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Windows 7: How do you diagnose Windows Startup?

15 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
How do you diagnose Windows Startup?

I'm trying to determine which process is stalling/not responding during the later part of my windows 7 boot.

It pretty much gets to the main desktop window. It the allows for me to start a program if I do it immediately after reaching the desktop screen.

If I wait a while, the machine is still in the process of running some startup apps/services ect... it eventually gets stuck. I can't start any new programs, current programs aren't responsive. Putting the mouse over the start button results in a blue spinning circle.

If I try to start apps ect. a message will typically appearing letting me know a process is not responding, do I want to stop it?

If I do, the desktop disappears, only leaving the wall paper,.it then takes some 5 to 10 minutes to return. Then all is well.

Similar behavior if I just sit and wait for the blue busy spinner to stop. The 10 minute wait is killing me. Does this on every boot.

There have been times when the wait occurs between the login process and the windows desktop screen.

I've tried turning off all of the optional startup programs via msconfig.
I've run chkdisk

I've tried to see what program starts to run when the freeze occurs using the task manager. No luck, I don't see any processes start up, and the CPU utilization stays low. No heavy activity of any kind.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.



My System SpecsSystem Spec

15 Jan 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit

Can you fill out your system specs to include more than your OS?

Is this a brand new build?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #3

Operating System : Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 6.01.7600 SP1 (x64)

the best program i use is autoruns sysinternals

Autoruns for Windows v10.06 By Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell

LINK Autoruns for Windows

This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.
ALSO Process Explorer v14.01 By Mark Russinovich LINK

Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.

The Process Explorer display consists of two sub-windows. The top window always shows a list of the currently active processes, including the names of their owning accounts, whereas the information displayed in the bottom window depends on the mode that Process Explorer is in: if it is in handle mode you'll see the handles that the process selected in the top window has opened; if Process Explorer is in DLL mode you'll see the DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded. Process Explorer also has a powerful search capability that will quickly show you which processes have particular handles opened or DLLs loaded.

The unique capabilities of Process Explorer make it useful for tracking down DLL-version problems or handle leaks, and provide insight into the way Windows and applications work.

Attached Thumbnails
How do you diagnose Windows Startup?-brys-snap-14-january-2011-07h34m08s.png   How do you diagnose Windows Startup?-brys-snap-15-january-2011-23h00m07s.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec

15 Jan 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP


Windows 7 troubleshooting tips including logs to check:

Here is the tool used by the Pros to trace Startup hangs: Trace Windows 7 boot/shutdown/hibernate/standby/resume issues - MSFN
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #5

Windows 8 Core X64

Use msconfig to determine what is causing the problem.

These are good tutorials on using msconfig in XP, Vista or Windows 7:
How to use msconfig in Windows XP
How to use msconfig in Windows Vista
How to use msconfig in Windows 7

Click on Start then Run, type msconfig and press Enter.
Click on the Startup tab, record what is currently starting then click the Disable All button.
Reboot and see if it runs normal.
If yes then use msconfig to enable several items at a time till you find the culprit.

If no, boot to Safe Mode again, start msconfig and click on the Services tab.
Check the Hide All Microsoft Services box, record what is currently starting then click the Disable All button.
Again, do a regular boot, see if it runs normal.
If yes then use msconfig to enable services till you find the culprit.

Once you've found the culprit, uninstall it or find out how to eliminate it from your system.
Simply disabling it in msconfig is a temporary fix at best.
Enable everything else you disabled.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks to all for the responses.

The machine in question is a DELL E6410 Laptop
It's a pretty clean build.
i5 Core
4GB of Memory
integrated graphics solution.
Windows 7 64bit Pro

I used Event Viewer to track down some suspects.

Occur right before freeze
Search 1003
Looks like ESENT EventID: 102

First app to run after freeze

Doesn't seem like any of these should be causing an issue, but I'm not clear
what they are doing. For instance, what is Search doing?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

This method will help you track what is holding up the boot. You can reenable 1/2, then if no prob, reenable 1/2 of what's left, etc. It can take several boots to track down the specific culprit:

How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2011   #8
Microsoft MVP


Run a full AV scan, then install Malwarebytes, update and run it's full scan.

Update your Intel storage drivers from the Dell Support Downloads webpage for your model. Check for newer drivers cued in optional Windows Updates.

Run the SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

If everything suggested so far doesn't help, then run a Repair Install
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2011   #9

Windows Server 2008 R2

Everything here is useful, but I would add one last step before repairing - xperf (well, technically xbootmgr). Install the WPT, run the command to trace your boot, and you will actually *see* the boot process broken down by memory usage, disk I/O, process start/lifetime/end times, etc. It will show you what is happening, graphically.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2011   #10

Windows 8 Core X64

You could also give Soluto a try. I did and waas able to eliminate 16 seconds from my boot time. I uninstalled it once I understood how to make the changes Soluto made permanent. It monitors your system boot and provides three levels fixes, No Brainer, Maybe and NO NO (don't remember the exact wording).

You can apply each one separately and see what it does for you. It tells you how much time it will reduce your boot by.

I uninstalled it because it was one more program running at boot time but you may chose to leave it active.

Worth looking at.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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