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need help troubleshooting cause of slow bootup time in XP SP3

I could use some help troubleshooting the source of slow startup/bootup times on my XP SP3 system.

Have run CCleaner (on registry as well) and disabled as many services and non-essential startup items as I figured I could do without.

Have set startup/logon/logoff/shutdown to verbose: on (via registry hack).  Nothing jumps out as taking an unusually long time to load.  Most of the delay on startup seems to occur after the desktop is loaded and desktop icons updated (seems to take a long time loading what gets loaded in the system tray).

Breakdown of startup time:

HP blue screen on power up:  35 secs
Windows Splashscreen :  45 secs
Black Screen (following Windows Splash Screen):  20 secs
Logon to desktop start load (after entering password):  60 secs
Desktop Start Load to Start Loading First System Tray Icon:  60 secs
Start Loading First System Tray Icon to Last System Tray Icon:  120 secs (approx)

Yellow 'shield' shows up in System Tray on each bootup showing 'dowloading updates 0%' on each bootup.

It takes approx 6 to 7 mins for Seagate GoFlex Network Drive to show up in 'My Computer' (unfortunately, this is my data repository, I use my local drive for 'live' work like video editing, etc.).

The quicklaunch icons (most of which reside on the Seagate GoFlex Network Drive) also don't always update even after the GoFlex Drive has connected.  Usually one access of the GoFlex causes all of the quicklaunch icons to update from their generic icon look to their custom icon look but there are often times where they don't update at all even though the GoFlex drive is fully accessible.
 
Shutdowns were exceptionally slow, mostly at the 'saving settings' stage.  I corrected this problem by installing:  User Profile Hive Cleanup.  This resolved the slow shutdown issues and dramatically sped up system shutdown (now performs 'as it should' on shutdown).

Now need to find a similar improvement on bootup.

Putting the system on standby (as a means of minimizing the impact of slow startups) has not proven reliable since the system often locks up on reboot.
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Thx for replying Donovan.

I will check the temp files but my understanding is that CCleaner cleans out those directories automatically (i run CCleaner regularly and did so a couple of times already today, during troubleshooting).

I will also look into defragging my HD but at last check a few days ago, it was less than 3% fragmented.  I wouldn't think that would contribute to bootup times in the range of 7-8 minutes.

My hunch is that it is something to do with the Seagate GoFlex Network Drive and its associated Memeo software.  There are a lot of reported issues on the net about that drive.  However, the hardware itself (as far as I can tell; it's difficult to dissociate sometimes) runs fine but the software settings (in conjunction with Windows' software settings) may be at fault.  I'm out of my depth there though, beyond following advice from posts on the web.
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Dr. Khlan (thx also for responding):

System is an HP Media Center PC m1180n.  Specs:

Windows XP MCE Ver. 2002 SP3
Pentium 4 Dual Core (Dual 3.4GHz CPUs), w 4.00 GB of RAM installed (shows as 3.00 GB in System Info)

BIOS v3.10 (I have never attempted to update it since I purchased the system)
HD:  shows as 227GB with 18.1GB free

I will look into Microsoft BootVis (was starting to look into this earlier today so timely advice).

Donovan:

You might have me on the right track here with the defrag.

I did check the temp files you suggested and cleaned out what could be deleted (some files are in active use so cannot delete).  There wasn't much in there on my system but useful to check.

On checking the defrag status using XP's built in Disk Defragmenter (I realize this isn't the world's greatest defrag tool but just wanted to get an idea of where things were at since I recently (since last defrag check) had my disk running down to very little free space which I believe can contribute to fragmentation as space gets minimal).  Sure enough, Fragmentation Report is showing:

Free Space:  18.29 GB (not horrible; I've run with this amount successfully in past)
Free Space:  8% (ditto)
Volume Fragmentation:
  Total Fragmentation:  30% (wow ... dismal in my opinion)
  File Fragmentation:  57% (ditto)
  Free Space Fragmentation:  4%

I'll start defrag on the live system using XP Disk Defragmenter while I look from my laptop for a boot utility like you recommend (e.g. 'Boot with a utility CD (UBCD or something like that') .

* edited by ModernMatt 9th Nov 2011 *
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Thx for joining in Marsilies:

I run CCleaner regularly.  Use to run Adware's AdAware but uninstalled it as their 'Anniversary Edition' wasn't reliable for me.  Have run MB Antimalware in past, will redownload and run again in case it picks up something CCleaner didn't.

Quicklaunch icons are just custom icons I associated with the shortcut (just to make identification visually easier/quicker) I don't recall installing programs on the GoFlex Network Drive so I don't think the system is looking for programs to load off it, though it does take it an unusually long time in my opinion to find that network drive (as I recall, I had assigned it a static IP so it didn't need to negotiate an IP address each time and also so I could map it).

Couldn't start defrag using XP's Disk Degragmenter because it needed a minimum of 15% free space to start the defrag process and I only have 8%.  Will start moving some files off the C: drive (the fragmented boot drive) to clear up space and look into Ultra Defrag.

Thx
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Marsilies:

You're right (of course) about CCleaner.  For a few years I used to run it in conjunction with Lavasoft's Ad-Aware but got out of that practice a while back when the version of Ad-Aware I was running was causing some issues.  Time to get back to something akin to that.

I use Avast Antivirus (free version) ver. 6.0.1.289 (current with current virus def'ns).  I'm not sure it's the lightest weight AV around but seems to perform ok for me without taking too much of a performance toll along the way (more than I can say about many others ... poor experience with Norton on and off over the years).

Still moving files off my C: drive over onto the FoFlex drive.

I can make copies of the quicklaunch icons onto the C: drive to prevent the system from looking for them on the GoFlex Drive on startup but what 's bugging me is that it takes the system something like 5-7 mins to find that network drive ... that doesn't seem right, especially when it has a static IP address.
One of the advantages of doing a full defrag from a live CD is that the registry and some OS base files, which might be updated by Service Packs or Microsoft's KB releases, trend to get fragmented upon time, which creates storage bottlenecks upon booting the system, you can check if this seems like the case on a laptop by simply checking your harddisk led. I've tested different products for quite a long time and my best choice (after a full reinstall) has been an offline defrag.

The hint andrewwmcc gave is a good one too, if by entering safe mode you see that the system does not take as much time maybe it is either a device driver or some other software component which gets loaded upon normal boot.

Regards,
Donovan
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Hi Andrew, thanks also for your input (your post hadn't come in when i was responding).

Some useful suggestions to try out .  I'll get into those after defragging (which obviously needs doing based on the defrag report).

re:  Shutdown Behaviour/Tools

My Shutdown behaviour is great since I installed the UPHC I referred to in my initial post.  That made all the difference.  Clearly some apps weren't releasing their handles as they should.  So shutdown is no longer an issue.  System is shutting down nicely (what a relief after putting up with that for too long).

re:  Startup Diagnostic Tools

When I originally posted, I was hoping there was a common diagnostic tool which gets used to pinpoint the culprits which take up the most time on boot-up/startup.  Right now we're sort of using a wide mop approach which I don't mind doing since some of this is well overdue (I've been using this system for years and have avoided doing a fresh re-install of XP because I just had way too many program upgrades, patches and tweaks to rebuild ... which brings up a secondary question ... I've seen but not researched XP repair/rebuilld tools which would allow corrupted OS files to be repaired/refreshed without requiring the user to re-install all of his software, patches and updates ... anyone know of such an app which is reliable?).

