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Author Topic: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?  (Read 1449 times)

highend01

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Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:22:07 PM »
I was asked if I can take a look at a friend's computer this weekend.
Either Vista or Windows 7 is running on it. He isn't at home so I'll know
this when I'm there *yeah*

Is there any windows software that can display which auto-starting things
(processes, auto-start entries) are adding <x> seconds to the boot time?

The PC takes ~ 4 minutes to boot up^^ He defragments the only existing
hdd (1 partition only) regularly so defragmentation shouldn't be the problem...

Under Windows 7 Windows Performance Toolkit could be used to trace
the boot (via xbootmgr) but I hope there is something easier...

Apart from that, can anybody recommend (from personal usage!) an utility
that cleans & defragments the registry but only safe entries. Like WiseCare
et al?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 05:01:37 PM by highend01 »

MilesAhead

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 03:01:45 PM »
One thing you can do with the software already on the system is set msconfig to enable boot logging.  If your friend has some half uninstalled programs there may still be entries in the system to load drivers that have been deleted.  Each time one of these in encountered the system waits until time-out seconds before moving onto the next item to load.  My guess is the time out is 15 seconds.  So every 4 items not found adds a minute to the boot.

After you enable boot logging and boot, the system will create a file in the Windows folder called Ntbtlog.txt.  It is basically what you would see scroll up the screen if you booted with no gui.  If you see a bunch of files not found then you may only need to run a registry cleaner(such as Wise portable reg cleaner free) to get rid of them.  If stuff is left over from AV programs like Norton you may have to run the appropriate removal tool and/or Revo Uninstaller, once you know which programs have left crap behind.

I recommend backing up the registry before doing anything to fix it.  The Wise cleaner should do it automatically but check the setting is enabled(I believe it is by default.)

Also you can use AutoRuns to track down something autoloading from a non-obvious place.

If the problem is not the system trying to load non-existent files the next thing I would look for is anything requiring network access such as a mapped network drive that is not mapped.  If there is only one PC then this is a lot less likely.  :)

Myself I would watch the HD access LED if possible, during boot.  If it hardly flickers but there are delays then it is likely time-out issues.  If it is going crazy then there may be a whole bunch of unnecessary crap trying to load.  There may be some automatic analysis freeware but I am not familiar with such software.  Seems like to work it would have to boot the system and look at the system logs.  Just saves you from using msconfig.  But there may be more sophisticated stuff I am not aware of.

4wd

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 06:44:12 PM »
Autoruns will tell you if any startup item is missing (drivers, etc) and you can disable stuff that doesn't need to run at startup, eg. Adobe fast loader, etc, so I'd probably run that first before having to read through the lengthy boot log.

Another tool that can help pinpoint startup problems, FRST (I have used this to fix some problems highlighted when MBAM 3 wouldn't work) - Usage.

Along with the usual snakeoil warnings about it being not necessary to defrag the registry these days, when I used to do it, ERUNT and NTREGOPT were the only ones I used.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 06:49:24 PM by 4wd »

Shades

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 07:47:40 PM »
Although software is the most likely cause of the boot problems, a dying hard disk can seriously p.op the party, no matter if its content is regularly defragged. Heck, the controller chip that enables the hard disk to communicate with the rest of the hardware can also be failing.

Investigating boot problems with AutoRuns is a very good idea. From the same company you can also get a tool, called: Process Explorer. With that you can see which all processes that are currently running...in a more extensive way than the standard Windows Task Manager does. This software also shows you how much I/O (Input/Output) that system has to process. There is cause for worry when the system isn't doing much and I/O remains high. I/O is one of the main causes of a computer being slow.

The other main cause of slowing a computer is a high value at the 'Interrupts' section of Process Explorer when the computer isn't doing anything. That is a clear sign the hardware starts to "fight" for attention of the CPU, literally bogging everything down. You notice this already in normal operation of the system, and even more so during boot.

