Windows 2000 Pro Takes 30 minutes to boot

BonnieW used Ask the Experts™
It's my boss's home computer which he brought into the office for me to look at.   PC is 800, P4 with 15 GB hard drive and 12 free space.   It takes about 15 minutes to boot to the logon screen, then another 15 minutes to load the desktop.   Once it's finished loading, programs respond okay...perhaps an occasional lag.  He keeps it running all the time because of the boot up problem.  He says he defragged yesterday.

He had a worm which I removed....I did a virus check and it's clean.
I windows updated Service Pack 4 and the security patches.  Boot up is still horribly slow - really 30 minutes or more.   Can anyone provide a cure or an explanation as to why he's having this problem?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®

This MAY apply to Win 2K, but it DOES work on Windows 98SE.

I was experiencing POST Beep to Desktop times of 2 to 2½ minutes!

I found the below after 9 and ½ hours on the Net:

   If you have a Network Interface Card (NIC) you

probably selected "Obtain An IP Address

Automatically" when configuring the network card.

This causes the card to search for a DHCP server

to provide you with an IP Address. Select an IP

address manually and this will prevent the card

from looking for the DHCP server.

   192.168.x.x and 10.0.0.x are IP Addresses that

are not used on the internet. You could use any

address you want, but if so, you can't put your

machine on the Internet since it is not registered

with the Internet domain authorities, so stick

with 192.168.x.x and 10.0.0.x.

   Th Th, Th Th, Th That's All Folks!

   Doing this has brought my P.O.S.T. beep to

desktop time in the 40-45 second range.


It maybe a program loading during startup. try booting in safe mode and if that is considerable faster or youve just run out of ideas run 'msconfig' (chose run off the start menu then click run and type msconfig) and turning off all the startup programs/ non essential services

Disable all your nonesential services -
Run Spybot from
C++ 11 Fundamentals

This course will introduce you to C++ 11 and teach you about syntax fundamentals.

change your video card driver to standard vga.  reboot and see what happens.



Is this system an original Win2K pro install or was it upgraded from another Windows version (say, Win98SE)?  Has it always done this or is this something new?

I've seen this issue in upgraded systems caused by misbehaving hardware drivers (in my experience, an IOmega parallel ZIP driver and an Ethernet NIC driver)...


He says this is something new.   It looks like an upgrade to Windows 2000.  He has a Windows folder on his C drive.  It has an empty System drivers installed.   His network folder has two network adapters...One is in use by my t-1 in the office.  I believe the other is used for his DSL modem at home.  There is only one network connection on the PC though.

AlThomo and korthof...
MSConfig is not an option on Windows 2000...I can install an msconfig program and remove most of his start up items...I'll give that a try. do I change my video card driver?

It took over 30 minutes this afternoon from logon screen to desktop.  Then it took over 10 seconds from click to open.


That sounds like it would be an upgrade from Window 98 or 98SE.  Were there any hardware changes made to the system just before this started to happen?

Another thought: were you able to determine the nature of the Worm (e.g.) its name?  If so, you could look it up and see what kind of damage this worm might leave in its wake.  The empty "system" folder sounds very suspicious to me-- like some damage was done; I've never seen a system with this folder empty.

Lots of questions and no answers so far-- sorry!


If you stick the win2k CD in and boot to it you can run the recovery consol
chkdsk /r

fixboot might be a good idea to and if those fail then fixmbr
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

If i were you,I'd remove from device manager both NIC's -> shutdown then I'd open the case, phisically remove both netwk adapters and then poweron.
I bet it won't take longer then 30 secs to bootup.
After that, poweroff and hook one of the cards, preferable in another PCI slot than it was before Boot, configure it from scratch (be sure to overwrite all the old files). Then reboot.
see if the problem appears.
If not , do the same with the second adapter.
If yes, come back with results.
Ahh....and also do another virus/spyware scan first.
Here's a list of tools:

Online virus scan






Free AV software



Commercial AV software




Etrust EZ





SpyBot-S&D is an adware and spyware detection and removal tool. This includes removal of certain advertising components, that may gather statistics as well as detection of various keylogging and other spy utilities. In addition, it also securely removes PC and Internet usage tracks, including browser history, temporary pages, cookies (with option to keep selected) and more. The program offers an attractive outlook-style interface that is easy to use and multi-lingual. SpyBot-S&D allows you to exclude selected cookies, programs or extensions from being reported, allowing you to prevent false positive messages for items that you dont want to be alerted of every time. It can even scan your download directory for files that have been downloaded, but not yet installed, allowing you to detect unwanted programs before you even install them. SpyBot produces a detailed and easy to understand report before it deletes any files and allows you to deselect any item that you do not want to be processed. In addition, a recovery feature allows you to restore your settings if needed. Very nice tool, that exceeds the capabilities of the popular Ad-Aware application.


AdAware is a privacy tool, that scans your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known data-mining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components. It then lists the results and offers to remove or quarantine the components. The program detects a wide range of adware/spyware related issues and can be updated with the latest signatures via the built-in update utility. Please be advised that removing certain components may impact the functionality of effected software applications. You should fully read the included Ad-aware documentation before removing any files!


HijackThis is a tool, that lists all installed browser add-on, buttons, starup items and allows you to inspect them, and optionally remove selected items. The program can create a backup of your original settings and also ignore selected items. Additional features include a simple list of all startup items, default start page, online updates and more. Intended for advanced users.

Keylogger Hunter

Keylogger Hunter is a program that attempts to detect any keyloggers that may be running on your computer. It performs a system analysis, which takes about 3-5 minutes and then produces a list of suspicious files (if any). It detected 2 out of 3 running keyloggers in our test. Future versions are planned to be shareware.


KL-Detector is designed to provide a way to find out whether your activity is being recorded with a keylogger application. It uses the fact that most keyloggers create a hidden log file on your hard drive and therefore scans for any suspicious activity during a test period that you have to initiate. Basically, it asks you to use the keyboard for several minutes, type some text or do similar activities, while it is monitoring your system to check if it can detect any suspicious logging activity. KL-Detector is intended for occasional use and not as a permanently running program, as normal PC activity may cause false positives. During our test, it did detect changes in a keylogger log file (that we installed), but it did not find the activity suspicious enough to warn us. Advanced users may get value by inspecting the logged items, however novice users should not rely on the results.

X-Cleaner Free

XCleaner is a privacy tool suite that detects and removes installed spyware and adware components and includes tools to securely delete files, edit the registry, disable startup programs and more. Additional features include IE home page protection, cookie, cache and history cleaning, built-in password generator and more. This free version also contains some additional feature options, however they are disabled and require upgrade to a full version. The spyware and adware scanning as well as many cleaning features however can be used freely.


SpywareBlaster doesn`t scan and clean for so-called spyware, but prevents it from being installed in the first place. It achieves this by disabling the CLSIDs of popular spyware ActiveX controls, and also prevents the installation of any of them via a webpage. This allows you to run Internet Explorer with Active-X enabled, but it will never download or even prompt you for any of the known ActiveX controls. All other Active-X controls or plug-ins will work fine. The SpywareBlaster database contains information on these known spyware Active-X controls and can be updated with the click of a button. The application windows displays a list of all controls that it is able to detect (this is not a list of what was found on your computer). The program cannot detect if you have any of the known objects already installed, but if you do, they will be disabled. The program also allows you to take a snapshot of your computer (certain settings) in its clean state and later revert many changes made by spyware and browser hijackers.