Re:  Services Loaded on Startup and Startup Apps

There is no question that I have many services and a few programs running in the background.  I've tried to pare those down to the minimum I can figure out I need (it's not an exact science for me as the info on the web varies as to the purpose of given services, e.g. whether required/optional/malware).  Most of the ones I'm running I 'think' I need but therein may lie one of the sources of the problem ... there could be one (or a few) which are either not required and/or are causing the startup slowdown issues.  How to determine which one (I'm not sure if the Microsoft BootVis does that or whether a tool like Hijack This (which I've not used) would help ... still getting to this).?

I was going to try Safe Mode bootup to see the impact.  Will get around to that after a few of the other things I'm trying to fix around this issue (like defrag and malware scan).

re:  Time Zone

I'm just north of Toronto.  My systems are set to sync their clocks and update for DST to 'internet time servers'.  They are correctly set.

re:  Windows Updates

I certainly have experienced failed updates in the past.  The 'Yellow Shield' which shows 'downloading updates:  0%'  only shows in the system tray for a few seconds now before disappearing (of course, I can't tell what it's doing in the background before or after that, what it's related to, or whether it is responsible for any slowdowns or performance decreases even after slowdown).

Under Control Panel > System > System Properties > Automatic Updates, the radio button 'Automatic (recommended) is selected BUT that option as well as all other options below it (such as 'download but let me chose ..' or 'Notify me' etc.) are greyed out.  So at the moment, until I dig deeper into this, there is no way for me to change the Windows Update setting.  And, yes, I am on an Administrator Account.

I did have an issue months ago on other systems in the house which had picked up a virus which was preventing certain bona fide changes claiming non-administrator privileges on administrator accounts.  Hoping that this virus (or viruses) didn't spread to my machine through the network.

re:  Browser Add-Ons

I'm often developing websites so I keep a copy of most current (and a few older) browsers installed on the PC in question.  IE and FF both have several add-ons.

I'll have to look into those to see if any of them could be causing a slowdown at startup.  It hadn't occured to me that they might be causing an issue if the browsers are not being opened during the boot-up/startup phase.

Thanks for the input.

I'll report back.
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Hi EM,

I am familiar with MSCONFIG and tweaking the services and startup programs as well as using the Services Management tools to disable services or set them as manual.  With the number of apps I run from time to time, I have 41 services listed and 57 startup items (not counting the hidden Microsoft  services, which can not always be assumed to be set optimally for a given configuration).  So turning them all off and disconnecting the peripherals, to add them back in a few at a time is a good idea but literally close to 2 solid days work (obviously less if I chunk it).  

The main problem with that process is that I don't know what effect the disabling of a given service will have on the performance of certain apps until I run them and it's not always obvious, especially given how many of those services are common to more than one app, which apps might be affected or how they might be affected (some will run fine until either shutdown or until I try to perform a certain type of action with them).

I was hoping there was something a bit more elegant in the way of troubleshooting strategy than that.

One of the things I do, which is kludgy but gives me some idea, is monitor the CPU and memory usage of the processes which are running during and after startup.  This helps me identiy some of the culprits although the cause of their anomalous behaviour is not known to me.

I have never updated the BIOS on this computer (something I read/hear two diametrically opposed viewpoints on) nor have I updated device drivers after they are working (unless I was forced to by obviously faulty behaviour.  On the device driver side, are there any good, free tools to scan all device drivers and compare them with the most current drivers?  The tools I've tried for that in the past were more hoaxware than helpware.

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EM,

I meant to add that I agree (and was aware) of the 10% min free space recommendation (some say as much as 15%) for HD space and generally try not to let it get that low but I have recently lost one of my main network drives and was running a bit tight before doing a big cleanup (that was an expensive LaCie NAS drive on top of it ... close to $600 ... have had nothing but trouble with them ... 5 power supplies burned out over a 2 year period and 2 out of the 3 LaCie drives I owned failed ... and those drives were running individually, not enclosed, in free space and powered behind a good quality UPS).
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Sidebar:  By 'not enclosed' I meant, not enclosed in a CPU case or otherwise inhibited from cooling as designed.  The two LaCie drives which failed were both external drives operating in their factory (external) enclosures and were not stacked with each other or with other equipment.
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Fair enough Matt.  I had already downloaded a copy of UBCD (the one apparently considered 'legal') and created a bootable CD from it in any case.

Status at the moment (prior to running UBCD):

- I've transferred approx 50GB worth of data from my C: drive  to the GoFlex drive which will facilitate defragging.

- Now performing a full backup of C drive and recovery partition D drive (I use Sonic for that purpose, which came originally with the PC ... very slow but seems to work ... takes around 9 hrs to backup 150 GB (compressed)).  So won't be able to move on to the next steps until tomorrow.

Next steps planned:

- Run HDD diagnostics from UBCD (not certain which of the routines to choose ... will have to research that unless one of you can recommend which one).

- Defrag from UBCD.

- Re-check bootup/startup times and resume troubleshooting if still slow.

Thx for feedback everyone.
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Definitely, I would backup anything important from that computer to an external drive or a network share as soon as possible - this may be an indication of an impending hard drive failure.  

You should consider completely reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling everything.  It's a pain, but it will ensure your system is completely clean.  
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Thanks gang.

Working my way through the above list.  

SONIC BACKUP FAILED

My Sonic backup (which was set to compress data along the way) crashed with a 'Delayed Write Failure' error (going by memory as to the exact label of the error message).  The crash may have been my fault since I was also transferring data (although not deleting or writing any new files) to a network drive at the same time as the backup was taking place (trying to save some time since it was going to take the better part of 10 hours to backup ... I know better but thought I'd push the envelope).  So back to square one as regards backing up.

I'm still offloading some folders to the network drive (folder by folder) and deleting them off the C drive afterwards as I go.  This will shorten the ensuing backup and defrag aside from giving my system some much needed breathing space (the video editing I do quickly accumulates large project folders).

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOOD DUPLICATES FINDER AND SEARCH TOOL?

One tool I have often wished for is a duplicate file 'find' utility which can search across network drives.  It would be even better if it had the option of comparing the file contents and flagging identical files which may differ only in their filename.

Another tool I like to lay my hands on is a good search tool which would also allow me to search across network drives while providing some more advanced search filtering (for example:  'find all files starting with '~' and ending with .tmp or .doc or .docx created before YYYY-MM-DD .... just a fictitious example of course but illustrates the requirement).  The Windows search tool drives me nuts.

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well drztch should be search
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Progress Report:

- Created 115GB of free space (so far) on my 250GB (227GB installed) C: drive through various cleanups and mostly offloading folders to my external drives.

