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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    LANGALIST PLUS

    A step-by-step guide for improving boot times


    By Fred Langa

    Even powerful, capable hardware can sometimes get bogged down, and few things are more irritating than a needlessly long boot.

    There are many causes for slow PC start-ups, but some simple maintenance will usually set things right.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/07/22/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 15:36.

  2. #2
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    Thanks to a tip in PC Pr@xis, a German computer magazine, I learned about a program called Soluto, currently in beta and downloadable from www.soluto.com The program runs on XP, Vista, and Win 7 (32 or 64 bit versions).

    It's billed as "anti-frustration software" and is the easiest and most user-friendly way I know to significantly shorten the boot process.

    I'm no beginner and I clean out my auto-runs regularly. Nevertheless, after spending only five minutes or so in Soluto (it offers options, but you make the choices), it shaved an entire minute off my boot-up time. I was impressed!

  3. #3
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    RE: Fix Flash Player with a complete uninstall

    Adobe apparently recognizes this problem, and supplies a tool for removing all traces of Flash. It's at http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/141/tn_14157.html.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Adobe also offers up a free "Flash Player Uninstaller" that has worked very well for me in the past. It even removes old Flash files buried deep inside the C:\Windows folder.

    http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/141/tn_14157.html

  5. #5
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    I had the worst boot times I've ever experienced. My experience may help others. Several months ago I upgraded to a clean install of Win7 Home Premium, but kept a dual boot with Vista. After I was sure that I had everything installed and working on 7, I eliminated the double boot, hoping to eliminate some minor instability. Reboot times jumped to nearly 60 minutes! I began a systematic troubleshooting of both software and hardware. Eventually I had replaced all of the hardware from motherboard to harddrive and did a clean install of Win7. Fortunately (?) I had to talk to a MS tech to activate Windows. He was impressed to be talking to someone who understands enough to replace the mobo that he became more relaxed and friendly. In the process of solving the activation issue, I had to do several restarts. When the first seemed to hang with a black screen between the initial spash screen and the login screen, he had me restart tapping the F8 key for the extended startup menu and choose a low resolution startup. When that shortened the time from splash to login to only a second or two, he did some quick checking and told me that it meant there was a need to update either the video card or monitor drivers. I replaced the video card with no luck. There were no recent drivers for my Samsung LCD and the most current would not install. So, I searched for a monitor with MS certified 64 bit drivers. I plugged it in, held my breath and watched an instantaneous boot!. It had always been my experience that a monitor worked or didn't. Since the monitor worked just fine after Windows would finally boot, I never expected it to be the cause of the problem!!
    Don
    Windows 10 64bit, Intel Core i5-490K 3.5GHz, Intel HD Graphics, 8GBRAM, 350GB SSD

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    Not even MSConfig is a reliable tool for cleaning out startup items. If you want to be thorough, the proper program is Autoruns from good ol' Sysinternals, which looks absolutely everywhere startup programs might be launched from. This of course also means that Autoruns will show a lot of perfectly legitimate stuff you shouldn't mess with, but nonetheless I wouldn't use anything else.

    Freeing up hard drive space as a means of speeding up boot times never made much sense to me.

  7. #7
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    Re problems with upgrading Flash. I just helped my sister-in-law with her Win XP system. Flash would tell her it needed an upgrade, but the upgrade would fail every time. I tried obvious things like using the Flash uninstall tool to no avail. I eventually noticed that both she and her son had separate logons with admin privileges and that her son had done the previous Flash upgrade. When I logged on using her son's account, the flash upgrade worked perfectly and she had access to the new version as well with her logon. It appeared than Flash had locked several Registry entries using her son's account, so when I tried to upgrade Flash using her account, it would fail. Hope this helps someone. Joel

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    RE: Boot Times

    In addition to the things mentioned in the article, check out your anti-virus and anti-malware software for "scanning on startup" options. I know a company that uses Trend Micro's corporate package and it scans the system on startup. It's supposed to be a quick scan, but rarely is that. And, yes, it slows down the system considerably while that's going on. I know some packages like SuperAntispyware also have options for startup scans.

