• Glacial Boot Times

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    I know this is an age-old problem that has been addressed thousands of times, but I’m not finding anything newer than 2 years ago when I do Internet searches.  I also suspect the problem has worsened since installing v1903, but I can’t swear to that.

    I’m not expecting anyone to diagnose the problem, but I’ve been out of direct tech support for over 10 years and I’m not up on all the current tools available for use to diagnose it myself.  Any guidance would be appreciated!  Here are the basic facts:

    • Dell Inspiron laptop, 2 and a fraction years old.  It has 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive.  Partitions include the boot partition, C: for the OS, D: for data, P: for programs, and a Linux partition.  The latter is new (the performance issues are why I finally started experimenting with Linux) so I don’t think it has any impact.
    • Windows 10 Pro, fully up to date.
    • It’s taking on the order of 8 to 10 minutes to boot to a useful point.  I power up and after about 2½ minutes of the dots chasing themselves I get a black screen.  About a minute and a half later the login prompt appears.  After 45 seconds following password entry I get another black screen, then about a minute before getting the Windows desktop.  I didn’t measure the time, but I’d say another 30-45 seconds before all icons are shown, and then they refresh themselves.  Another 1 to 3 minutes of spinning doughnut after that.
    • I’ve used Task Manager to disable most programs that were starting up at boot.  The only ones left are either legitimate or those I’m leery of disabling.
    • Looking at the Processes tab in Task Manager I can see that the Bitdefender Update Service is part of the problem; it runs for an inordinately long time and has a lot of disk I/O.  Other than that, I haven’t been able to identify any processes that clearly have an impact on the boot time.

    I strongly suspect that some of the problem is also Microsoft adding so much garbage to Windows that has nothing to do with running the computer.  After booting and settling down the computer is using anywhere from 38% to 52% of its memory — usually 43% — which seems overly excessive.  I do intend to add to the memory soon for other reasons.  Bitdefender is the only single process taking a lot of memory (in the vicinity of 250MB), and life’s too short to identify exactly what every service is that’s running (gotta love the cryptic names for some of them!).

    Anyway, as I said way back at the start, I’m just looking for guidance on diagnosing the issue.  I’m not a tech neophyte, but much of my knowledge is considerably out of date.

    Viewing 10 reply threads
    • #1967256

      Have you tried uninstalling Bitdefender to see if that makes a difference? You can always reinstall it.  Use their uninstall tool to be sure you remove all of it.

      Also, have you tried startup disconnected fromthe Internet?

      • #1967257

        I’ve not tried either of those.  Will give them a try (one by one, of course, to isolate them) as soon as it’s reasonably convenient — meaning when I’m not in the middle of doing something else.

    • #1967278

      Wow…if my pc took that long, I would start a fire behind the glacier that’s keeping me from getting to the bottom of the issue!
      My sister has a Dell celeron system from walmart with win 10 home…it is S__L_O-W start up also about 10 minutes before it settles down I poked around the services running, disabled microsoft store processes and gained her a few minutes but not nearly enough. She uses defender
      I use Bitdefender with no real lag issues, but my hardware is a year newer than yours. Good luck! I’m going to suggest my sister get a Chrome book she doesnt do anything that requires more than that and there is no private info on the drive.

    • #1967292

      If you do some research you might be able disable more startup programs. Sysinternals Autoruns can get deeper, again with some caution and further research you can reign in boot times. You can find and remove start-up entries for which nothing exists!

      This a feature upgrade not a clean install?

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1967293

      I’ve got a 10 year old system I bought with Win7, and it’s on Win10 1903 with similar specs to yours (8GB, 1TB drive, etc) – boot up time is about 20 seconds.  Maybe another 15 seconds for the HDD to settle down after the system tray finishes with all its icons.

      Although it’s impossible to say for sure without seeing the system, the very first thing I’d do to troubleshoot this is remove Bitdefender.  It’s an extraordinarily heavyweight program and it doesn’t play nice with other antimalware (assuming you have any.)