- HD (C: drive) was partitioned at factory with C partition (main/default boot partition ... 227 GB) and D partition (recovery partition ... 6.4GB).  Device Manager shows drive to be Maxtor 7Y250MO

- Created bootable (copied .iso file to DVD) version of UBCD.  Works fine.  I don't see any Defrap apps on it (but they do exist on UBCD4Win version) to run directly from this CD.

- Downloaded UBCD4Win.exe file.  I'm unsure at the moment how to create a bootable version of this file (it may be obvious by simply executing the installation file).  Reading on the UBCD4Win.exe website suggests a build process which seems to involve the use of XP CDs or slipstreamed versions in order to 'build' the iso image of UBCD4Win.  I don't have my XP CDs handy (my OS is legal and I'm the original owner, I just don't have that particular CD handy at the moment after a few moves and years later).  I'm not familiar with 'slipstreaming' (i'm guessing, hoping, it is akin to extracting the necessary XP and SP files from the installed OS and creating an equivalent XP CD from it ... but am not familiar with the process and will need to research how to go about it, if that's even what's involved)

- Downloaded the duplicates finder and search apps recommended by Nobus (will use those after defrag etc.)

- Downloaded and ran quickscan mode of Malware's Anti-Malware (free version; then enabled 14 day Pro Trial).  Found only one infected  Registry Data Item relating to a registry key designed to notify of disabling Microsoft\Security Center\AntiVirusDisableNotify (PUM.Disabled.SecurityCenter).  That key was quarantined and deleted by MAM.  Folders, Files, Registry, Memory etc. scanned clean.   I will run a Full Scan after defragging the drive.

- Ran CCleaner a few times between cleanups and uninstalls of unused apps to clean up registry (I always created registry backups in the process, just in case).

- Presently creating space by transferring data between external HDs to accommodate a disk image of my C: drive.

Next Steps:

- Would like to create bootable version of UBCD4Win (see above re:  unsure how to build ISO file)

- Create disk image (ghost?) of C: drive onto external drive (not sure of best way to do this)

- Run diskdiag from UBCD?

- Defrag C: drive

- Document bootup/startup times for main user and new (clean) user with defragged C: drive

- Go from there ... (e.g. possibly 'Compact and Optimize Registry'
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@andrewmcc:

TYPE OF USER ACCOUNT

The account I have been logging on to do all of the above tasks has been my 'main account' which has administrator privileges (belongs to group 'Administrators',  'Debugger Users',  and 'Users'; the first two being the same groups as the administrator account).

I was trying to find where specific rights are assigned or changed for a given user and couldn't find it under Computer Management > Local Users and Groups > ...

Since my main account is a member of the same groups the administrator account is a member of, wouldn't both accounts have identical system privileges?

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@marsilies:

Thx for suggesting a course of action.

Downloading MaxBlast 5.

Will create the MaxBlast boot disc as you suggest.

I'll report back after the next batch of steps.

Thanks all for staying with me on this.  Much appreciated.
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@marsilies:

Downloaded and installed MaxBlast 5

After system reboot (which progressed normally ... haven't been having problems with rebooting except for speed of reboot/startup which is still in the 6 min range), tried running MaxBlast.

Execution stopped with message:

Error occured
E00140FA2:  Internal error:  Operation has completed with error. {1}
Please contact Maxtor support team for information on how to resolve this issue.

Under details:

(0x140F2)
   path = "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Acronis\Formatik\fobject.dll",
   function = "FormatikRegisterObjectStorage"
   Tag = 0x665F1F51CFA70EF4
The specified procedure could not be found (0xFFF0)
   code = 800700F)
   Tag = 0xBD28FDBD64EDB8A6

Any ideas?  I'll troubleshoot in the meantime.
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Also,

Just noticed the system locked up after this error.

Wouldn't respond to ALT-CTRL-DEL request also.

Rebooting after forced power off from front panel power button.
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@nobus:

Thx.  Will try booting of UBCD as recommended.

Do you know offhand, if DiscWizard 11.0.832 permits imaging to an external drive?

@andrewmcc:

I'm not offended at all.  Everyone's comments have been mindful.  I take yours to be well intentioned to minimize the chances that I'll wipe out my drive or something equally stupid.

I have ghosted and created disc images only a few times in the past.  I understand the concepts but get slowed down (or tripped up in the case of MaxBlast crashing on first load ... the program itself didn't load after install) when there are several options which are not immediately obvious to me.

My hunch is that the source of my slow bootup/startup is two fold a) the boot disk is quite fragmented ... in the 40% range now and b)  the GoFlex Home network drive is very slow to get recognized by the system (this particular drive has a lot of reported software issues on the web).  There is also the potential that some of my windows files are corrupted or that some OS config parameters are not configured optimally.  Lastly, the HD could be giving early signs of failure as I have been experiencing more 'crashes' on that drive of late.  The crashes seem to occur after files have been moved or deleted.  Rarely as a result of other operations.  I have been assuming this to be more software related and fragmentation related than hardware but my concern has been growing with each crash.  Hence the desire to backup etc..

Proceeding with caution.
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@andrewmcc:

FYI,

I was expecting MaxBlast 5 to load, offer me a few options, one of which to was to create a boot disk and another option (likely among several others)  being to create a disk image,  and as suggested I was going to first create a bootdisk before proceeding to imaging, just in case.

Unfortunately,  I didn't get that far on the first go :)

- I uninstalled MaxBlast
- Then reinstalled, this time selecting the 'Complete Install' option (or whatever they called it) instead of 'Typical'.  
- Rebooted
- Turned off AV (I prefer not to do that usually but decided to trust the download source)
- Re-Launched MaxBlast
- Got same error as reported above (the app launches and goes through the first few steps but crashes during initialization,  before launching the app's GUI)
- This time, in the MaxBlast error dialog box,  I selected 'Quit' instead of 'Ignore' which caused the app to continue loading instead or locking up.  MaxBlast then presented the user GUI.
- Created Maxtor bootable CD.
- Tested bootable CD.  CD booted ok and presented options to load Windows or MaxBlast Full Version.
- Selected MB Full Version but program did not execute (black screen, no errors reported).

Checking out UBCD4Win (which as I recall reading on their website, supported USB drives better than UBCD).  System is presently executing UBCD4Win PE Builder v3.1.10a ... searching for Windows installation files (i'm operating on the assumption this program will find the required OS files on the existing HD, extract what it needs and create an .iso file which I can then burn as a bootable version of UBCD4Win).

Will report on progress.

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@marsilies:

Thx for confirming.  Your response came in while i was posting the above note to andrew.

I noticed that the UBCD4Win PE Builder selects the XP SP2 files (and not the current SP3 files the OS is operating under) ... I suspect this is done intentionally?  UBCD4Win is in the process as I write of creating the .iso file, which I'll burn next (all going according to plan).

This should then leave me with a bootable copy of UBCD4Win (which has a few extra apps and features) in addition to the bootable UBCD disk I created yesterday.

At this point, not sure if you recommend using one over the other as regards creating the image of my C: drive.  Not clear on how much intervention, if any, I will have to add in the process of building the bootable version of UBCD.

Failing a reply to the contrary, I'll use DiscWizard off UBCD to create my C drive image.
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@marsilies:

Noted.  Figured as much.