    And, it's not mentioned in the article, but was something run to display startup programs (no, not MSCONFIG!!!!). If you've got Adobe Acrobat Reader, you've got a process loading on startup that is checking for updates. Same thing for Flash. Same thing for your anti-virus. Same thing for .... you get the picture.

    As noted above, the best program for checking what's truly loading at startup: Autoruns. It's been folded into Microsoft now, but it's still hands down the best package out there, IMHO. (HijackThis is also a VERY close 2nd. Again, IMHO. :grin: )

    Hope this helps,
    Howard

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    Re: Boot Times

    I followed the advice to shrink the recycle bins but my version of XP Pro SP3 does not allow specific sizes to be set, only percentages. The smallest is 1% which, on large drives is still several Gb. Although I did shrink them to this, there was no difference in booting. My problem is that the boot up process appears to be stuck somewhere between the "loading" screen and the "Welcome" screen and stalled after the wallpaper appears and the icons appear.

    Since things do all come together in 10 minutes, I'm assuming Windows is looking for something which is missing but not needed. I've tried rebooting when the loading screen "sticks" and find the second boot completes without problems.

    I've used CCleaner but find I have to be very careful what I erase. Sometimes it erases vital Firefox cookies even when they are unchecked or something else which causes operational problems especially the boot. This is one of my suspicions about my boot problems. The other is drivers, especially video but I have found no real way of updating them successfully.

    My machine is a Dell Precision 390, dual processor and Win XP Pro SP3. I've been clobbered by two Win Updates, one in February and one recently which tried to install .net4 personal profile. My machine just would not even start after these updates. I had to re-install my c: partition image the first time although I wound up doing a clean install subsequently. The second time, I booted in safe mode but found Windows Installer does not work in safe mode. Luckily, I have RevoUninstaller which does work as well as cleaning out all sorts of registry entries and folders which Installer leaves behind. After removing the .net4 thing, my machine worked. I still cannot update the ATI drivers though.

    And I worry about what might happen as a result of the slooooooooow boot. Should I boot twice or just wait the 10 minutes?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Fraser View Post
    RE: Fix Flash Player with a complete uninstall

    Adobe apparently recognizes this problem, and supplies a tool for removing all traces of Flash. It's at http://kb2.adobe.com.../tn_14157.html.
    Secunia PSI can find instances of Flash Player which are installed in non-standard locations (such as locations used by programs which rely on Flash). Following the paths seen in Secunia, most instances of old Flash Players can be removed without disabling any of your programs. The trick is finding all the places where the old versions can hide. Once you know where they are, they can usually be completely removed without special tools.
    -- Bob Primak --

  11. #11
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    The simplest approach to minimizing boot times that I have found is to hibernate as often as you can, only rebooting when things start to slow down or go haywire. Even after minimizing the startup programs etc, this method proves much faster than a full shut down/startup. The memory is stored to the hard drive at the point of hibernation and restored to just that state after powering back up in a quick manner. If you are not hibernating, you owe it to yourself to try it. With Windows XP and later Win OS versions, this method has proven very stable.

    -Dan

  12. #12
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    Fred,
    I recall you stating not so long ago tha t CCleaner should only be used in dire necessity, as it's prone to remove essential files. Yet you advocate its use twice in this week's column. Has it been made safer to use, or have you just changed your mind?

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    have XP Home on one laptop. I "upgraded" to the latest version of Norton AV after using the 2003 version all these years because I'd tried newer Norton AV and it took forever to scan. So when the hard disk went south, and I installed a new one, I reinstalled 2003.

    Anyway, immediately after installing the current 2010 Norton AV, boot time slowed to a crawl and unchecking the "scan when starting up" did nothing.

    The symantec tech had me do something that changed a "timeout" when starting up to fewer seconds and boot time instantly shortened dramatically. Unfortunately I don't know how or where this "timeout" for bootup was (it was not done from within the Norton AV program menus at all, I think I had to do "Run" and type in something or use a DOS window, but not sure.) If anyone knows how to do this and can try it, all I can say is, it works like magic.

  14. #14
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    Re: Boot times

    Try setting your AV updates to times you are away (sleeping) or at (work). I have had problems with both boot up time and in process performance because of updates running in the background. Many AV products are defaulted to run at startup.

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