How to troubleshoot slow boot on Windows XP

Windows XP RTM
Windows XP Service Pack 1
Windows XP Service Pack 2
Windows XP Service Pack 3

How to troubleshoot slow boot or slow startup or slow login on Windows XP.

You might want to go ahead and read/go thru

308041 Advanced troubleshooting for general startup problems in Windows XP


Before troubleshooting slow, we need to define what is slow?

Exactly how long does it take?

1 min

2 min

3 min

4 min or longer?

-Bios to the CTRL-ALT-DEL (a.k.a. SAS)

Result: HH:MM:SS _____________

-CTRL-ALT-DEL to the Applying Personal settings

Result: HH:MM:SS _____________

-Applying Personal settings to the desktop

Result: HH:MM:SS _____________

-Time unplugging the network cable

Result: HH:MM:SS _____________

-Time after disk defragmentation

Result: HH:MM:SS _____________

-Time Safe Mode

Result: HH:MM:SS _____________

-Time Safe Mode with networking

Result: HH:MM:SS _____________

-Time Disable 3rd party service and startup items

1.  Make sure that you have all the Microsoft Security Updates installed.

2.  Slow disk

2a. Low disk space, make sure that you have at least 10-12% of free disk space.

Delete the entries in %temp%

Delete c:\windows\temp

Delete c:\windows\$NtUninstllKB000000$

Note: Where 000000 is the KB article number

Warning:  If you do delete the $NtUninstllKB000000$, you will not be able to uninstall the security hotfixes.

2b. Check the disk for any issues

Start, Run, CMD

ChkDsk.exe /f

2c. Disk fragmentation

Use the built-in Disk Defragmenter utility or Contig (Microsoft SysInternals tool)

2d. Most laptops are at a disadvantage compared to desktops if they have 4200 RPM and 5200 RPM disk drives

Get a faster disk disk i.e. 7200 RPM disk, drawback, uses more power.

3.  Delete the PreFetch that could have become stale or corrupt

Click on Start, Run, c:\windows\prefetch

Delete the entries

4.  Make sure that your antivirus kernel filter driver is up to date.

Note:  Not to be confused with the antivirus definition update.

5.  Make sure that the hardware drivers are up to date.

Older drivers could be slower to initialize or go thru it’s routine.

6.  Make sure that the 3rd party applications are up to date.  Check for updates on the ISV (Independent Software Vendor) website.

7.  If it is joined to a domain

7a.  Check for startup scripts or logon scripts

7b.  If you are using Windows Desktop Search (WDS) group policies with WDS 3.01, you will want to upgrade to:

Windows Desktop Search 4.0

7c.  If you have are using Group Policy Preference (GPP), you want the following hotfix installed:

974266 Group Policy Preferences Client-Side Extension Hotfix Rollup



- Safe Mode

- Safe Mode with Networking

- MSConfig

Start, Run, MSConfig

Services tab, Hide All Microsoft Services > Disable All

Startup tab, disable all

Click on Apply

Click on Ok

It will ask you to restart

- BootVis

Note:  For Windows Vista and higher, this tool has been replaced by the XBootMgr.exe Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT)

For more information:

Windows On/Off Transition Performance Analysis

- ProcMon Log Boot

- UserEnv logging

221833 How to enable user environment debug logging in retail builds of Windows

- Manual complete memory dump while it seems that is taking a long time or seems to be hung.

972110 How to generate a kernel dump file or a complete memory dump file in Windows Server 2003

Note:  The only thing that is different is the hotfixes and “BIOS-level server hardware recovery mechanism” which only server level hardware have.

Comments (3)

  1. Yes, if you are having problems with BootVis on Windows XP SP3, you can utilize XbootMgr.exe.  There are some limitations with XbootMgr.exe.

  2. Stefan says:

    BootVis is not supported anymore by Microsoft. I have two versoins of it, and both are not stable on Windows XP SP3. I have been told XBootMgr.exe can work on XP… Can you confirm ?

  3. Broonster says:

    What are the limitations of using XBootMgr.exe with XP?

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