I am running a Dell Inspiron 9400 with 2.5GB RAM. The machine use to boot very fast until recently. Now when it boots it gets to the point of loading the desktop image and then stops for about 25 seconds, then you hear the short burst of "Windows" music and then a 10 second delay and then the icons come up.

I know this is pretty non specific in nature, but I would hope someone could point me in a direction where I should be looking for a problem.

Just so you know I don't have a copy of the install disk so I can't just do a repair. Sucks, I know.

I have checked for viruses, malware and such and all scans have come up negative.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Leo G

Basically the only thing to take time when Windows is loading is the actual loading of the programs. Generally, Windows can only load one program at a time so the more you have starting with windows the longer it takes for Windows to start.
Have a look at what programs are running, go "START" "RUN" type "msconfig" without the " ". Click the start up tab and see what programs are being loaded. If you find programs there that you don't want to load but do want to keep, open those programs one at a time, go to their preferences and stop them loading at windows start or at boot. Any you do not want at all, uninstall them.
Viruses and malware are also programs and take time to load but they will not show up in msconfig most times. You said that you have checked viruses and malware, but an extra check could never go astray. to ensure that you have a clean PC go to:-
Download and run to remove any viruses you may have. (Sometimes a virus will stop you accessing an anti-virus site, so try going through safe mode (Tap F8 on boot up) and see if you can access it there.)
Then go to :-
Download, then run a “quick check” your PC for any problems, if still there do a “full scan.”
If you are still having trouble contact here again.

I run Symantic Antivirus on my computer and I do a Malwarebytes scan every couple of nights. All clean. I downloaded the BootVis program and ran it, then I ran the optimize system and there was little change. I have a 40 second gap of no activity between 50 and 90 seconds, which conforms to where the delay I have noticed is. Right after the desktop screen loads and before the short burst of MS music is played.

I couldn't upload the BootVIs BIN file here so you can download it from here


Any help is appreciated

Sometimes, some of the windows protected files can be lost or changed. To detect any problems run the program “System File Checker” (SFC). Before you run it you should purge your PC’s cache:-

Go to “START”
Click “RUN”
Type or “copy and paste”.. sfc.exe /purgecache

Note:- the space after “exe”.

The “purgecache” in this command will empty the cache before you run the file checker. You should always purge the cache before scanning with the System File Checker (SFC). That way, you can be sure that system files are copied from your Windows installation media, and are not infected with malware or corrupted. After the cache has been purged, run System File Checker.

Go to “START”
Click “RUN”
Type or “copy and paste”… sfc.exe /scannow

Note:- the space after “exe”. You may be required to use your installation disk.

This could take a long time to complete, when finished, reboot and see if the problem still exists.

Well, that did take a while. I purged and then ran the scannow option and it went through the scan and never asked me to insert my install disk. Just disappeared after it was done. So I can only assume everything was OK. Haven't rebooted yet, guess I'll do that now.

Did the reboot, no change. Still have the 40 second delay. Anything else I can try?

this one is from the link i give you... :) BootVistries to optimize the XP boot process as much as possible, but [b]let users know that it can't work miracles.[/b] If a machine loads antivirus, firewall, and/or e-mail programs when booted, BootVis can only do so much. Remember the phrase “Your mileage may vary,” and use BootVis within the context of how you use your system. This will help you achieve a compromise between a fast boot and a system you can work with as soon as it boots to XP.

Not expecting miracles, just a little help. I read it in the link and I didn't expect it to fix the problem. But I was hoping it could lead me in a direction. But it didn't, it just confirmed what I already knew.

Did you look at the BootVis file I uploaded? I was wondering if you could make something out of it that I might have missed. The area between 50 and 106 seconds (there is a quick spike at 90 seconds) is where I am having the delay that wasn't there about a month ago.

I usually use hibernate and only boot when I have to, so I am not certain when this might have occurred.

I neglected to mention that I also use Zone Alarm.

my last offer to you is to do a Windows repair from your OS CD. Before you nstart you should make a slipstreamed Cd of your Windows installation disk with SP3 and the latest hot fixes so you will not have to download them again after the repair. Slipstreaming your XP Operating System Disk is an easy and very time saving job. When you need to reinstall or repair Windows, you will have SP3, the drivers for your PC, the serial number and a number of hot fixes etc that have been released since SP3 all on your CD. You can insert the CD, click install and come back an hour later to an up-to–date PC, needing only a few updates on-line (plus IE8, Media player11 etc) Click on this link to find out how to make your own CD:-
For a simpler no frills program, try Auto slipstreamer. http://fileforum.betanews.com/download/AutoStreamer/1092632287/1
When you do a Windows repair from your OS disk, you only lose the latest upgrades that are not on your disk, all programs will still work and you will not lose any data. (I have lost my AVG free serial number and had to reinstall it.) But like any major work on a PC before you start....BACK-UP.................

I finally got it worked out. Turned out to be an issue for checkdisk. But the weird thing is that I couldn't get checkdisk to work at boot up. I had it flagged to run at boot up but it never did. Then I changed a parameter in my BOOT.INI file and to my surprise checkdisk ran at the next boot. It said the disk was dirty and named off a bunch of files that had various problems. The next boot was as normal use to be. Nice and quick with no delay between the desktop picture being displayed and the icons coming up.

Not sure what really happened or why checkdisk wouldn't fire up or why it did fire up in the end. But the end result is everything is working well again.