xp slow after boot

I'm running XP Pro SP2 (3 ghz, 1gb ram), and suddenly within the past week or so, right after boot up, it's as though the entire system semi-locks. I have 4 apps/processes that are supposed to automatically start up right at bootup:

1- Internet connection
2- VPN to my work
3- Outlook
4- MSN Chat

Prior to a week ago, the moment xp booted, these 4 items sprang to life within a few seconds and I was up and running. But about a week ago, after XP boots, the 4 items don't fire up for about 1.5 minutes. My PC doesn't appear to be frozen, though it is slow during that time. It's like it goes into some kind of limbo wait-mode, and then after a minute and a half, the 4 items suddenly spring to life as if they finally got the green light. As if some primary thread was blocking everything else from happening.

Also, my photoshop 6 now runs so slow it's intolerable. This may be unrelated (?).

- I have gone through msconfig and turned off everything unnecessary.
- I have uninstalled all unused programs.
- I have turned off several services that I know I didn't need.
- I have defragged my drive.
- I have doubled the size of my swap file / virtual disk.
- I have run the [worthless] Adaware 6 (all it does it deletes a bunch of cookies)
- I have rebooted many times. The bootup time happens fast, like usual, it's just that post-boot 1.5 minutes that is the problem.

I have examined Task Manager processes during the minute and a half limbo-time, and nothing is consuming cpu or memory. It all looks normal. I'm a programmer, so I'm constantly installing utilities and components, etc. So if you're wondering what i installed around the time this problem started happening, the answer is "nothing I can think of". It's possible that I did, but I can't think of any real junk that I installed recently that would put spyware/adware on my pc. And Adaware comes up with nothing. Spybot won't clean anything until you buy it, so I skipped that.

I hope somebody can help me out. I'm willing to try anything except reinstalling my OS, which costs me about 2 days of downtime because of everything I have to reinstall (about 30 tools and apps) and reconfigure.
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Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
go to www.mlin.net and use startup control panel see if that finds anything else that is starting up with your machine that shouldnt be, also was it before sp 2 that it was ok and then after sp2 it got really slugish or what ?

Also registry mechanic and www.ccleaner.com

Those would be two good tools to use and run to make sure everything is fine with regards to junk files and also damaged registry entries.

Aside from that what about an anti virus scan using trend micros website or any other anti spyware apps such as ewido , spy sweeper, spybot search and destroy or microsofts antispyware beta ?
Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
If you need specific sites for ewido or any of the tools I mentioned please post back ( I just figured since you are a programmer that you didnt need that info :)
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
I'm trying out these utilities you mentioned. In the meantime, a little more info:

I've had SP2 for quite some time, so that's not it.

- Whenever I do Save As from any app, the browse dialog that comes up seems to take 15-20 seconds before it lets me browse. This started happening at the same time as my post-boot delay.

(Great thing to be doing on New Year's Eve, huh?)
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Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
That ccleaner app has a fix issues button, so maybe that would help a little bit.

Also registry mechanic or the freeware one will help with any registry issues.

Here is the freeware registry cleaner :


Do you get anything in event viewer ( control panel --> admin tools --> event viewer ) As I am sure you already know.

As a last resort after running all of that you could always go to start --> run

sfc / scannow
I don’t know if this would help, but there is a Add-on for Msconfig from Microsoft which is supposed to let you launch various diagnostic tools/utilities.
have a look in control panel administrative tools event viewer applications  what errors are in here..do you have a roaming profile problem.
Troubleshooting profile unload issues
When you log off a computer that is running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Windows NT 4.0, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms: • A user profile does not unload.
• A roaming profile does not reconcile.
• You reach the registry size limit (RSL).
• You take a long time to log off, and you receive the following message:
Saving settings….
Additionally, you may receive one or more of the following event messages in the application event log, depending on your operating system.

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003
Event Type: Error
Event Source: Userenv
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1517
Windows saved user ComputerName\UserName registry while an application or service was still using the registry during log off. The memory used by the user's registry has not been freed. The registry will be unloaded when it is no longer in use. This is caused by services running as a user account, try configuring the services to run in either the LocalService or NetworkService account.

