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Windows 7 temporarily freezes after booting

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Whenever I boot my Windows 7 machine, it temporarily freezes about two minutes after the user login screen appears. This freeze usually lasts between 30 seconds and two minutes, during which the HDD activity light is continuously on. All I can do during such a freeze is move the mouse cursor; other than that, the system is completely irresponsive. Once it unfreezes, I can just carry on as if nothing happened.
The reason I say 'after the login screen appears' is that sometimes, when I switch on the computer and come back a couple of minutes later to log in, I don't notice any freezes once my account loads. When I arrive at just the right time, however, I can't log in because the system is busy freezing.
I'm pretty sure this behavior can't be blamed on my virus scanner doing some sort of boot scan, so I would like to hear any ideas about a possible cause or even solution. Thanks in advance!
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Failing hard drive perhaps? (drive manufacturer's supply free testing software via their website).

Flaky RAM? (a generic testing utility is available here: http://hcidesign.com/memtest/

Edited by phillipcorcoran, 01 December 2010 - 08:34 AM.

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