Thanks for clarifying installation file extraction and SP2 vs SP3, etc..  All makes sense.

UBCD4Win loads fine as bootable CD (thought I would check it out just to see if the iso burn had worked).

I tried booting up off UBCD and running DiscWizard v11.0.8326 (Seagate/Maxtor), which is the other DiscWizard option available on my current copy of UBCD (there are other options under this 'Installation' section along with other utilities in the HDD section which I'll look at) unfortunately, the program does not execute from the CD (navigating from the UBCD CD to this section works fine but there is no response from the system after selecting that option and hitting the Enter key ... the system also locks up after that forcing the system to be power-cycled to reboot).

I'm looking into the other options

@andrewmcc:

Not sure how to quantify my level of experience, especially given that it's all over the map depending on the area.

I've been working with PCs since the advent of the first IBM PCs (yes ... with whopping large 32k floppy drives and resplendent monochrome green CRT monitors ... even before the XT models which had ... yes ... a HARD DRIVE!).  There was a time I even had to code my own graphics plotting routines and build my own A/D converters because none were available commercially).  Things have moved on a bit since.

I'm a fairly seasoned end-user at the commercial apps level (mainstream business sw, graphics, photo/video editing etc), have a few years of web design under my belt (host a couple of dozen CMS sites, admin my own VPN) and have been maintaining a home-office based network with around a half-dozen PCs and various network-attached paraphernalia for years.

I've had limited experience troubleshooting HW issues and similarly limited experience running HW or SW diagnostics as we are doing.  I understand pretty much all of the concepts as we go  (and can often guess at the basic process) but as you rightly point out, I have to learn the details along the way.  Quite useful and interesting albeit rather slow process.

For the most part, I've been lucky enough to have IT departments I could throw at stuff like this over the last 3 decades but this is no longer the case in the past few years since I've been operating solo.

And you're right, I don't want to lose the system I'm working on.  I've not been as good as I should be with backing up and cleaning up (obviously have done some but it's not bullet proof ... especially after the loss of a couple of large network drives over the last year which were featuring in my regular backup plans).

Your (collective) patience and guidance have been helpful and instructional.  Thank You :)

ps.  Of academic interest only, i failed to mention earlier in my posts that i had also been using SpyBot S&D to sniff out spyware etc. from time to time.  Might account for the fact that my system was relatively clean in that regard.  I don't tend to leave it resident since resources get progressively consumed and normal operating performance ultimately degrades
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I must have been bad in a previous life ...

After DiscWizard failed to run off of UBCD, after a bit of reading up, I tried EasyUs Disk Copy (another utility on the same CD) only to find that it would load but not execute (I was getting a 'black screen' and no system response, requiring power-cycling to reboot the system).

After a bit more reading, I've since moved over to UBCD4Win and am running DriveImage XML ver 2.13, copying the C: drive over to the Personal Media Drive I also have on this system (the HP m1180n came with a hot-swappable drive bay which allows external drives to be inserted into the system ... while the PMD can be connected externally via USB, when such a drive is inserted in that bay, if i'm not mistaken, it connects up directly to the system bus).

With around 100GB to backup (DriveImage XML creates, if I understand correctly, a sector by sector copy of the entire drive to an xml file and a data set which contains the drive's binary data) it has taken 26 mins to back up 10% of the drive so far.  I left the default options as they were (No Compression, Split Large Files, and Try Volume Locking First). Time remaining is estimated at 3h:50min for the remaining 90%.  Not complaining, just reporting.

Hopefully, if DriveImage XML completes without errors, I'll then be able to browse the backup data (program interface suggests that's possible) to ensure it can be read, then proceed to defragging the drive using one of the UBCD4Win defrag utilities (Auslogics Defrag seems to have garnered some good reviews ... will give that one a try unless I hear otherwise).
Before defrag, run diagnostics on the disc first (either SeaTools or PowerMax). Try the quick or short test, then if the drive passes that, run the long test. Only after we verify that the drive itself is ok should you bother with a defrag.
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@marsilies:

I'd typed up my previous post before I saw your reply.

At the moment, DriveImage XML is 35% done.  Hopefully it will complete.

What is odd is that I'm able to run the PC without any major apparent problems other than the slow bootup and the occasional 'explorer has encountered a serious error and needs to close' error, which causes the open explorer windows to shut down, which I can re-open and proceed on working for hours or days at a time (up until now anyhow).  As I mentioned, this type of error doesn't usually happen in the normal course of running programs, it happens typically after I've moved or deleted a good number of files and will sometimes crash that way if I try to execute a file rename on the remaining files in a directory after such moves or deletions (of other files in the same directory) has taken place.

I do agree with you, that type of behaviour in general isn't exactly comforting.  The drive was so fragmented and doing a bunch of video editing over the past several weeks (i'm involved in minor football) with Adobe Premiere Elements, which is notorious for being prone to crashing ... could well have left a bunch of bad sectors on the drive which needed repairing which might be contributing to the problem(s).

Hopeully I'll have some good news to report in a few hours.  I do have various backups of the C-drive but none that are up to date as of the past couple of months so I'm anxious to have something I could fall back on if needed.
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Ok.  Noted your recommendation on running short then long diags first before defrag.

Thx.
Just noticed you wrote you're running a sector-by-sector image of the drive/partition, which is going to copy over the full drive, including empty sectors. So expect a 227GB  backup file (could also explain why it's taking so long). Typically, you don't need to do a sector-by-sector image unless the filesystem is seriously messed up. This is called "raw mode" in DriveImage XML, did you check that box?
http://lifehacker.com/326086/hot-image-your-pcs-hard-drive-with-driveimage-xml
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No I did see that option but I left it set to the other option which was 'Split long files' (going by memory).

Sorry, my error with the terminology.  The backup was reporting progress one sector after another which I reported as 'sector-by-sector'.  You're totally correct to point that out (good on you), if it did so, it would take up 227 GB and not 100GB (which is the approx amount of data left on the drive after I'd moved the other files off it).  As it turns out the total size of the data files the backup created amounted to the nominal size of the data on the C drive, not the entire drive.

I realized, if it did in fact copy all of the drive's sectors over, that I was creating an image of a very fragmented drive which might have bad sectors or at the very least orphaned file fragments on it but my main concern at that point was just getting some sort of a useable backup of everything on the C drive.  Hopefully the diagnostics to follow and subsequent defrag would correct that and I could re-image a clean drive.

Happy to report finally that the C drive was backed up successfully by DriveImage XML and that I was able to browse that backup.

I tried testing the restore process on a couple of inconsequential files by rebooting normally and deleting those files, then rebooting off UBCD4Win and using DriveImage XML to restore the two files.  I  tried doing it intuitively by right clicking on the 'missing' files and selecting 'extract' then rebooting back normally onto the C drive to check for the 'restored' files but this process didn't work.  No errors, but no restored files.  I'll have to check the procedure for restoring (which is probably through the Restore function ... I was trying to bypass that in case it was related to restoring the entire backup ... hoping to use a command instead which applied to individual files).

The backup took a bit less time than estimated.  No issues with the time taken, given the degree of fragmentation and the fact that there are close to 700,000 files on the drive.

