And by extremely slow I mean startup time of the order of 5-10 minute. And all the applications make me wait. Sometimes an application does not even start properly. Basically it's unusable for any realistic work. Funny thing is that cpu usage in the task manager is constantly <10%. Memory consumption is 60-75%. How is it so slow?

My first guess is antivirus but how do I uninstall it when the computer is unusable in normal mode?

Normal mode there are 80+ processes running while in safe mode there are 30- processes running.

  • It sounds like you are infected with malware. How long as this been going on? – Ramhound May 21 '12 at 15:32

In safe mode click on the start menu and type msconfig, then enter. Select Diagnostic mode.

All AV and other services and startup programs will be disabled when you boot into normal mode.

You may then reenter msconfig and selectively check items you want to boot under the Services tab and under the startup tab. This will allow you to determine the program causing it, you may then uninstall it.

NOTE: your computer may not work as you expect if you have certain services disabled under msconfig, so if you have issues you may have something disabled that your computer needs!

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    Here's a couple of tips for using this method. First, on the Services tab click on the Hide All Microsoft Services option, since it's unlikely to be any of them. Second, initially only turn off the first half of what's left on the Services or Startup tabs, reboot, and check the speed. If it's OK, then it was one of the ones you turned off, and you can repeat the process by only turning off half of them and retesting. If it's not any faster, repeat the process reversing which are on and off. This will generally allow you to determine the offending service (or startup program) more quickly. – martineau May 21 '12 at 19:07
  • @martineau what if it's one of them? I just disabled everything, and following your advice, directly enabled all MS services, and the issue came back... – Dane411 Jul 20 '18 at 22:33
  • @Dane411: In that case it sounds like it's one of Windows own services. The general idea of selectively disabling services described could theoretically still be applied to determine to the problem service. However there are some essential services that might prevent the computer from being able to boot if turned-turn off—so to be able to recover from that situation would require some sort of other recovery mechanism—like a backup image of the whole system. I'm unsure whether using Windows' built-in "Restore Point" functionality as a faster alternative would be good enough... – martineau Jul 21 '18 at 2:36
  • @martineau I'd rather not start from scratch, as sw developer I've several environments configured without a backup so it would mean several hours to reconfigure everything :/ – Dane411 Jul 21 '18 at 8:28

I had the exact same problem as OP (Fast safe mode, slow normal login), but the other answers didn't fix my issue.

In fact, it was caused by Windows Driver Profiler Start Menu > Search > verifier.exe. Indeed, I activated it a few days ago because of several BSOD caused by failing drivers, and forgot to disable it. Once I disabled it ("delete previous config" option), everything was restored back to normal.

I guess that the same goes for other kinds of system-wide profilers, such as Windows Boot Profiler and so on.

So if the other answers did not fix your issue, you should check whether you still have a profiler activated somewhere.

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    You're the man Gabo! I wasted 6 hours trying to debug this. – Amit G Feb 26 '17 at 8:56
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    Awesome! Falsely assuming that the Driver Verifier does a one-time analysis on the next boot (kind of like Windows Memory Diagnostics), I had activated it for the same reason as you: looking for the cause for a BSOD. Unfortunately, by the time I did reboot the next morning, I had forgotten about the driver verifier, leading to an insane performance loss with no idea where to look for the root cause. This fixed it, thanks! (Windows 10 v1709 by the way) – bers Jan 20 '18 at 17:55
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    What makes the Driver Verifier so hard to track down is that it does not appear to be appear a process that consumes a huge amount of resources - rather, it's the usual processes (taskman.exe, explorer.exe, you name it) which suddenly consume several ten times more CPU cycles than before, with no indication that the driver verifier is active in them. – bers Jan 20 '18 at 17:57
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    Thank you! I was having the exact same problem--PC started running sluggish out of nowhere, hanging and freezing unless I was in Safe Mode--and it was because I'd ran Verifier.exe earlier that day! So glad it wasn't caused by malware. – ETL Aug 4 '20 at 2:03

You should be able to run the uninstall from safemode. How ever this may not resolve the problem. I would recommend running http://www.malwarebytes.org/ to do a full scan of your system and remove any other programs that may be running in the background. You may also run msconfig from the run command box, then look at the startup tab, remove any programs that you are sure you donw need. http://www.netsquirrel.com/msconfig/index.html. Windows safe mode only runs with the minimum programs needed to start windows which makes it super quick.

Let me know how it goes.

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