Boot time = 1 Hour +


I have a dell dimension 8400 desktop, windows xp, srvce pack 2, 4 gb mem.
It takes at least an hour for the HD to boot up. During boot, little HD light generally blinks about every two seconds with a minimum of chatter. Sometimes it will chatter for 5 to ten second bursts. Each time this occurs, a little more of the os and startup apps get loaded.

After everything is loaded, click on any app icon and it could take a good five minutes to open. All the while the hd light continues to blink about every 2 seconds, with the occasional short burst of read/load ( I assume that’s what it’s doing).

Once a program is open, it can run relatively smoothly (I can move around in firefox and make it do things).
But, opening win explorer can take 10 minutes.
HD/light continues to act in same manner.

Ran virus and spyware scans – nothing

Could be important to note, just prior to problem, windows media player choked on a known, good vid file, system locked, had to power down. On any following attempts to reboot, sometimes receive an error message to the effect that windows either powered down unexpectedly or a device was disconnected, choose how you want to start, etc, etc

HD suddenly going bad? Is it just trying to search thru a corrupted file structure? Memory?

All suggestions appreciated.


17 answers Last reply
More about boot time hour
  1. Is that XP or XP64?
    If it's XP(32) remove some of the ram so you only have 2 or 3Gig, then time the boot-up.
    Also try a disk clean (My computer -> drive C: right click -> properties...) and an error check (My Computer -> drive C: right click -> properties -> Tools).
  2. Run scandisc and defrag.
  3. Its a loose Sata cable. I have the same problem. Good luck, check those little buggers out.
  4. Yes I agree alsawys check the connections. Sata always seems loose.
  5. Download these free programs and run them.

    HiJack This (most of the items that show up can be safely removed)
    AVG Free (antivirus)
    RegSupreme Pro (may not be free anymore)

    Here's something you can try right now:

    Type MSCONFIG at the run box. Go to services. Show only non-microsoft services. Untick all the boxes. Restart computer.

    Worst comes to worst, format your HD and reinstall windows. Sounds like your system has an insane amount of services and start up programs.
  6. ok, i'll try all of this and report back, thnx

    the os is 32 bit
    same number of processes as always, but i'll try msconfig, as well

  7. First check the cable, as said. Then unplug all USB etc. peripherals. If that's no help go into safe mode (F8 before windows loads) and try a system restore to last week. Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore. Walk away and give it all the time it needs.
  8. right, zorg, always check the physical stuff first, i'll do that. then see if i can restore from safe mode, then move on if necessary.
    there are so many troubleshooting steps one can take in such a situation, sometimes its hard to know which order to try them in.
  9. It sounds like your registry got partially corrupt and windows doesn't know what to do. There is a way to restore the registry hives and then do a restore to a recent one. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on OEM installs. If you need the data on it, then you will need to get a new drive and the install disks. Install the OS and after it is installed put the drive in as a second drive and copy the data off.

    If you have another computer you could install it in there and copy the data off and then put it back on your machine and restore it from the restore partition.

    You could also use the manufacturer's bootable drive tools to confirm that the drive itself is ok.
  10. After doing all that others have offered...get a copy of SpinRite 6.0 and run it.
  11. run chckdsk /r.

    I run into this every now and then iwth the Dells here at work. I am not sure what the issue is, but they normally send me a new mobo. After that installation, I am good to go.
  12. hold on, my knees may be buckling a bit ;) it just booted pretty quickly...standby..i'm backing up to external while i have the opp, then i'll shut down and reboot.
    what i did:
    checked cable connections, looked and felt good
    pulled half the memory out, no change
    system restore, windows couldn't complete it
    unplugged all usb periphs, turned off all non-windows srvices, no change
    defrag got to 58% and then stalled, no change
    every reboot took almost an hour and a half and subsequent commands to open apps could take 5 minutes to execute

    then ran ScanDisk from xp's tools
    told me to shut windows down first cause it needed access to certain files
    clicked restart, screen dark for an hour, then suddenly booted up, apps seem to open ok so far, albeit a little slower, but that could be cause I went from 4 gb mem to two during troubleshooting

    if this all goes haywire, I'll be back. If it turns out to be fixed, I'll run spinright and probably buy/install another good internal drive cause this one is 3+ years, no telling when it might go

    this is a great site and you've all been very helpful thanks much

  13. Man, I hope that did it for you. By any chance, is there a cursor blinking in the top left corner of your monitor when the screen is "blank"?
  14. its booted normally 3 times in row
    normally only time i evr see a cursor is for about 2 seconds early in boot process along with a dell trdemark
  15. Ok, that’s normal. The reason I ask is one or two of dell machines that I have at work had a very similar issue as you, but the cursor was blinking in the upper left corner for 1 to 2.5 hours until it boots into windows.

    We never did figure out what was causing it because when we troubleshot with dell, they gave up and just sent us a new motherboard.

    I just wanted to make sure you didn't have the same issue I did.
  16. Did Dell send you the same type of motherboard you already had? Did that fix the problem?
  17. yeah... There have been about 2 or 3 computers in total that gave me the issue, out of 200-400 PC that we get have. It isn’t any specific models. 1 dell dimension and 2 optiplex 740.

    They just sent me the same exact mobo and after that, I was good to go. We did try to do a BIOS reset which worked for a month or so, but I ended up replacing the mobo anyway.... when it gave us trouble again.

    By my issue was a blinking cursor at boot up in the upper left corner for one to two and a half hours. Once it got into windows it was fine, everything ran normal. It just took forever getting there.
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