I'll run the diagnostics tomorrow and report back.

Thx
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@nobus:

My apologies for not responding to your 12.34pm post today.  I inadvertently missed it in the process of responding to some of the other comments.  I'll clarify that tomorrow.  Have to tend attend to the family at the moment.

Thx
no problem - maybe time to put a resume here of the problemls and things tried?  i'm easy loosing track...
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Turns out I got back to this.

UBCD4Win has a HD Utility called HD Tune 255 which I'm running at the moment.  My HD's 'Health' monitors ok under the various categories  offered in that utility (things like Spin Up Time, Start/Stop Count, Reallocated Sector Count, etc.).  It also passed the Quick Scan mode with all sectors checking OK.

It's about 25% of the way through the Full Scan mode of the error scan right now, so far showing all sectors OK.

My hunch is that the drive will check out OK physically.  If so, I will set it to defrag and then re-check the bootup/startup times on the defragged drive under various scenarios (e.g. existing user account, new user account, Safe Mode, without GoFlex enabled, etc.).

My hunch is that connecting to the GoFlex network drive is taking up most of the startup time and  there may also be some network connections which are no longer valid which might be adding to the time before the system is 'stable' and ready for 'unhindered' use (or something equivalent to that which is not related to any registry errors ... since the registry checks out ok).  Not sure if that makes sense but I'm sure we can troubleshoot that once I'm through this phase.

So far the process has been very useful for me.

One thing I am noticing though is that the drive is running too hot (although it does not seem to be contributing to any performance outside of spec, for example my drive is showing a scanning speed around 52 MB/sec which is inline with the OEM specs for that).  On the full error scan it's running at 62-64 deg C which is uncomfortably above the 55 deg C max I'm guessing is the recommended max temperature range for a drive like this.

I know the fans, internals and case screens need a good cleaning so I will tend to that right after the error scan before the activity intensive defrag operation.  I'll recheck the temperature after the cleaning to see if things have improved.  If not, I'll consider improving cooling.

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FIRST STEPS TO CHECK HD COOLING IMPROVEMENT

Removing the PC from the rolling PC cabinet it was in (one of these typical Ikea wooden computer carts which provides a 'storage' compartment for the PC; the unit does provide a couple of inches of clearance on each side and around 6 inches or so at the top) didn't reduce the temperature as much as I might have expected.  It dropped from 62-64 deg C to 60-62 deg C.

Removing the PC case's main side cover (the one with the venting holes which were largely obstructed with dust I'm afraid to say) dropped the HD temp (based on the SMART data reported by the drive) to 58-60 deg C.

Interestingly, the fans drop to low speed when the HD temp reaches about 58 deg C (I realize it is probably not the HD temp which the fan speeds are linked to but rather the CPU temp).  

At any time through this test, the vented air coming from the CPU cooling fan or the case venting fan is 'feels' cool.  If one were just roughly gauging the temperature of the unit in general, it gives the impression of running 'cool'.

I am only guessing at the moment at the recommended temperature range of the HD based on a few articles I've read online.  I don't know specifically what it is for this unit or these drives in particular.  Regardless, it is obvious that lower temperatures are better (assuming I can put some faith in the accuracy of the temperature reported through this test).

I'll check to see if I can move some cables over to improve air circulation over the HD or get closer to the drive itself tomorrow to give it a more thorough cleaning.
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HD TEMPERATURE STATUS TOWARDS LATTER STAGES OF ERROR SCAN

Temp dropped gradually to 50-52 deg C  through test as scanning speed slowly decreased closer to 26 MB/s due to working closer to drive's ID (I assume; partly perhaps also because drive was approaching steady state temperature following removal of side cover).

Idle HD temp (after Error Scan completed) dropped quickly to 41-42 deg C.

Found a Product Manual for this drive which states ambient operating temperatures for the DRIVE are acceptable up to 55deg C (with no ARR Impact).

HD tune 2.55 Hard Disk Utility test showed 95 MB Block test to be all 'OK'.  No 'damaged' blocks found.

Moving on to defragging the drive now.
>>  through test as scanning speed slowly decreased   <<  is normal - speed on outer sectors is much higher than on inner

but slow system is not necessary bad hardware
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@nobus:

totally agreed

STATUS OF DEFRAG

Couldn't locate Auslogic on UBCD4Win boot cd.  Using Defraggler v1.18.185.

Started with over 70,000 files fragmented/56% of drive.

After 6 hours of defrag on 'full defrag' mode, down to 54,000 files fragmented/338,710 file fragments/52% fragmentation of drive/defrag status 7%.

At this rate it will take over 3.5 days to defrag the drive (I'm assuming the defrag time estimate is over-estimated in the earlier stages and that the defragging progress speeds up as more and more contiguous free space is created to support the defrag process).

I am surprised at the apparent inefficiency of this particular algorigthm though consider the drive is close to 50% free (albeit fragmented free space but still .... it should be offering more than adequate space to defrag).

I stopped the full defrag mode and set it to quick defrag for now.  Intending to reschedule full defrag later.

Stopped defrag
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Q:  How do I edit a previous comment of mine.  I used to find an edit button somewhere.  Can't seem to find it anymore?

(one of the edits I wish to make is to delete the last two words of the previous post)
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@nobus:

I don't see anything odd in C drive's properties in device manager.

What am I looking for specifically?
sorry - you should look in IDE/ATAPI controller properties, advanced tab; you can also set it to use DMA
more info : http://winhlp.com/node/10      
disk.png
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STATUS UPDATE:

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION:

- System:  HP Media Center PC m1180n (purchased circa 2004)
- OS:  Windows XP MCE Ver. 2002 SP3 (originally supplied with SP2, upgraded to SP3)
Pentium 4 Dual Core (Dual 3.4GHz CPUs), w 4.00 GB of RAM installed (shows as 3.00 GB in System Info)
- Main System Drive:  Maxtor 7Y250M0 firmware: YAR51GW0, s/n:  Y63C70WE, interface:  serial ATA, transfer mode:  Ultra DMA/133
- Main System Drive partitioning:  factory partitioned into C: drive  227.3 GB (main partition) and D: drive  6.4GB (sytem recovery partition)
- C: Drive (before Defraggler Quick Defrag):  showed 227GB with 18.1GB free
- C: Drive (after data transfer and Defraggler Quick Defrag):  shows 227GB with 118 GB free
- BIOS v3.10 (I have never attempted to update it since I purchased the system)

BOOTABLE CDS:

- Created UBCD and able to bootup from it.
- Created UBCD4Win and able to bootfup from it.

MALWARE SCAN:

- Ran Malwarebytes Antimalware v1.51.2.1300 in Quick Scan mode (current)
- MBAM Found only one infected  Registry Data Item relating to a registry key designed to notify of disabling Microsoft\Security Center\AntiVirusDisableNotify (PUM.Disabled.SecurityCenter).  That key was quarantined and deleted by MAM

SPACE CLEANUP ON C: DRIVE:

- Deleted ('inactive') files in dir:  \windows\temp (no significant accumulation there)
- Deleted ('inactive') files in dir:  \documents and settings\ user\local settings\temp
(no significant accumulation there)
- Increased free space on C: drive to close to 50% (now 112GB free space) by transferring data to network drive and deleting transferred files/folders off C: drive.

