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xp computer takes so long to boot?

Posted on 2011-02-15
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I am running windows xp home edition on a pentium 4 2.53 GHz with 512 MB Ram.  The computer takes a very long time to boot.  During the boot phase the screen is black and there
is a flashing hyphen at the top left of the screen.  The computer can take up to 3 or 4 minutes to boot.  Once it boots it is okay but accessing web sites is slow.  What might be the problem and
how can I repair the system?
thanks,
capreol
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Question by:capreol
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 34899523

go to start>run>msconfig
then to go startup tab, and remove all entries except the antivirus one
restart your computer & try

Whats the antivirus you are using?

Also, download & run combofix:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix
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Author Comment

by:capreol
ID: 34899577
I have already done the msconfig and have removed all entries except the antivirus program.
I am using AVG 8.5 free edition.  Doing this has not made a difference.  Also, it is important to
know that this computer is connected to a DSL router and is sharing the internet with an iMac.
Both computers require a login password to the ISP in order to get internet access.  Might this be causing the problem?  Maybe it is a network problem.
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Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 34899599
Uninstall Antivirus & try
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LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34899603
>>  Both computers require a login password to the ISP in order to get internet access.  Might this be causing the problem?  Maybe it is a network problem.

Not for starting up.


I'd disable AVG and run the following anti-virus products.  Combofix has already been recommended.

MalwareBytes:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam-download.php
ComboFix:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix
HitmanPro:
http://www.surfright.nl/en/hitmanpro
TDSSKiller:
http://support.kaspersky.com/downloads/utils/tdsskiller.zip

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Author Comment

by:capreol
ID: 34900574
I have removed the AVG and it did not make a difference in the startup time.  It still takes
2 minutes and 45 seconds to boot.  Also there is only the flashing hyphen at the top left of a black screen.
There is no startup screen displaying detected drives, chipset, and BIOS information.

Typically this stuff is displayed...the BIOS chip's POST program detecting the onboard storage and also the display should show which key to press to start the setup program but all of this is not seen on the screen when this computer is trying to boot.
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Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 34900583
could be fan problem, or a hard disk issue
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34900729
>>  There is no startup screen displaying detected drives, chipset, and BIOS information.

Check BIOS.  May be an option to enable or disable this stuff.  Also check that computer is showing correct time.
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LVL 23

Accepted Solution

by:
edbedb earned 1000 total points
ID: 34900823
It could be the system is having trouble detecting the hard drive. This is usually caused from a failing hard or CD drive. Try removing the CD drive to see if it's any better.
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Expert Comment

by:optoma
ID: 34901361
It may also be a bootkit virus(flashing boot cursor + only noticable slowdown is webbing). Quickest way to find out is to use above mentioned TdssKiller, although Hitmanpro + Combofix also can detect and remove is present :)
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:ocanada_techguy
ocanada_techguy earned 1000 total points
ID: 34908318
Do you have a USB hard drive attached and turned on at the time?
I see that all the time in that case.  If you look at the activity light on the drive it is flashing like crazy for the duration of the black screen delay.  Do not turn off the drive while it is doing so, wait.  But next time, try to remember to have the USB drive powered off when you (re-)boot the system and you will get to the desktop/login screen after the Windows loading logo screen much faster.
The larger the usb attached hard drive(s), the longer the delay.
It doesn't seem to matter what anti-virus you have, Windows itself is scanning the drive contents, almost like it does when autoplay or looking for alternate windows installations, or checking the integrity of the folder/file tree, although there isn't necessarily an autochkdsk log entry (you can check for one in the Event Log)  I do however also suspect AV may be scanning for rootkits, which is certainly not a bad thing.
I also suspect at the Windows loading stage it is still a pseudo WinPE environment and at that point there may only be usb 1 support working, so usb activity is 48 times slower (!) than once the usb 2 drivers get loaded and working.
Some people think changing the boot order in the BIOS setup will fix it, but that's not it either as you're already well past that and booting from the system drive, you've already seen the Windows XP loading blue back-n-forth bar screen, and then the black screen of inexplicably long delay happens.
It is definitely SUPER ANNOYING that the screen is just black and gives no clue as to what is going on.

We've also seen this if there is media left in the DVD/blue ray drive, as that can be a substantial amount of folders/files to walk the tree as well.

If not that, then definitely investigate if the system drive is failing, are there any errors in the system event log?
We've also seen the delay when the DVD burner drive turned out to be defective, and replacing it remedied the problem.
In fact, believe it or not, I have seen a defective DVD burner cause McAfee enterprise security firewall to malfunction until the drive was replaced, that one had us pull-hair-out baffled trying all kinds of thing to figure out what was wrong with McAfee until we finally stumbled onto the fact the drive wasn't working right quite by accident.  So it just goes to show, there can be the strangest interoperability issues.
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Expert Comment

by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 34908354
Certainly you want to rule-out a rootkit virus, as those can be particularly malicious.  TDL3 and TDL4 hide themselves by creating their own special encrypted hidden area on a disk.  They allow remote operators access to your system, password theft, and potentially electronic banking or identiy theft.
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Author Comment

by:capreol
ID: 34912673
I did the Dell 32 bit diagnostics today.  It determined that drive 0 passed the test.
I assume that drive 0 is the C drive.  It indicated that drive 1 was not recognized.  
Once the computer booted...after almost 3 minutes, and, when I went into "my computer" it indicated that there was a drive K.  Drive K is a backup drive that the system seems to be unable to recognize on boot.  What should I do?
thanks,
capreol
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LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34912778
>>  Drive K is a backup drive that the system seems to be unable to recognize on boot.  What should I do?

That will be for restoration purposes.   It will be a partition on drive 0.  Drive 0 has two partitions, the C: and the K:

If you need to restore the operating system there will be hot keys you can use on bootup to access the K:  possibly F11 or CTRL-F11.  Refer to your manual for details.   Your 3 minute boot time is perhaps a little slow but I wouldn't call it abnormal.

If you wish to play around with boot times check out BootVis http://www.weethet.nl/english/hardware_bootvis.php  (download sites are on the Net, Microsoft no longer has it).
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 34913867
Hmm drive 1 not recognized could just be their way of saying there is no drive 1 found, or it could be something not working, but which.
What does BIOS setup think are present devices?  One would expect a hard drive and a CD/DVD drive.  More than those two?
Maybe you could right click on My Computer, Manage, and in system Management click the Drive Management branch.  See what it shows.  If you can Alt-Shift-PrintScreen and then paste it in Paint and save as a .jpg and then post that file here
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:ded9
ID: 34913942
Check boot priority in bios make sure hard drive is set to boot first.. Also check for quick boot option in bios. If you have such option then enable it.



Ded9
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Author Closing Comment

by:capreol
ID: 35030243
The solution involved determining that it was a failling hard drive.  Backup, new hard drive, reinstall windows and restore drivers and data.
thanks,
capreol
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