I have a Dell Inspiron 537s slimline tower. I just reloaded Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit on it. All drivers are installed (no question marks in the Device Manager) and all currently-available Windows Updates (including SP2) have been installed.

My issue is that although the system does boot into Windows, it "stalls" after the POST splash screen with the Dell logo and blue progress bar, but before the Windows Vista "logo" loading screen for about 2-5 minutes. The stall occurs before the point where the "F8" menu would normally appear, which makes it seem like a POST, MBR or boot loader issue, except if left alone, the machine always ends up (eventually) booting into Vista just fine!

Other info: The computer was not exhibiting this behavior with the previous installation of Vista. There is nothing (that seems at all relevant) in the Event Logs. A chkdsk -f on the disk comes back 100% clean, as do all hardware diagnostics.

This seems to be very early in the boot process and doesn't necessarily seem like a Windows problem, but as I said this issue didn't occur with a previous installation of the same version of Vista. There are lots of Google hits about Vista not booting at all, stuck at a black screen and blinking cursor, but I can't find anything about a system just taking a really long time to move on.

Does anyone have any ideas?


Based on a suggestion below, I can confirm the stall occurs even with no flash drives connected, the front 5-in-1 media reader disconnected, the optical drive disconnected and no keyboard or mouse connected during boot. The BIOS is fully up to date (revision A03).

  • See my post here about enabling boot logging...superuser.com/questions/261481/… – Moab Sep 12 '11 at 21:02
  • @Moab: I've enabled boot logging and saved a .pml file. I'll be honest in that I'm not sure what I'm looking for here. The complete boot log spans from timestamp 4:18:05.745 to 4:33:45.493, which if I'm reading it right is 15 minutes of gibberish. – beporter Sep 12 '11 at 22:03
  • upload the file somewhere for me. – Moab Sep 12 '11 at 22:06

I have seen this many times dating back to at least Vista and now Windows 7.

If you get stuck, try unplugging all USB devices during boot up. This includes the keyboard, mouse, external hard drive, and wireless USB network cards.

  • That's a good point and I should have mentioned it: There are no flash drives connected and nothing in the optical bays. On your suggestion I've tried booting with the key/mouse unplugged, as well as having disconnected both the internal USB header for the 5-in-1 media reader on the front panel and the SATA cable for the optical drive. The system still stalls for 2-5 minutes after POST. – beporter Sep 12 '11 at 21:04
  • Is your BIOS completely updated? – SgtOJ Sep 12 '11 at 21:11
  • @beporter I'll look for another solution later. At work using an iPhone to answer this question. I was for sure this was the problem but I'm wrong. Sorry. – SgtOJ Sep 12 '11 at 21:24
  • BIOS has been updated from A02 to A03: no change. No rush-- thanks for the suggestions so far! – beporter Sep 12 '11 at 21:34

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