How to troubleshoot slow boot on Windows Vista

Windows Vista RTM
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2)

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

You might want to go ahead and read/go thru
950684 How to troubleshoot performance issues during startup in Windows Vista
950685 How to troubleshoot performance issues in Windows Vista

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?

- Post (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

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.
Additionally, SAS is faster than SATA and SATA is faster then IDE.
Note:  Most laptops nowadays ship with SATA based disk drives.

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

- Built-in diagnostics for Windows Vista.
Applications and Services Logs --> Microsoft --> Windows --> Diagnostics-Performance --> Operational

Boot Performance events:
Event ID: 101
Event Source: Diagnostic-Performance
An application took longer than usual to start up.

Event ID: 102
Event Source: Diagnostic-Performance
A service took longer than expected to startup.

942910 "Error, Warning, or Critical" events are logged in the Diagnostic Performance/Operational event log on a Windows Vista-based computer

- XBootMgr.exe a part of the "Windows Performance Toolkit" (a.k.a. XPerf)
Windows On/Off Transition Performance Analysis

- ProcMon Log Boot

- Manual complete memory dump while it seems that is taking a long time or seems to be hung.
969028 How to generate a kernel or a complete memory dump file in Windows Server 2008

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

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