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My computer (Windows 8) is running slow and I need to understand exactly which startup application or service is causing this. When doing a clean boot every startup item or service that isn't originally Microsoft is disabled.

My main fear is that I've already gotten a current list of startup items and services where some are enabled and some are disabled and after the clean boot I won't remember what I had originally enabled and what I hadn't.

Short of a notepad file with current settings or taking screenshots is there a way to restore the original state of startup applications and services once I've finished with my clean boot troubleshooting?

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Maybe you should run a tool such as Process Explorer to try and view what application is making your computer "slow". Also like to add that "slow" is somewhat subjective... can you tell why do you think it is slow or how you diagnosed it? – Doktoro Reichard Sep 4 '13 at 11:17
A good way to start is to boot a liveCD (usually from a pen drive though the name 'liveCD' remains from the ancient times when we used optical media), then 1) Scan the PC for malware. This is often the reason a PC suddenly feels slow. 2) Trt a CD with the same OS and see if it is equally fast / equally slow. If it is equally slow then you have a hardware problem (e.g. fans full of dust and automatic downlocking to keep things cool). – Hennes Sep 4 '13 at 11:34
Audio/Video stutters (YouTube) as soon as Windows starts and games' audio stutters and low FPS (League of Legends). Process explorer and Windows 8's task manager's CPU/Disc/RAM don't go over 50% ever. Thus doing clean boot is next option. I'd rather diagnose myself before asking the community :) – Molten Ice Sep 4 '13 at 11:43
I'm lost with your last comment, sorry, please explain. You say that YouTube (for example) stutters as soon as Windows starts!? It appears that the issue isn't with start up, but your drivers are out of date, your PC doesn't have enough resources or faulting hardware (like graphic/audio card) – Dave Sep 4 '13 at 12:19
Apologies, I meant that YouTube videos lag (audio stuttering, video getting stuck for .5 seconds etc) and when playing League of Legends the same audio stutter issue and lag. This used to only happen rarely (after having not restarted my PC for days) and after restarting it was fixed again. Since today no matter how much I restart it happens. It could be something running on my PC but I'd best check by clean boot and seeing if Windows stuff is slowing it or 3rd party. – Molten Ice Sep 4 '13 at 12:25
up vote 0 down vote accepted

So I found a set of semi solutions for this:

  • Startup can be saved using Startup Selector
  • There is currently no way I have found yet to save and load the current services configuration. If anyone finds it I implore you to edit this and put the solution in.
  • In general to see if a certain running process is causing problems installing the free app Anvir Task Manager and then going to the processes tab and killing all processes whose company is not Microsoft will then only have Microsoft processes running which gives a similar outcome as clean boot without messing with your startup/services configuration. This in fact is what I did to fix the problem I had which had gotten me to write this question in the first place.
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