How to collect a good boot trace on Windows 7

Assume the following:  You have a Windows 7 host that you want to collect a trace from.  A good trace.  One that you know other people will be able to decipher as well as yourself.  Maybe I’ve asked you to collect a boot trace so I can look at it and pointed you to this blog.  Maybe your Sherpa of IT has decided you should learn this and you are doing it to learn….

(edited 11-2)

[You may also use xperf’s xbootmgr with a syntax similar to this:

xbootmgr -trace boot -traceflags base+latency+dispatcher -stackwalk profile+cswitch+readythread+threadcreate -notraceflagsinfilename -postbootdelay 30



In any event, you have a Windows 7 host.

Lets cover a few basic rules here as we get started:

1.  If host = Windows 7 AND bitness = amd64 THEN Set DisablePagingExecutive to 1 and reboot:

2.  Make sure the user account we want to trace is local administrator, even temporarily.

3.  Set AutoLogon up in the registry for this user so we don’t flub a password input and invalidate a trace with bogus data:


After we have that, install the Windows 8 ADK on the target machine, or copy the Windows Performance Toolkit from a machine it has already been installed on onto our target machine. (link

(We can install by running ADK Setup and deselecting EVERYTHING except Windows Performance Toolkit, by the way.)



So, its there, somewhere.


1.  Run WPRUI elevated/as administrator




2.  For a boot trace, click More Options on the bottom left, revealing the window that looks like this:



3.  For the boot trace, I would like to see CPU Usage, Disk I/O Activity and File I/O Activity.  I would like you to change the Performance Scenario to “Boot” and number of iterations to “1”, as so:



4.  Click “Start” and then type something into the box and select a convenient place to store your trace and then hit “Save” which will reboot your machine and collect the trace.



5.  Let it reboot, let it logon as the user you specified in the auto logon, let it count down the normal boot process and end with the ETL trace in the directory you specified.  Get me that trace, stat!  Or if you are doing this to learn, poke around in it in XperfView.exe and WPA.exe, two entirely different ways to view the data set.

Hope this helps, after I stand up a VM or two I’m going to do some WPA examples….

Comments (9)

  1. NotYourAverageUser says:

    Hi Jeff!

    Appreciate the post as it has led me to a new tool that will be fun to use. My personal computer had a log file that is over 3GB! Is that normal? I must admit I have quite a lot going on when my computer loads but I was hoping to find some good advice on tracing
    a slow Windows 7 load from POST. I have the startup set to show OS boot information (because I've had problems in the past that were troubleshooted by where the drivers stop loading) so it lists all the drivers then shows the windows version and processor
    name. Then it goes blank. Goes blank for somewhere around 90 seconds before dropping into the logon screen then zips through the actual windows login in moments. I have 4x SSDs in RAID 0, set through Intel's raid controller for a 1TB working drive and this
    delay in rebooting is very frustrating and hard to trace. Any ideas?


  2. Stumped says:

    Hello Jeff,

    I've been given the task to find out why certain PC's in our network at the same building are taking longer to log on from logon screen to desktop than normal. In some instances it is taking between 10-20 minutes!! This is outside my area of expertise as I've never dealt with GPO's and such, but I am willing to learn and go above and beyond to resolve this issue. I was told to use any resources necessary to figure out this issue. Ive been reading multiple posts written by you and you seem very knowledgable in this area. Any help, suggestions, or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  3. Chase says:

    I'm worried. I just did as you said, and after Starting Windows I've had a black screen for about five minutes. Safe to manually restart?

  4. Michael Waterman says:

    Very nice Jeff! I really need to start writing again.

  5. Jeff Stokes says:

    Hey Stumped! In the Options of this blog page, click the “Email blog author” and lets get started.

  6. Jeff Stokes says:

    Hey Chase, did you have slow boot before?  XP, 7?  Shoot me an email if you like.