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Userenv
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1524 Description:
Windows cannot unload your classes registry file - it is still in use by other applications or services. The file will be unloaded when it is no longer in use.

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Userenv
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1500
Windows cannot log you on because your profile cannot be loaded. Check that you are connected to the network, or that your network is functioning correctly. If this problem persists, contact your network administrator.
This issue may occur if Microsoft Windows or third-party programs such as printer drivers or virus scanners do not stop and release resources when you log off your computer.
To resolve this issue, use the Microsoft User Profile Hive Cleanup Service (UPHClean). UPHClean monitors the computer while Windows is unloading user profiles and forces resources that are open to close. Therefore, the computer can unload and reconcile user profiles.

To download and install UPHClean, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=1B286E6D-8912-4E18-B570-42470E2F3582 (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=1B286E6D-8912-4E18-B570-42470E2F3582)

defrag your hdd run a chkdsk, clean out yur internet temp files cookies, reuce the size of allocated space for IE fles, r/click internet explorer at start menue internet  properties> under general>settings here you can see amount of disk space to use reduce it around 300 megs thats heaps.

run a memtest86 incase your ram is getting dodgy.

scan your hdd with hijack this>> http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3155.html 

remove lots of shortcuts off your desktop if you have programs on your desktop ..
remove your history and most recent used items. these can build up.

run the task manager performance it shows the usage tracks.

could be heat issues.
 could be your psu is not providing constant power or it is not enough if you have added more hardware. In sufficient power will slow the machine.

Complete PC Preventive Maintenance Guide

that should see a marked improvement. One way to kill a full afternoon ;)

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awe i missed one do a scan for corrupt files from run at the start menue type in sfc /scannow.
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
I tried nearly everything mentioned in this thread, no success. any other ideas? i've now scanned and repaired my pc 6 ways from sunday.

Is there any way to tell which process or thread is blocking my startup apps/processes from running? they do finally run after 1.5 minutes, but what's blocking them initially?
6 ways lol and there is more yet.
which ones havent you tried? if you can try everyone.

do you have any scans running? we need to see what is loading when windows boots this tool is great..
Startup Inspector for Windows helps manage your startup applications and provides information on programs that run when you start up Windows.
as it started recently it maybe spyware or virus.
How old is your system?

ok next steps disabling unnessary services,



Do you have Norton's installed on this machine?  If you do uninstall it completely from add/remove programs, use this to get rid of the rest of it


and do a start<search for    symantec    all folders and files   and opt for advanced search hidden files and folders.  Delete all you find.  Try NOD 32 for free for 30 days  http://www.nod32.com/scriptless/download/trial.htm    
check your cpu temp first, if it goes up, it will slow down the CPU.
you can also do a system rstore to a previous date to see if that helps.
running sfc /scannow can help too.
and if it tries to access lost or bad devices, disconnect or disable them in the bios for testing.
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
I don't have Norton installed, and I already ran sfc /scannow.
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
what is "cpu temp"?
Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
You could do an in place upgrade aka a repair install but then you would lose your updates :

Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
Take a look at this open question with regards to the windows xp repair install :

Shane Russell2nd Line Desktop SupportCommented:
cpu temp as in your processors temperature which you can check either in the bios or you can get programs like speedfan or motherboard monitor to monitor things like that :)

If you need links to those apps post back and let me know.
Dale MaySecurityCommented:
Corrupted event logs are pretty easy to fix if you do it right.

First, you have to stop the Event Log service (or you can't delete the files).  Right-click My Computer, left-click Manage, expand Services and Applications, highlight Services.  Click on the Event Log service ans Stop it.

Next, go to C:\Windows\System32\Config and delete the 3 .EVT files (or just the one which is corrupted).  You have to do Tools -> Folder Options -> View, Show Hidden Files and uncheck Hide Protected Operating System Files in order to see them.

Last; reboot.  Windows will create new, blank files and you're done.