SpywareGuard provides a real-time protection solution against so-called spyware. It works similar to an anti-virus program, by scanning EXE and CAB files on access and alerting you if known spyware is detected. If this is the case, it initially blocks access to the file and then allows the user to select an action. SpywareGuard provides a fast scanning engine, signature-based scanning, heuristic/generic scanning, a control panel, and an online-update utility for downloading of definition updates. It does not replace your anti-virus protection, but instead detects programs that may cause privacy concerns. The list of detected programs includes AdBreak, AdultLinks/LinkZZ, Brilliant Digital, CommonName, Cytron, FreeScratchAndWin, FriendGreetings, HighTraffic, HotBar, IEDisco, iGetNet,, MoneyTree Dialer and others.


SpySites allows you to manage the Internet Explorer Restricted Zone settings and easily add entries from a database of 1500+ sites that are known to use advertising tracking methods or attempt to install third party software. You can select the sites from the list, or optionally add all of them, or only the "worst offenders". The program then adds the URLs to the IE Restricted Zone settings. Once configured, there is no need to run the program again, unless you want to add additional sites. 

Good Luck
I would try removing the network card from the PC, it may be hanging trying to obtain an IP address, it can sometimes do this if it is an upgrade. Also once you get it booted, go to device manager and uninstall all the hardware (important stuff like video, sound, lan, hard drive controllers) and reboot, this should rule out hardware or driver issue if it works.
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

I still bet on netwk card. But if you want ot take chaddupuis's advice:
Do it one by one.We don't want pizza. We want a conclusion
With reboots between removals (Yeap... I'm aware it takes a lot of time for booting) .
sorry chaddupuis. I had to complete your answer.
Sorry I am lazy, Iwould be more concerned about fixing the issue than waiting 5 hours to remove...reboot...remove...reboot. You can monitor this after as Win2k will rebot your machine about three times while detecting and installing the hardware, if you pay attention to the last devices before reboot and it takes 30 minutes to boot you may have tracked it down in 30 minutes instead of 5 hours.
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

Well, excuse me my friend if I'm not lazy but I use to look for the cause first and then for a solution.
If I wanted a quick and convenable answer ( for me) I would have recomanded to cleanly reinstall Windows and finish the whole discussion. Now chaddupuis, if you just want those points, just say so, I'll award you 250 points.
Instead of wasteing time, I'd better give you a link. here it is:
If you have the patience to read some of the posts, maybe you'll learn something. I did. ALOT.
Who ever said I was here for the points, I use this site to help people for free with my valuble personal time. I offer real life answers to real life questions, I have been dealing with problems like this for over 5 years now and I know that my solutions work, and if I am unsure I will state that. The reason I use this site is because I have ended up here after hours of googling for obscure problems on a number of occasions and I feel that it is only right that I contribute. I don't appreciate you calling me a noob (I take that is what you were getting at by sending me to that link). I offered a solution to the question that BonnieW posted and you elaborated on it...good for you that is what the concept of "collaboration" is isn't it? Where do you get off judging who I am and what my reasons for participating are? I am sure that BonnieW appreciated my response as well as whatyou had to add to it, if it works out maybe there would have been a points plit, but are points and worthless internet site rankings on how much of an "expert" you are really that important to you?

After having resolved so many issues simillar to this one inthe real world and being very successful at it, you would become "lazy" as well. Unlike a lot of people on this site who just search google for answers and then cut and paste it, i offer real thoughts and solutions. BTW I like your generic novel about where to get AV and firewall products, I have seen this on so many questions. That must have taken you a long time to put toghether, and i am sure it has helped many people, just like I am trying to do.
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

<< I offered a solution to the question that BonnieW posted and you elaborated on it>> UNBELIVABLE!!
LET MY REFRESH YOUR MEMORY: << If i were you,I'd remove from device manager both NIC's -> shutdown then I'd open the case, phisically remove both netwk adapters and then poweron. >> THTA'S WHAT KRONOSTM POSTED Date: 08/29/2003 09:43AM EEST .
chaddupuis's FIRST post in this Q was Date: 08/29/2003 01:05PM EEST  ....errrr....unless you have a dupe account....
as you can see, it's YOU that elaborated on MY answer !!!  Please reconsider according.

