Vista Painfully Slow to Boot after Adding RAM

By almcneil
Jan 15, 2009
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  1. Techspotters,

    I have a customer who's PC runs Windows Vista using 1 GB of RAM. I recommended adding more RAM but when I do, VISTA boots painfully slow! Initially I added a 1 GB stick of RAM (DDR2). Initially the PC booted quick but then ground to a crawl. After 15 mins I thought something must be "stuck" and performed a power cycle. Vista then complained of a corrupt installation and recommended a repair. I then popped out the new RAM and restored from image backup. It all worked. I now added two 1 GB sticks of DDR2 to ensure all the paired memory slots are balanced (2 x 512 MB, 2 x 1 GB) for a total of 3 GB. Again, the PC starts quick but suddenly grinds to a crawl. It's been 20 mis now and still I'm not at the Windows Desktop.

    Any suggestions as to what is wrong and how to fix it?

    TIA,
    -- Andy
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Just as a quick test

    Replace the 2 x 512 MB Ram cards, with the exact same 1 Gig card you have installed (ie 2 x 1Gig)

    This is assuming the Ram is fully compatible, also listed on the Motherboard support page as compatible, and new Ram has been tested, and\or replaced again

    If all else fails try a clean install, but this time manually remove the partition (ie Using a Windows CD or Gparted live boot CD or something)
  3. almcneil

    almcneil TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,554

    It's Not a Problem with the Memory Sticks!

    Unlikely as I tried with just the 2 x 512 MB and a single 1GB stick. I've tried balancing it by adding another 1 GB stick in the paired slot and still get the same result. This means that a simple change in memory is causing the problem. So long as the slot pairs are balanced, we eliminate a memory balancing issue.

    As I wrote, it passed the BIOS memory test and initially Vista started fast so it's not a compatiblity issue. If it were, it would fail BIOS or Vista would boot painfully slow immediately. This is not the problem either.

    This is why I'm posting here because I want to AVOID a re-install!! Simply re-installing Windows Vista is a painfully long process for both myself and the customer. Simply adding RAM shouldn't cause this problem! There should be a quick remedy for it.

    OK, it's been 30+ mins and how the Desktop is starting to appear. Once it finishes startup, I'll restart. I have a feeling Microsoft incoporated low level memory management into Vista. That's why when I increased the amount, Vista detected it and needed to reconfigure all it's memory management settings, hence, the slow boot. On the subsequent reboot, it will be fast! I know this because I used to design embedded systems, including an OS once. If this is the case, Vista should prompt the user that it detected a change in memory and needs to reconfigure it's memory management services so the user understands why its booting so slow.

    -- Andy
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    I see, so you didn't restore from image backup :confused:


    This does not mean the new Ram is OK
    Best to run Memtest on it, otherwise do the above
  5. almcneil

    almcneil TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,554

    I see you don't understand the difference between a Windows re-isntallation and an image restore. With a re-installation, the Windows installation program calculates all the setup files and addresses according to the new memory. Restoring from image means that it is the "old" installation with it's own setup files and addresses. Hence, restoring from image will not solve the problem for the customer if they want to use to the additional memory.

    Yes it does because I took that 1 GB stick and popped it into their XP machine which I'm using right now to talk to you! I then popped in two new 1 GB sticks in the to the VIsta machine and it's having the same problem. As I explained, this is not a problem with the memory sticks.

    Looks like I'll have to perform a Vista repair <groan>. It's the only way to get Vista to recalculate it's setup files without re-installing the whole OS.

    -- Andy
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    But that's my point

    And by the way, I have made thousands of images, and I certainly know the difference between imaging and re-installation

    What's more, is I know that using an image is not always ideal
    You yourself have confirmed my exact point above

    By the way, you are best to remove the Partition and go clean (yes what you're trying to avoid) Maybe try it on a new Harddrive just to test it (or test my point rather) Although I doubt you will tell me that it truthfully worked

    Before attacking support, you should be aware that it is possible I may actually know more than you
    And judging from your comments, (and previous history) this is highly likely

    As I'm not interested in replying to you anymore here or any other threads you make
    I'll just point out, that further comments flaming myself (or any member) will result in your Ban

    Know that.
  7. almcneil

    almcneil TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,554

    Mr. Kimsland,

    Where did I flame you?!?! You replied to me saying you did not understand why I didn't use the image restore with a "confused" smilie. That means you believed the image restore would solve the problem. I then replied that you don't understand the the difference between an OS re-installation and an image restore. That was clear and, therefore, not a flame. I was merely explaining something that you obviously don't understand. If you find that inflamatory then you are an overly sensitive person.

    Yes, I have found this problem with you in the past and really suggest that you be more open-minded. You seem to be very rigid in what you believe and take great offense whenever someone makes a counter suggestion or disputes it. You get offended and angry when you really need to listen and try to understand other points of view. Several other members messaged me the last time explaining they had this same problem with you and don't bother posting on here because of it.

    I really think you should learn to be less sensitive and be more open-minded, It will really help you learn more about computers and troubleshooting!

