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Slow opening start button

Posted on 2011-10-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have a client that has a Windows XP pro system that boots up normally and all the icons on the desktop open up without any delay.  The problem is the Start Button.  Right after you boot the system the start button does not appear to work, (the start menu does not pop up).  If you leave the machine alone for about 30 minutes then the start button will respond normally.  They have moved most of the icons they use on a regular basis to the desktop which makes a very messy desktop.  What they've started doing is leaving the computer on all the time and never shutting it off.
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Question by:webwil
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12 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:themrrobert
ID: 36901132
does the machine need to be defragged?

windows typically  seems to build a start menu cache on boot and if it has to run all around a slow-as-dirt hd looking for program icons this can take a while. Its basically like opening a folder when you click the start menu, and its full of shortcuts linking to other folders, but until these are loaded once (and cached) it takes as long as the machine will physically take to load the data.

a defrag may do wonders, a replacement hd will do more, a reinstall of windows will help even more, and if they don't have a strong reason to stay on windows, perhaps try a live slax cd:
http://www.slax.org/get_slax.php

(it won't make any changes to the machine, it all loads either from the disk/usb or from ram with the boot command:
slax toram

if they like linux, then maybe you can install it :)

also, you can search on slax and find and programs/modules the user wants and download the iso image in one prepackages file. Excellent!
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Author Comment

by:webwil
ID: 36901192
They have defragged the drive, they don't have that much loaded on the system, it's a work computer.  Office and SQL is it.  No pictures or music.  Again, icons on the desktop open with a normal reaction time, it's just the start button that takes forever to pop up.  But after the machine has been up for about 30 minutes then it responds normally.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:marek1712
ID: 36902382
Domain or workgroup computer?
Try to login as administrator, rename the user profile, login as the user, log on again as administrator and copy the old profile's contents to the newly created folder.
Is the any hard disk or CPU usage taking time (like heavy data reading, antivirus scanning)? Maybe they have lots of orphaned shortcuts in the Start Menu and, as themrrobert pointed out, OS is looking for the icons?
Any events in the Event Viewer?
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Arman Khodabande
ID: 36903018
It seems that it's not only Start menu! The whole taskbar is locked during that time, I think!
And it's normally caused by something that keeps "Windows explorer" Busy.
Something like:
heavy antivirus (Like norton or kaspersky, etc),
A lot of unwanted startup programs,
A malware probably,
2 antiviruses installed simultaneously,

First thing to check:
Start your windows in Clean boot mode, Follow the instructions here.

After a clean boot, watch and report the results.
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Author Comment

by:webwil
ID: 36904031
I had the client open task manager as soon as the system completed it's boot up, the task bar is not hanging up, and had them select the tab for performance and monitor it while I was on the phone with them.  The performance did not show any abnormal cpu or memory usage.  They run Norton antivirus only.  The unit is part of a workgroup.connecting to a Linux server.  This is the only PC on the network with this problem.
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Expert Comment

by:Arman Khodabande
ID: 36904480
Do you mean that the whole taskbar is responsive and only the START button doesn't work?
So when you click Start Button taskbar freezes?
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Author Comment

by:webwil
ID: 36904508
Yes,  if you click on the task bar before clicking on the start button it responds normally but if you click on the start button first then the task bar is frozen as well.  But all the icons on the desktop work normally, even after you've clicked on the start button.
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LVL 10

Accepted Solution

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Arman Khodabande earned 2000 total points
ID: 36904610
So as marek1712 said there is something special in your Start menu!
Clear Recent Docs and remove orphaned shortcuts.
Alternatively disable Norton Antivirus on startup and test Start menu.
Norton is known to reduce system response time in low performance computers.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:marek1712
ID: 36907887
You've said the computer connects to the Linux server. How? Via SMB? If yes - try to remove the mapped drive (if there's one) and disable NIC before booting.
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Author Comment

by:webwil
ID: 36907948
I've not been in contact with the client for several days.  I will pass along these suggestions and see which fix the system and will get back with the results.
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Author Closing Comment

by:webwil
ID: 37431458
It's been busy around here and I finally got back to my client.  They said the solution fixed the problem and apologized for not gettng back to me sooner.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Arman Khodabande
ID: 37434367
Ok, good to hear that!
I'm curios to know which one has worked! (which solution specifically)
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