Windows Enterprise Client Boot and Logon Optimization – Part 14, Boot Phase – Explorer Initialization


This post continues the series that started here.

In the last post, I mentioned that the Winlogon phase ended as it launched Explorer. With this, the system enters the Explorer Initialization phase.

BootPhase-02

As we’ll see, Explorer Initialization is a fairly simply phase with a short list of activities.

Boot Phase Explorer Initialization – Phase Activity

The list of activities for this phase are –

  • Explorer.exe starts
  • Desktop Window Manager starts
  • The desktop is displayed for the first time
  • Auto-start (Run-keys) applications are launched

Boot Phase Explorer Initialization – Measurement

As has been the case for the other phases I’ve discussed, the summary XML generated with xperf.exe provides phase timing as ExplorerInit

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Windows Performance Analyzer (WPA) shows the phase duration in the Regions of Interest graph as Boot-ExplorerInit:

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Boot Phase Explorer Initialization – Potential Issues

Explorer Initialization is usually a quick phase, taking only a couple of seconds but it may become longer with high disk contention. As services, antivirus, and auto-start applications compete, the system disk I/O becomes important.

Additionally, Explorer Initialization is a CPU intensive phase. CPU competition with other processes may delay the user experience. Run and RunOnce registry keys may introduce some of these competing processes.

Boot Phase Explorer Initialization – Remediation

As I’ve just mentioned, CPU and Disk utilization are an important consideration during this phase. After selecting and zooming to the Boot-ExplorerInit: phase in WPA, you should review these first as discussed in Post 9.

Regions of Interest provides some great insight into sub-activities that occur during initialization of the shell. Simply expand Boot-ExplorerInit: in the Regions of Interest left-hand pane –

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You may also use the Generic Events table to interrogate applications launched from registry run keys (again, column ordering is important) –

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Ultimately your goal will be to lighten the load on CPU and Disk. Identify non-essential processes that run during this phase and either remove them or consider launching them as delayed scheduled tasks (screenshot from Task Scheduler) –

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The AutoRuns tool is valuable for disabling or removing auto-start applications.

Conclusion

Explorer Initialization is a fairly simple phase where you main goal is to reduce CPU and Disk utilization so that the shell can be started as soon as possible.

Next Up

Boot Phase – Post Boot

Comments (1)

  1. anonymouscommenter says:

    My peer Mark Renoden, Roger Southgate and Scott Duffey, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Sydney

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