As for the list of links, let me tell you that there are a lot of lists with links, most of them gathered by CrazyOne. If my memory serves me well, I was the first expert asking CO for permission ("copyright" somehow) to use his list(s). WE (not only me) had his approval....and I started to paste it where was the case, and ALWAYS specified that CO is the one who gets the credit for that list. The antivir/antispyware list was unsigned in all versions, so I can't give the credit to anyone.
Since then, those lists indeed HELPED alot of people, and WE (the ones who use them) try to refresh in order to keep up to date those links.

Before leaving, I feel like pasting again from what I previously said: << If you have the patience to read some of the posts, maybe you'll learn something.>>

anyway....I don't feel like flaming with you, so probably  I'll unsubscribe from this Q.
Sorry I didn't want to re read the entire post again...sorry... i elaborated on what you said and you further elaborated on what I said.

I wasn't blasting you for using that list. I said it looked good and I was sure it would help alot of people. It was a compliment.

I am disapointed that I get crapped on for DONATING my time to this site. Dealing with points freaks like yourself makes me sick, I can't begin to understand why they are so important to you.

Like I said previously I don't come here to get "points" I come hear to learn about IT and to teach about IT. That is all.


Gentlemen:  Perhaps I described it his network folder there are two TCP IPs...the PC has only one network connection so removing the card isn't the way to go.    My boss brought in only the CPU...knowing him, he has no installation software which is why I'm avoiding a clean reinstall.  Also, his kids have a lot of their schoolwork on it....he has no zip drive or burner to make backups, and floppies would take forever.  

If I disable the hardware devices, will Windows detect and reinstall the drivers?  

The worm was Nachi and it created some files in the system32 folder but it's gone now.  

If I boot from the CD, mine - not his installation CD, how would I run programs like fixboot or fixmbr?  
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

1)     I get mad when I see someone is teaching others what he never learned. (you can't possible tell me you've seen THIS KIND of problem solved by removing video card or IDE controller from device manager)
2)     Please don't call me a points freak as long as you've doubled my answers in at least 5 or 6 question only today, and posted in more than 50 in the last few days. Take my word as being older than you in this community that what YOU're doing is being a point freak.
3)     Thank you for the compliment

P.S. because I've talked about doubling answers, please find out that this is the main reason I'm flaming with you, not necesarly your technical opinion.
I'm really sorry that my english language knowledge doesn't allow me to be more diplomatic or direct, don't know which one would have been more suitable.
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

fixing mbr won't help you, but can't harm so:
1. boot into the recovery console using win2000 cd.
2. execute 'map' command and get the device info. it'll give cm info like thses - \Device\HardDisk0\Partition1.
3. now execute the fixmbr command and supply the device name as parameter - fixmbr \Device\HardDisk0.

pasted from one of my previous posts here:
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

Oh...welchia...our new worm-friend ...also called nachi that's what he got?!?
Check here and make sure you are completely clean and M$ patches applied.
Yes,  windows will redetect your devices.
about reinstalling...I won't reccomand...that's something that anyone can figure out by itsself that is an option, but it's the last one.
Please, remove only the NIC and boot w/o it. Then plug back and see if after configuring netwk settings you still have the problem
I am new to EE since the 26th and eager to help. For some reason I missed the pat abou the worm. I appoligize, sorry about causing you greif Kronos. I will make an effort to not duplicate your posts in the future (although I did not duplicate 5 or 6 different posts). I have posted alot in questions that had alot of follow ups by the asker so that explains my 50posts (not to mention our relationship). I guess I have not been doing th blind troubleshooting for long enough, I am alot more skilled on hands on, having made a diagnosis myself. Had I saw the part about the worm my response would not have been here as I saw your answer and it was good. Let it be know that I bow down to Kronos as he is greater than I in EE. I appreciate your patience with me (eventhough you unsubscribed) I just got angry when you aclled me a noob indirectly).

