I'm not sure exactly how long ago it started as I tend to put the PC to sleep rather than turn it off at night but after installing some extra RAM I noticed that Windows hangs at the logo and dotted circle screen for up to 5-7 minutes at a time. I rebooted several times to see if this was just due to the first boot since the addition of RAM but it consistently took just as long. Once it loads the PC is super fast consistently.

My PC specs:

  1. MSI Z370 SLI Plus Motherboard
  2. I7-8700k running at stock @ 3.7ghz.
  3. 32 gigs of RAM (4 x 8Gigs, DDR4 XMP enabled to 3200mhz).
  4. Windows runs off of 500G SSD with plenty of space.
  5. Games and all other non-essentials are on separate HDD's.

What I've tried so far to troubleshoot this:

  1. I ran Sysinternal's autoruns and unchecked any background process I know to be unnecessary (skype, one note etc) which didn't change anything time wise on my next boot attempts.
  2. Turned off fastboot.
  3. I ran a complete SFC scan that resulted in no Windows file errors.
  4. I ran DISM "checkhealth, scanhealth, restorehealth" which caught no errors.
  5. I booted into Safe Mode with and without networking to see how long it takes to boot that way. This resulted in the same length of time, maybe a tiny bit less with networking.
  6. I restarted with a clean boot with no difference.
  7. I attempted startup repair which "couldn't fix my PC."
  8. I ran a boot trace to see what was happening. Here is a screenshot of the results:

Boot Trace Screenshot

I can see that several of the key Windows background services are delayed and taking forever to load with the worst culprit being "shellexperiencehost" along with "svchost" and a few others.

Would appreciate some advice on where else to dig through as I'm not sure how to address the information I've collected.

Thanks to everyone in advance


First, this could be as simple as relocating the new RAM. The manual for your motherboard says "Always insert memory modules in the DIMMA2 slot first". You'll need to see the diagram to understand that but it's in a weird spot so this seems plausible. Either way, you should read it.

Assuming it's not so simple, the hangup is occurring early in the boot chain, sometime after UEFI has handed control to BOOTMGR. Your screenshot doesn't give us much to go on but boot trace makes use of boot logs so read those, and note the minute you power up so you can filter to the relevant logs in event viewer. You can check S.M.A.R.T. status of your SSD by starting an elevated command prompt and running WMIC then diskdrive get status

Even though the symptoms point to the SSD, you should still double check the new RAM. Pop open the case and try reseating the RAM and starting up without that module installed,(after powering down and unplugging the machine of course). Also, follow standard best practices and discharge static by touching something electrically grounded before handling the delicate innards of your PC. While you're in there, try disconnecting and reconnecting all cables - especially any SATA cables. If you bumped any connectors just right, it could mimic drive failure. To completely eliminate drive failure as the culprit, disconnect all drives and boot from external USB.

If the drive is okay, the memory isn't faulty, and the motherboard isn't causing your issue, a fresh Windows 10 iso installed to a thumb drive can format the SSD and install Windows from scratch. It's an extreme measure but it's an option that rarely fails.

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