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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You guys have been great, I really hope you can help with this issue. I am using a Dell Studio Laptop, running Vista Home Premium 64 bit, SP2 with 4 GB RAM. I am timing 7.5 minutes after the Welcome screen appears, to boot up. I am running Avira Free Antivirus, but have disabled almost everything at startup.

These are the only services from msconfig running at startup:
Alps pointing device (the touchpad, right?); Dell Wireless (the wireless network adaptor); IDT PC Audio (sound system--do I need this one?); Avira Antivirus (think I'll switch to Trend Micro, it's lighter); FATray Mon (need at startup?).

Following the instructions on a forum, I tried to alter the Boot in msconfig as follows:
in advanced options, increase the number of processors to 2, and check maximum memory.

I ran an event log, and this is what shows for booting: this event took longer than expected at startup resulting in performance degradation in the startup process--there were several this time:
Audioendpointbuilder, windefend, intel graphics kernal mode driver, Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family, avguard.exe, TrustedInstaller.exe. Also, a critical item:
BootTsVersion2BootStartTime2011-01-13T22:32:52.718ZBootEndTime2011-01-13T22:42:42.824ZSystemBootInstance139UserBootInstance129BootTime512735MainPathBootTime491735BootKernelInitTime19BootDriverInitTime5043BootDevicesInitTime10334BootPrefetchInitTime51023BootPrefetchBytes675405824BootAutoChkTime0BootSmssInitTime4415BootCriticalServicesInitTime2118BootUserProfileProcessingTime450824BootMachineProfileProcessingTime325BootExplorerInitTime2250BootNumStartupApps3BootPostBootTime21000BootIsRebootAfterInstallfalseBootRootCauseStepImprovementBits0BootRootCauseGradualImprovementBits0BootRootCauseStepDegradationBits0BootRootCauseGradualDegradationBits0BootIsDegradationfalseBootIsStepDegradationfalseBootIsGradualDegradationfalseBootImprovementDelta0BootDegradationDelta0BootIsRootCauseIdentifiedfalse
Does any of this make sense, and what do you suggest to fix this issue?:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have not had an answer, and am starting to see more problems. I tried a memory diagnostic test from safe mode, and it froze on 14% for over half an hour. I finally gave up (even Esc) would not work) and forced it down. Started again, and got a black screen. Took a few minutes away to calm down. Started again, and it seems to be booting to safe mode with networking--but it takes closer to 20 minutes to boot now. I am going to try a system restore to see if that will do anything at all. This is a client's computer. Would you recommend saving files and upgrading to Win 7 for her? Help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry about that. Here you go:

I ran an event log, and this is what shows for booting: this event took longer than expected at startup resulting in performance degradation in the startup process--there were several this time:
Audioendpointbuilder, windefend, intel graphics kernal mode driver, Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family, avguard.exe, TrustedInstaller.exe.


It also listed a critical item:
BootTsVersion2BootStartTime2011-01-13T22:32:52.718ZBootEndTime2011-01-13T22:42:42.824Z

SystemBootInstance139UserBootInstance129BootTime512735MainPathBootTime491735
BootKernelInitTime19BootDriverInitTime5043BootDevicesInitTime10334
BootPrefetchInitTime51023BootPrefetchBytes675405824
BootAutoChkTime0BootSmssInitTime4415BootCriticalServicesInitTime2118
BootUserProfileProcessingTime450824BootMachineProfileProcessingTime325
BootExplorerInitTime2250BootNumStartupApps3BootPostBootTime21000
BootIsRebootAfterInstallfalseBootRootCauseStepImprovementBits0
BootRootCauseGradualImprovementBits0BootRootCauseStepDegradationBits0
BootRootCauseGradualDegradationBits0BootIsDegradationfalse
BootIsStepDegradationfalseBootIsGradualDegradationfalse
BootImprovementDelta0BootDegradationDelta0BootIsRootCauseIdentifiedfalse

I had installed the Vista SP2, but that caused the computer to refuse to boot at all--so I went to System Restore in safe mode (which had only 2 days of options!) and returned to SP1. I went into the BIOS to be sure it was not booting first to the DVD (it wasn't) and found the Diagnostics menu. So, I am running a complete System Diagnostic (apparently will take several hours), specifying "OS will not start"--what the heck--to see what comes up. Any suggestions to bring this around are most appreciated. One thing that was strange--one of the times I tried to boot up (the time it just wouldn't do it even after an hour) it had the funny display look, like it does in safe mode where the graphics card is not engaging. Yet the graphics card says it is working properly. ??????
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi, guys, I'm in a real pickle now. The machine got more funky yesterday. Now, when I turn it on I get the Dell screen, then a grayed out screen with the Welcome background (but no Welcome word--this was normal); then, instead of the green bar, the Windows logo and the Welcome screen, I get nothing--just a black screen. Help!
 

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Insert a Vista DVD and run a startup repair, see if that works ?