Why have you not answered my question about Norton's?
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
tim, did you miss my 01/01/2006 05:47PM MST post? Also, I did a search on Symantec and found some folders and files. Should I remove all that, then?
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
An xp repair sounds a little scary. Are you experts pretty confident that it leaves apps and data intact? Does this xp repair have a good track record?

I apologize for missing that post.  Yes I would delete the symantec folder and files if you do not use any of their products.  Read this about a repair install;


I'd back up anything critical on to other media to be safe before doing it.

have you ever performed a reformat/reinstall on your system?  A clean install can fix many problems.

SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
Yes, I know a full reformat/reinstall of my xp would fix the problem, but it would also cost me 2 whole days because of the 30 or so apps i would have to reinstall and reconfigure. At this point I would rather live with the problem rather than kill 2 days of my time. I was kind of hoping that there was a more surgical approach to this. There must be something causing this and there must be some smoking gun, some log/trail of what's going on.
Before you rebuild your system, you may want to check out Bootvis. It's an "unsupported" utilty released by Microsoft a few years back. It still works on XP and is great for giving you a visual log of your boot process. It may help you to pinpoint where the delay is coming from. Worth a try before you kill 2 days.


From what I can gather, it sounds like it could possibly be a network issue. Something like mapped drives or a saved FTP site? Just a wild guess.
did you check your CPU temp ?
download and install UPHClean, it should solve any user profile hive lags.which can cause the system to load files or open folders very slowly The memory used by the user's registry has not been freed.
Dale MaySecurityCommented:
The User Profile Hive Cleanup service helps to ensure user sessions are completely terminated when a user logs off. System processes and applications occasionally maintain connections to registry keys in the user profile after a user logs off. In those cases the user session is prevented from completely ending. This can result in problems when using Roaming User Profiles in a server environment or when using locked profiles as implemented through the Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP.

On Windows 2000 you can benefit from this service if the application event log shows event id 1000 where the message text indicates that the profile is not unloading and that the error is "Access is denied". On Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 either event ids 1517 and 1524 indicate the same profile unload problem.

To accomplish this the service monitors for logged off users that still have registry hives loaded. When that happens the service determines which application have handles opened to the hives and releases them. It logs the application name and what registry keys were left open. After this the system finishes unloading the profile.

see the above expert's link: merete
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
I tried almost everything in this thread, except for doing a full system repair. I looked at SpeedFan though I couldn't make anything of it.

BUT over the weekend I say a good improvement. Now, instead of a 1.5 minute post-login delay/hang, now it hangs for about 30 seconds before any desktop icons display and before the Task Bar displays, and then everything displays and my 3 startup apps spring to life.

From 1.5 minutes to 30 seconds is a great improvement, though I'm still puzzled by the initial half minute delay, which didn't used to happen. And I'm wondering why photoshop still runs intolerably slow (a week ago it was running fast).

I already ran UPHC days ago. Maybe it helped. I tried many different things suggested on this thread, so I have no doubt that one or a combo if these things improved my situation. I wouldn't know which was the silver bullet, though.

I would like to hear any other ideas, otherwise I'll just split up points for this question.

only thing I can suggest for now SweatCoder
create a new profile for test purposes, there may  be a glitch in your profile. It is very easy to creat a new profile.
If you have tested your ram defragged your drive. You could change the boot dispaly load time too.
Or page file size.
Or how long windows shows the welcome screen.
Cut Your Boot Time Into ‘Bits’

Turn Off The XP Welcome Screen
Start > Control Panel > User Accounts

2) Select "Change the way users log on or off"

3) Uncheck the "Welcome Screen" option

4) Click "Apply Options"

5) The settings will take effect when you log off.

The "Log On" option also changes the way "Ctrl Alt Del" works...

Under the "Welcome Screen" option you are taken into the "Task Manager" dialog box.

Under the "Log On Screen" you are given the Windows Security dialog box, which gives you far more options!

The "Log On Screen" also renames "Turn Off Computer" on the Start menu to "Shut Down".

The other main feature you get is the ability to log on to ANY user account, whereas under the "Welcome Screen" you can NOT access hidden users.

So, as you can see there are benefits to using the "Log On Screen" over the "Welcome Screen" option.

