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When I start my PC, it boots into Windows (Windows 7 32-bit) quite happily, I login and the main Windows screen appears. At that point, however, the system is extremely unresponsive for up to 5 minutes - if I click on Firefox to start it, nothing appears to happen for a long time, etc, etc. The mouse and Windows UI is responsive, but programs take forever to start, webpages seem to hang (or at least load extremely slowly) and so on.

I imagine that the issue is with one or more programs that run on startup, but I don't know quite how to identify which one it might be. The event log shows nothing of any obvious interest. I can't see any high CPU activity in task manager or Process Explorer, and I can't hear any high disk activity.

I'd rather understand what's happening and then work out how to address it, than have to go for a blind "switch things off and see what helps" approach, but maybe that's being optimistic :-)

I suspect disk bottlenecks or network, but I don't know how I could set something up to diagnose this (and in particular, given that I can't get programs to start in a timely manner, I'd prefer something that automatically starts and logs data for later analysis than something like Process Explorer, which always leaves me worrying that by the time it started the problem had gone away :-)

I guess my ideal would be 2 things:

  1. Something that gave me an overall "what are the current key bottlenecks in this system" summary (ideally, which could be set to run in the background and collect data for later analysis).

  2. Some means of starting a program (say, Firefox) and have it record what was going on in terms of waits and delays in the system.

Unfortunately, I've never really found anything like either of these.

I'm not a professional systems admin - my background is database admin - so if there are "obvious" tools to look at or try, then I'd be grateful to know of them (particularly if the information they give is easy for an amateur to analyze) :-)

share|improve this question
up vote 21 down vote accepted

The tools XPerf and XBootMgr from the WPT (available in Windows SDK or below) are great for troubleshooting any performance related problems on Windows; whether it is at boot or hick-ups during a Full HD video, these tools help you to pinpoint the problem. They are free and from Microsoft. :-)

Performance Analysis

Troubleshooting of slow systems can be done like this:

  1. Download the setup from Windows Performance Analysis Tools for your Windows version.
  2. Install the software on your system.
  3. Open a command prompt as administrator, and copy paste the next command:

    xperf -start perf!GeneralProfiles.InBuffer && timeout -1 && xperf -stop perf!GeneralProfiles.InBuffer myTrace.etl
  4. Press ENTER once to start the command, now you will have to wait till your the action is done.

  5. Right after your action is done you go to the console and press ENTER.
  6. After waiting some time a log file myTrace.etl will be produced.

Either analyze this yourself, or if you can't find the issue, upload it and I'll help you:

  1. Compress this to a zip file, put it online somewhere (perhaps 2shared).
  2. Share the link here, I will do an attempt to find and show you the cause of your problem.

Boot Analysis

For an user-friendly and simple approach, check @harrymc suggesting Soluto.

For detailed boot analysis, check this document, XBootMgr.exe is available in the WPT I linked earlier.

Following the instructions in the document will result in a similar log which you could analyze or upload...

share|improve this answer
Your first link is dead. – Scott Chamberlain Mar 16 '14 at 15:24
Try again later. ^_^ – Tom Wijsman Mar 16 '14 at 18:57
Soluto is dead project. Now they are searching for cell phones. – Dims Apr 9 '15 at 21:02
@Dims: That's not true. – Tom Wijsman Apr 14 '15 at 1:59
@TomWijsman have you tried to press "Cut Your Boot" button? It will bring you to join-the-matrix-paradise page only. – Dims Apr 14 '15 at 10:30

Soluto is an excellent boot-analysis product.