DISK IMAGING / BACKUP:

- Backup of C: drive with Sonic Backup failed.
- Tried creating image with MaxBlast 5.  After system reboot (which progressed normally ... tried running MaxBlast.  Execution stopped with message:
   Error occured
     E00140FA2:  Internal error:  Operation has completed with error. {1}
     Please contact Maxtor support team for information on how to resolve this issue.
- Tried imaging with DiscWizard v11.0.8326 (Seagate/Maxtor) booting-off my current copy of UBCD:  failed - the program does not execute from the CD (navigating from the UBCD CD to this section works fine but there is no response from the system after selecting that option and hitting the Enter key ... the system also locks up after that forcing the system to be power-cycled to reboot).
- Tried EasyUs Disk Copy (another utility on the same UBCD): failed - would load but not execute (got  'black screen' and no system response, requiring power-cycling to reboot the system).
- Was able to create a backup (onto an external network drive) of all contents on C: drive by booting off  UBCD4Win CD and using DriveImage XML.
- Able to browse Drivemage XML backup on network drive.
- Haven't figured out how in Drivemage XML  to restore individual files from backup files back to C: drive (using 'Browse' then right click file then extract and specifying directory ... doesn't work ... no error reported but no file shows up as restored after subsequent normal reboot).
- Am concerned file restoration from this DriveImage XML backup is not confirmed/reliable.

DISK HEALTH AND DISK DIAGNOSTICS:

- Defraggler v2.07 reports disk health:  good.
- UBCD4Win HDD Tune v2.55 reports no errors:  HD's 'Health' monitors ok under the various categories  offered in that utility (things like Spin Up Time, Start/Stop Count, Reallocated Sector Count, etc.).  It also passed the Quick Scan mode with all sectors checking OK.

DEFRAG

- Initially checked defrag status using XP's built in Disk Defragmenter.  Fragmentation Report was:
     Free Space:  18.29 GB
     Free Space:  8%
     Volume Fragmentation:
         Total Fragmentation:  30% (wow ... dismal in my opinion)
         File Fragmentation:  57%
         Free Space Fragmentation:  4%
- Initially tried defragging using XP Disk Defragmenter ... failed due to insufficient space on drive.
- Tried Ultradefrag but defrag time, based on rate of progress, was going to be several days.
- Tried running Defraggler on Full Defrag mode ... same problem.
- Was able to execute Defraggler's Quick-Defrag mode.  Reduced disk fragmentation down to 11%.
- Then tried running Defraggler Full-Defrag mode.  Stopped it after 38 hours of operation since progress was too slow ... see Fig 4.  Even with only 103 fragmented files (17 GB fragmented), Defraggler had only succeeded in defragmenting 17 files after this time.
- Number of empty blocks (white blocks in Defraggler's disk map) reported by Defraggler does not match free space it reports on the drive.  Compare Fig 4 for C drive (which shows way too few empty blocks/white blocks for a drive with 49% free space) with Fig 2 D Drive (which shows a 'normal' number of empty blocks relative to the reported 11% free space on that drive).  Posted this anomaly on Piriform's Defraggler Forum.

DSKCHK /F

- Unable to check disk for errors from within Defraggler  > Actions > Advanced > Check Disk for Errors  ... was resulting in error afer the second phase of disk verification (Verifying Drive Phase 2 would reach 100% complete then produce error message:  Verify drive was unable to complete successfully.  Do you want to run CHKDSK /F command to correct volume errors?'
- Ran dskchk /f during bootup on C: drive (this was run after a successful Defraggler Quick Defrag).
- Log of dskchk /f results (from Event Viewer > Application > Winlogon)
   '... Cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the frive.  Cleaning up 72 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.  Cleaning up 72 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.  Cleaning up 72 unused security descriptors.  CHKDSK is verying Usn Journal.  Usn Journal verification completed.
238381919 KB total disk space
120007944 KB in 672632 files
258036 KB in 72080 indexes
         0 KB in bad sectors
1297443 KB in use by the system
 65536 KB occpied by the log file
116818496 KB available on disk

4096 KB in each allocation unit
59595479 total allocation units on disk
29204624 allocation units available on disk


DRIVE(S) SEEM TO BE OPERATING IN DMA MODE:

- Defraggler and manual check on Device Manager suggests drives are operating in DMA mode (not in PIO mode).  See Figs 6, 7, 8, 9.
- Am noticing (especially since performing Quick Defrag) that drive response to command is 'fast', applications, e.g. Photoshop, load and execute more quickly than prior to Quick Defrag.

---------------------------
HOW BEST TO PROCEED?:

How best to proceed at this point (even though disk operation has improved, a) shouldn't be taking this long to defrag a drive b) reported 'empty blocks' on drive map isn't consistent with reported free space on drive)?

Is it normal to have two IDE controllers shows (see Fig 6) and a Secondary IDE device on a system which has only one HD (partitioned into C and D partitions) and one Personal Media Drive Bay?

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@marsilies:

What you point out makes sense.  I had noticed the disproportionate number of fragments/files as well.  My 'hope' was that there was a large number of orphaned fragments taking up a lot of those 'not fragmented - low density' blocks.  However, DSKCHK  didn't reveal that to be the case, reporting only 72 unused index entries and not a ton of orphaned file fragments.

I had started defragging the free space with Defraggler's function for same but it was taking forever and there was no noticeable improvement in the number of empty space blocks after a good while (I can't recall exactly ... perhaps 5 or 6 hours of degrag on the empty space).  At that time the 'free space defragmentation was reporting it was approx 36% complete.  Perhaps I was not patient enough.  My assumption was that with that amount of 'free space' on the drive and that many fragments, I thought it would be relatively quick for the program to start creating at least some new empty blocks by concatenating some of those many file fragments.

I will return to defragmenting the free space to see if that helps matters.
>>  tried defragging using XP Disk Defragmenter ... failed due to insufficient space on drive.   <<   you should free up a minimum of 15% free space, in your case min 35 Gb free
this is one of the reasons defragging takes so long - it has no space enough to move things around in big clumps

also this is not normal (freeing up 1/2 disk space) :
==========
C: Drive (before Defraggler Quick Defrag):  showed 227GB with 18.1GB free
- C: Drive (after data transfer and Defraggler Quick Defrag):  shows 227GB with 118 GB free
==========
this tells me there are problems with disk or file system

to comment on the "FEW empty blocks" -  can also be caused by the same symptom as above
i'm not familiar with that defraggler - what are the color codes used for the blocks?


   
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@marsilies (see below 'Status Good Progress'):

@nobus:

thx for getting back.

re:  CREATING FREE SPACE ON C: DRIVE

>>  you should free up a minimum of 15% free space, in your case min 35 Gb free <<

I had understood that which is why I had created the extra space to help the degrag.

>> also this is not normal (freeing up 1/2 disk space) <<

I'm not sure why you say it is not normal.  Perhaps you misunderstood how the free space went from 18 GB to 118 GB.  I manually created that free space by copying files from the C: drive to a network drive, then I deleted the transferred files off the C: drive.  Only after that did I try to defrag again.

