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Startup Screens Take Forever


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#1
Imperfect

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I've recently had problems with malware, trojans, and infections and came to this site for assistance. It seems as though my computer has been restored and is now virus and infection free, but I am still experiencing some difficulties.

My operating system, which I know is stated in my profile, is Windows XP and I currently have Service Pack 3. When I boot up my computer, the startup screen (the blue one where you log in) always loads extremely slowly. Additionally, whenever I log off or shut down the computer, it also takes an extremely long period of time for the computer to finally follow the command. Just five minutes ago, my mother logged off of her account and clicked on the "switch users" button. As the computer began to log off, it seemed to have frozen. Finally, it showed the screen which says "Saving your personal settings". However, the screen then turned completely black (but the computer was still on) and there was no cursor. I could not get the computer working again without manually shutting down (by this i mean pressing the button on the tower). In addition to assistance, I would also like the answers to some questions which I have:

1. Is it bad to click on the "Switch Users" option? I have heard that it is from some sources, but others say it does not matter.

2. Could Internet Explorer (version 8.0) be slowing down my system? Again, I have heard a variety of opinions about the browser; some people have told me Mozilla Firefox is safer, while others have said that IE is better than Firefox.
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#2
Neil Jones

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1) Makes no difference. Switch users as and when you need to, that's what its for.
2) IE8 is beta software, do not use it in any critical computer situation as it may cause untold damage to a point where you'd have to wipe the machine.
Personally I do not like Internet Explorer 7 but I do like Firefox. Some sites may not work in Firefox.

Slow start-ups are typically caused by one of three things:

1) Not enough system memory
2) Hard drive fragmentation
3) Conflicting programs.

A few years ago 256Mb of memory was acceptable but there days 512Mb realistically with all the overheads of an anti-virus program is a bare minimum. You can find out how much memory you have by going to the Start Menu -> right-click on My Computer -> Properties and the line "xx Mb/Gb of RAM" towards the bottom.

Badly fragmented drives mean the system does more work in the long run. A fragmented file is one that sits in multiple places on the disk, and when you defrag a drive all its doing is putting the pieces close to each other, hence faster. Check the defrag status from Start -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter, select the hard drive and press Analyze. Lots of red means fragmentation.

Conflicting programs - typically more than one anti-virus program is the common cause. While you may think two programs increase security, the opposite is true and overall protection goes down as they fight with each other. Also don't run multiple spyware prevention programs together either. Basically any program that does the same job at the same time as something else on the system isn't good.
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#3
AitrusSkyy

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I would clear %temp% files.
Delete all but most recent restore points (you probably worked up a few gigs worth from SP3).
The install the trial of Razco Perfect Disk Proffesional and run a defrag (this program will actually defrag your boot files putting them at the front so when you boot and startup things will move swiftly). The trial of that program is fully functional for 30 days. I usually just install it, defrag, then uninstall it.

I'd do them in that order.

PS: To add to Neils list #4 would be any antivirus program (as they usually run a scan at startup which can sometimes make the login slow for 2-5)

Edited by AitrusSkyy, 24 September 2008 - 08:14 AM.

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#4
Imperfect

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Ok, I defragmented with the Razco Perfect Disk...I think my computer's running better now. Is there anything else I should do?
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