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I have a Windows Server 2003 with 4GB of memory and a 10k RPM HDD. I restarted the server and it LITERALLY has been 30 minutes and I am still waiting for the login to complete? The system just appears to be grinding away on the HDD without any obvious progress.

What's wrong with Windows that it takes so long to boot? Is there anything I can do to improve the boot time? It's beyond absurd.

This is compared to a Ubuntu Linux Server that rebooted in under 1 minute!

PS - I am not trying to hate on Windows, I am just trying to understand why it's the only OS that takes this long to boot! If I had two cars and one did not start well, I would naturally assume the car that did not start well to have a problem.

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You really need to add more info to get an answer. What processes start with the server? Are there any that fail? Some processes/services wait for a long time before they "give up" and the server moves on. – Dave M Jun 21 '13 at 14:47
10 revolutions per minute seems quite slow... do you mean 10,000 revolutions? – Canadian Luke Jun 21 '13 at 14:52
Yes - 10k RPM. I don't believe there has ever been a hdd with that slow a rotation. – Android Addict Jun 21 '13 at 14:53
@DaveM The server is pretty clean, only default services with SQL Server and IIS on top of that. If there are any dependency services with those two then add them as well. – Android Addict Jun 21 '13 at 14:54
definitely sounds like a disk problem. Windows 2k3 should boot very quickly if its not bogged down with unnecessary clutter. – Keltari Jun 21 '13 at 15:44

There are two possible causes

  1. Your hard disk is failing and it is constantly trying to re-read the sectors to get a good read, if one of the boot files in Ubutntu had the bad sector it would take just as long
  2. Windows has booted, but you are waiting on a bunch of services that start with boot to finish. That is not windows' fault, you can bog down Ubuntu with junk just as easily.

For the first problem, I recommend a tool like SpinRite, it will go through the hard drive and attempt to detect and recover all bad sectors and try to detect and fix sectors about to go bad. I have had servers that took a half hour to boot which changed to 1min 30 after running SpinRite on it.

For the 2nd problem, you can use the Windows Performance Toolkit to measure what is taking the time to boot and decide if that program needs to be uninstalled or has a update to speed things up.

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Thanks for the advice - I will research this and get back - but it may take some time though. – Android Addict Jun 21 '13 at 14:52
There are only two services besides Windows Server defaults that were added to the server. It's a very specific web server and only SQL server and IIS have been added - plus any dependencies for those two services. Otherwise, it's a very clean machine. – Android Addict Jun 21 '13 at 14:56
In that case I say you likely have a failing drive. – Scott Chamberlain Jun 21 '13 at 14:57
1 note about WPT. you can only capture boot traces on Server 2003. To analyze them you need at least Vista (xperfview)/7(WPA.exe). – magicandre1981 Jun 21 '13 at 18:43

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