My first attempts at defragging were not successful because the system was taking an exceptionally long time to defrag the drive.  I believe the reason for that was that not only was there a huge number of file fragments but also the free space in which to defrag files was severely fragmented (which is why the disc map was showing so few empty blocks even after the first successful quick defrag by Defraggler).

I seem to have found a solution to the defrag problems.   See 'Status' below.

re:  COLOR CODE (DISK MAP LEGEND) USED BY 'DEFRAGGLER'

See attached file Fig 1.

STATUS ... GOOD PROGRESS

After a successful Quick Defrag and a couple of initial attempts at defragging the empty space (which were aborted because they were taking forever), before taking the following steps,  I had a C: drive which was still 13% fragmented, with 961 fragmented files and a total of 24,840 fragments and the drive showing only 22 empty blocks (white spaces in Defraggler's drive map) instead of showing approx half the map as empty blocks (since the drive was supposedly 49% free).  See Fig 2 attached.

To proceed, I did 4 things:

1.  To ensure Defraggler would operate without interruptions, I disconnected the computer from the internet (to prevent interruption by any background programs).  Turned off Avast.  Stopped as many background processes and startup programs as I could (I had done that in previous attempts at defragging the empty space or full defrag also).  Ensured Power Mode was set never to hibernate, etc..

1.  Using Defraggler's File List, see Fig 3, I noticed that approx. 5,600 of the total 24,840 fragments  belonged to two Google Desktop files.  I first removed that application using Windows Add/Remove Programs  (since it was easy to reinstall).  I then started defragging one file at a time of the remaining files, starting with the most fragmented.  By doing only one file at a time, Defraggler was able to defrag the remaining files in the limited unfragmented free space.  I continued doing this manually, a few files at a time until I had only a few fragmented files with a total of 40 file fragments left.

2.  I then defragmented the empty space using Defraggler's 'Action > Advanced > Defrag Freespace (allow fragmentation)' command (note:  the 'Defrag Freespace' command alone was taking forever to defrag the free space on the disk; I believe using the 'allow fragmentation' version of the command allowed the program to break up files into smaller chunks to work with the limited amount of 'empty' space).  It took approximately 12 hours but the empty blocks (white blocks in drive map) were eventually reclaimed.  See attached Fig 4.

3.  After Defraggler had successfully defragged the empty space, creating a realistic number of empty blocks in the process (but using the' Defrag FreeSpace allowing fragmentation' had re-fragmented the drive data itself, creating 1,751 fragmented files with 38,803 fragments), I was able to use the Full Defrag option 'Action > Defrag Drive' and see some active progress with it.  After about 12 hours, Full Defrag is now approx. 63% complete but has so far successfully reduced the number of fragmented files down to 521 files with 21,030 total fragments.  The resulting drive map also shows evidence or re-ordering of blocks on the drive which is presumably accounting for the lengthy defrag time.  See attached Fig. 5.

DRIVE TEMPERATURE SEEMS OK

Even after defragging non-stop for the past 24 hours  (first on empty space, then on full defrag), Defraggler reports the drive temperature to be 48 deg C  (which it reports as 'green' for ok) which I assume is quite reasonable.  Hence, unless told otherwise, I don't have any concerns on this issue (but I'll still try to clean out the case after these problems are resolved).

APP LOADING AND SYSTEM RESPONSE (AFTER BOOTUP) NOTICEABLY FASTER

Even though the Full Fragmentation is not yet complete, and even while Defraggler is running, I'm already noticing a drastic improvement (guessing, I'd say apps are loading and responding 2 to 3 times faster; I used the system minimally so as not to interrupt the ongoing full defragmentation but did a few screen captures and started up Photoshop to produce the attached images in this post).

IMPROVEMENTS IN BOOTUP/STARTUP TIMES STILL TO BE INVESTIGATED

My hunch is that the system will also bootup faster but that there are still some inherent issues which are causing unnecessary delays in the bootup/startup process.  I'm guessing some of these may be network links which are no longer valid and a lengthy delay caused by the GoFlex Network Drive software.  I'll investigate these after the full defrag is complete.

QUESTIONS:

1.  Do the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers shown in Figs 6 through 9 of my 1:50pm post yesterday seem correct for this system?

2.  I'm finally pleased with the progress the C: drive is making with the defragmentation and with the associated performance gains but still a bit perplexed that a system with close to 50% free space, much of it contiguous (refer to Fig 5) takes 24 hours (or more)  to do a full defrag of a 15% fragmented drive.  Is this normal for the present situation?

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@marsilies:

Sorry, I was responding with my last post while your last one came in.

I totally agree (as I've become a bit more attuned in the process at interpreting the drive maps and underlying disk condition).

Was going to re-image the drive after full defrag was completed.

QUESTION:

I'm still curious as to how to restore a file from DriveImage XML's backup.  Not sure why what I'm doing (Browse Backup > right click on file > extract > specify the directory to extract to) isn't causing the file to be restored?
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FYI:

A large number of the fragmented files belong to:

C:\System Volume Information\_restore{7E6001F9-0A8D-45EC-B593-E452C096CF95}\ ...

The C:\System Volume Information\ folder dates back to 2008.  At the moment, presumably because Defraggler is busy working on it, I can't open it to browse the contents.

QUESTIONS:

How folder C:\System Volume Information\  created (it post-dates the OS installation by several years; not sure about SP3 update date though)?  

More importantly, can it safely be deleted (and perhaps a new System Volume Information folder re-created fresh)?  Maybe that would be a lot faster than defragging thousands of its files at the moment?

sorry for the free space  - i missed the fact he did it himself
and yes, atapi controllers look ok
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re: C:\System Volume Information Folder

I see that this folder contains System Restore Points which can be deleted (all or up to last one), subject of course to losing those restore points.

I am inclined to interrupt the full defrag, create one fresh system restore point, then delete all previous folders in C:\System Volume Information Folder.

Does that make sense?
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@nobus:  thx no worries

(this thread got unusually long ... it's hard for people  to keep track ... trying my best to highlight and structure the post contents to make it a bit easier to follow as we go).
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I am inclined to interrupt the full defrag, create one fresh system restore point, then delete all previous folders in C:\System Volume Information Folder.

That will certainly reduce the fragmentation of the folder, but if you want to remove all but the last system restore point, instead of manually deleting the folders, use this method:
http://www.5starsupport.com/faq/xp-system-restore.htm#1-12
1. Go to Start>> All Programs>> Accessories>> System Tools>> Disk Cleanup.
2. Click on the More Options tab
3. Click "Clean up" in the System Restore box.

Also, you can reduce the amount of space System Restore is allocated to use. Since you have restore points dating back to 2008, it's obviously able to use more space than you likely need it to.
http://www.5starsupport.com/faq/xp-system-restore.htm#1-10
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ASKER

@marsilies:

re:  RESTORING FILES FROM DRIVEIMAGE XML

I had been explicitly specifying the location of the file to be restored but the file was still not restoring to any discernable location (no error message; it just wouldn't be there when I went back to check after exiting driveimage).

