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Unusually long boot time on one of two machines

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by Riverglen, May 5, 2015.

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  1. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

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    Larry
    I am running Windows 7 Home Premium on two machines. I am experiencing slow boot-up on the desktop machine but not on the laptop.

    On the desktop machine there is a delay of upwards of a minute, starting when the black screen showing a throbbing Windows flag logo and the "Starting Windows" legend appears. During the time the machine is stalled in this state, there is essentially continuous disk activity, but no network activity, as assessed by the activity lights on the tower. Finally, there is a brief burst from the network activity light and the machine proceeds to the log-in screen and boots normally when I log in.

    The laptop only pauses for a few seconds on the "windows throbber" screen, and consequently completes the boot much more quickly.

    There are only a couple of differences between the two machines that seem to me to be potentially relevant, but I kind of doubt that any of them are likely to be the cause.

    Different virus scanners. Desktop is running Bit Defender, Laptop is running Avast. But the problem predates a switch from Avast on the desktop to Bit Defender. I made the switch to test the theory that Avast might be doing some sort of pre-boot scan before handing off control to Windows, but switching to Bit Defender made no difference.

    Desktop is connected directly to the router, Laptop connects wirelessly. But I see no evidence of network activity during the delay.

    Laptop is a newer and faster machine. But there was a time when both machines behaved similarly.

    So, I'm looking for thoughts as to what is causing the delay, and an suggestions on how I might diagnose it when the problem is occurring before Windows has completed the boot-up and I don't have any control over the machine to run any sort of analysis or diagnostic tools.

    For reference, here are the results of running the TSG system info tool on both machines:

    The desktop:

    Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.2
    OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1, 32 bit
    Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3800+, x64 Family 15 Model 127 Stepping 1
    Processor Count: 1
    RAM: 2815 Mb
    Graphics Card: ATI Radeon X1200 Series (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM), 256 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 139894 MB, Free - 85553 MB; F: Total - 476937 MB, Free - 131380 MB;
    Motherboard: Acer, F690GVM
    Antivirus: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, Updated and Enabled


    The laptop:

    Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.2
    OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1, 32 bit
    Processor: AMD A8-4500M APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics, x64 Family 21 Model 16 Stepping 1
    Processor Count: 4
    RAM: 3065 Mb
    Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 7640G, 512 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 696869 MB, Free - 644593 MB; E: Total - 99 MB, Free - 27 MB;
    Motherboard: Acer, VA50_CM
    Antivirus: avast! Antivirus, Updated and Enabled
     
  2. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Clean boot the desktop and see if there is a difference



    1. Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator rights.
    2. Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press Enter to start the System Configuration utility.
      Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, you should type the password or provide confirmation.


      [​IMG]
    3. On the General tab, click the Selective startup option, and then click to clear the Load startup items check box. (The Use Original Boot.ini check box is unavailable.)


      [​IMG]
    4. On the Services tab, click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then click Disable all.

      [​IMG]

      Note This step lets Microsoft services continue to run. These services include Networking, Plug and Play, Event Logging, Error Reporting, and other services. If you disable these services, you may permanently delete all restore points. Do not do this if you want to use the System Restore utility together with existing restore points.
    5. Click OK, and then click Restart.
     
  3. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

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    I'll give it a try, but I do have one question. If I disable all non-Microsoft services for this experiment, will I be able to recover the original state of those services by selection "enable all" after the test ( "automatic" vs "manual" vs "disabled").

    For what it's worth, both machines are very similarly configured, and I am pretty careful about what I allow to auto-start. Also, do the auto-start decisions take effect before or after the user log-in? The delay I'm concerned about runs it's course before I'm presented with the password entry prompt.
     
  4. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    yes with just one click - well more or less - five to be exact



    1. Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press Enter.
      Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, you should type the password or click Continue.
    2. On the General tab, click the Normal Startup option, and then click OK.
    3. When you are prompted to restart the computer, click Restart.
    We have worked together before?


    You do not get the password request until certain aspects of windows have loaded
     
  5. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Thought you may be interested
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    offline for about one hour
    there is plenty more to try if that does not change matters
    it is not of course a solution it is a troubleshooting
    if it does change matters the way forward then is a clean boot troubleshooting which I will explain if necessary
     
  7. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

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    Well I tried your experiment with results that can best be described as "interesting". Having shut down the start-ups and non-Microsoft services, I did a complete shutdown (as opposed to just doing a "restart" from the start menu). I wanted to replicate the way I normally bring up the machine. Result - NO significant delay. Snapped right to it's little feet.

