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XP stalls / hangs during startup...then boots OK

By sspratt
Oct 3, 2006
  1. OK. This is driving me absolutely nuts.

    On a new Asus A8jm laptop with Core Duo, 1gb ram, 100gb drive, blah blah blah.

    Has been working fine since i bought it two months ago. Last weekend I installed Paragon Partition Manager to do some work on an external firewire drive. Never touched my internal drive with the software.

    Now when my system boots, I get the Windows logo and then the screen goes black and startup stalls for approximately 65 seconds. Then it proceeds with the startup just fine and the system is stable and normal after startup.

    The timeout / stall / hang is always the same length of time. During the stall there is no hard drive access or any on-screen messages.

    I uninstalled paragon and did see an "autochk.exe not found" error on one reboot, but not since then.

    So far I have tried all the tips and tricks in autochk.exe not found postings, including:

    chkdsk /f
    chkdsk /r
    clearing BootExecute in the registry and adding an "autocheck autochk*"
    removed the Asus RECOVERY partition from the boot volume
    resized the boot partition to take up the whole boot disk
    used fixmbr and fixboot from the recovery console
    created a bootlog and examined it...nothing unusual in the log
    Tried system restore, but for whatever reason, I can't see any restore points beyond yesterday

    Nothing has made a difference.

    Anyone have any ideas on what else to try? I'm nearly at my wit's end!
  2. sspratt

    sspratt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, I have finally resolved the problem.

    The issue was USB conflict that caused the painfully long hang / pause / stall during bootup.

    Not exactly sure what introduced it, but a likely culprit was Ghost 2003 and it's USB driver support for a USB Mass Storage device. It may have rewrote the registry entry.

    Basically, I discovered that if my USB keyboard was unplugged during startup the system would boot without the pause. I then also discovered that the USB card reader on my Brother MFC-620CN USB multifunctional printer was generating a device cannot start error in the Device Manager.

    Thus if I unplugged either the Brother printer or the USB keyboard, the startup would run without fault.

    I spent hours trying to resolve the little yellow exclamation point on the USB Mass Storage device with no success.

    Finally, I was really hacked off and so I just disabled it in the device manager which resolved the slow boot.

    However....I actually really like that little card reader so I went back to trying to fix it. So after my system was fully booted I went into the Device Manager to reenable the card reader.....and....lo and behold.....it recognized the new hardware, found the correct driver, and installed itself correctly!

    Sooooo.....possible tip if you have one of those USB drivers not starting, disable it, reboot your system and let it sort itself out, then try Enabling the device again. It might just be able to sort itself out.

    Case closed
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