Dan Withers did some great detective work, but still was faced with disk "thrashing" and slow starts:
I’ve enjoyed your newsletter for sometime and recently subscribed to the Plus version. Many of my computing problems have been solved by either you or input from your readers. But, and there’s always a but, I’m now at a loss to solve my latest quandary.
My Dell Dimension XPS 300 has been a most reliable machine but lately has developed an odd quirk during boot-up…. From power-on to system ready, my "boot time" [originally] took about sixty seconds. I use System Mechanic’s Startup Manager to keep my start-up programs minimal and basically run a lean machine. I’ve also enabled the "bootlog" feature and periodically check my times and failures with BootLog Analyzer version 1.23.
Over a period of three months, my boot time has increased perceptibly while my bootlog times have remained essentially the same. My power-on to system ready time has more than doubled even when I disable ALL TSR’s from the Start-Up folder, registry, autoexec and config files.
Once Windows is loaded and my start-up programs are placed in the taskbar tray, my hard disk begins to "thrash" as if it is swapping out a huge file. This process can last for a minute plus whether I load "clean" or my normal configuration. I first thought it might be an attempt to write to my virtual disk but I have 192 megs of RAM installed and wouldn’t expect to see that kind of activity on boot-up.