    So, I restored the normal start-ups and services, but this time I just selected "restart" rather than lights-out and power back up. Result - Still no delay. So, I thought maybe it wasn't a good idea to just restart, so I left everything enabled and did a complete shutdown and power back up. Result - STILL no delay.

    Seems as if I fixed the problem by just looking at it. (Not likely.) I imagine your next step would be to selectively re-enable one thing at a time until one particular item shows up to account for the problem. But at the moment, I can't reproduce the problem.

    Thanks for the boot process summary info. I assume that you get the log-on prompt somewhere early in the Winlogon phase. That suggests that all of the start-up applications and most of the services don't come into play until after the log-in prompt is satisfied.

    Don't specifically remember whether you've helped me with a problem before, but I wouldn't be surprised if you had. These forums are my go-to source for good info, both for the strange problems I've had myself or for problems I've run across in trying to help friends with their systems. I recognize most of the "heavy helpers" and you guys are really doing the world a great service.
     
  8. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Just come back - reading your post
     
  9. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Well that has me puzzled
    however for when the problem does reappear clean boot troubleshooting is



    1. Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator rights.
    2. Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press Enter to start the System Configuration utility.
      Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, you should type the password or provide confirmation.
      Collapse this imageExpand this image

      [​IMG]
    3. Click the Services tab, and then click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box.
    4. Click to select the upper half of the check boxes in the Service list.
    5. Click OK, and then click Restart.

    1. After the computer finishes restarting, determine whether the problem still occurs.
    2. If the problem still occurs, repeat steps 1 through 5, but clear the lower half of the checked boxes in the Service list that you originally selected.


    • If the problem does not occur, repeat steps 1 through 5, and select only the upper half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Service list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.
    • If you still experience the problem after only one service is selected in the Service list, this means that the selected service causes the problem. Go to step 10. If no service causes this problem, go to step 7.

    1. Perform a clean boot by repeating steps 1 and 2.
    2. Click the Startup tab, and then click to select the upper half of the check boxes in the Startup Item list. Collapse this imageExpand this image

      [​IMG]

    1. Click OK, and then click Restart.
    2. If the problem still occurs, repeat steps 7 and 8, but clear the lower half of the checked boxes in the Startup Item list that you originally selected.


    • If the problem does not occur, repeat steps 7 and 8, and select only the upper half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Startup Item list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.
    • If you still experience the problem after only one Startup Item is selected in the Startup Item list, this means that the selected Startup Item causes the problem. Go to Step 10. If no Startup Item causes this problem, a Microsoft service probably causes the problem. To determine which Microsoft service may be causing the problem, repeat steps 1 through 6 without selecting the Hide all Microsoft services check box in either step.

    1. After you determine the startup item or the service that causes the problem, contact the program manufacturer to determine whether the problem can be resolved. Or, run the System Configuration utility, and then click to clear the check box for the problem item


    probably more likely to be a service than a startup item


    Have you checked Task Scheduler for tasks when computer starts
    If you want a task to run when the computer starts


    http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/67503-task-create-run-program-startup-log.html


    http://www.7tutorials.com/first-steps-working-task-scheduler


    So you would be looking for a task run at startup


    EDIT
    Sorry I was wrong before it is not whether a user is logged on or not
    It is a task at startup
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc748841.aspx


    My apologies
     
  10. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Next time it happens - check event log - application log
    that is control panel, admin tools, event viewer, windows logs, application log
    then on the source column in the main window, click once on the header source
    that will sort them alphabetically
    You then want WMI
    Windows Management Instrumentation
    and you are looking for one of the following


    Log Name: Application
    Source: Microsoft-Windows-WMI
    Event ID: 65
    Task Category: None
    Level: Warning
    Keywords: Classic
    Description:
    Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Service is starting to restore the WMI repository

    Log Name: Application
    Source: Microsoft-Windows-WMI
    Event ID: 43
    Task Category: None
    Level: Warning
    Keywords: Classic
    Description:
    Windows Management Instrumentation ADAP failed to connect to namespace \\.\root\cimv2 with the following error 0x80080008

    Log Name: Application
    Source: Microsoft-Windows-WMI
    Event ID: 5614
    Task Category: None
    Level: Information
    Keywords: Classic
    Description:
    During the service startup, the Windows Management Instrumentation service was unable to locate the repository files. A new repository will be created based on the auto-recovery mechanism.




