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Is there a way to accelerate the boot process? Can we disable some (rarely used or not useful) services?

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Replace your hard drive with an SSD ;) – Martín Marconcini Mar 21 '11 at 15:36
Replacing your hard drive with an SSD is an excellent way to improve boot time, but an even better method: don't boot. Put your system to sleep instead of shutting down. – ghoppe Mar 21 '11 at 18:32
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I do not know of a way of shortening the actual boot time: from power on to login dialog window. You might however be able to shorten your login time by removing items from your login items list.

You can find the list of user login items here: System Preferences → Accounts → → Login items.

Remove stuff that has been added there that you do not want. Use some common sense though. E.g. if you use a calendar app that notifies you of appointments, it might be a bad idea to remove the calendar helper app from your list of login items.

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Give yourself something to watch while booting and it will appear to be quicker.

sudo nvram boot-args="-v"
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NICE! I didn't know about this one at all! +1 – Nathan Greenstein Mar 22 '11 at 0:13
Or hold down v after the chime. – user588 Mar 22 '11 at 2:04
How do you undo this command? (I assume it's permanent.) – gentmatt Jan 18 '12 at 8:04
sudo nvram boot-args= – user588 Jan 18 '12 at 9:00

This article (that I wrote) explains how to improve login speed by staggering the launch of your startup items.

It may or may not apply to your particular situation, but it frequently helps.

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