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Title I wanted to use: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

For some reason I can't preview my post when I use this title: I have tried removing all the punctuation, including the &, which doesn't work and have tried other titles with the same character length, which does work.

Problem Begins Here:

When I turn on or restart my computer, the boot up time from the time I press the power button to the time the final icon on my desktop loads is slow. I am not too concerned about the time after my desktop is shown since I have several items to run at startup.

The two areas of concern are:

1) After the XP logo is shown, my screen goes black. This lasts for about 17 to 19 seconds. I don't know when this started as I rarely restart my computer. The problem is worse if I startup in Safe Mode. It's about 1 minute and 10 seconds before I see anything on the screen, and another 40 seconds before something else is shown on screen. Note: In order to not to have to waste time pressing F8 and choosing Safe Mode, I enter safe mode by specifying so in msconfig. The options I chose were /SAFEBOOT and Minimal.

2) After I login, there is a delay of about 30 to 45 seconds before the desktop is shown. Windows stays at the login confirmation screen during that time. This I feel has happened recently.

Boot Time Results tested using a stopwatch:

Normal Boot (i.e. Not Safe Mode):
Time shown next to event is for when that event begins.

Black Screen: 0:43 seconds
Asked to Login: 1:02 (1 minute & 2 seconds; Black screen lasted 19 sec.)
Logged In: 1:11
Desktop Visible: 1:54 (so, 43 seconds after I logged in)
Taskbar Visible (all blue gaps filled in): 2:40
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 3:24

2nd Boot up Time: (Done way after the one above):

Black Screen: 0:47
Asked to Login: 1:04 (Black screen lasted 17 seconds)
Logged In: 1:15
Desktop Visible: 1:43 (so, 28 seconds after I logged in)
Taskbar Visible: 2:37
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 3:10

Boot time via Safe Mode:

Black Screen: 0:23
Ask to Login: 2:14 (but letters are shown earlier at 1:33, in Normal Mode I am taken this immediately after the black screen event is over)
Logged In: 2:34
Desktop Visible: 2:48
Taskbar Visible: 3:03
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 3:22

Steps Taken to Resolve the Problem and Results:

Some Background Info first:
These first two I did not do to solve the problem but because I was trying to leave the computer in good shape before I start using it less. So, I was deleting lots of items, installing two year old Windows Updates, installing different tune up programs to see what they would report (no, I didn't have any of them do anything like clean the registry or change settings. I only observed what they reported. The most I had done was to have "junk files" deleted) and doing the first two steps below.

Steps:

1) I ran a chkdsk command. Don't know the results. The first two phases started through a program I was using and the final one Windows XP did when I restarted the computer.

2) I have defragged the hard drive.

3) I ran sfc.exe /scannow I believe everything went well because I was monitoring the progress window until very close to the end, but did not see what happened at the end. When I returned to the computer, the window was closed.

4) Since I know for most problems people like to say check if you have a virus, I ran a virus scan. No viruses found. Also, I have the latest version of my BIOS installed.

5) I have also disabled every single startup item and every single non-Microsoft service via msconfig. That did not make a difference in the areas of delay I mentioned above. I have re-enabled what I disabled. (Well most, since I couldn't exactly remember which ones were enabled.)

6) I have enabled bootlog and checked Event Viewer.

Normal Startup:
  • Bootlog: See file Bootlog-Normal Statup.txtSome drivers are reported as not being loaded.
  • Event Viewer: No errors or warnings. Just Information.
Safe Mode:

  • Bootlog: See file Bootlog-Safe Mode.txt
    VERY long list. Lots of drivers not loaded and the same ones repeated multiple times.
  • Event Viewer: Several errors about things not starting because they depend on the TCP/IP Protocol Driver or items that cannot start in Safe Mode. I believe this is probably because I didn't choose Network option for Safe Mode.
Other Info:

I see this solution offered here: Windows XP - Slow Boot Up Problem. [SOLUTION] - Resolve Support with regards to the black screen, but I am afraid to try it out. Plus, that mentions longer wait times at the black screen. Mine is only a few seconds.

My Computer Specs:

Brand and Model: Dell Inspiron E1505
OS: Windows XP SP3
RAM: 4 GB

O.k. I think that covers everything. I have seen other posts with lots of great help. Hopefully I receive the same. Thanks in advance.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Hi and welcome to TSF I have changed the title for you hope it is now ok.
Did you try running any diagnostics like seatools for dos on the HDD SeaTools for DOS tutorial
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Hi and welcome to TSF I have changed the title for you hope it is now ok.
Did you try running any diagnostics like seatools for dos on the HDD SeaTools for DOS tutorial
Thanks for changing the title. Something was preventing it from allowing me to preview my post. The final test I did was to put pieces of it from the beginning and then continue to add. At some point it stopped letting me preview my post and even when I cut back on the title to the point where it was working, that portion then wouldn't work again.

