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WinXP  *extremely* slow to launch programs

Posted on 2004-09-15
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
strangly boot time has never been faster. but after about 1 minute after boot, the problem starts.  at first, I thought the computer was locking up but I eventually realized it was slow load times.  example: I try to open AOL IM, and I watch task manager for the memory usage of AIM as its' loading. I can watch it load about more ot less 20K/minute of this ( or any) application. It takes about 15-30 minutes to load it.  When I reboot in safe mode, there is no slowness at all.  I did an XP repair install and it worked fine the first session, and then I rebooted and it started again. after about 1 1/2 hours into this session it suddenly cleared up.  Feeling confident, I went on install SP2 and reboot and the problem started again and did not recover after 1 1/2 hours like in the last session.  
    Over the previous week to the problem, before this started, my computer suddenly freezed up, about 4 times.  I thought there was too much heat in the case, so I got it better ventilated and it stopped.  Also the primary master started making some unusual clicking at the start of boot-up, but I rule this out since disk access is fast during bootup and in safe mode.  
   Although programs like IE take 1/2 hour or so to load, once they're loaded, they operate fine, with no slowdown.  
   The problem first started while I was in the middle of burning an audio CD.
    Could this be a HD problem?

I'm going to mark this as Urgent because I work from home twice a week due to extremely long commute. That day it cleared up on it's own after 1 1/2 hours was just in time to start working and was lucky for me..
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Question by:daveteq
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by:daveteq
ID: 12065412
I want to add that I already ran Adaware,  Kaspersky virus scan,  I deleted the HD from device manager and let it re-detect it, in case DMA settings got set wrongly somehow.  There are no processes taking up huge amount of virtual memory.  
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SheharyaarSaahil earned 500 total points
ID: 12065485
Hello daveteq =)

Two basick things first......
goto Start>Run>msconfig>startup
and untick all applications excpet ur firewall and antivrus entries

then in Services section, click on Hide Microsoft services
now check if any unusual\unknown service is listed here
if YES then untick it also

restart and now check if any progress or not ??
and Im sure u have already cleaned up ur system from spwyares\trojans stuff, right :)
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Author Comment

by:daveteq
ID: 12065592
Hi SheharyaarSaahil, Thanks for the quick response. I'll try that when I get home tonight.   I also want to see if some program is causing memory leaks, as some people were talking about in a similar thread. If there was a leak, would the virtual memory of the process get high?    I have 256MB RAM, but during this trouble, I never even get to use that much.
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Expert Comment

by:jkr
ID: 12065795
Check out your PATH environment variable to see whether it contains any network paths.
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12065837
>> I have 256MB RAM

well 256MB ram is not the recommended RAM for WinXP.... especially when u are running Norton or Mcafee, which are big memepry hoggers :)

Atleast get another 256MB, and make it 512MB, which is the least recommended RAM for XP !! =)
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by:glenn_1984
ID: 12065897
Do you have any external peripherals, like an external hard drive, zip drive or modem?
If so, disconnected them all...reboot and see if the problem goes away.
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by:DoTheDEW335
ID: 12066171
<<Also the primary master started making some unusual clicking at the start of boot-up, but I rule this out since disk access is fast during bootup and in safe mode>>

That to me is extreemly scary! clicking like that 99% of the time means your HDD is going to fail at some point. Find out what HDD you have and goto the link below and get the diagnostic program and run it.

Maxtor/Quantum (Fireball) http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm
Western Digital http://support.wdc.com/download/
Samsung http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html
Seagate http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html
IBM/Hitachi http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT
fujitsu/Seimens hard-drives/#diagnostic">http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic
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by:daveteq
ID: 12066246
<< <<Also the primary master started making some unusual clicking at the start of boot-up, but I rule this out since disk access is fast during bootup and in safe mode>>

That to me is extreemly scary! clicking like that 99% of the time means your HDD is going to fail at some point. Find out what HDD you have and goto the link below and get the diagnostic program and run it.  
>>


Yes I'm looking around for a new drive right now.    It's a WD.  I've had bad luck with WD and Seagate.  Definately going to go wtih MAxtor - those things just seem to never die.     :o)
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Expert Comment

by:Ricky11
ID: 12067016
256MB is fine.. If it takes 30 mins to load I/E with 256MB it will take 27 mins with 512MB. Ram is not the issue here.

I would try the Starup using MSCONFIG as SheharyaarSaahil pointed out.

Also I recommned a DEFRAG of your hardrive, if it requires one, you will be suprised to realize how fast this speeds things up.

Run Spybot S&D to check for any trojans, although i doubt this is the case, but it searchs for different things that adware does.

Slow loading at startup could also mean there is a protocol issue, have you recently changed any of your network settings, do you have any unneeded protocols, you should only have tcp/ip and client for microsoft networks and perhaps one more, remove ipx/spx or anything else if you have it provding you are not connected to a novell netowork or anything like that.  Do this in Network Settings.  

Have you checked how much hard disk space you have,, What is the size of your virtual swap file, make sure it is windows managed, should be 3 times the size of your ram.

HTH.
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by:DoTheDEW335
ID: 12067284
Yes I'm looking around for a new drive right now.    It's a WD.  I've had bad luck with WD and Seagate.  Definately going to go wtih MAxtor - those things just seem to never die.     :o)

I agree, I had nothing but trouble with WD but then again I've run into trouble with them all. Good luck!
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by:robertdana
ID: 12068521
The "works fine in safe mode" but not normally points a big red finger at a software rather than a hardware problem... I'm not saying that your hard drive is definitely healthy, but if you check the event log (control panel - Administrative tools - event log) and you don't see a bunch of "disk" and / or "atapi" errors in the system log, then the hard drive is probably OK.  Definitely run the WD diagnostics before replacing it.

Someone recommended disabling everything *but* virus protection and firewall in msconfig... I would also temporarily turn those off as well using msconfig and see if the system behaves better without resorting to safe mode... if your virus program got messed up, it could very well dramatically impact disk access times.  It would be a very good idea to disconnect your computer from your Internet connection (assuming you have broadband of some flavor) while you do this.  Even better than msconfig is the "startup" tool in Spybot's "Advanced" Mode... unfortunately a number of trojans and adware programs have gotten wise to msconfig and will undo your changes as soon as you make them.

I would echo other posters comments about trying several spyware removal tools, with spybot and adaware at the top of the list.  THere's also a chance you have a "trojan"- several I've run into modify the basic mechanisms windows uses to launch programs and could potentially result in delays if they malfunction.  Unfortunately, most antivirus software does a lousy job with trojans... try downloading TDS - 3, a trojan-specific scanner.  You can get a free evaluation copy here:

http://www.diamondcs.com.au/

Make sure you manually download the latest database and install it as descibed on the website.

Good luck!

-R

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Author Comment

by:daveteq
ID: 12071132
SheharyaarSaahil ,  
  I ran msconfig as you described.  I elimited all the stuff I do not need and the computer is working great!! For now, this is good enough.... I can narrow it down what the problem service/program was...  thanks!! Glad I signed up, this was a life saver!!!
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12071142
great news.... glad i cud be of any help to u...... Cheers to EE ^_^

!! Happy Computing !!
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by:DoTheDEW335
ID: 12074368
I still think the HD could be bad due to the clicking. No one meantioned anything about the clicking. Does it not concern any of you?. Glad SheharyaarSaahil got you going! GJ!
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12074402
if hard disk wud be bad, the "clicking" shud be produced in Safemode also.... but dave said that he doesn't feel any problems in Safemode !!

the "clicking" can be the accessing noise from hard drive, when its over accessed due to many programs trying to write\access it at the same time, means at startup :)
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by:DoTheDEW335
ID: 12074507
clicking can be very random in hard drives, sometimes they can click constantly sometimes click a few times then never hear from them again for weeks or months. it's never a timing thing you can count on at any time.
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
ID: 12074542
ahaaannnn... can be..... but i think dave will take care of it himself ;-)
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by:daveteq
ID: 12077523
The clicking occurs right at the start of bootup every time now.  the drive has been running in a small crowded hot case 24x7 for 1.5 years. so It could be it's crapping out. I ordered a maxtor 250GB drive from Outpost.com for $120. good deal!
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