For more info see: Soluto Figures Out What’s Bogging Down Your PC (And Tells You How To Fix It)

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
+1 I forgot that Soluto shows you the individual seconds spent, and it's user-friendly. – Tom Wijsman Feb 25 '11 at 17:09
This answer is obsolete. Unfortunately, Soluto discontinued the desktop application and only provides a web-service as a commercial system-admin product. [1] [2] [3] – Synetech Mar 25 '14 at 5:03
@Synetech: Only the display part has moved to the web, the data is still generated on the PC via the installed desktop application. The new display functions about the same as before if one ignores the new bells and whistles. – harrymc Mar 25 '14 at 7:46
It’s not the same at all. For one thing, it is now a mass system-management for admins program as opposed to a personal system-optimization program. Also, it is now a commercial product (“free” for three systems). Shame, because it was pretty neat when it first came out. I for one no longer use it. – Synetech Mar 25 '14 at 17:53
@Synetech: No argument there. Another example of a beautiful product now suffering from acute bloatware. – harrymc Mar 25 '14 at 19:44

I have an additional suggestion for tracking boot time. It is via Event 100 in Event viewer. Drill down this chain:

-->Applications and Service Logs
-->Diagnostics - performance
-->Event ID 100<--

Then double click on Event 100 which gives you this small window indicating the boot time.

enter image description here

Then click on the 'Details' tab which gives you all this additional information from which you should be able to determine the process which takes the most time during boot.


  BootTsVersion 2 

  BootStartTime 2015-04-09T15:19:05.671600300Z 

  BootEndTime 2015-04-09T15:21:34.500099800Z 

  SystemBootInstance 1174 

  UserBootInstance 1155

  BootTime 24239 

  MainPathBootTime 12239 

  BootKernelInitTime 19 

  BootDriverInitTime 291

  BootDevicesInitTime 906 

  BootPrefetchInitTime 0 

  BootPrefetchBytes 0 

  BootAutoChkTime 0 

  BootSmssInitTime 8551 

  BootCriticalServicesInitTime 410 

  BootUserProfileProcessingTime 823 

  BootMachineProfileProcessingTime 70 

  BootExplorerInitTime 499 

  BootNumStartupApps 7 

  BootPostBootTime 12000 

  BootIsRebootAfterInstall false 

  BootRootCauseStepImprovementBits 0 

  BootRootCauseGradualImprovementBits 0 

  BootRootCauseStepDegradationBits 0 

  BootRootCauseGradualDegradationBits 0 

  BootIsDegradation false 

  BootIsStepDegradation false 

  BootIsGradualDegradation false 

  BootImprovementDelta 0 

  BootDegradationDelta 0 

  BootIsRootCauseIdentified false 

  OSLoaderDuration 1894 

  BootPNPInitStartTimeMS 19 

  BootPNPInitDuration 932 

  OtherKernelInitDuration 411 

  SystemPNPInitStartTimeMS 1338 

  SystemPNPInitDuration 265 

  SessionInitStartTimeMS 1609 

  Session0InitDuration 4563 

  Session1InitDuration 553 

  SessionInitOtherDuration 3434 

  WinLogonStartTimeMS 10161 

  OtherLogonInitActivityDuration 686 

  UserLogonWaitDuration 182 
share|improve this answer
instead of a wall of text, I would suggest showing common culprits and then explain how to find ones that are taking up time. A lot of these values are also probably not commonly known. How does one determine what the process name really is and does? – KronoS Apr 9 '15 at 23:56
If you want to alter my postings, I expect you to have the decency to ask me before you muck around with it. And a problem analysis is not part of Windows 101. You need to have some knowledge of the system. – whs Apr 10 '15 at 2:17
If you want to roll back the changes feel free to do so. However a word of caution, the formatting was a bit difficult to read. I didn't change any information of your answer. Simply made it slightly more readable. My other comments/questions are simply there to help you answer questions here. Take them as you see fit. – KronoS Apr 10 '15 at 4:52
@whs thank you for providing this info! – Dims Apr 10 '15 at 5:54
@KronoS, the second list would not have been so bad if the editor would not make mush out of single spaced lines. I had to double space them to make then readable. That's why I would have preferred you get in touch with me because it could probably have been done a bit better. I am no expert with this editor and I really don't want to be. Any editor that is not Word compatible is difficult for me. As to the changes you made for the Eventvwr list I think it is less readable now. – whs Apr 10 '15 at 17:07

protected by KronoS Apr 10 '15 at 0:00

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