Regarding Computer Problem:

No, I haven't tried such tools. I only tried a short memory test that one can choose from among other tests when one boots up the computer.

Since you mentioned that tool though, I did go ahead and download it and ran both the Short Test and the Long Test, and both of them passed.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Ok again hat sounds good, next thing is a clean boot How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state
Well, I did the clean boot, and I figured it wouldn't have worked since I had already previously unchecked all Startup and Non-Microsoft Services, though the clean boot option required unchecking a few more things.

I had to do the manual option because for the guided help exe, it connects to an invalid URL.

Anyhow, the final step says to clear the Load System Services, which it says will permanently get rid of restore points. Should I do this? I am however not sure if the previous restore points will help since I don't know when the problem started. Also, those restore points are around when I installed two year old updates, so I don't know if I were to restore the system to a previous time if I will have to download all of those updates again. I would prefer not to.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

UPDATE:

So I decided to time things in a precise manner, from beginning to end, which I didn't do this last time, and I do see that things are a bit different and in one area the time is shorter. I did this test twice and ended up with the same time off by only one to two seconds.

Here are the results:

Black Screen: 0:40 (so this event starts a few seconds earlier)
Asked to Login: Before, after the black screen event was over, I would immediately be asked to login. Now, the mouse is shown and the message Windows is starting up is shown for a while and then eventually the usernames for me to then login. So this has now become two events:
--- Mouse and Windows is starting up Shown On Screen / Black Screen Over: 1:00
--- Asked to Login: 1:21 (so this is longer; before the usernames would be shown at 1:04, 1:11 and around there)
Logged In: 1:28
Desktop Visible: 1:40 (this is now shorter; 40-28 = 12 seconds only)
Taskbar Visible: 2:33
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 3:15
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

This was after doing the clean boot ?.
Is your antivirus set to scan on boot.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

This was after doing the clean boot ?.
Is your antivirus set to scan on boot.
A.

Yes, this was after doing the clean boot.

As for the antivirus set to scan on boot, well, though I see no option in my AVG user interface, I do see several references to it in Process Monitor (PM), which I set to Enable Boot Logging. Here is some more info on that.

I started up the PC at 2:14 pm and 00 seconds. Process Monitor is however showing activity at 02 seconds in.

This is how things went with regards to startup:

Black Screen: 0:48
Mouse Shown and Windows is Starting up Message: 1:04
Asked to Login: 1:27
Logged In: 1:34
Desktop Visible: 1:48
Taskbar Visible: 2:49
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 2:54 (this was the fastest loading yet, though it took longer for the taskbar to be visible; so, most of the desktop icons were loaded while the taskbar was not fully visible)

Now, early on, according to PM, at 2:14:10 I see things like: IRP_MJ_Create with the Result being Success for the path of C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\avg9.

Later on, I see the processes of avgchsvx.exe, which started at 2:14:54, avgrsx.exe, which started at 2:14:54, and avgcsrvx.exe, which started at 2:14:54. They continue to show as running all the way to when PM stopped logging, so they presumably never ended. At 2:14:54, the black screen event was already happening as it started at 2:14:48, and if I were to factor in the 2 second delay, well then the black screen started at 50 seconds in.

B.

You didn't answer me about clicking to clear the Load System Services, which will clear Microsoft services as well, and will permanently remove all restore points. Should I do this?
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

I did not answer on touching the MS services as it is not recommended since those services are required for the Pc to both boot and run.
As for AVG "Options" and choosing "Advanced Settings." Deselect the box under Advanced Scheduled Options to disable scheduled scans. Then you can reset the scan to a more convenient time.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

I did not answer on touching the MS services as it is not recommended since those services are required for the Pc to both boot and run.
As for AVG "Options" and choosing "Advanced Settings." Deselect the box under Advanced Scheduled Options to disable scheduled scans. Then you can reset the scan to a more convenient time.
1. If I don't quote you, will you still know that I replied?

2. The AVG processes still run at the exact seconds I specified before. I am doing a clean boot with Process Monitor doing boot logging. In the AVG interface I unchecked "Run on computer startup if task has been missed" for 1) Scheduled Scans, 2) Virus database update schedule, and 3) Program update schedule. I left checked Run even if computer is in low power mode for the last two subsections. Will unchecking that make a difference? I prefer to ask than to waste time testing it if it wouldn't work.

3. Why is it that sometimes I get the better looking graphics? The very first time I did the clean boot, I got the better looking graphics--i.e. the taskbar is blue and my programs in All Programs in Start are large and full the entire screen. The 2nd, 3rd, and other subsequent times, with the exception of this last one, I got the not so nice looking graphics--i.e. the taskbar is grayish looking and the expanded All Programs are tiny, and other areas look like the colors were washed off / erased. I think this is how they look in Safe Mode. (and no, I am not in safe mode; plus, in safe mode, I have a very tiny window, something maybe you can help me solve later on.)

