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Turning on my computer automatically

Is your computer working rather more slowly than before? Dr Mark Smith shows how to kick-start it

Is your computer working rather more slowly than before? Dr Mark Smith shows how to kick-start it


My surgery computer is very slow to start up in the mornings and I wish I could programme it to turn itself on in advance. Is this possible? And why is it going slower?


Ever since Choose and Book was installed on GPs' computers, systems and PCs have slowed down. In fact every time you add an application or program to a PC you will often notice that it works rather more slowly and takes even longer to turn on in the morning.

Nobody would thank us if we left the computers on all the time burning up electricity, but to answer your question, yes, we can programme more modern computers to turn on by themselves so that we can get straight to work.

You can do this by changing settings in the computer's BIOS program. This is the hidden program that runs immediately when you power up your computer but before Windows starts. Different manufacturers allow us to access this with different keystrokes. Some computers use F10, some F12, and some delete. Either check your manuals or watch the black start-up screens very carefully to see which key you have to press.

If you press the key in time you'll be looking at some old-fashioned screens with lots of different settings to change. You are looking for one called something like 'advanced power management'. Within that list will be something along the lines of automatic turn on (not all computers have this but new ones should have). Ours have settings which allow us to specify what time of the day the computer will turn on, and whether everyday or just weekdays.

In my surgery our computers switch themselves on in the morning before we arrive. Any programs in the Startup folder will initiate, including Emis – also any updates that Emis is due, as well as the monthly Windows security updates.

Dr Mark Smith is a GP in West Moors, Dorset

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