Windows Vista tip: The Hackosis blog points out that Windows Vista uses only one CPU to boot itself by default, regardless of whatever dual- or quad-core hardware you're using. Enabling multi-core boot might save you a bit of time, and the fix is pretty simple. Run
msconfig from the Start Search box (or after hitting Win+R), then head to the "Boot" tab, check "Number of processors," and change the drop-down box to fit your processor. I haven't tested this myself, but given how long it takes Vista to gear up to running speed on my dual-core box, it probably couldn't hurt, either. Let us know if you see any gains in the comments.