Although the machine failing the memory test is also no good. It could thus also be a ram problem.
try removing 1 of your sticks of ram, if that don't work, try the other (after putting one back in),
also did you try startup repair?

if able backup all important data sounds like something going bad
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I haven't opened up a laptop to remove RAM before. I tried booting to safe mode, and it seemed to work. But I didn't catch the desktop in time, and it went to screensaver. Only the Start button showed, and it was not functional. I ended up having to force shutdown and unplugged it for a while to give it (and myself, after a sleepless night) a rest. I am going to get the Vista CD from my customer to try startup repair, and also try disabling the graphics, sound and network cards to see if any of those is the problem. Instructions on opening up to remove RAM?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, I ran the memory diagnostic from F12 diagnostics, and it passed all memory tests. So it is not RAM. I was able to get to Startup Repair as I was trying to use F8 but it went to that screen instead. It was not able to automatically repair. The repair showed one failure:

System files integrity check and repair: failed; error code = 0 x 490.

I really want to start this thing to get the data off it. The client would just as soon chuck the computer (what a shame, it's a nice computer but acting so funky), but needs her data. Any ideas? Please?
 

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Use the f8 menu to see if you can navigate to the use of a "command prompt"
If not you will need a windows disk.
I have not tried doing the command while not booted into windows but its worth a try to see if the command will work

Follow this link and use method 1
You will be doing this while booted to the recovery environment {f8} or booted to a windows disk...rather than booted into windows as the guide shows.

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1538-sfc-scannow-command-system-file-checker.html

If you have damaged windows files it will replace them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Two questions. Can I save the data from Safe Mode? Will it recognize the USB for an external drive? And the link provided by aka Brett says it is for Windows 7. Will it work for Vista?
 

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Good questions...the scan now fix works for xp vista and 7...not sure about the rest of the windows operating systems.
Am not sure about the external working the same in safe mode as in a normal boot.
I thought the machine has become unbootable?....that why I recommended to try fixing the windows files offline.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I could not get it to boot into Safe Mode with Networking. I was just finally able to boot to Safe Mode. I was able to copy files (she hardly has any, it's such a shame) to a flashdrive. The external hard drive is recognized, but the Run will not allow me to browse for some reason, and I can't seem to load the software. I copied files to it, but not sure they will work correctly. I am going to try the system file checker, and also disabling network, audio and video hardware. Wish me luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Okay, some good new (a bit, anyway). I booted to safe mode (another 20 minutes to wait) and was able to get to device manager and disable all network adaptors (all of a sudden, there were about 17 of them, what's that all about?), two identical graphics cards ?? and the sound cards. Also, there were two unidentified items under system with the yellow warning signs. I tried to search computer for drivers, but no success--could not load drivers. I uninstalled them, hoping on restart it would find the drivers and automatically re-install, but no. Hmph.

Restart and it actually restarted in normal mode (yippee!). I tried to get to Device Manager in Normal to begin enabling things to test out, and it froze on me, nothing in the start menu would function. Grrrr. Now restarting again (yet another 15 minutes) to see if the Start menu will function so I can begin enabling hardware. There must be something in one of the drivers that is malfunctioning. She doesn't want to put any more money into this (can't blame her), so I think we are going to get her a new computer. What a waste. If it were mine, I would keep trying, but not everyone has this kind of patience!
 

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At this point I would do a factory recovery since you were able to retrieve the user files.
Boot up to f8
Select repair computer.
Navigate to dell factory image and let it rip.
Be sure the battery is full charged before starting the recover.
Dont interrupt the recovery in any way..there will appear to be times it will not be doing anything...as it is busy.
Interrupting the recovery can leave you with an unbootable machine.

Before I began though I would boot back into diagnostics and make sure all hardware passed...as failing hardware could interrupt the recovery process.

Has the machine ever overheated in the past?....a recovery needs a proper cooling sytem free of lint etc

After the recovery Uninstall nortons if it is on there.....go get all windows updates...reboot as prompted...repeat as needed until there are any left...it can take several cycles of this depending on how old the machine is.

Go get a proper anti virus solution...update it and you are good to go.
I always recommended a spare browser as well....even if one does use IE it is always nice to have a spare in case of infections or settings get changed somehow...FF or Chrome are pretty standard choices

Has the machine ever overheated?...A recovery needs a proper cooling system free of lint etc
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks so much, Brett. I was able to successfully reboot normally and get the administrative command prompt. But the machine was suddenly slow as molasses (there is something seriously wrong with it, truely). I am running the scan disk now function, and it will probably take all night (no exaggeration). The machine is only about 3 years old, and has never overheated. It really is a nice computer (except for being screwed up). I'll ask my client if she would just let me set it to go and reinstall at factory settings so she can decide what to do--donate it, keep it, whatever. I do appreciate your help, it's very nice to have someone else thinking about this with me!
 
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