Why is Windows XP Startup So Slow

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Well, I have an old laptop. a Compaq Evo400n, running an 850 MHz Pentium III, I’m really curious why it takes 2 minutes for the thing to boot up. First I defragged the hard disk. (Using O&O Defrag), then I started removing startup junk.
It’s amazing what people are throwing into the startup system these days. Here are things that you can do. Its painful though to have to do this. I wish app writers would stop doing this kind of stuff:
# Defrag your hard disk. One problem here is most defragmenters don’t seem to be very smart about disk layout. At least there is not much you configure. The builtin Windows one and the Executive Diskkeeper upon which it is based, don’t help much. I’ve tried a bunch of others including freeware ones and O&O seems to be Ok fast and give you the option to sort in a bunch of different ways. Too bad there isn’t a defrag optimizer that lays everything Windows needs in one flat file, so that all thre should be an analyzer that lets Windows in effect start from sector 0 and move out without needing to seek all over the place. Maybe if I’m laid up more, I’ll look into how to write out (or ask loup about it).
# Start your machine. Choose Start//Run and run the file taskmon.exe, choose the process tab and marvel at all the many things that are running when you haven’t done anything yet 🙂 The job now is to get rid of as much as you can stand.
# Now to to Start/All Programs/Startup and look at the junk here. I for instance had Blackberry Desktop Manager and the Office Startup thing where Office preloads junk which makes Office seem fast, but makes *every* Windows load slower
# Next look down at the lower right, you should see an amazing array of icons that are things that have started up. Most I’m sure you don’t really need. They are marketing things in truth. For instance, Quicktime has an icon, so does Real, etc. They all differ, but if you right click, you need to find where they have an option that lets you get rid of startup when Windows does. The only one I’d leave is the anti-virus one. The harder ones are things like IM applications, these are usually really big and hog. Consider using Trillian or some other multi IM applications to cut down on having to have AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft all running
# Now get download from Lavasoft, Ad Aware, this will get rid of spyware, another source of junk that slows you down (and also spys on you). Run it hope you don’t have too much of these behind the scenes apps. I didn’t since I normally run this to get rid of tracking cookies, etc. But most folks have boatloads of it.
# OK, now Windows has this other list of services that boot at run time, you have to troll though. Hard to get to, but first you have to right click on the My Computer icon and click on Manage. Then click on Services and Applications/Services. You will see a huge list of background services. Troll through this and start disabling things. Here’s a list of what I did. The Compaq machine I’m on has all of these DMI services which we don’t use. So, disabled Compaq DMI Web Agent, Compaq Local Alerter, cpqdmi, win32sl.
# Now restart your machine and see how you are doing.
# Choose Start/Run and type in msconfig.exe and press enter. This utilty (which really should be on a Start menu somewhere) in its Startup tab will tell you all the things that start automatically when you run the machine. You will now see a boatload of inexplicable stuff.
On to the hard bits. OK, here’s a list of strange stuff that I found and how to get rid of it. This is very applications specific, but in general, if you don’t understand, google is an amazing too for you to figure out what it is:
* iTunesHelpers. iTunes has a bunch of processes that run in the background. Go to the itunes program and disable that stuff.
* “ctfmon”:http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=282599. A strange one. This is an Office XP helper that runs waiting for y ou to type in Chines or some other strange character. The uninstall is unbelievably complicated. But for XP, you have to go to the Control Panel, choose Microsoft Office XP and Add/Remove Featrues. Then click Next, click plu on Office Shared Features, then Alternative User INput and then select Not Available and then Update. Then you go to the Control Panel and click on Text Services/Date, Time, Language, Region Option and then Details tab and remove everything but the US keyboard. Finally go to a command windows and run regsvr32.exe /u msimtf.dll and then msctf.dll. Whew!
* “Ltmon”:http://www.modemsite.com/56k/ltwin.asp. This is a utility that is for the internal Lucent (now Agere Windows modem). Left it since it is 96KB and should make things too slow.
* “Wcmdmgr”:http://www.liutilities.com/products/wintaskspro/processlibrary/wcmdmgr/. This is the web update from Wildtangent. Reports back on hardware. I took it out again to speed things up.
So now I’m at 30 seconds until I see the logon screen, but still 2:30 until the disk stops spinning on logon, so there is more happening. Removing the Compaq management drivers took out a full minute, so I’m at 27 seconds to logon, then 1:30 for logon.
“Tweaking XP Services”:http://www.techspot.com/tweaks/winxp_services/index.shtml. The main thing to look at now are in depth at the various Windows services that are started. let’s see if we can get rid of some of those: Go back My Computers, right click and select Manage. Choose Services and Applications/Services and look through the list. for some things to get rid of:
* distributed link tracking. Sounds cool if I had an NTFS 5.0 domain at home.
Here are things in my system I left on:
* “Defwatch.exe”:http://www.liutilities.com/products/wintakspro/processlibrary/defwatch. this watches for Nortan Anti-vius updates. Sigh, another reason, Windows should have cron jobs, so you don’t have whole services waiting around just to look for virus updates.
* “Gearsec.exe”:http://www.reger24.de/prozesse/gearsec.exe.php. This is a CD burning library that some application or another loaded in. Can’t tell which. I’m guessing this is the itunes stuff.
* “ATIEVxx.exe”:http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist_a.htm. This utility is installed with ATI drivers. Looks for hot keys, but its not known how to us. Definitely disable according to answersthatwork.com

3 Replies to “Why is Windows XP Startup So Slow”

  1. Thank you very much for this entry. I found it today using ‘dogpile.’ I’ve been exasperated that my computer takes nearly 5 minutes to boot. Your tips did the trick! A 20 minute solution to a problem I’ve had for years. I appreciate that you shared your insight and knowledge.
    Regards,
    Joan

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