    If that is the problem from when BIOS hands control to Windows, it can take up to 4 minutes or so to progress from windows logo to log on screen


    It is easier to find the entry, if before shutting down, you clear the application log
    that is on the right pane of event viewer - clear log, when that application log is loaded.


    Having re- considered the situation I think this is a more likely cause than my other post for tasks.
     
  11. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

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    Larry
    I'm probably not going to be able to pursue this problem further until tomorrow. And it looks like my dinner time may collide with your bed time.

    Your process of elimination procedure is about what I'd expected. First issue may be how to get the problem to resurface. And if it turns out to be unpredictably intermittent, I'm afraid I may be experimenting for quite a while. There is nothing I hate worse than a problem that gets "resolved" without being explained.

    Just read your latest suggestion. You've given me quite a bit of homework to get busy on, and I very much appreciate your help. I'm inclined to agree that the startups/services idea isn't too probable. Seems like that stuff happens too late in the process to be a likely cause.

    I will look into your latest suggestion first. I'll check back in tomorrow and let you know how I made out with my homework.
     
  12. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Cheers


    As you say, it is a bit like asking a auto mechanic to diagnose why the car will not start, sometimes, when it is doing, when you consult him


    He these days, connects it to the ECU computer


    I think the best bet is the event log or if you can find them any tasks at startup, however if it was latter, I would expect it on every boot


    If you had what I call the make it go faster programs installed I could relate their use, to problems between windows logo and log-on, after the program has run and then next boot.


    Goodnight
    Please do let me know the result if you get one
     
  13. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

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    I haven't had much time to experiment with this problem, but I did have one recurrence. I have done several boot ups from power off and in every case the machine came up very quickly. So, didn't have much to experiment with. I did take your suggestion to clear the application log at the end of the day, and following the next (normal) boot, I examined the contents, but didn't find anything unusual.

    But, I did discover by sniffing around, that Windows keeps about a zillion logs that are accessible from the event viewer. It's amazing that the system has enough time left over to do anything else. In any event, I found some interesting stuff in the event viewer. Instead of looking in Windows Logs, as you suggested, I found my way to Applications and Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnostica-Performance > Operational. In that log I found several warning events and a few error events that specifically relate to boot time performance.

    As an arbitrrarily selected example, there was an error event for which the "general" tab indicated:

    Boot Duration <time that it took to boot>
    IsDegredation : false
    Incident time <time the boot incident occurred>

    There is also a "details" tab that contains a very fine-grained list of entries for the times taken and the results for the operations performed during the boot process. Looks like good stuff, but maybe a little opaque for the average user.

    So, I found a good place to look for interesting and relevant information. Since I hadn't known of this log, I didn't dump its old history. But now, I can empty this log and the one you suggested every night before shutting down, and maybe eventually I'll catch something interesting.

    And finally, I did have one recurrence of the problem, albeit under unusual circumstances. I was using a utility that provides detailed system info and CPU capabilities, and I had a web page open. For no obvious reason, the screen dimmed and then went black, and there was continuous disk activity. So I immediately forced a power down (held the power button for 10 sec or so). Following that little adventure, I powered back up and the machine came back up just fine, with no excess delay. And has done so since with no evidence of the problem.

    So, I still have more questions than answers, but at least I have some ideas for how to hunt the Wumpus. When I get any news that's fit to print, I'll check back in.
     
  14. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

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    Another thought, regarding your comment about tasks scheduled to run at startup. I did find one in system start-up, named "proxy", which is traces to \Microsoft\Windows\Autochk. That turns out to be some sort of call home program related to the "Customer Experience Improvement Program". On the desktop it was configured to opt in, but on the laptop it was configured to opt out. So I changed the selection to opt-out on the desktop too. Don't remember whether I did this before or after my system lock-up adventure. More than likely not related to my problem, but it was an identifiable difference between the machines. And I don't like having people peeking into my pockets without my express consent anyway.
     
  15. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Do not think it is any way connected with the problem
    It is as far as I know only relating in the example quoted to
    autochk
    which is the chkdsk - automated at boot when the dirty bit is set by the system


    The customer experience opt in - out is as you said



    1. Click Start, select Control Panel, and click the Action Center.
    2. In the left pane, click Change Action Center settings.
    3. Under Related settings, click Customer Experience Improvement Program settings.
    4. If you want to turn off the Windows CEIP, select No, I don't want to participate in the program, and then click Save Changes.
     
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