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I have Windows XP SP3, and after I login, I receive a blank screen for about 6-7 minutes. Nothing much appears in Task Manager during this time, then suddenly a new batch of processes appear, then the desktop appears.

I have avast! antivirus, Zone Alarm firewall, and I regularly scan with stinger. The PC is a standalone laptop.

Can you tell how to go about troubleshooting this, or the causes?

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Enable boot time logging, then look at the data it collects

http://www.msigeek.com/6231/how-to-enable-system-boot-time-logging-using-process-monitor-tool

Have you run a chkdsk /f on the drive, might be a good idea.

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An excellent freeware program specially made to reduce boot-up time is Soluto. It analyses the start up of your computer, tells you exactly which item takes how long to start, presents them all in a graph, categorizes the items as essential - doubtful - no-brainer, and lets you disable them one by one. http://lifehacker.com/5561303/soluto-is-an-awesome-tool-to-speed-up-your-system-boot-fix-system-slowdowns

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  • This has been an interesting program, but may of only shaved off 4-5 seconds tops. – Steve Jan 23 '11 at 13:07
  • @Steve: Okay, that is too bad. Looks like some bug on your PC then, good luck... P.S. Soluto took about 30 secs off my boot time. – Cerberus Jan 23 '11 at 16:12
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Try disabling the antivirus and firewall and see if this helps.

If it does, maybe one of them is set to quick-scan the computer on boot.

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Open My Computer and delete any unused network shares. (You may be surprised what you find there.)

Also, download Autoruns and get rid of unwanted stuff from the Logon category.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902

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  • I have zero connections in My Network Places. – Steve Dec 26 '10 at 13:43
  • I have zero connections in My Network Places. The programs in the Logon category are all necessary, and can't really be removed. – Steve Dec 26 '10 at 13:44
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I second the autoruns idea and add open services.svc and disable everything you don't use, in case of doubt read the description its usually enough, or try googling windows xp services optimization, tons of answers, pick the one thats easier to follow for you.

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  • Good idea, but be careful about disabling services. I once disabled a bunch that I didn't need; then a year later I bought my first Bluetooth device, and it took me a month to realize why I couldn't get it to work. Besides, I have heard it said several times that disabling services looks nice but will usually not give you noticeable results, except perhaps the indexing service. – Cerberus Dec 21 '10 at 12:39
  • I have already disabled non-essential services thanks. – Steve Dec 26 '10 at 13:47
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If the startup is getting delayed and your general performance is also slow, you can try reducing programs loading at boot and also uninstalling unwanted programs and deleting unnecessary files (cleanup). Check if your drive is fragmented - system files included. If so run a complete defrag which will help improve boot and data access.

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  • My HDD is very fragmented. It is having trouble defragging as there is not alot of free space (although it should it should be enough, at 20%). Is there a boot defragger you recommend? – Steve Dec 26 '10 at 13:46
  • I notice if I turn the computer on, and ignore the computer for 30 minutes, when I come back to login, it logs in very quickly, so perhaps this indicates fragmentation is the problem. – Steve Dec 26 '10 at 13:46

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