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When XP boots up......

penneck
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Registered: 03-08-2007

When XP boots up......

....what also runs? For about 10 minutes from bootup, my pc is just about unusable, and that is long after Desktop has completed putting the icons on the screen. Then it works reasonably happily.
Until then, the hard drive activity light is continuously on, though the egg-timer isn't showing. My router also shows a lot of activity so my pc may be accessing the net.
Therefore, my question is "how can I reliably identify what may be running during this time?"
My thanks for any help
18 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: When XP boots up......

Download process explorer and put it in your startup group.
Chances are you're just very short on RAM. Lots of antivirus checks, updates checks etc. run at startup and grab ram to do it.
10 minutes is pretty common for this scenario, you need 1GB these days for XP, more if you have lots of "stuff". I tend to put 2GB in anyway, "just in case".
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Re: When XP boots up......

It's very difficult to reliably identify what is happening, I think because a program can keep your hard drive busy enough to slow most activities to a crawl without using a lot of processing power/time.  However, I bet if you temporarily uninstalled your antivirus/security software you would see a massive improvement.
HPSauce just pipped me to a response.  Process Explorer is well worth a try but may not be that informative for the reason I gave above.  If your security software is trying to scan the hard drive whilst the computer is simultaneously having to frequently access the paging file on your hard drive (because it has used up all the electronic memory) then it will be very slow indeed. 
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Re: When XP boots up......

Try running msconfig and look at the Startup tab.
You may find lots of programs ticked that you don't actually need during the start-up process. e.g. Adobe Reader and Acrobat, Quicktime, printer programs, etc. All these will run when required anyway but take extra time at start-up.
Also look at the Services tab. Tick 'Hide all microsoft services' and then check whats's left. I have unticked the Lightscribe and Nero BackItUp schedular.
The above may not decrease the startup time by much but every few seconds is a help.

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penneck
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Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: When XP boots up......

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have tried all of them with the exception of increasing the amount of memory. Nothing so far has made much difference so I will try adding memory. Have you a better suggestion than AVG 2011 and Zone Alarm for anti-virus and firewall software?
I have run the Crucial test that looks at your pc and says what memory you have, and suggests what you could fit. My pc has 4 memory slots, with 512kB PC3200 memory strips in just two of them, so I could add similar to the other two slots. Bearing in mind what I have in slots 1 and 2, would it matter if I used PC2700 strips rather than PC3200 strips in the third and fourth slots?
Community Veteran
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Re: When XP boots up......

OK, so you have 1GB already. You shouldn't really have any startup issues.
Have a look (with Task Manager) how much memory is in use "normally". If it's 700MB or more an upgrade would probably help.
And mixing PC2700 and PC3200 probably won't do any harm, though some motherboards do run significantly better if the memory is exactly matched.
It could be AVG I guess. Any antivirus can misbehave.
My personal preferences are (for XP):
1. Windows Firewall, i.e. the built-in one, it's fine
2. MSE - Microsoft Security Essentials. Adequate, efficient and effective. Not what you expect from Microsoft!
Steve
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Re: When XP boots up......

I reckon Its AVG that Is slowing your computer right down, This happened to me with AVG and I wouldn't touch that AV again with a bargepole.
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
rhinocratic
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Registered: 23-08-2008

Re: When XP boots up......

I switched from AVG to Microsoft Security Essentials because the latest version of AVG definitely slowed my old computer. I also ditched zone alarm and now use the windows firewall and the free version of malwarebytes anti-malware.
I've used Startuplite on a several computers and found it useful for identifying what's 'not' required at start up.  Smiley
http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/startuplite
"StartUpLite speeds Windows' startup
"No one likes waiting for their computer to start - it’s like watching paint dry (or golf). We at Malwarebytes know that you have places to go and websites to see so we created a lightweight and user-friendly way to speed up your start.
StartUpLite provides a safe, easy, and efficient way to eliminate unnecessary applications that start when you turn on your computer."
By disabling or removing unnecessary entries, StartUpLite can dramatically shorten your startup time with just a few clicks of the mouse. Stop waiting and start computing."
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Re: When XP boots up......

Quote from: HPsauce
It could be AVG I guess. Any antivirus can misbehave.
My personal preferences are (for XP):
1. Windows Firewall, i.e. the built-in one, it's fine
2. MSE - Microsoft Security Essentials. Adequate, efficient and effective. Not what you expect from Microsoft!

I have found that recent versions of AVG have a bad effect on older computers, slowing them down a lot.  I agree wholeheartedly with HPSauce's (and Rhinocratic's) suggested alternatives.  
Community Veteran
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Re: When XP boots up......

Check that AVG is not doing a "scheduled scan at start up".... (somewhere in the "options" on the menu page)... change it to (say) 10.00)
AVAST is a very good alternative, once installed, it updates frequently, and you get a pop-up each time to say it has done so... (sometimes twice a day)...
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Re: When XP boots up......

It is probably worth doing a bit of housekeeping on each drive -
1) Disk Cleanup
2) Error checking with both "fix file system errors" and "scan for bad sectors" check boxes ticked.
3) Defragmentation
penneck
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Re: When XP boots up......

The AVG Scheduled Scan was disabled. However, I have done as suggested and gone over to the Windows Firewall and MSE. It seems that while I removed AVG in the earlier tests and it made little difference, removing both has brought the boot time down to about 4 minutes.
Thanks for all your help.
Regards
penneck
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Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: When XP boots up......

Back again. Now that I am running Windows Firewall instead of Zone Alarm, I am having problems controlling access to/from the web in the way that ZA did.
(1) WF doesn't list anywhere near the number of programs that ZA had, so somethings dont get controlled. For example RealPlayer sometimes does ask to access the web, but most times it doesn't. I have tried adding RealPlayer to the Exceptions, but it doesn't appear to be listed in the possible Exceptions list in WF. How can I add it to the list of controlled programs?
(2) What does it mean to have a program on the list of Exceptions? And what does it mean if the program on the Exceptions list has or has not got its box ticked?
(3) I would have liked to have had the Zone Alarm-like ability to allow something as and when I want it, just like Zone Alarm has a tick, a cross or a ?. Is there some way of setting the Windows Firewall so that it asks each time, but doesn't remember the answer later?
Thanks for your help
Steve
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Re: When XP boots up......

This link will help you.http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/542-windows-firewall-add-remove-exception.html?filter
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Community Veteran
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Re: When XP boots up......

No it won't, unfortunately, because it's all about the more powerful version of the Windows Firewall that comes with Windows 7.
The XP version of the Windows Firewall will keep you perfectly safe but it does not give you the ability to control web access as and when you want to.  I know this seems tremendously laissez-faire if you are used to ZoneAlarm, but most programs that access the web unexpectedly are only making a quick check for updates.  With a program like RealPlayer, you can achieve a lot of control by delving into the Options settings and turning off features you don't want.  If push comes to shove, if you don't want a program to access the web then don't run it, or disconnect from the web before you do.
In answer to your questions:
(1) AFAIK you cannot add to the list of controlled programs.  The list contains programs that require more "pro-active" server-like web access than is standard.
(2) If a program is on the list and checked you will not be asked to give it permission to access the web (in a server-like manner).  If it is not checked you will ( - I think, see below).
(3) AFAIK the Windows Firewall always remembers the answer later if you give permission.  I don't remember for certain what happens if you say no; I think you will be asked repeatedly until you say yes.