The tools AutoRuns and Process Explorer are free, do not require to be installed and are part of of a suite of tools (also free) with a lot more gems inside.

Ath

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 01:39:20 AM »
I've seen AVG antivirus (free) slow down the boot process to a crawl, but that was some years ago. There may still be issues like that, can't tell, as I've stopped using AVG for this and other reasons years ago :tellme:
Removing any antivirus, even if only for testing, might give the desired clue.

IainB

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 05:39:51 AM »
@highend01:
To answer your Q: There was a tool - I forget it's name - that I recall I wrote about on the DC Forum some time (years) ago, when I was running WinXP. It was free, and it did a very thorough job of telling you what all the started proggies and services did during startup, and suggested how you could move startup sequences about to minimise the startup duration. I thought it was potentially very useful.

I stopped using it as I no longer needed it and it was itself a heavy overhead if you kept it in the startup queue.

Suggestions:
@Shades makes a good point re the possibility that the hard disk could be failing. The symptoms you describe are what one could expect from a failing disk drive. So, as a first step, consider installing Hard Disk Sentinel and see what it says.

Without wishing to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, there could be several things causing the prolonged bootup time.
I have got used to being asked to make examinations of friend's PCs that are S-L-O-W. I usually do the following, in the "better safe than sorry" priority order given:

  • Install and run a licenced copy of Malwarebytes. Set it to do a full scan. Remove the licence and uninstall it when done, unless the user is happy to pay for a licence, in which case buy a new licence and assign that to the installed proggy.
  • Remove and expunge with prejudice any and all virus checkers except MS Security Essentials. If the latter is not installed, install and run it - do a full scan.
  • Install and run Hard Disk Sentinel. Do this first if the hard disk is suspect.
  • Install and run CCleaner. Clean up the disk for all relevant apps., then the Registry.
  • Run Windows cleanmgr.exe - setting it to clean almost everything except error/performance logs, and delete old Restore Points.
  • Install and Run Sysinternals' Autoruns. Scrutinise all startup processes and adjust as necessary. Delete all "File not found" lines.
  • Install and run Process Hacker (in preference to Sysinternals' Process Explorer). Scrutinise all processes and services.
  • Create a new temp folder C:\TEMP and assign Environment Variables .TMP and .TEMP to that folder.
  • Install and run Everything (Search proggie). Scan the disk(s) for residual .TEMP, .TMP and .bak files and Temp folders and Cache folders, and delete any junk that can be safely deleted.
  • Check and reset (if necessary to rebuild the search index) Windows Desktop Search settings. Unset any superfluous time-consuming settings.
  • Run Windows defrag.

Somewhere amongst that lot you are likely to identify most problems and find out how to rectify the situation.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 05:54:36 AM by IainB »

MilesAhead

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 06:59:01 AM »
This page gives a simplified approach to boot log analysis:
http://sourcedaddy.c...alyze-boot-logs.html

If the system successfully boots, but is slow to do so, I would just count the lines that start with
"did not load driver"  when booting in normal mode as those will time out.  Control f in notepad.  :)



Shades

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 07:58:29 AM »
IainB was talking about the tool: Soluto (MajorGeeks)

This tool shows you exactly how long each part and/or program in the boot procedure took...and where you can make the most gains. Pay attention to programs in the boot process which require access to internet to function. If there is VPN software installed, virtualization software installed or both, the Windows system registers multiple network cards with which it can work. Thing is that these network cards are accessed in order of priority, not all at once.

It could be useful to change the order of priority, because most network traffic uses the TCP protocol for the actual communication. This is an old protocol, which can wait for a maximum of 30 seconds before it assumes a network connection is bad. During that waiting period, the rest of Windows is waiting too. This TCP waiting period cannot be adjusted using the GUI in Windows, Microsoft has never made it part of any configuration setting anywhere in any version of Windows.