4. The Time to Boot Numbers: (some areas faster, others slower)

Black Screen: 0:47
Mouse Present: 1:03
Asked to Login: 1:07 (this came up way faster this time)
Logged In: 1:15
Desktop Visible: 2:01
Taskbar Visible: 2:58
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 3:56 (this went back to being long)
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Are schedule tasks supposed to still run in clean boot?
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Hi, I was looking at it from a normal boot position and trying to mitigate any issue, we have to work through this one thin at a time or we end up forgetting where we have been and where we are going. If your graphics are playing up 2 things you can try 1st try starting in safe mode the graphics should be off (big) then try a normal boot and reinstall the driver. Now back to your earlier question you could stop and restart services 1 at a time if your confident about working with that, I seldom advise it as not all posters are of a level to work there https://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/sys_srv_start_service.mspx?mfr=true
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Hi, I was looking at it from a normal boot position and trying to mitigate any issue, we have to work through this one thin at a time or we end up forgetting where we have been and where we are going. If your graphics are playing up 2 things you can try 1st try starting in safe mode the graphics should be off (big) then try a normal boot and reinstall the driver. Now back to your earlier question you could stop and restart services 1 at a time if your confident about working with that, I seldom advise it as not all posters are of a level to work there https://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/sys_srv_start_service.mspx?mfr=true
I will look into the driver later on. I have been doing a clean boot every time because the problem, especially the black screen that lasts about 20 seconds, never went away. There is also still about a one minute and 45 second delay from the time I press enter after logging in to the time I see the desktop.

Also, I don't understand why I would want to stop and restart services at this time when I have been doing a clean boot all this time, so the only ones left running are the Microsoft services.

And finally, what about scheduled tasks? Are they supposed to run in a clean boot? I saw one process for real player, an upgrade process, start early on.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Hi no I think we are both at cross purposes I am trying to cover questions you put earlier and those your putting presently.
Now we have tried clean boot where you should have stopped all non MS and it has had a small difference, what you usually do is start 1 thing at a time and reboot until you find which program is an issue. 1 other thought is we could try a repair, howeve,r that would need to wait until tomorrow for me to respond as it is now getting late. But here is here method [IT Services] 7. Windows XP Repair Installation - Fixing Windows XP System and Startup Problems
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Hi no I think we are both at cross purposes I am trying to cover questions you put earlier and those your putting presently.
Now we have tried clean boot where you should have stopped all non MS and it has had a small difference, what you usually do is start 1 thing at a time and reboot until you find which program is an issue. 1 other thought is we could try a repair, howeve,r that would need to wait until tomorrow for me to respond as it is now getting late. But here is here method [IT Services] 7. Windows XP Repair Installation - Fixing Windows XP System and Startup Problems
And I figured the "clean boot" was not "clean" enough since AVG was still running at boot time and I also see one windows task process run at logon. I thought we were trying to make the "clean boot" as clean as possible.

I also figured if after having the "cleanest boot" possible the problem still persisted, then you would look at other areas.

Right now, the idea of starting one thing at a time to me I would think would be done after the main problems have gone away. Yes, I do see things are starting up quicker, but not in the spots I mentioned.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

Ok Do safe boot and kill any other process from there, then go back and boot in clean boot, From my perspective avg should not be running in clean boot.
 

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Re: Windows XP SP3: Slow Startup / Boot: Black Screen Delay & Delay after logging in

So, here is an update.

I figured if the Microsoft article on clean boot that you pointed me to said it was o.k. to clear the Load System Services checkbox from the Selective Startup, that is must be. So, that's what I went ahead and did. I see that unlike clearing the Load Startup Items, that doing this does not clear all the Services Checkboxes, but rather all except those from Microsoft that have a Yes in the Essential column. So, there are some Microsoft services that do get cleared. Also, I see that when I uncheck Load System Services, that the option of Diagnostic Startup gets chosen and Selective Startup is automatically unchosen. I also have apparently somehow before had the Diagnostic Startup chosen for me, I guess by me clearning the the Load System Services button, going to services tab, hiding all Microsoft Services, and then disabling all those that remain, not realizing in doing so that I had also cleared the Non essential Microsoft Services.

I also realize that the reason I get two graphically different looking versions of my desktop and other items is because when Diagnostic startup is chosen, that's when I get the bare bones looking graphics, as opposed as to when Selective Startup is Chosen.