BonnieW i hope that you get this resolved, sorry for spamming your post.

Kronos, is there any way to retract a post(s), I would like to maybe clean up this post a little for the sake of getting the question solved.

It could be that a memory module is no longer reporting.  I worked on a PC recently with almost the same problem.  Their once speedy P4 running WinXP slowed to a crawl.  Turned out one of the memory sticks went bad and the hardware just didn't report it anymore.  They had upgraded and had a 64mb in one slot and a 256 in another, the 256 was what went bad.  XP still ran but it took forevert to boot up.

Possibly, but unlikely since the problems were most likey caused by damage from the Worm that was on the machine.
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

chaddupuis....there's no way you can retract a post, and there's no need retracting
I appologize...I've been a jerk and overreacted .... guess i'm the one who should want his posts deleted ..... I think Mars's approach is the only explanation  :>|
Please accept my sincere appologize.
Posting that link wasn't ment to call you a noob in any way. You are new, yes, but pointing to that discussion wasn't ment to call you a noob , but to allow you to read something that impressed me and lots of other experts alot. I was a fresh newbie when that post took place, and I must admit that I didn't had respect for any expert then excepting maybe CO.  I've learned there the meaning of respect for other experts, but it seems that I forgot it on the way. maybe i'm the one who has to read some of that post again :-(
If you really want to hang around here and help, belive me it's something useful to read.
Hehe...of course that having a hand on that box would be much more easy to debug. errr...for now we have to rely on Bonnie's hands.


     Did you try my suggestion?



Yes I did...and got confused.  It was set up to search automatically as you suggested.  I tried keying in your numbers but it asked for gateways, and subnet masks, and DNSs and I didn't know how to respond.  It told me I had a static IP and it wasn't necessary to change it so I left it alone.   My boss is going to hook up to DSL at home so I didn't tamper with the settings.  

I sifted through the verbiage up above and tried most of the suggestions but I'm still in the same place.  I ran Norton diskdoctor and windocter and it corrected a few problems but boot up still takes about an hour.   I opened it up and made sure everything was tight...he uses his desktop as a tower and I thought something might have come loose...but no.   He's taking it home 'as is' so I've run out of time.   He doens't care anymore how slow it is as long as he can read his email.  

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.....can I award points for trying?

Just off the top of my head, disable any midi devices. Sometimes c-media audio midi drivers REALLY REALLY slow win2k down.


korthof, the last time I booted up, it took almost one and a half hours....that's beyond slow.   I don't have access to the PC anymore...I believe he took it home but I won't know until I get back to work tomorrow.  Thanks for another suggestion.


       Sorry I wasn't more precise.  This is how I do it on my Win 98SE:

1.  Right-click "Network Neighborhood"

2.  Click Properties

3.  Highlight TCP/IP->xxxxxxx (Whatever Your Network Card Is)

4.  Click Properties

5.  Clicked IP Address Tab

6.  Dot "Specifiy an IP Address"


8. Subnet

9.  Click OK Twice

10. Re-Boot

Hope this helps.


Two more things -
Under Services in the control panel > Administrator Tools
Check for routing and remote access being started on automatic.
Also, you dont know if he is running SQL server on that machine do you?


     I just opened my September, 2003 issue of PC World and lo and behold, at:,aid,111640,pg,2,00.asp

I find this:

  New Service Pack for Windows 2000

  Service Pack 4 for Windows 2000 provides nearly 700 bug fixes and security patches. One fix, for example, eliminates a
  problem involving some USB keyboards with PS/2 mouse ports that caused Windows 2000 PCs to take up to an hour
  to start. Go to Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 to download it.

  Be warned: The service pack may clash with Symantec's Norton
  Internet Security 2001 or Norton Personal Firewall 2001. You
  may not be able to access the Internet. However, if you've run
  Symantec's LiveUpdate since June 27, you shouldn't experience
  the problem. Go to Windows 2000 SP4 and Norton Internet
  Security 2001 for Symantec's advisory.

