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I'm having an unusual problem with Windows Vista on startup. It progresses past the POST and the loading screen with the green progress bar at normal speed, but then the blank screen between that screen and when the mouse cursor shows up (just before the icons and background load) takes far longer than usual. This usually takes about 2 seconds, but I just timed it as about 12 minutes, 35900% longer than usual.

  1. What does Windows actually do during this part of startup? Because it's usually so quick I've never thought about it before.
  2. What, if anything, can I do to shorten this time? The services are already loaded at that point (during the screen with the progress bar; by turning most off I was able to shorten that phase but not this one), and it can't be anything major because it's usually so quick.
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During the time you speak of, is when programs designated to run at startup actually load. One reason you may be having a sudden increase in time loading during this period is due to malware of any kind being loaded at startup. I would check for viruses and spyware and such, and also look at your starting programs to see if anything weird pops up that shouldn't be there.

Another possibility, since you say it remains dark during this period, is that the video drivers are corrupted. I say this since usually a slow startup after the Windows load screen won't cause a delay in the video output. The main reason it is dark for this period is that the video drivers are initializing. So, if your video drivers are corrupt, they could be causing serious issues at startup.

I would consider doing both a major malware checkup and startup program check, along with uninstalling and cleaning out your video driver installation and reinstalling the driver package for whatever graphics chip you use (integrated or dedicated).

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Thanks! I'll look into this straightaway. –  Charles Dec 5 '10 at 16:27

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