I am having the strangest problem with Windows XP. No matter what application I load, there is a 1.5 ~ 2 second delay before the application is ready for use. I will explain further, first, here are my specs:

* Inspiron E1505, Intel Core Duo Processor T2400 (2MB/1.83GHz/667MHz)
* 2GB, DDR2, 533MHz
* Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 950 GM
* 60GB 7200RPM SATA
* Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600.SP2]

About a month ago I performed a full format and reinstall. Installed all of my apps and everything was fast and furious. This is a fast notebook! I can only guesstimate that about two weeks ago something happened that changed my system and caused this.


When I launch an application it WILL appear on the screen instantaneously, however, you can not begin to use it for about 1.5 ~ 2 seconds. I have four computers and this is the only one that started displaying this problem. Two programs that use very little resources and can easily demonstrate the issue are Windows Notepad and Calculator. Here is a visual example of what is happening using Notepad:



This image was something I put together so that you can see what is happening visually. When you launch Notepad it appears instantly on screen and what you see is # 1. About 1.5 ~ 2 seconds later it changes to # 2. No, I am not saying a second Notepad window opens, I am merely illustrating the differences in appearance between first launch and two seconds later being able to use it.

You can see the differences… in # 1 the defining edge line just below File Edit Format View Help is not there and there is no cursor flashing. Once the 1.5 ~ 2 second delay has passed the Notepad window becomes “active” # 2 and you can then start using it.

Where Windows Calculator is concerned, I have a Quick Launch shortcut for it, when I click it Calculator appears instantaneously and you should be able to start keying immediately. An example would be entering numbers like 13746 but by the time I look up to see what was entered there is nothing there but a zero, then suddenly 13746 appears. Pretty much the same for Notepad, upon launch if you start typing it won’t appear for about 1.5 ~ 2 seconds.

Once the program becomes active, you can use it without a problem. But if you close the program and launch it again, the same thing occurs. If you already have Notepad open and launch a second instance of it, there is still the delay.

This seems to happen only with applications as I have tried testing this with things such as folders. One way to do this is by using ALT-F4. If you launch notepad, calc, msconfig, Mike Lin’s Startup Manager etc and press ALT-F4 immediately, it won’t close until the 1.5 ~ 2 seconds has elapsed. But if you open up something like My Documents and hit ALT-F4 immediately it closes instantly.

I reference these particular programs because they are small and launch instantly and you can see what is happening. Other programs like Outlook, Word, and Photoshop etc are a bit larger, take time to load and you can’t really notice the issue with them but I am sure it is there.

Things I have tried:

I have tried every AV, Spyware, Adware removal program on the market and not a single one of them even found a cookie that was out of line. This machine is 200% badness free. In addition (and some might not agree with this method) I do not use Windows update or install any updates from Windows whatsoever. I only run the raw version of Windows XP/SP2 installation CD. That is it. The reason being that so many times I have followed suit like recommended and installed all of the updates on my machines only to end up plagued with problems. Windows XP/SP2 as a raw install is in my opinion almost flawless in terms of functionality.

I have tried turning off every startup application using Mike Lin’s Startup Manager 2.8, turning off every single service using MSCONFIG. The only services that were actually running were:

* DCOM Service Launcher
* Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
* Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator

According to Task Manager I had 11 processes running:

* csrss.exe
* explorer.exe
* lsass.exe
* services.exe
* smss.exe
* svchost.exe
* svchost.exe
* System
* System Idle Process
* taskmgr.exe
* winlogon.exe

All of which proved to be 100% system related and most of them could not be ended without being warned: “This is a critical system process. Task Manager cannot end this process.” Ending any of the others usually results in unpleasant behavior.

With only the three aforementioned services, no startup programs and only eleven default Windows processes running I tried launching Notepad and Calculator again to see if the problem still existed and it was still happening.

I have also tried rebooting in Safe Mode and still the same problem.

Keep in mind that this is my business laptop. I absolutely, positively do not do ANYTHING out of line with it. No surfing of random websites, installing strange applications that are not licensed and paid for. I don’t even have fun on this machine. The ONLY websites I visit are my own, MSNBC.com and Intellicast.com. Not a single other website is ever visited. Not even Dani Web (I am on a different machine for this posting).

I am vexed to say the least. Any information or ideas would be greatly appreciated.


Windows XP has a file in side the windows file called Prefetch.... this is an activity log and can build to quite a large file and slows the machine down.

My rule of thumb is a once a week clear out of this file and you will see a difference in performance ....


open my computer
double click C:\
double click windows
double click prefetch
on the top toolbar click edit (next to file at the top)
select all
move you mouse to the right
and right click on any of the highlighted file in blue
select delete
at the prompt select yes you are sure

now run the applications again and see if the performance has increased


South Africa

Darren, thank you very much for the reply and tip. Actually, this is something that I tried but forgot to mention in my original post.

I decided to try it again based on your recommendation. It did not work for me and still exhibits the problem.

i get this on my windows2003 server box. Its got 8gb of ram and 4 xenons - this baby should NEVER need to take that long opening notepad

I know exactly what you mean. It just shouldn't be happening, however, to clarify its not exactly an issue "opening" apps like notepad it's more to the point that the program opens in a heartbeat but the system won't give you control of the program for 1.5~2 seconds.

i know, for me its wierd things like it will come up straight away but the following will not happen for a few seconds:

the drag things on toolbars
the lottle notches on IE7's scrollbar
The lines around the borders of windows look kinda half drawn
fonts are not cleartype

hi,novice opinion, video card /monitor refresh or something .try changing the refresh rate maybe
I have a p4 2.8 1gig of pc2100/pc2700 ram and 128 ati and it loads notepad just fine right to the #2 in the first post ,so its not a windows thing .

no ive got a good monitor a a decent card

It's strange that it took me this long to notice it, but I just realized that when launching an application such as notepad, during that 1.5~2 second delay, the hour glass will appear if you mouse over the title bar of the app.

There is definitely some type of lock or hold on apps for what amounts to a very short period of time and for the life of me I can't figure it out.

turning off cleartype and drop shadows helps a bit
dont really know why

Already tried turning off all Visual Effects from System Properties to no avail. In certain cases I would agree with you but this is a performance laptop and cleartype and drop shadows are not likely to influence performance. Good thinking though!

i found this problem doesnt appear in XP without SP1 or SP2
(i have an origianal xp retail cd from, like 2001 ish which i put on my machine to test this problem)

The thing is that I had installed a Genuine WinXP w/SP2 disc and the system was running fine for weeks before this started happening. In addition to that I wanted to remind readers that I never perform Windows updates on my system for the aforementioned reasons.

So the end result being that a default WinXPSP2 install was not showing the problem until a few weeks later.

Still baffled by this but all the same, I truly appreciate the feedback and efforts thus far.


Downloaded the latest BitDefender Internet Security v10. It found the following and quarintined it. Once it was quarantined Notepad and everything else opened in a flash and began working immdiately. No more 2 sec delay.

Now where the heck did it come from?







"Troj/LegMir-AHT is an information stealing Trojan for the Windows platform. Troj/LegMir-AHT steals information of game related application and submits these details via a preconfigured website. The Trojan contains functionalities to capture keystrokes, access the Internet and communicate with remote server via HTTP. "

it says i dont have this. I ripped out one of my RAM sticks though and that seems to have solved it