    Best,
    -- Andy
  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Obviously you didn't read clearly above
    I was telling you to install Windows clean, seeming you had only used a restore image
    I was also reminding you, that you had done an image install, seeming you said you wanted to avoid a re-install, even though you had re-imaged. Anyway, that was my point above.

    Those "Support" members messaged me too
    In all cases I informed specific members on specific threads that they were incorrect. I then corrected them, which made them upset. (whereas I would have said thank-you), I think others anger is just a defensive reaction, that should be overcome

    Regarding all members I support (ie not the so called "support" members, like you tried to be) Every Member I have supported has been extremely happy and their issues resolved fully. Please check anyone of my 13000 + posts.


    I have not met too many than know more than myself in troubleshooting
    Thanks for your suggestion though :rolleyes:
  9. almcneil

    almcneil TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,554

    Back to my customer's problem, as best as I can figure out, if we want to add the extra RAM that means we have to perform a Windows repair which on Vista takes 90 mins minimum, usually longer.

    Has anyone encountered this problem with Vista and adding more RAM? I searched the Web and found several who reported this problem but none had posted a solution. I'm continuing to search.


    BTW, I forgot to mention they use Vista Home Premium.

    -- Andy
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

  11. almcneil

    almcneil TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,554

    Confirmed It! It's Vista!

    Techies,

    OK, I played around with swapping memory and confirmed that this is what I suspected. Vista is using hardcoded values for it's memory management and when you change the amount of RAM, you need to run a Vista Repair to update the system configuration files. When I removed the additional memory and skipped the prompt for repairing Vista, the system booted quick. When I added memory, it then went to a crawl on bootup. Vista does in fact warn you that it detected the memory change and recommended a repair but it's on the second bootup, not the initial one after adding the memory. That's what tripped me up. Also, it didn't explicited say it was a change in RAM but a change in system setup (hardware or software) SInce I only changed memory and it suggested a Vista Repair, that confirms what suspected.

    Be aware!
    -- Andy
     
  12. Cybernaut

    Cybernaut Newcomer, in training

    Hello

    Had the same issue when adding more memory on Vista machine, system would just reboot every time vista started, or run really slow if it did boot.

    Found Fix for adding ram.

    I have a Intel MB and it said to remove the PCI express video card then add memory to clear the memory retention mechanism whatever that is.

    I was like yeah right what is that gonna do.

    I removed the PCI express video card installed added memory turned on power supply for few seconds turned back off installed PCI express Card and geuss what?

    Worked great

    Hope this works.
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Actually that sounds like it could work
    But I wonder if just resetting the Bios (with the Ram installed) would do the same thing
  14. Cybernaut

    Cybernaut Newcomer, in training

    Maybe on some machines it might work

    I tried the bios clear jumper and restore default settings on the bios setup screen but it didnt work until I did the PCI Express Card removal procedure, never would have thought it would make a difference.

    Cheers
  15. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    I agree

    I had a computer once that would not turn on. I tried everything, and then eventually removed the PCI-E card, held down the power button (with power out) Then put the PCI-E card back in, and it worked :grinthumb

    So therefore, well said, thanks for your input ;)
  16. almcneil

    almcneil TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,554

    Cybernaut,

    Thx for your suggestion and, using a variation, it solved my customer problem!

    It's not the hardware, it's the DEVICE DRIVER! I knew it was something low level that was not working and your suggestion made me realize I hadn't checked the device drivers. Sorry it took me so long to respond but I've been side tracked. Using your suggestion, I went into Device Manager and uninstalled the video card. I then powered off, upgraded the RAM, powered up but it didn't work. I then tried it again but with the PCI wireless card and BINGO!!

    Here's what the exact problem is. I used to be an embedded systems developer so I've written many device drivers in my time. Windows detects on startup that there is a change in RAM. It then recalculates it's memory map. For those who don't know what that is, the "memory map" outlines what devices occupy what memory address ranges. RAM is the largest, but other devices such as video cards and ethernet cards also occupy memory address ranges. Windows then coordinates with the device drivers with their new memory address ranges. What happened is that the particular device driver doesn't handle the update correctly or not at all. This explains why the problem is not very common. It's a programming error by the particular device manufacturer, not Windows as I initially suspected. I was correct that it is something low level, I jsut couldn't pinpoint the problem. In Cyber's case it was a video card device driver, in my customer's case it was the Network card.

    The solution isn't to remove the card but to just uninstall the device driver, then install the new RAM. On restart, the device driver is re-installed and properly accepts the new address range it is assigned by Windows. The reason it works is that the device driver is installed from scratch.

    If you encounter this problem and need help resolving it, just message me.

    -- Andy
  17. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    :confused:

    I wouldn't do that (for many reasons)
    Members are requested to create a New Thread to gain support by many minds, instead of one.
    All support should be asked on the Forum not by PM (of which cannot even be done by new members)
    Even this thread support question was created on the forum :rolleyes: and Cybernaut member seems to have fixed it, who strangely joined just to post on this thread (of yours) Obviously, creating the forum thread was the best answer, not messaging. :D

    And only took 3 weeks to fix, another happy customer of yours almcneil !
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