Now, I did have Selective startup chosen these last few times (I know for sure because of the better looking graphics) and so I know that despite these other changes that I made, that it is the Diagnostic Startup that made a difference in the login time, meaning that it's one of the Non Essential Microsoft Services that's causing the long log in time. I will need to enable each one one by one to figure out which one or ones is/are causing the problem.

Other changes made:

1) There was no way to stop AVG from running at boot, no matter how many things I unchecked in the program. So, I uninstalled the program to see what would happen. (You said to stop the processes in Safe Mode, but they would have just started again in a normal boot.) I will eventually re-install it or another anti-virus program. So, this did finally result in AVG not running at boot, which seems to have made a small difference. I now consistently see the mouse after the black screen about 5 to 6 seconds sooner. I say consistently because I did at times see the mouse in the same time as I do now.

2) Before uninstalling AVG, I disabled all Scheduled Tasks, which where running, though I think I only checked it when the system was booted via Selective Startup and not Diagnostic Startup. I am not sure if they still run during Diagnostis startup.

O.k. So, finally, on to the numbers:

With Process Monitor boot logging, with Diagnostic Startup, and No AVG:

Black Screen: 0:42
Mouse After Black Screen: 0:59
Asked to Login: 1:22
Logged In: 1:29
Desktop: 1:35 (6 seconds after logging in)
Taskbar Fully Visible: 2:25
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 2:17 (yes, that's correct; the taskbar was actually the last thing to load this time)

O.k. So, finally, on to the numbers:

With NO Process Monitor boot logging, with Diagnostic Startup, and No AVG:

Black Screen: 0:40
Mouse After Black Screen: 0:54
Asked to Login: 1:16
Logged In: 1:22
Desktop: 1:27 (5 seconds after logging in)
Taskbar Fully Visible: 2:05 (Shortest Boot time Ever.)
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 1:59 (yes, that's correct; the taskbar was actually the last thing to load this time)

Summary:

1) The black screen event after the Windows XP logo is shown never went away. It still lasts about 14 to 17 seconds.

2) The time for me to see the desktop after I login is now considerably shorter. I would assume that 5 to 6 seconds is normal and the shortest time period I can expect. Is that assumption correct?
 

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Some Interesting Results

So, I am undoing the clean state by enabling Microsoft services 5 at a time. If I notice a significant change at any stage along the booting process, I am then unchecking the last 5 services and enabling them one by one until I find which one caused the change. For example, right now I have the "Workstation" service unchecked because I see that it adds 4 seconds longer to showing me the desktop.

So, I still have the system with Process System.ini as well as Process Win.ini both unchecked, as well as all startup items, and with Use Original Boot.ini checked, and with some Microsoft Services enabled.

I have sorted the services by Manufacturer and am going through them. This way the order is retained, though I have no idea what order that is, because it's not by service name.

The last time, I told you that the total Boot time was down to 2:05 seconds, which is the time by which all the desktop icons and the taskbar is fully visible.

Now it's down even further, and this is by enabling services.

First, after enabling these five services: 1) Extensible Authentication Protocol Service, 2) Event Log, 3) COM+ Event System, 4) Fast User Switching Compatibility, and 5) Fax, the boot time changed to as follows:

Black Screen: 0:39
Mouse After Black Screen: 0:54
Asked to Login: 0:56
Logged In: 1:02
Desktop Visible: 1:06
Taskbar Fully Visible: 1:45
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 1:38

So, as you can see, the total boot time is down to 1:45 now.

I continued to enable more services, 5 at a time, and when I arrived at these 5, it takes longer for the Black Screen to begin showing / it's staying longer at the Windows XP logo, and for some reason, every time I repeat the test, it stays longer at the Windows XP logo, though in the end, the times are roughly the same because the final items: desktop visible, all icons loaded, and the taskbar fully visible seem to happen at almost the same time.

These are the five services that causes this: 1) Task Scheduler, 2) Secondary Logon, 3) System Event Notification, 4) Windows Firewall / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), and 5) Shell Hardware Detection.

With those 5 Services enabled, the boot time is as follows:

Black Screen: 1:01 (other times I have gotten 0:43, 0:53, 0:59)
Mouse After Black Screen: 1:16 (other times: 0:59, 1:08, 1:14)
Asked to Login: 1:18
Logged In: 1:24
Desktop Visible: 1:30 (6 seconds)
Taskbar Fully Visible: 1:34 ---NOW it's this fast
Final Desktop Icon Loaded: 1:32

In my repeated tests, the Desktop Being Visible, and the other two steps happen almost at the same time. Rather than each icon loading one by one, they all load at once. I will assume that maybe the System Event Notification or the Shell Hardware detection has something to do with that.

Since the final result is faster, though I don't like it staying longer at the XP logo, I will do a few more tests to see what the numbers are, and then go on continuing enabling 5 at a time the other 20 something Microsoft services.
 
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