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Windows 2000 Boot Lag

Posted on 2004-04-22
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
This problem pertains to boot lag in Win2k. I can boot into windows, it just takes a long time. Here is the necessary info:

-Windows 2000 Profesional SP4 + all critical updates @ windowsupdate
-Latest Drivers for all hardware
-Minimum necessary services running [list of all services]:

*Application Management - Manual
*COM+ Event System - Manual
*Network Connections - Automatic
*Plug and Play - Manual
*Remote Procedure Call [RPC] - Automatic
*Telephony - Manual
*Tiny Personal Firewall - Automatic
*Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extension - Manual

Hardware:
1.6 GHZ P4-Mobile
256 MB PC-2100 DDR RAM
30 GB 4200 RPM HDD
Geforce2 GO 32 MB GPU

My system is setup to my liking. I ran gpedit.msc + tweakui to get everything locked down and proper. The problem is, a slow boot or a boot lag. After getting through the "welcome to windows" and "preparing network connections" window, I get a blank, blue screen. This screen sits idle for apx. 45 secs, then boots into windows. I believed it to first happen after finally getting my system configured how I wanted it. Boot didnt use to take this long, it used to be instantaneous.

All viruses + spyware have been scanned for, my notebook is pretty much locked down in every way. OS memory usage is only 60 MB. I have more than sufficient RAM for my daily operations.

Maybe I need to change a registry setting? Any ideas?
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Question by:w00ters
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Expert Comment

by:MSGeek
ID: 10895197
Can you list what is in the HKEY_LOCALMACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Current Version/Run key?  What happens if you take Tiny Personal Firewall out of your startup?   What do you have locked down so tight, sounds like this is your own laptop?
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895396
1] I Dont have HKLM>Software>Microsoft <= I can get this far but I have no current version/run.
2] TPF has always been running, even before I got this boot lag.

Any other suggestions?
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Expert Comment

by:sr75
ID: 10895407
What did you change on the system with gpedit and tweakui?  It may be that it is misconfigured or had misconfigured something that causes it to lag while it looks for what it needs.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895411
It's not that anything is locked down so tight, for example:

- I have only necessary network components installed.
- I extensively used gpedit.msc to setup everything to my liking [too many changes to list].
- I have completely removed the printer subsystem as I dont print from this notebook.
- I have ports blocked, firewall, etc. I used a utility to remove outlook express. Only items I use are left.
- I run regular maintenance such as: updating and scanning w/ virus scanner. Additionaly, I scan every file I use before d/ling. I have an extensive hosts list, IE based site blocking, and I run spywareblaster, spybot SD, and adware on a regular basis. I also run scandisk regularly + Perfectisk 6.0 for defrag.

I have ran my OS's this way for some time, w/ out problem. This is a somewhat recent development [happened sometime when changing registry settings, gpedit.msc, etc.].
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by:sr75
ID: 10895420
HKLM>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>RUN

and

HKCU>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>RUN

Has the programs that run when you start up and when you log in.  MSGeek just left out the WINDOWS portion.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895434
I have a fan monitoring utility, I8KFanGUI and CPUIdle. Both are related to keeping the CPU cool. Both have been running the entire time [before the boot lag].

I'm certain nothing else [such as spyware/viruses] is on this computer.
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Expert Comment

by:MSGeek
ID: 10895436
oops thanks sr75.. I'm part of that first wave of the visual generation.. guess i better look next time.. Thanks for keping me honest.  MSGeek
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895456
I could explort all the changes made w/ gpedit.msc [this is a microsoft tool that comes w/ win2k pro] but the list would be insanely long.

I dont see how any of the changes made would increase the boot time, for example, I removed many unused features [active desktop] which would increase boot speed if anything.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:MSGeek
ID: 10895502
You have yet to list what is in:

HKLM>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>RUN

and

HKCU>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>RUN

We can't really help you without more info.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895510
"You have yet to list what is in:

HKLM>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>RUN

and

HKCU>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>RUN"

"I have a fan monitoring utility, I8KFanGUI and CPUIdle. Both are related to keeping the CPU cool. Both have been running the entire time [before the boot lag]."
Sorry for not being specific."

I'm certain it has nothing to do w/ startup items.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895555
ive tried adding /SOS to boot.ini but all device drivers boot up nice and quick so dont post that solution plz ;)
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Expert Comment

by:sr75
ID: 10895589
"I dont see how any of the changes made would increase the boot time, for example, I removed many unused features [active desktop] which would increase boot speed if anything."

It would if there was a misconfiguration of something.  It could be attempting to locate an object and that is why it lags while it looks (is there an error in the event viewer at boot up??).  As you said, it started after you set configured your system with those tools.
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by:sr75
ID: 10895595
i.e.  You disabled Active Desktop yet your wallpaper is a JPEG (just an example)
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by:w00ters
ID: 10895609
"As you said, it started after you set configured your system with those tools"

Not for sure though.
I was thinking it was a registry change that I made that added some sort of boot lag.
Anyway I went through gpedit.msc, nothing unusual.
I just have everything locked down that I dont use, nothing extra enabled.
Thats why Im saying gpedit.msc should make things boot faster.

My BIOS is all up to date, this system is rock solid. It only has a few utilities, web browser, some music, and a couple games installed on it.

All necessary services function correctly, every obvious answer doesnt apply in this scenario.
Unless its a specific registry entry I need to change.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895614
"i.e.  You disabled Active Desktop yet your wallpaper is a JPEG (just an example)"

I have no wallpaper [hence, the blank screen on bootup].

This notebook is configured for optimal performance.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895623
1 more thing, this notebook is not networked, so network/shared folders slow boot issues do not apply.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895652
Any other suggestions?
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895743
No errors in event viewer.
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by:sr75
ID: 10895785
What changes did you do with TweakUI since that does tweak the registry? (the wallpaper issue was just an example.  One is set with gpedit and the other would have been set with TweakUI causing a conflict)  
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895849
Everything is more or less unchecked in tweakui.
Between tweakui + gpedit.msc, all settings are for disabling.

For example: Nothing is enabled by either utility. So nothing could have been enabled, only disabled.

Nothing that has been disabled was necessary or used. Also, everything that was disabled, I dont use, ever.

The only things running on this computer is a simple tcp/ip connection w/ no extra software, IE, a couple of video games w/ no extra software, firewall, couple of CPU cooling progs, virus scanner isnt on in the background [all files scanned invidually and full system scans done on a regular basis].

There are no complex network settings running, no extra third party software [besides the tiny firewall which uses virtually no resources as its the old version that ran better].

I am a minimalist. I keep everything running very slim and functional.

AFAIK no conflicts exist between tweaui + gpedit. If they were, they wouldnt be where gpedit tells a piece of software to run while tweakui doesnt for two reasons:

1] I have virtually nothing running on this notebook.
2] tweakui + gpedit were used to disable settings, nothing extra was enabled.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10895892
Err here is an easier way to put it: Tweakui is far more limited than gpedit.msc After poking around in gpedit for a while, I found all setting that were in Tweakui. Since Tweakui is limited, its easy to compare the two to make sure all tweakui settings are same as gpedit.

Anyone else with ideas?
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Expert Comment

by:sr75
ID: 10896114
Not fully knowing what it is you have done, I did not mean to lead you on what appears to be a Wild Goose Chase.  Are you sure you didn't disable something (like a service) that has other services that require it and that is why it is lagging?  (There should be an event in the event viewer if this were the case, but you may have an exception to the rule)
0
 

Expert Comment

by:arcascomp
ID: 10897734
Few ideas to try:

Follow the run entries in the registry and disable each entry one at a time and reboot to see if any of those change your boot time.

Could there be a problem creating/using the pagefile? Try getting rid of it and then allow Windows to create a new one so it definitely isn't all messed up.

Could you have a service that is having startup issues, maybe if you could post any event log entries (blanking out any private info).

Backup the changes applied via gpedit and undo them all. Reboot and see if this is the area to focus on. If it is then slowly add each restriction back until you find the culprit.

Seems you need to home in the investigation a little bit with some 'undoing' of the settings.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10903066
"Are you sure you didn't disable something (like a service) that has other services that require it and that is why it is lagging?"

I doubt it because the dependencies for all services are either RPC, Plug and Play, or no dependencies. All potentially needed services are set to manual. After booting, I check to see that no services have started that dont usually start. I know all the services that run at any given time and those are the services posted in my original question.

"Follow the run entries in the registry and disable each entry one at a time and reboot to see if any of those change your boot time."

Only two run entries exist, I8KFanGUI + CPUIdle. Both of these have been running before and after the boot lag.

"Backup the changes applied via gpedit and undo them all. Reboot and see if this is the area to focus on. If it is then slowly add each restriction back until you find the culprit."

I will give this a try. I'm frustrated b/c it took a long time to modify all the settings in gpedit to my liking. So now I have to reset all those changes back and test them 1x1?

"Could there be a problem creating/using the pagefile? Try getting rid of it and then allow Windows to create a new one so it definitely isn't all messed up."

I will give this a try. I do defrag the pagefile on a regular basis w/ out problems so I doubt this is it, I will try however.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10903283
Ok here is what I did so far:

1] Disabled firewall, as well as all startup entries.
2] Disapled GPOs [created by gpedit.msc] for entire local computer.
3] Disabled pagefile.

Still, nothing works. All service dependencies are met, and when an error occurs, it always tells me in windows [such as service failed to start] so I know that isnt the culperate. All depenencies were checked + met and verified all necessary services are running through services.msc + task manager.

Help!
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10903309
*Point value increased to 500. This question is now extremely difficult IMO!
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Expert Comment

by:arcascomp
ID: 10906597
Bizzare!

Could it be something dodgy with a combination of hardware and latest patches? I realise you can't uninstall some of those anyway so not certain of where to go from here.

As it's a laptop, I presume attaching an alternative harddrive and doing a clean build to test the hardware isn't an option.

Could you have something trying to use the MS JVM somewhere? That has been removed by the latest updates after legal chinwags with Sun

I think I'm really starting to clutch at straws here. Where are you? anywhere near Edinburgh, Scotland? Maybe I could help you if I could eyeball the system and try a few tricks with it.

If it was possible I'd try and create a Ghost (or whatever tool) image to get a restore point and then try either restoring to different hardware or a clean build to eliminate the hardware from this.

Follow that by then adding service packs and hotfixes, rebboting inbetween to see when the slow down on boot occurs.

Eventually reapply the policies you have to lock down the final build.

Chances are you will go trhough all of this and it'll never do it - leaving the only answer being - weird sh**!

Let us know if you get any further.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10908647
"Could it be something dodgy with a combination of hardware and latest patches?"

Sure. It could be a hotfix or something of the sort causing a conflict. Of course I have no way of knowing that as nothing is reporting errors. Simply put; I get tremendous boot lag!

"I presume attaching an alternative harddrive and doing a clean build to test the hardware isn't an option"

Nope. If I planned on restarting I would have already done so.

"Could you have something trying to use the MS JVM somewhere? "

Nope. My notebook is super lockdown. I have no MS java on this notebook whatsoever. Its pure sun java as MS Java is no longer supported by MS.

"If it was possible I'd try and create a Ghost (or whatever tool) image to get a restore point and then try either restoring to different hardware or a clean build to eliminate the hardware from this"

All drivers are up to date. Unused hardware is disabled in device manager to speed up boot times. The only thing left to do would be reformat. At this point, I just want to fix the problem and not start over. I have put a lot of work into getting things setup as they are now. My system runs better than it did after a reformat/clean install {except for the out of no where boot lag}!

I'm seeing the only option being reinstall. I'm not going to reinstall for some stupid boot lag. The problem annoys me but overall my system is running so damn well I would rather deal w/ it.

Any other suggestions?




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Expert Comment

by:arcascomp
ID: 10908860
Hmmm, suspend or hibernate! Only reboot when you have to.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10909015
"Hmmm, suspend or hibernate! Only reboot when you have to"

Arghh that uses up disk space.
I find myself rebooting often as I always get latest updates off windowsupdate. I always get latest driver updates, etc. Not rebooting isnt a solution so I guess I will have to deal w/ boot lag.

Someone else has to have had this problem/fix?
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Expert Comment

by:rmjds73
ID: 10910214
Dont know if you already tried this, or if it was posted, but did you go over to control panel > system > device manager and click on primary and secondary ide controllers.  For the ones not being used change from auto detection to disable  Windows will sit there trying to detect a device that doesnt exit.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10910859
I have already disabled 2nd IDE channel. I'm sorry this thread is long + difficult to find what I have + havent tried. Have tried:

1] Disabled all unused hardware in device manager
2] Removed all startup items
3] Removed + troubleshooted all unused services
4] Full scan viruses + spyware. Additionaly, I have an up to date hosts file for blocking IE spyads
5] Defragged + scandisk
6] Drivers all up to date
7] Windowsupdate all up to date [win2k sp4 + all hotfixes + security patches]
8] Disabled all performance monitors

For all purposes except bootup, this computer runs absolutely flawless. If it wasnt for the hindering 45+ second boot lag, this machine would be flawlessly configured. I think I need to increase point value of this question to 1K points.
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by:sr75
ID: 10915152
Well, I am am interested in finding out what is causing the lag.  The thought crossed my mind (which I seriously doubt is the case), that all the changes you did is taking a while to load the user profile.
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10915647
"The thought crossed my mind (which I seriously doubt is the case), that all the changes you did is taking a while to load the user profile"

This thought has more than crossed my mind. To help further eliminate the possibility of this thought, consider the following:

1] Disabled all GPOs for entire local computer [admin, guest, etc] made by gpedit.msc
2] Registry is searched and cleaned for obsolete entries regularly
3] Registry is compacted w/ NTREGOPT to ensure registry is smallest + fastest AP

Considering all the changes I have made, in reality, they are far less than the average user installs/uninstalls hardware leaving entries behind in the registry. My registry is clean + compact. The changed settings IMO should further speed up the boot process and NOT vice-versa.

What could possibly be causing this boot lag </pulling hair out>?
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10915656
about last comment, installs/uninstalls hardware = software not hardware
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Expert Comment

by:averyb
ID: 10933000
I quickly read through all of the previous posts and wanted to offer a few suggestions.

From you original post, I think the problem happens before you actually log in.  Is that correct?

Do you have an Auto Login configured for a specific user account?  If so, then the profile might be corrupted.  Try logging in as a different user to see if that helps.  Either way I would suggest creating another admin level user account and use that one day-to-day.  If a profile corrupts the last one you want to corrupt is the original Administrator account.

I would consider disabling the NIC and see if the reboot speeds up.
You said "1 more thing, this notebook is not networked, so network/shared folders slow boot issues do not apply"
How do you get Windows Updates?  

Download Autoruns v4.03 from sysinternals to see everything that is being run at startup.
http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/utilities.shtml

Does you laptop have an infraRed port?  If so disable it, although I think you probably already have.  I have seen that slow down boots before.  
Do you have any external hardware installed? Disconnect them including any external monitor.  Remove all internal devices (i.e. floppy, DVD, CD-ROM, ZIP, flash reader, etc . . .) and try the reboot.  

Do you have hardware profiles defined on the laptop?  Is this laptop used in a docking station or port replicator?

 Something else to try is to boot in SAFE Mode and see if the boot is at regular speed.  Clean out all instances of any duplicated devices in Device Mgr while in Safe Mode and reboot.  New devices will probably be detected and require a few more reboots to process them all.  The "ghost" devices can slow down boot as well.

Let me know
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10933732
Device manager is super clean and tidy including all ghost devices removed.

infrared, wireless, etc are all disabled.

no docking profiles.

I'm stupid and use adminstrator to log in b/c I dont really reap the benefits of creating a custom account. Now I see a specific benefit [corrupted account]. So thx for that. Anyway of fixing a corrupted admin account? I think this is more than likely the culperate.

I know for 100% certain what runs @ startup isnt the problem and I know EVERYTHING that runs at start.

I will also try removing my DVD-ROM.

When I say not networked I mean I elimanted that as the problem. I have no folders shared, my laptop connects to a switch that goes straight to NIC [no software involved]. I have entirely disabled my net connection b4 already. So thats how I get windowsupdates :)

Im not hooked to a dock either, no hardware profiles, no extra nothing. Lean mean browsing/gaming/movie watching notebook!

So is it possible to fix a corrupt admin account?
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Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10933749
I found this website http://www.jsiinc.com/SUBI/tip4000/rh4041.htm about corrupt admin accounts. Shouldnt I be seeing a message telling me my account is corrupted? Cuz I'm not which makes me believe this isnt the culperate.
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Accepted Solution

by:
averyb earned 500 total points
ID: 10934641
In the past I have suspected a bad profile but never been able to prove it.  Deleting it and creating a new one has corrected the problem for me in the past.  More often than not I am sure there was something in the profile that was causing a problem.  I would classify creating a new one as avoiding the problem rather than fixing it.  I never rec'd an error message.  I am probably using "corrupt" incorrectly.  "Messed up" is properly a more accurate term ;)  The profile loads, but something is wrong in it.

Does booting without the network cable plugged in but with the NIC enabled finish faster?

Based on your comments I take it that you are using the AutoLogin feature?  If you are, disable it for the time being and just let the laptop boot.  If it boots to the Ctrl-Alt-Del without a lag then I would think the profile is to blame.

You mentioned that you had already cleaned out the ghost devices, does it boot faster in Safe Mode?

Just for future reference the AutoRuns download shows the other places in the registry that list programs starting at boot.  A couple of places other than the \Run subkey.  It's a good tool to have handy.

You could boot with step by step approval to see where the time lags are as well.  Under <F8>. Also look over MS Knowledge Base Article 221833.  It shows yuo how to debug the userenv.dll which handles profiles and such.  The resulting log file could point to the problem.

I would first try creating a new user account and then logging in as that user to see if the problems go away.
0
 

Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10934801
thx for the tip.
this sounds like good advice.
i hadnt really considered the account.
i am going to follow the tip here http://www.jsiinc.com/SUBI/tip4000/rh4041.htm to create a new admin account.
i gave you the points cuz im almost certain now that this is the problem
i eliminated every suggestion already posted here except this one.
if it doesnt work, im going to format anyway but i expect it to work.
when auto-login was off, this problem didnt exist, thx for reminding me of that :D
thx

-w(   .   )(   .   )ters
0
 

Author Comment

by:w00ters
ID: 10969041
Well it didnt work so I just decided to create another virtual drive and backup all my files and switched to XP. I was planning on going back to xp anyway. Oh well thx for the help guys.
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