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Windows 7 Hangs on Welcome Screen

I was handed a computer to try and clean up yesterday. It is an 2 GHZ AMD 64 bit CPU running windows 7 64-bit with a whole 1 GB of ram. Yes I said 1 GB of ram, I cringed too. I've got the owner convinced to upgrade that to 4GB and he's gonna go with a dual core processor while he's at it which should make a ton of difference.

In any case, on to the problem. The windows install was pretty bogged down, somewhere around 80 running processes and no free physical memory. The machine actually booted to the desktop fairly quickly but wouldn't respond to anything due to all the running processes. I went through the task manager and killed enough tasks that I could navigate. I ran ccleaner on it to clear some junk. I went through the startup processes and cleared all the non-essentials. I went into the add-remove programs and removed the junk. I ran ccleaner again and cleared up the remnants and even ran the registry cleaner. I ran malwarebytes and an AVG virus scan and was actually surprised to find the system very clean. It's whole problem seemed to be an absurd amount of "legit" startup items. After I got it all cleaned up to around 40 running processes I defragmented the drive using defraggler and manually bumped the size of the swap file up to 1.5x ram.

The system is now running great, well as great as it can with only 1 GB of ram. All except for one problem.... when the machine boots up it comes to the screen where you can select a user, I select the user and then it hangs on the welcome screen for as much as 20 minutes before it goes on. It didn't take more than 20 minutes to boot before I started!

How can it possibly be booting slower now with an optimized drive, larger swap file, and 0 extra components running at startup?
19 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about windows hangs screen
  1. Check your network connectivity. Are you using a wired or wireless connection? Also, are you using fixed IP addresses or DHCP?
  2. Gigabit Wired, DHCP. Network connection was plugged in and active from the first time I booted it up so nothing has changed there. I usually won't connect an "unknown" computer to my network before I check it out but all of my machines were actually off so hooked it up right away. Any other ideas?
  3. Are all of your drivers current? Did Windows update any (particularly the video card) when you updated the first time? You may need to go to the GPU website (Nvidia or ATI/AMD) to get the current version and install manually.

    I have seen dismal start-up times due to DHCP issues. You could also try a fixed IP just for troubleshooting.
  4. I'll certainly disconnect the network and/or try a hard coded IP. As far as drivers, actually nothing has changed. I haven't got around to running updates yet. I didn't wanna run updates until I got the machine running fairly well otherwise. I worked on it all night cleaning it up and I was gonna start doing updates today when I get home from work.
  5. Also, turn off restore points while sorting through all of this. This system is likely using quite a bit of swap space and is writing it to a restore point upon shutdown (due to the whopping 1GB of RAM!).

    Good luck!
  6. Best answer
    Maybe try creating a new user account. Sometimes user accounts become corrupted which can take extra time to login.
  7. I did already turn off system restore before I started. There are actually 2 accounts on the machine already and I haven't tried the other yet. I'll try it and/or try to make a new one. Any other ideas?
  8. Chainzsaw said:
    Maybe try creating a new user account. Sometimes user accounts become corrupted which can take extra time to login.

    This is an excellent suggestion as well.
  9. I was talking with my wife at lunch and she remembered something I had forgotten. After I cleaned the machine up a little and got to my first reboot, it did say that it was installing some kind of update even though I didn't actually tell it to install anything and windows updates says they have NEVER been run. So I may need to try and track down that mystery update and see what it may have been. I'm thinking though that after that first reboot it was actually still doing OK. I really don't think it started acting really dumb until I did the defrag.

    I'm thinking the overall health of the HD may be questionable. It was extremely slow at a few points in particular on the defrag. Maybe it decided to re-organize some critical info to an area of the drive that it is having a very hard time reading. I haven't seen the first error, it just seems to be slow. Thing is with that little amount of RAM, it's hard to tell if the drive is slow because it just sucks or if it is constantly thrashing the swap file slowing it down. I suppose the resource monitor will give me some clue in that regard. Plenty of things to look into anyway..... I'll be sure to report back with my findings.
  10. slow computers suck. i try not to mess with them if possible. did you think of adding more ram before you tried doing anything? amazing how much time you'll save with the extra ram installed. did you do any of this in safe mode ? did you go into the system config and stop anything from starting up ? the thing with multiple accounts, clean one and gotta clean the other.. strange you can't just "clean" the computer but it happens. good system restore is off. should delete all but latest when you're done cleaning it up.

    w7/ need to turn off auto updates and also driver updates/2 different places.
  11. I would love to add RAM before I started, if I had any floating around. As it is the only way I can do that is pull RAM from my working computer and put it in this computer that may be questionable. I've lost parts before doing that... put my good RAM into a motherboard that sucks and ZAP there goes your good RAM, no thanks. The owner has ordered new ram but it will be a while before it gets here.

    I have booted into safe mode and it does load that profile more quickly. As far as performing any of my cleaning I did NOT do it in safe mode on purpose. As I mentioned there was no malware on the machine which would require a safe mode removal, everything I took off has removed cleanly, I haven't had to fight any of them. I mentioned in the very first post that I removed tons of startup items.

    The second account on this particular computer is a restricted user account and not an administrator so it is highly unlikely that I can do anything to clean it up that I cannot do on the administrator account.
  12. i have that problem last month.
    Aftre fresh install update from MS then freeze on welcome screen.
    Here what i did.
    First boot into safe mode. (press F8 key)
    then create new account with admin.
    reboot with normal condition.
    and try to log into new account.
    From my research, tweak, update, system file twist some reason, that are make welcome screen freeze. Most of case the driver it self cause that error.
    Once you successfully log into new account then delete the trouble account.
    Ahemsa your right this is not happen because of malware or virus it just windows is suck thats all lol
    I hope this will fix your problem.
    good luck~
  13. so you didn't go into system config and look around ? try cwshredder and hijackthis. and try trend micro house calls.... on line scan
  14. Quote:
    so you didn't go into system config and look around ?

    When I said that I removed startup items I mean that I removed startup items from all possible places, start menu programs folder, system wide registry keys, individual account registry keys, even the old fashioned system.ini and win.ini files, etc, etc.

    That is truly an irrelevant point anyway because I certainly have not ADDED any startup items and programs have added any, they have only been removed. So unless I happened to remove "donttake20minutestologin.exe," that is not the issue.
  15. did you run any of the apps i suggested ?........ or are you just stubborn ? i'm not the one with the messed up machine. good luck with it.
  16. Don't know if this helps, my PC suddenly started locking up on the welcome screen and I ran the following hotfix:
  17. swifty_morgan said:
    did you run any of the apps i suggested ?........ or are you just stubborn ? i'm not the one with the messed up machine. good luck with it.

    Oh now I'm stubborn? What is with the absurd attitude problem on the internet? I may not have used the exact same programs you suggested but I accomplished the exact same goal via other means, which I explained but you apparently can't "GET THAT."

    Ultimately the problem did turn out to be a corrupted file somewhere in the user profile. Creating a new profile solved the problem.
  18. Best answer selected by ahemsa.
  19. This topic has been closed by Nikorr.
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