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Windows 7: Slow initial user login

31 Oct 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Slow initial user login

This one is baffling me. When I boot it goes BAM to the login prompt, as you'd expect given my system configuration. On my initial system boot, it takes forever to log in, after the Preparing Desktop screen it then goes black and sits there for about 30 seconds. Pressing ctrl-alt-del and selecting Task Manager shows the usual Windows logon tasks just sitting there, using no CPU time, and nothing else. Afterwards, if I log out and log back in, it goes *BAM*, as you'd expect since my boot drive is a 160GB Intel SSD and I'm running the next-to-the-fastest mobile Sandy Bridge Core I7 processor with 16GB of memory.

What I've done so far:

I removed everything in the Startup folder.
I disabled all services in msconfig that were not Microsoft services.
I disabled startup of all programs in msconfig's run tab.
I disabled the Wifi adapter and all adapters that had a red X by them.
I removed all auto-connecting network shares.
I went into the Services administrative tool and moved everything but essential services from Automatic to Manual.

My system tray has a whole 3 icons on it now, instead of the small flotilla that used to be there LOL. Are there other places where Windows stashes startup items where the culprit may be hiding? Is there any way to turn on more verbose logging of the login process, other than the VerboseLogon policy item, which isn't giving me any info on exactly what is taking so long?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2012   #2

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

Okay, I solved it. Microsoft has a nifty SysInternals suite that lets you chug around inside the innards of Windows. There are two programs that I used:

1) Autoruns. This pulled out all sorts of things that Windows starts up other than the things formally in the autorun directories. I noticed that there was a lot of left-over cruft pointing to files that were no longer in my system because I had uninstalled those programs or because the network share was no longer applicable. So I disabled all of the autorun entries that pointed to non-existent programs or locations.

2) Process Monitor has the ability to instrument system boot and logins. So I enabled the instrumentation on my next reboot, and rebooted the system. But #1 had fixed the problem so I logged in and BAM, just as you'd expect given that I'm booting (and logging in) off of an SSD. So it turned out I didn't really need the login profile that Process Monitor gathered, so ... oh well.

Microsoft's API's are a clunky mess, but they have an API for *everything*. I should have figured that they'd have an API for instrumenting system boot too :).
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Slow initial user login

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