      Then look for any software “maintenance” programs.  This would include things like PerfectDisk that work constantly and claim to be perpetually optimizing storage.  In many cases, the I/O these programs use to perform their optimizations end up taking up more time than the optimization saves.

      Third, use Autoruns (a Microsoft tool you can search for) and look for startup programs in the registry that don’t exist on your drive.  In some cases, a registry startup key pointing to a nonexistent file just internally says “file not found” and moves on.  However, in other cases, the startup attempt has to “time out” before it moves on to the next task.  Frequently this is what you’re waiting on when it appears that the PC is hanging during startup with no HDD activity – internal timeouts.

      Hopefully some of this helps get the swelling down a bit.  Remember to put some sort of protection back on your system, Bitdefender or otherwise, once you’ve determined the cause(s).  I have used that program before and it did cause considerable system slowdown, although nowhere near the levels you’re describing here.

    • #1967301

      Autoruns allows you to easily disable things to test. Always a favourite utility.

      I assume you’ve checked the disk is not too full?
      Also worth running manufacturer diagnostics on it to confirm it is behaving correctly.
      And if it’s an SSD you need to make sure TRIM is working.

      cheers, Paul

    • #1967305

      It’s taking on the order of 8 to 10 minutes to boot to a useful point.

      You can check how much time takes each startup application and act accordingly:

      Task Manager – startup – (right-click and select) CPU at startup

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by Alex5723.
      • #1967611


        I don’t seem to have the “CPU at startup” colyum in my Task Manager|Startup page; don’t see how to add it, either. Please advise.



        • #1967654

          Right-click on the header line (Name, Publisher, Status etc.), then click to check CPU at startup.

          Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.1778 + Microsoft 365 + Edge

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1967445

      Have you tried opening an elevated Command Prompt and running

      dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do to our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #1967659

      Partitions include … C: for the OS,

      How much free disk space on C:?

      Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.1778 + Microsoft 365 + Edge

    • #1976450

      Sorry for the delayed updates; now and for another week is a busy season at work (preparing tax returns on extension).

      Don’t know what I did, but right after my last responses the boot time improved somewhat.  Still not what they should be, but considerably better.  The only slow boot recently was the first after a Linux session.

      Haven’t tried the utilities mentioned.  That’s really what I was asking for — advice on how to do the troubleshooting.  I’m no longer current on everything that’s available out there, since I’m not in that business anymore.

      Plenty of room on the C drive, but I do need to reset the page file size now that I’ve stopped trying to use the application with memory problems (new memory is on its way).

      Have not experimented yet with removing Bitdefender simply because the only install file I have is from a year and a half ago when I first started using it.  I’m hoping to find an all-in-one file for reinstalling, rather than go through the time it will take to apply numerous updates.

      I should clarify: when I say “boot to a useful point” I mean a point that I can do something without having to wait.  The system reports boot times between 2:15 and 2:30 but, of course, things are still happening in the background that degrade user performance.  For example, if I try too soon it can take up to 30 seconds to load Firefox and then even longer to go to any given website.  I can’t even get Task Manager open quickly enough to see what’s dragging things down.

      Thanks for all the input so far.  I see this post has been mentioned in the newsletter, so maybe there will be others chiming in soon.

    • #1976633

      I have seen this problem 3 times in the past 18 months. In each case it was a hard drive headed south; lots of read/write reties. check your type of hard drive you have and if it’s Seagate or WD, they both have diagnostics you can download and run. Things that go along with this type of error is very slow system backups or slow copping large amounts of data.


      I wish you the best of luck.


    • #2023079

      Final update for anyone who might still be interested.

      I got my new memory so the machine now has 24MB (really needed it for what is about the only game I ever play; very memory-intensive).  Since that time I’ve had only one or two slow boots, and that was because of updates going on that I couldn’t see — they also interfere with opening the Task Manager, so by the time it’s available they’re done.  Even then, the delays are nothing like they were before.

      Now if I could just get the optical drive back into the computer (very tight alignment with close to zero tolerance) I’d be happy!

    Viewing 10 reply threads
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