Slow startup

This is a discussion on Slow startup within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Hey there. I bought a brand new Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop in May and it is now extremely slow to ...

  1. #1
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    Slow startup

    Hey there. I bought a brand new Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop in May and it is now extremely slow to start. When I say extreme, I mean it can take up to 5 minutes on the Windows loading screen and when I open my session, it takes a good 5-10 minutes before it starts to run properly (i.e. not unbelievably slow). I have done all that I know to fix it:

    - Anti-spyware scan : Spybot - S&D;
    - Anti-virus scan : Avira Antivir;
    - Cleared prefetch data;
    - Changed Windows styles to "maximum efficiency"
    - Deleted temporary internet files;
    - Program desinstallation;
    - Registry cleaning;
    - Removed icons on my desktop;
    - Removed menu items in Start menu;
    - Removed non-essential programs at startup.

    Of course, all of the programs I have used were all updated prior to using them. I can see little to no amelioration and I really don't know what could cause this huge slowliness. I have way more hard disk space than I need (i.e. 227Gb total vs 201Gb free), I have 2Gb RAM and I am not running really demanding software (Firefox, Windows Live Messenger, MS Word / Powerpoint are what I use 95% of the time). I also checked the CPU usage in the task manager but everything seems fine to me. The only thing I see is that whenever I watch a video in Firefox it peaks to about 35-45% CPU usage. That seems a bit much but I really don't know.

    Does any of you guys have an idea what could cause this problem ? I really am tired of it and I need my laptop at school. Thanks to holidays I will have two weeks to fix this issue.

    My computer:

    Windows XP Pro SP2
    Dell Inspiron 1520
    Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 @ 1.83Ghz
    2Gb RAM, 230Gb hard disk space

    Any idea or suggestion is much welcome.

    Thanks : )

  2. #2
    and the hat of sweating
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    Are you connected to a Domain or stand-alone?
    Check what programs are loaded at startup. If you run msconfig.exe it will show you which programs run at startup and let you disable them.
    Go to www.hdtune.com and install the HDTune program. It will find the speed of your hard drive and can look for errors...
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

    "the internet is a scary place to be thats why i dont use it much." - billet, 03/17/2010

  3. #3
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    What is domain vs stand-alone ? I searched google but couldn't find.

    I installed HDTune and again everything seems fine. Benchmark reveals that peak speed is about 1.9MB/s and average is 1.6MB/s that seems fine to me. CPU usage seems high again, at 45%. All is "ok" in the health tab and doing an error check right now.

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    I also noticed two things about sound. I soften hear sound clipping and sometimes when my laptop is really slow pressing mute will instantly fix everything up. However, it is not *always* the case and it does not explain slow startups. I have updated my sound card driver to the most recent one without change in performance or quality. In fact, clipping got worse after updating the driver.

  5. #5
    and the hat of sweating
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desolation View Post
    What is domain vs stand-alone ?
    If you connect to a company network and login using a network UserID, then you're on a domain. It sounds like you're just running a stand-alone PC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desolation View Post
    I installed HDTune and again everything seems fine. Benchmark reveals that peak speed is about 1.9MB/s and average is 1.6MB/s that seems fine to me. CPU usage seems high again, at 45%. All is "ok" in the health tab and doing an error check right now.
    Whoa!!! 1.9MB/s! That's incredibly slow. My hard drives are about 85MB/s each.
    Even a crappy hard drive should be at least 20-30MB/s.
    Did you check the drive for errors?
    HDTune also lets you check the SMART logs, which show errors that the hard drive has already recorded...
    I'm willing to bet it's your hard drive that's slowing down your system.
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

    "the internet is a scary place to be thats why i dont use it much." - billet, 03/17/2010

  6. #6
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Make sure Windows' file indexing is off, unless you search for things like every 5 seconds

    Just kill the service and disable it on each of your drives / partitions.

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    Oh my god I think I just realized something. In the health station I thought it was an enumeration of possible errors but if I am not mistaken, they are current errors right ?

    I have 14 errors and one is in yellow. It's "Reallocated sector count" and its value is 429. That seems bad. What can I do ? My laptop is still under warranty and I can get it fixed if it needs to.

    @zacs7: It was off but it still loaded on startup. Removed it. Thanks.

    Edit: (Quick) Error scan says everything is fine. Though from what I've read on SMART logs on wikipedia, the "reallocated sector count" error cannot be determined by testing it or whatever and it says the higher the value the slower the hard drive. That could explain lots of things !

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    There could be bad sectors on the harddrive. Go to your harddrive's manufacture site and grab their disk scanning program (and run it =P). Windows degrades the harddrive access mode (UDMA5 all the way to PIO) when harddrive error count reaches some threshold. That could explain the slowness.

    If the disk scanning program says the harddrive is bad, there's nothing much you can do except sending it back for warranty.

    *edit* nvm, your drive is probably SATA, so the DMA/PIO thing doesn't apply. I still think it's the harddrive, though, and 2MB/s is certainly not right. Even my 5 yrs old 80GB HD can do 35-40 MB/s. */edit*
    Last edited by cyberfish; 12-18-2008 at 07:37 PM.

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    I'm currently doing a hard disk scan with Dell's system diagnostic utility. It's finally finished the read test, which it passed. It still has a few tests so I'll tell you guys tomorrow what the results are.

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    I would try to find out the manufacturer of your harddrive (Seagate, Maxtor, Toshiba, etc), and get their utility instead. The Dell thing is probably just a very basic one.

  11. #11
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    And knowing Dell...
    Code:
    if(model_is_used_by_dell(modelID))
    {
       performance += 0.25;
    }
    Laptop harddrives are funny things, the one in my MSI U100 (A Western Digital Scorpion 120GB) like to park its heads every ten seconds to "save the disk incase of a bump". However this makes the load/unload cycle grow extremely quickly thus reducing the life of the disk not to mention the annoying clicking.

    If you have the pocket and if it doesn't void the warranty would you consider upgrading the drive?
    Last edited by zacs7; 12-18-2008 at 11:44 PM.

  12. #12
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    Unfortunately, money is an issue for me. I wouldn't be true to students' spirit if I had that much money.

    Edit: All tests are done now. Everything is (supposedly) all fine with the hard drive. I tested a few other hardware devices, just in case. Battery, cables, fan and memory are working fine. I'll try to download my hard drive's manufacturer's diagnostic utility program whenever I get a chance to.

    Thanks !
    Last edited by Desolation; 12-19-2008 at 12:34 AM.

  13. #13
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Curious, who make the drive?

  14. #14
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    If you have bad sectors standard IBM (as it used to be called) practice is to attempt 3 reads or writes depending on the I/O operation and then flag as an error if the third one fails. This means that if you have 429 bad sectors the drive will attempt 3 accesses for every bad sector. Not to mention there is a bit more processing that occurs when the drive firmware hits a bad sector. This causes a huge slowdown. I believe all I/O devices follow this paradigm (IE: floppies, CD-ROMs, etc).

    Formatting the drive will fix it but only temporarily. There is a reason you have bad sectors and that is because the drive is dead. Very rarely can you just repartition, format, etc., and not have it happen again. Any time a drive of mine gets a bad sector I'm off to get a new hard drive.

  15. #15
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Windows 7 does wonders for startup, so grab it once the beta's out is another suggestion by me
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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