Physically Setting the Page File Size

AND for test purposes:
How To Create and Configure User Accounts in Windows XP
You can create separate accounts for each person that will be using the computer. This allows each user to have their own document folders and settings such as the wallpaper, Start menu, visual style, and so forth. You can create and configure user accounts with the User Accounts tool in Control Panel.

To open the User Accounts tool, open Control Panel from the Start menu, and then double click User Accounts.
Click Create a new account in the Pick a task list box.
2. Type the name that you want to use for the account, and then click Next.
3. Select the desired account type, and then click Create Account.
To Make Changes to an Account
1. Click Change an account in the Pick a task list box.
2. Click the account that you want to change.
3. Select the item that you would like to change:• Click Change the name to change the name that appears on the Welcome screen for the account.
• Click Change the picture to change the picture that is used to represent the user account. You can use any image file on the computer for the user's picture.
• Click Change the account type to change the account type to increase or decrease the user's rights on the computer.
• Click Create/change the password to create or change the password for the user and create or change the password hint.  
• Click Delete the account to delete the user account from the computer. When you delete the account, you are given the option to save the user's files on the computer.

Note: You can not delete the account for a user that is currently logged on to the computer.

Duplicate profile.
Log off this one and onto the new one, I wouldnt remove the old or do anything with it until you have achieved your desired outcome.

To create a duplicate of a user profile with a different user name, try this:

Create a new user account

Logon to that account to initialize the newly created profile

Log off from the newly created profile

Login as built-in Administrator

Open Control Panel System applet

Click the Advanced tab

Click Settings under User Profiles

Select a profile to copy from and choose Copy To

Browse to the profile to copy to (C:\Documents and Settings\username)

A new profile is now created which is the duplicate of your user profile.

Have fun
Best wishes
Dale MaySecurityCommented:
slow computer question are very difficulot to answer because there are so many possibilities.
This link is very helpful foe many people
Here is another trick :
This is one of my favorite tricks, I do this on EVERY machine I WORK ON. I'll lay it out in simple terms so those who are not as experienced with a PC can also do this.

Click START, then RUN {pic 1}, then type REGEDIT in the "Open:" line,{pic 2} then hit ENTER

This will open up your Windows registry editor, next collapse the following tree

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop {pic 4}

There you will see an entry called MenuShowDelay

If you do not see this entry, then simply RIGHT CLICK on the "DESKTOP" subfolder and choose New>String Value {pic 3}, then type "MenuShowDelay" exactally as I did, without quotations.

NEXT, You want to modify its value, change its value to 10

Most machines are usually set to default at 400, decreasing this time to 10 greatly speeds up the start menu and the sub menus it contains.

You'll see the difference by either logging out, or rebooting. And you'll love how much faster the OS seems to respond from just that simple change.

SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
Sorry for delay. I will be trying out these recent suggestions and get back to everyone soon. I'm in the middle of a work deadline, but I don't want anyone to think that I've gone off and ignored this thread.

thank you SweatCoder  best of luck with it.
SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
Well, I'm back if anyone cares, and I'll be awarding points. Sorry for the long delay but I've been swamped with work. My PC is firing up MUCH faster now, thanks to all the great posts on this thread.

One of the single biggest things that helped was...DUH...I had at least 1 mapped drive pointing to nonexistent UNC shares. Oops. This was causing delays at startup and other places as well.

Other things that I'm sure helped as well:

1- Cleaning junk off my system
2- Cleaning registry
3- Defragging drive
4- Running UPHClean
5- Disabling unnecessary services

SweatCoderAuthor Commented:
A bit more detail:

It seems that UPHClean got me 80% improvement at startup time. Thanks Merete. The other 20% came from VerifyMe and the UNC/Mapped drive idea.
hey your wellcome good to hear you have a solution. I see this so often with xp maybe Bill G should look into the problem. I seem to be installing it oh so often.
Cheers Merete
Excellent feedback! Glad you got things resolved. Thanks for the points and grade!
Dale MaySecurityCommented:
Was happy for your progress, and the good advice from our experts.  Wishing you well.
Thanks, D_may
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