Thanks for your interest.
As this problem is very strange I wanted to add some new information...as it could help diagnose the problem. I am stumped!
As you know, the issue happens on boot and seems to be centered around drive/disk activity.
To try and diagnose the problem I decided to disconnect all my SATA II drives from the motherboard all except the C: drive obviously.
I booted up & it worked real fast..perfect.
Okay, so I thought this has to be a drive or cable issue then. As it happens it isn't!
I systematically added each drive back in to the system again using the cables I new worked..until I added them all back in to the system, each time shutting down, powering off, re-adding a drive then re-booting etc.
Each time the machine booted quick & worked as it should.
Even when all of the drives were re-connected...so I thought maybe there was some dust in a cable connection.
I continued using the computer again as usual that day, shutdown at the end of the day.
Booted up again the next morning...same problem!!
So each morning I have to boot up...incredibly slow. Then shutdown, remove once drive cable (SATA II) boot up...nice & fast, shut-down, re-connect drive...and it works.
I then tried the same by removing my firewire audio interface and it booted up fast.
The next time tho, I booted up after being switched off for some time...with it removed it didn't work and so I had to remove the SATA cable and go through the set-up as described once again.
This all points to a chipset or driver
issue doesn't it?
Any suggestions cos I'm totally confused.
Thanks again in advance.