Hope THIS finally does the trick for you.



Sorry that I haven't gotten back here, but the PC was out of my hands for a while.  I have it back and am giving it another try.  I installed Service Pack improvement.    I'm ready to try a reformat and reinstall of Windows 2000.   Can someone tell me how to go about it.....will the Windows CD take care of partition issues or will I have to do the FDisk thing first?  
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer

Follow this Clean Installation routine. It completely formats the hard disk
and installs Win2k from scratch. You just require the 2k CD.

** First, backup the data on the hard disk to a removable storage device **


1. Insert the Windows 2k CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive.
2. At the Welcome to Setup page, press ENTER to continue.
3. Press F8 to accept the Windows XP Licensing Agreement.
4. If an existing Windows 2k installation is detected, you will be prompted
to repair it.  At this point hit the ESC key (in other words, do not
5. The screen will now list all existing partitions and un-partitioned space
for each hard disk. Use the cursor/arrow keys to choose where to create the
new partition. Press D to delete an existing partition or press C to create
a new partition in un-partitioned space. If you press D to delete an
existing partition, you must then press L (or press ENTER, and then press L
if it is the System partition) to confirm that you want to delete that
partition. Repeat this process for each of the existing partitions that you
want to move (or remove) in order to create your new partition. When all
necessary partitions are deleted, you can then select the remaining
un-partitioned space and then press C to create new partitions.

Note: If you want to create a partition where at least one partition already
exists, you must first delete the existing partition or partitions and then
create the new partition.  Type the size in megabytes (MB) that you want the
new partition to be. Then press ENTER. Alternatively, you can just press
ENTER to create the partition using all the available space (i.e. create the
biggest possible partition).

If you want to install Windows 2k, use the arrow keys to select the
partition where you want to install Windows XP and then press ENTER.

Note: If you do not want to format the partition and install Windows XP,
press F3 twice to quit Setup, and ignore the following section. If you do
this, you must find another way to format the partition.

===Formatting the drive===

To format the partition, use the arrow keys to select the partition where
you want to install Windows 2k.

* Select the NTFS formatting option and press ENTER
* Choose Quick Format or Full Format:

Differences Between a Quick Format and Format During Windows 2k Setup

* Continue installing Windows

Good Luck


I started the setup program and got as far as formatting partition.  It's been at 0% for over 30 minutes.  Is that
normal or do I have a problem?


Yipee!  It moved to 1% after an hour so something is happening.  Is ti usual to take this
long?  I'm just concerned that in the end, it will be a hardware problem rather than a
windows problem.
It may the true problem at the heart of this. We have all been thining software, but it could very well be the hard drive controllers are just getting old or has been under some undue duress and are now failing slowly. We could in fact be dealing with a number of hardware issues, from memory, to cpu, cables, power supply, to the hardrive itself. I would take the machine to service technician to diagnos the appropriate part that is having problems.

If you have another HD on hand, try installing win2k on that, and see if that improves the performance. However, dont go off and buy a new harddrive, as it is not conclusively the problem without testing.

The format should not take more than an hour in total for 15gigs. It sounds like your problem still exists.


Thank you everyone for your suggestions.  It turns out to be a hardware problem afterall.
I am closing the question and accepting korhof's answer.   Again I thank you for the input.  
I learned quite a bit during this exchange even if it didn't cure the problem.  
check this forme please:

go to mycomputer then click on tools, then click on Synchronize highlight my current home page then click Properties. uncheck the box that says make this page available offline, then click on setup and uncheck the two boxes (when I log on to my computer) (when I log off my computer). click OK and Ok.

you can also go to and download the msconfig.exe, copy it to system32, and then you can use it the same way with win98 to disable and synchronization utilities that are running on that computer,and it's all fixed I promise.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial