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How can I get a second-by-second log of Win XP bootup and login process?

Posted on 2004-10-06
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
My laptop is running Win XP SP1.
It recently came down with a heavy case of a logon sluggishness when it would take bloody ages for the login prompt to come up after I press Ctrl+Alt+Del. Everything works fine once the prompt is up and I log in, it is just that endless wait before the prompt (Talking up to 10-15 minutes).
It would be nice to be able to see what processes take place during that wait time - maybe an unnecessary service is starting, maybe an unstable driver is loading, who knows.
I tried "verbose logon", but nothing is displayed during the long wait time.
And the regular "F8" boot log does not have any timeline, so it is hard to tell WHERE XP "hangs".

(I can't just roll back the system, since system restore is OFF because of a proprietary app that we use, so I have to either troubleshoot or reinstall my XP along with the endless slew of apps.)
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Question by:adzip2001
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12245410
Off hand, I'd say you need to replace a few DLLs with debug versions - typically only available to programmers with subscriptions to MSDN.  Check the userenv.log file %windir%\debug\UserMode
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by:adzip2001
ID: 12247601
Userenv.log: Warmer, but not it yet, not enough detail... This is all the info that it had about my logon this morning:
USERENV(2d0.2d4) 07:40:25:088 CUserProfile::CleanupUserProfile: Ref Count is not 0
USERENV(2d0.2d4) 07:40:25:088 CUserProfile::CleanupUserProfile: Ref Count is not 0
USERENV(2d0.2d4) 07:40:25:088 CUserProfile::CleanupUserProfile: Ref Count is not 0

Is there a 3rd party utility out there that can do this?
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 30 total points
ID: 12248546
Using a debug version of a DLL (I don't remember which one) this USERENV log is MUCH more detailed.  Also - have you looked at event log to see what's going on?

Sorry, don't know of any third party app that can monitor the login like that.

My guess is it's trying to do something with the network and being unsuccessful contacting a server for what it's trying to do, timing out trying.
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by:adzip2001
ID: 12250590
> My guess is it's trying to do something with the network and being unsuccessful contacting a server for what it's trying to do, timing out trying.
- That's what I'm thinking too, I just wish I could figure out what exactly the darn thing is...

Event log didn't yield much help -- I saw only the events after the logon.

How difficult is it to subscribe to MSDN? I should prob'ly try that debug .DLL
(I would imagine that I will just need to replace the regular one somewhere in the Windows folder).
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Expert Comment

by:crissand
ID: 12250848
I don't remeber if it's working but there are the followings switches to try:

multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /bootlog /debug

in the boot.ini file. I could be wrong, these could be switches for servers, but give it a try. Let's say you have the following boot.ini:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

add a line like this

multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP debug mode mode" /bootlog /debug

Next time you start computer there will be a 30 second delay when you can select "Windows XP debug mode". If the switches are right the system will go (slower than normal) you'll have the bootlog file.
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by:adzip2001
ID: 12251824
Quick question: where will the bootlog be saved to?
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by:adzip2001
ID: 12252281
Disregard my previous comment - it goes to %SYSTEMROOT%\ntbtlog.txt

Closer to the solution, still there are no timestamps and I suspect that all that there is in the log takes place BEFORE the invitation to press "Ctrl+Alt+Del to log in".
Yet the time period in question - the time between Ctrl+Alt+Del and login prompt - still remains a mystery. No messages are displayed during that time and I don't think that those processes are reflected in the log.
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Accepted Solution

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crissand earned 100 total points
ID: 12257570
You can use bootvis. It purpose is to optimize the startup of a windows xp, but it makes a timelog too. Download from here:

http://www.soft32.com/download_19687.html

since I did'n't find it on microsoft site.
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by:adzip2001
ID: 12269039
Great answer, and thank you for finding bootvis -- I have been scouring the Web for days trying to find it since it went MIA from Microsoft's site.
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