, you won’t get rid of the startup delay completely, but it will be significantly decreased. Now feel free to customize your Startup folder and add/remove desktop applications.

Note: To access the Startup folder, launch the Run box and type “shell:Startup” (without the quotes). This will bring up the list of Startup items for the current user. If you want the Startup list for all the users, type “shell:Common Startup” (again, without the quotes) in the Run box.