DEFRAG COMPLETE AND SUCCESSFUL

After a few more defrag sessions on the free space, manually defragging some of the remaining fragmented files, removing the old system restore points (i had granted myself access to do so since my system would not execute the Clean Up function for some reason) and also running MyDefrag then Defraggler,  I was finally able to defrag the drive completely (0% fragmentation and empty space contiguous) ... see attached figure.

NAS DRIVE OFTEN NOT DETECTED ON STARTUP

The Seagate NAS GoFlex Home drive which I use as my principal data drive (programs and OS are on my C drive, the defragmented one) seems to play 'peek-a-boo' with the system on startup.  Sometimes the GoFlex drive is detected by the OS, other times it isn't.  However, even when the drive doesn't not show in 'My Computer', if I click on the shortcut to the drive in My Network Places, the NAS drive appears and I'm able to log on to it (note that I do not have to supply a username and password to access the NAS drive on a 'normal, successful' bootup).

STATUS

My system is performing noticeably faster (presumably due to defragmentation and increased free space) however my bootup times are still in the order of 5-6 minutes before the system tray icons are finished loading and the network attached drive (GoFlex Home) is accessible.



STARTUP STATISTICS

Time of Occurrence from Power On (all times refer to start of event unless otherwise noted):

Normal XP Startup (Current User):

  Windows Splash Screen:       0:25
  User Log On Screen:              1:05
  Desktop Appears:                   1:45
  System Time in System Tray  2:15
  QuickLaunch Icons Appear    2:35
  Last System Tray Icon           5:00 (approx)
  GoFlex NAS Accessible        5:00-6:00 (approx)

 Normal XP StartUp (New User, 3rd time Rebooting):

  Similar startup times as with current user.  

Note however that the GoFlex NAS drive is not visible for this new user ( simply created a new administrator level user account and let the system install all default settings).

Safe Mode (no networking):

  Log On Screen appears:     2:00
  Desktop stable:                    2:45

Safe Mode With Networking:

  Log On Screen appears:    1:15
  Desktop stable:                   1:30

(it seems odd to me that Safe Mode with Networking starts up faster???)

QUESTIONS:

1.  Is there a tool I can use to log (timestamp) which service or startup apps take the longest to load at startup  (i have these pared down pretty much to the minimum ... I think!)?

2,  Is there a way (e.g. bat file?) to explicitly (re)connect the GoFlex Home NAS at startup so the system doesn't look for it (or whatever it does which seems to take so long before it is discovered)?




 User generated image
Avatar of qeng

ASKER

@DrKlahn, etc.:

RUNNING BOOTVIS TRACE

Now that my system is properly defragged etc., I am presently running a BootVis trace to see if this helps identify any sources of the slow startup.
Regarding DriveImage XML, What location did you extract the files to? Are you sure it's a location the program has write access to? Is DriveImage XML installed on your system, or are you still running it from the boot disc?

Regarding boot time, did you follow DrKlahn's suggestion to try BootVis?
http://www.techrepublic.com/article/step-by-step-use-bootvis-to-improve-xp-boot-performance/5034622
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ASKER

BOOTVIS TRACE CRASHES

After successfully installing BootVis 1.3.X and initiating the first Next Boot + Drivers trace and a system reboot from within the BootVis app, my system rebooted, loaded XP, loaded desktop etc., started up BootVis (saw a small message window on desktop 'Please Wait for Bootvis to launch') then:

- a short while later my system crashed (BSOD) causing a physical system dump to disk.

- I rebooted the system (not sure if the crash/dump was intentionally created by BootVis), XP reloaded ok, desktop reloaded ok, got message that BootVis was saving the Boot Trace to file Trace_Boot + Drivers_1_1.BIN,  then Windows (perhaps from previous crash) issued error message:
   
"The system has recovered from a serious error.  A log of this error has been created"

On sending the error report to MS, the MS report processing system opened up the Windows Error Reporting webpage:  with a message indicating that the error had been caused by a device or driver.

BootVIs was showing as an icon in the TaskBar at the time but was showing an empty window on the desktop.  Shortly afterwards the system issued the following error:

PerfVis NT Performance Tool

"PerfVis NT Performance Tool has encountered a problem and needs to close. ..."

- tried rebooting the system and this time running BootVis to perform a Next Boot trace (without drivers this time)

- same issue, system booted up, desktop got loaded, BootVis got loaded, indicating it was logging the trace to file Trace_Boot_1.1.BIN but shortly afterwards the PerfVis NT Performance Tool error was displayed again.

- when I browse to C:\Program Files\Microsft Bootvis  i can see that the program created a file for each of the two traces I tried running:

TRACE_BOOT+DRIVERS_1_1.BIN (390,674 KB)
TRACE_BOOT_1_1.BIN (84,915 KB)

- I tried opening the smaller of those two files with Notepad to view the contents; Notepad opens but won't load the file ... hourglass keeps displaying ... presumably because file is too large for Notepad or because it has no EOF because of the crash ???)

-  attempting subsequently to open TRACE_BOOT_1_1.BIN or TRACE_BOOT+DRIVERS_1_1.BIN with BootVis results in the following error msg:

Number of Physical drives in the trace is 0.  Trace file has invalid system configuration information.

Ideas?
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ASKER

UNINSTALLED BOOTVIS, INSTALLED WINBOOTINFO

I uninstalled BootVis and installed WinBootInfo (WBI)

Ran WBI on bootup.  Startup was normal, WBI seemed to perform as expected but appeared to crash on or near completion with an Access Violation error (see attached Fig).

I was able to open the program subsequently however and to view the Boot Log file it had produced (copy attached).  A screen grab of WBI's GUI which shows a bootup statistics summary is also attached.

Scanning through WBI's log, other than being surprised at the number of items which are loaded, I don't see anything which seems to take an exceptionally long time to load (though I'm looking at this with untrained eyes and minimal knowledge as to what is reasonable).  Obviously the number of startup apps and services add up.

I'm disabling a few more from startup (via msconfig > startup) and will recheck bootup time.


 User generated image User generated image WinBoonInfo-Log-Nov-22-2011-14-1.pdf
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ASKER

I added a startup vb script to force the system to map the GoFlex NAS on bootup.  This at least provides me with access to the NAS fairly soon after the system boots up.

Defragging the drive and free space was very helpful (hadn't realized the extent to which it had become defragged).

Picked up some excellent tips on utilities, defragging, imaging, etc. on this exercise.

I believe I have 2 or 3 corrupted OS files which will need rebuilding.  I'll delve into this and re-open another topic if necessary.

Avatar of qeng

ASKER

I'll retire this question now.

Thanks all for your support.

Due to the length of this thread and number of replies, it's hard to award points exactly on a merit basis.  Since the majority of the replies were helpful in one way or another, I awarded approximately on the basis of number or replies.
Avatar of qeng

ASKER

System wouldn't allow me to assign less than 20 points for responses so had to go back in and tweak.  Wasn't able to assign points to all responses which should have been rewarded.

Feel free to let me know if points spread isn't felt to be representative.

Again many thanks.  Very instructive for me.