Windows Explorer slow to start

By cottage · 36 replies
Nov 4, 2011
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  1. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    While LookingAround is analysing your startup log you could post a full list of all your installed programs. I will then have a look for anything that should not be there, possible conflicts between programs and recommend those that can or should be removed. Follow this using HJT.

    To get the installed programs list from HJT.
    • Go to the Main Menu and click on Open the Misc Tools section.
    • Then select Open Uninstall Manager in the left pane under System Tools.
    • Click on Save List to the right of the window.
    • Save the file, close HJT, zip up the file and attach to your next post.
  2. cottage

    cottage TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Hi again Mark56,

    Here is the list of installed programs....

    In your previous post you asked about SpyBot and SuperAntiSpyware. Yes both were installed. I just removed both but my problem remains.

    You also asked if I had ever had a different antispyware program installed. Yes. Originally I used AVG but after an upgrade (version 8, I think), it slowed performance so I uninstalled it and installed Avast. I know that antispyware is famous for leaving parts of itself after an uninstall. After I removed it, I manually went through the registry and removed all references to AVG. That was about 3 years ago and all was well for some time.

    In looking at Autoruns, I was reminded that I had AVG AntiRootKit installed too. I also removed it this morning but it didn't help.

    P.S. I removed the 3 programs using Revo Uninstaller and allowed it to removed all residual registry entries and remaining files.
    I should also add....
    The problem of slow Win Ex loading (and probably slow boot) started about 2 months ago. In that time (and well before), I haven't added or changed any programs on this computer. The only changes have been Windows automatic updates, Flash player updates and Firefox updates.

    Attached Files:

  3. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Well, I have been through the programs list and found nothing that I would suspect to be causing a problem. My biggest concern is that you have several registry cleaners, do you use these often as they are well known for causing more problems than they cure.

    AVG could have been cleaned out with the manufacturer's Removal Tool, all Anti Virus vendors supply one for a complete removal.

    You have an old version of HJT and a-squared HiJackFree which should be removed but are harmless.

    Your Adobe reader and Java are both out of date and should be uninstalled before downloading the latest versions. Older version of both these programs are vulnerable to infection. The latest version of Java automatically uninstalls the previous one when there is an update but not so with Adobe.

    None of this is likely to correct the problem but is more for future reference.

    My suspicion is that the use of several different registry cleaners has damaged the registry which you are unlikely to be able to repair without knowing what registry entries these programs have removed. You would be well advised never to use them again.

    A Repair install may fix this and it will leave all your software and programs intact, you will need the full OS disc for this and if it does not include the same Service Pack level that you have installed you will need to slipstream it into a copy of the disc or uninstall the Service Packs before you try it. Need any more advice on that, I can give you the instructions.

    We will see what LookingAround finds in that log but from what I can see the Repair Install would be my next move.
  4. cottage

    cottage TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Thanks again for your advice Mark56,

    Yes. There are a few registry cleaners installed. I used to use them a few years ago but, as you mentioned, have subsequently read about the damage that they can cause. I don't believe that I have used one for a few years.

    I'm getting closer to the decision to reformat and reinstall Windows. If LookinAround doesn't suggest some surgical solution, that's what I'll do. I've already started to gather installation disks and registration keys.

    Thanks again. Your help is very much appreciated!
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Just quick comments/observations for now.

    You can compare the BootXP log I ran on my own XP Pro 3 computer (on left) vs. yours (on right). For starters, compare the entries for services.exe and the first entry for svchost.exe on both machines Click thumbnail below

    A couple notes
    > The first entry shows we're running 2 different Windows kernels but that shouldn't make the difference (me: ntkrnlpa vs you: ntoskrnl)

    But look at my services.exe (starts: 23.52secs, ends: 75secs) while yours (starts: about 24 secs and ends about 198. So mine loads in about 51secs while yours is OVER 3x at about 174 secs!)