Only in the registry it can be adjusted, but is not advised to do so, unless you really know what you are doing. In any case, if the order of priority is set in such a way that only the last network card is able to create a working connection during boot, the TCP protocol can introduce long wait times in the boot procedure. If there are more than one piece of software that requires internet access during boot, TCP will introduce the same waiting period each time.

A tool like Soluto will give you a much better idea of where to look for solving long boot times.

Edit:
An alternative to soluto: BootRacer (free for non-commercial purposes)

When you cleared up the boot mess, it is likely helpful to put up software that lets the owner of the system know when new installed software makes its way into the boot procedure again.
Tools like WinPatrol, Sterjo Startup Patrol or SpyBot Search 'n Destroy can help with that.

Edit 2:
Adjuste the Soluto link.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 08:15:57 AM by Shades »

wraith808

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 08:06:45 AM »
IainB was talking about the tool: Soluto

Unless I'm missing something at your link, that's a service, not a tool, owned by Asurion, the same people that do the after-market warranties.

Shades

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 08:14:33 AM »
Apologies, I think I linked to the wrong website  :-[

Here is a link (MajorGeeks) where you can download the Soluto installer.

IainB

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2017, 09:03:08 AM »
@Shades: Thanks for finding that. (Did you remember it or do a search on the DC Forum?)

Shades

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2017, 10:24:29 AM »
I remembered. :up:  but also managed to find the wrong site to link to.  :down:  It all evens out, I guess...

highend01

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2017, 09:43:09 AM »
Thanks for all helpful tips and comments, guys!

Unfortunately we had to postpone the stuff until next saturday. I'll report back if we were able to find the culprit for this behavior with
all these tools! :)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 03:58:08 PM by highend01 »

highend01

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 01:30:22 PM »
Issue resolved.

Malware Bytes
Autoruns
CCleaner
+ cleanmgr.exe

were enough to remove all unnecessary stuff and left overs.

Afterwards I've installed a new 120 GB SSD and migrated the boot
+ system partitions (and removing + resizing the data partition
on the hdd).

It's a AMD Athlon 2 system on a AM2 board.

Boot time is now ~20 seconds (without SSD < 1 min).

Thanks again!

IainB

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 10:28:22 PM »
@highend01:
...Boot time is now ~20 seconds (without SSD < 1 min). ...
________________
That's pretty fast. Did you mean "(without SSD < 1 min)" or "(without SSD > 1 min)"?

highend01

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 09:27:15 AM »
Quote
(without SSD < 1 min)
That was correct. I was referring to the time the system needed to boot after
cleaning everything up but without installing the new ssd.

IainB

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2017, 12:43:15 AM »
@highend01:
Quote
(without SSD < 1 min)
That was correct. I was referring to the time the system needed to boot after
cleaning everything up but without installing the new ssd.
________________________
So, after the rectification/cleaning up of the hard drive and OS, and before replacing the hard drive with the SSD, bootup time was less than 1 minute?
That seems seriously quick - quite an impressive achievement.    :Thmbsup:
You write in the OP that the OS was "Either Vista or Windows 7".
What is the Windows version, and what is the CPU of that PC, please?

I'd like to know as I'm about to set up a friend's old laptop with Win7 x86 (32-bit) and would like to see if I could get things to a similar startup performance level as you managed to do. I'm installing it with a quicker and bigger 7200rpm hard drive (the old one had failed).
Learning from others' hard-won experience can often be better than finding out by trial-and-error.
Thanks in anticipation.

highend01

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2017, 03:17:57 AM »
Quote
bootup time was less than 1 minute?
Yes, about 58 seconds. I wanted to measure how much time I'm able to shave off :)

Quote
What is the Windows version, and what is the CPU of that PC, please?
Windows 7 Pro. AMD Athlon 2 but don't ask which one / MHz...

IainB

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2017, 03:37:07 AM »
^^ Thanx.

Mikekolly

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Re: Any tool that immediately shows boot time problems?
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2017, 01:11:42 PM »
Thanks! Autorun can help you to get the timing issue! :)