Slow boot-up in win xp home edition

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My notebook(40gb HDD, 256mb RAM)with win xp home edition has become dramatically slow in last 1-2 months. It takes more than 5 minutes to boot even after I removed everything from startup group using msconfig. The initial screen (win XP home) stays atleast 2-3minutes. How can I manage this? Is there something wrong with HDD or do I need to format? Is there any solution which I can do without formating the HDD. Can I keep a backup using an external HDD? Can anyone advise me on this? Thanks in advance!

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First make sure your computer is ‘clean’.

Run a good updated anti-virus scan. then go to one of the free online virus scanners for a second aopinion. I use

Then make sure you’re clean of spyware. I recommend ‘Spybot Search & Destroy’ and ‘AdAware’. You can get them both at

Once you machine is clean and it is still booting slow, then you will want to try ‘bootvis’. It’s a handy utility developed by Microsoft to troubleshoot boot problems. Microsoft doesn’t support it anymore, but you can still find it around.

Hope this helps.

You can also add more RAM to your laptop, XP requires 512RAM to run good, to make it better run add 1GB RAM, and you should be good. Go to just follow the steps and it should give you an idea on how improve your speed.


Most of the time, slow computer system especially while booting has many associated problems. First is there might be an autorun virus software program which automatically initiate its infection upon computer start. It might also be a hardware problem where in the RAM and Processors have lack of sufficient amount to effectively process data in a faster way.

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  • Ahmedamin
    agree to everything said in the first reply. additionally, I recommend using spysweeper which is by it is the best by far howevery you need to buy for $20 or so. also you could have a driver conflict. in case you added any devices lateley you may want to troubleshoot it in case it the first suggestion does not help. Try spysweeper trial as well.
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  • Habiru
    Hi, Is your virus scanner up to date? Have you let your subscription lapse? Do you use internet explorer and visit sites you could download spyware from? Do you know what spyware is? Go here and download the lastest version of Counterspy. Its is free to use for 30 days and it will unlike most of its competitors remove the spyware from your computer without forcing you to pay first.Run Counterspy at least twice. If it finds spyware each time, run it until it finds nothing more. Make sure you update it before running the scan. You can also install HiJack This, Spybot Search and Destroy and the free edition of Ad Aware. This should remove all the spyware from your computer. Go here with your Hi Jack log if you are clueless on what to do with it. Run HiJack this when finished all other scans. Install Firefox and some extensions and quit using IE for browsing the net. If your antivirus is out of date, get NOD32. It has not missed a virus in the wild ever. It will also not impinge on your system resources like most popular AV products. Next, find a copy of WinPatrol and install it. Read the readme file so you know what it does. It is there to help you decide about what you let run on your computer from here on in. If you are a newbie, get yourself McAfee firewall and install it. This should complete locking down and securing your computer after removing all the malware. If you have a good understanding of computer security, get Zone Alarm Pro.
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  • Poppaman
    In essence, I agree with what habiru said - I differ only in what products to use... Hijack this is a very powerful utility: stick to Webroot, Spybot and adaware unless you are comfortable "mucking around" with windows... Any good anti-virus should work - some are better than others. I use Symantec, others use McAfee or Trend Micro -whatever you have access to... If no A/V is installed, try NOD32 (small fast and efficient - not as fast on updates at times) or Panda Antivirus. As far as a firewall is concerned, the best one on the market (ie: best free firewall) is Sygate. Think of Zone Alarm, Norton, Macafee. Tiny, BlackIce as well equipped Hummers - rugged and capable. Think of Sygate as an M1A1 Abrams tank.... I have tested all the products mentioned above personally and in a lab setting and in an enterprise environment. Your results may vary. Offer not valid where restricted.....
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  • Timallard
    Another thing that may affect this is paging, and, I would say the memory is too small in relation to what most people run so this would force more paging as the machine fills with open programs and that all will be paged when you shut down and boot; also, check background services and eliminate those you don't need. And, you may want a faster chip. Depends ... I would suggest adding 512mb of memory, partitioning the disc and put paging in the new partition.
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  • Habiru
    Ya, I deserve a big kick in the butt for forgetting about Panda Antivirus. Great product! In fact, if not for NOD32, Panda would be it. They have the absolute best customer service department in the world. They are the benchmark that all AV companies should be compared against in my opinion.
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  • BinooDas1234
    I thank you all for your replies. This really helped me and I appreciate it. I wish you all a very happy and troublefree new year.
    10 pointsBadges:
  • Careid69
    the virus and spyware comments are good ones... but there is a way to stop the OS from checking if there is new hardware every time it boots up.... i can't think of it at the moment and i have to run but i know it's a standarded setting you can look up. that should save you about half of the start up time. charlie
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  • BinooDas1234
    Thanks a lot Charlie for putting up this topic. I used "bootvis" for the same which seems to be working the same way as you have said. But I don't know what is the best way to use "Bootvis" or How can I get the max from "bootvis". If you mean it for manual settings, then what are those? Any comments on this from anybody? Thanks
    10 pointsBadges:
  • Darkgudda
    Good Replies- personally I use the antivirus Avast at This is a great antivirus due to once you install it checks your system when it restarts. I had it do this recently when I installed it into my new Windows XP sp2 machine and it caught the sasser virus and terminated it. I breezed through the other replies and if this has been stated before I apologized. Did you install sp2? If so then there is a known fact read it on that the sasser virus gets attached on the download. It happened to me and my avast caught it. Also has your HDD been scanned and defraged recently sometimes we can forget things like that. Take care have a nice day.
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  • InfoSafety
    In addition to the above, it is essential to clean out the Windows and internet temporary files. A good product for doing this is Webroot Window Washer. If you set it to clear out all the tempory files you don't need, you can expect it to clear out over .25 GB. I have seen five times that amount. Good luck. Craig Herberg
    75 pointsBadges:
  • Timallard
    This is usually from adware ... in addition to those listed before microsoft now has a beta out that does a good job that's free.
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  • Rcmichelle
    SO sad, I want a program to solve my slow computer, now I'm trying tuneup360, waiting for the result.
    70 pointsBadges:
  • Chippy088
    All the answers given here are worth trying. The key thing to remember is that we are always playing catchup with those virus writers, so keep the AV and firewall updated daily. I would suggest adding at least a 2 gig stick (if it will take it.) if you install the recommended security progs, as they will need at least 512mb for themselves. Then you need to think about the memory used by progs you will be running. I also rely on the ccleaner utility. It can be configured to clean out all the temp files left over from installations, and it has a good registry checker. I set it to run and terminate when done. It will clean up most things, and I run it on a daily basis, as I install and uninstall programs, to check them out. I was surprised the first time I ran the reg cleaner, there were so many incorrect/obsolete registry entries, left over by bad uninstallers not removing everything they had set up on installation.
    4,625 pointsBadges:
  • Featured Member: Rcmichelle - ITKE Community Blog
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