    Also compare our first svchosts (mine takes about 96 secs to load, yours takes 175 secs to load!) Also, fyi... it is normal to have multiple svchosts.. but your load times are wayyyyy big - as you've seen. (p.s Not looked close enough yet to know if your near double load time is due to more files loaded in yur first svchost or just because your machine is loading so many more files for other stuff as well at the same time as the first svchost)

    All that said
    > I haven't yet tried to see where all your extra load time's is from BUT you clearly have LOTS of extra things running during your startup
    > Doing a full, clean re-install will get you back to a "lean and mean" Windows and program install again though you might also find it helpful to learn how all this startup crap creeps onto computers

    Also, if you run Autoruns again, hit ESC to stop its scan, then click Options->Hide Microsoft and Windows Entries, then click File->Refresh . Let the new scan complete.You'll now see a much better picture of all the 3rd party startups files being loaded on your machine (as all the Microsoft/Windows stuff isn't displayed)

    All that said, it bothers me that you said a Clean boot was still very slow??? (A clean boot should let you boot with most to all 3rd party startups turned off)

    You might closely follow the step-by-step again for a clean Boot and check your boot time again during a Clean Boot
    > A full reinstall will of course clean up everything
    > A Repair install replace most Windows files from the Repair CD (replacing anything corrupt or affected by malware). A Repair will reset all Windows settings back to their default value. As Mark points out all your data and programs shouldn't be touched

    /* edit */
    Meaning a Repair install may fix the problem if the problem is, in fact, a Windows issue (but not if it's due to all the 3rd party software and their startups/drivers/etc currently on your machine. AND some of them will be back as you reinstall your 3rd party products unless you know how "turn their startups off" where possible)

    /* EDIT */
    Ooops. I assumed both our "first" svchosts were loading the same set services. I just looked at each closer and it's not clear they are.. So on the one hand, it's not clear it's "fair" to do a simple side-by-side comparison of load times for each of our first svchost entries. BUT on the other hand, all svchost load times on your machine are high and you have LOTS loading!
  6. cottage

    cottage TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    It looks like all the evidence points to the necessity for a format and reinstall of Windows.

    My intention is to reinstall only the programs that are an absolute necessity.

    I'm away for a few days and the reinstall will take me a day or so. I'll post back with my results next week. (although the results are fairly predictable).

    Thanks again Mark56 and LookingAround. You are stars!
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    We're all glad to help :)

    Here's another tip to help with a smooth reinstall (especially since you're running XP)
    > See [post=926364]How to backup your drivers (and reinstall them later if and when needed!)[/post]

    /* EDIT */
    This explains a bit more about installing drivers using INF files (which is your only option if installing from a driver backup)
    > See [post=1094585]How to Install a Driver when there's no Installation .EXE file to run[/post]
  8. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Your welcome :).
  9. cottage

    cottage TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18


    Final Report......

    I've reinstalled Windows and all the necessary programs and refined the list of programs that load at start up. The process was lengthy and agonizing but I now have a clean machine.

    Windows Explorer now loads instantly.
    Boot-up time is reduced from 6 minutes to 2 minutes.

    Thanks again Mark56 and LookinAround for all of your help.
  10. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Glad to hear everything is now up and running.

    After getting Windows up to date this would be a good time to create a Restore Point and secondly, take a full image back up of the hard drive to DVD's or an external drive.
  11. xs400

    xs400 TS Rookie

    Solved XP Windows Explorer Slow to Start

    Solved, atleast for me.

    1. Back up your registry (you might be tempted to use registry cleaners, they will mess up your registry) Use Erunt. In my case one registry cleaner was nice enough to make a backup and that saved me.

    2. Remove all Internet Explorer Toolbars ( IE toolbars and addons), use the normal method of uninstall (preferably Add-Remove programs from control panel). Remove any Explorer addons and toolbars etc. Both IE and Windows Explorer seem to share toolbars and addons. Use other tools after you have done step 4 below.

    3. Run NTREGOPT.

    4. Reboot and check the startup time.

    Hope this helps.
  12. denishowe

    denishowe TS Rookie

    The op mentions using a keyboard shortcut. I have found that Windows Explorer doesn't respond to my keyboard shortcuts (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-B) for a long time after logging in, though double-clicking the associated .lnk on my desktop or selecting it in the start menu runs the program instantly. I have seen this behaviour from Windows XP to Windows 8 and now consider it to be just one of the joys of using Windows.

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