Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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

2 Answers 2

up vote 17 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 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

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.