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My work computer still has XP on it, though I will be upgrading to Win7 in a few short months so I've got to make do in the meantime. I just started working at this job, so the computer was a hand-me-down, which wasn't maintained too well on the software side.

At this point, a clean format is not an option. Instead, I've run through all of the quick/easy tricks I know such as using PC Decrapifier, CCleaner, and Revo Uninstaller to get rid of older outdated software, crapware, and start-up apps. I have run through Black Viper's XP Service Configurator, following the "Tweaked" route he describes on there. Also, I have installed all the latest drivers for the hardware.

Despite all of this, my complete boot-up time is probably around 8 minutes. I can reach the XP login screen within 20 or 30 seconds, but loading XP fully takes the additional 7+ minutes.

Here are the computer specs:
- Dell Precision PWS490
- Intel Xeon 5130 @ 2.00GHz
- 3.25 GB RAM
- NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600

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+1 for a well-formed question including things you already did, and precise boot times and specs. And ... my sympathies! I hope you get this machine tuned! – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Aug 19 '10 at 13:57
That long login time is probably some network service issue, it may try to mount non-existing shares or connect to a non-existing domain. I know you said it was not an option but you should really try get permission to do do a fresh install. – Nifle Aug 19 '10 at 14:02
What they said - I can't think of anything else that wouldn't require unreasonable amounts of effort. Thanks for being so detailed though! (I really think a format is the only option left :/) – Shinrai Aug 19 '10 at 14:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Once it is to the desktop is it still super slow to do anything?

One thing to check that will slow down everything on a PC if it has a Pata (IDE) hard drive.

Open device manager, expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, then right click on the primary IDE channel ans select properties, then the Advanced Settings tab, in the "current transfer mode" box it should be udma mode 5, if it is less or PIO mode, this is the cause of the slowness.

To fix this close the properties window and right click on the primary IDE channel and select "uninstall", confirm and reboot the PC.

This does not apply if you have a Sata hard drive for the OS.

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Thanks for the detailed help, however I do have a SATA drive and the Current Transfer Mode reads "PIO Mode" so I guess I can't use that fix. Do you think there are other HDD/controller settings I could tweak to fix the issue? My HD is a WD800JD, and the IDE/ATAPI controllers are Intel 631xESB/6321ESB Ultra ATA Storage Controller - 269E and Intel ESB2 SATA AHCI Controller. Thanks again. – NoCatharsis Aug 19 '10 at 15:30
Where in DM did you see PIO for the Sata drive? – Moab Aug 20 '10 at 15:34
I saw that in the Properties window just as you had described. Not sure if this is the best way to share an image, but maybe this is more explanatory:… – NoCatharsis Aug 20 '10 at 20:10
Since that is IDE it may be an optical device, it would not hurt to uninstall that channel and reboot, see if the performance picks up and setting changes. – Moab Aug 21 '10 at 2:43

It sounds like the problem may be caused by your network login script (possibly difficulties or time outs connecting to network drives or printers).

Try creating a local account on your computer and logging in to that instead of to the domain (assuming you are on a domain).
If I remember XP correctly:

  1. Right-click 'My Computer' and select 'Manage'
  2. 'Users and groups' > 'New user'
  3. Create a new user (and add to the Administrators group)

Then log in to computername (this computer) instead of your domain.

If necessary you can then create a batch file to connect you to any required network drives using the net use command.

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