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Old 07-12-2004, 01:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default windows XP load times

Greetings all, I'm a computer repair tech and a client brought in a gateway profile. His complaint was that it was taking a very long time to boot. I checked it out and found that he was correct, the machine was taking 6 to 7 mins to get all the way into windows.

He said he didn't need to save anything on the drive and to just reload it, so that's what I did.

I loaded xp pro from the restore cd that he provided, seemed to just be a normal windows xp pro disk, minus the need to provide an xp product key during install. It still seemed to be kind of slow while working on and loading software. Each thing I loaded on it seemed to increase it's boot time by a minute or more.

When it was all said and done, all apps back on, all updates installed, printer drivers and usb camera drivers loaded, it was back to taking 5+ minutes to install again.

Here's where it gets weird. Suspecting a possible bad HDD at this point, (actually suspected it as a possibility when he first brought it in, but any time a client is going to give me a free hand to eliminate any kind of software problem I'm going to take it) I ghosted his drive over to a test drive and booted from that. It bought up windows in less then a minute. I tested it a few more times, same thing.

I then put his original drive back in and tried it, same problem as before, long boot time. I don't have a clue why I even tried this, but I then ghosted my test drive back over to his original drive. Guess what, the damn thing booted up in just over a minute, loaded a few other apps, and it was still booting up quickly.

Does anyone have a clue what could cause something like this? I was all ready to declare his HDD bad. What could Symantec ghost possibly do to the way the software is installed on a HDD to correct this kind of problem? Boot time went from around 6 mins to just over 1.

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Old 07-12-2004, 02:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Very interesting....

So you created an image of the original drive onto a spare drive... swapped drives, tested it and you noticed an immediate improvement.

Then you put the original drive on the box and loaded the image from the test drive (which theoretically are exact duplicates) to the original drive and everything worked fine?

That sounds like some wierd stuff......

Did you use any switches while ghosting?

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Old 07-12-2004, 02:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Nope, nothing, just did a disk to disk from the original drive to the test drive. Tried it out, saw a vast improvement. Then repeated the process again using the test drive as the source. I saw the same level of improvement again on the original drive.

I just had a thought. those profiles are very cramped and the HDD is sitting right next to the main heat sink. It looks like it's nicely ventilated, but I'm wondering if I'm still dealing with a bad HDD, but it only slows down when it gets hot. I'm going to let it run for an another hour and then reboot it before I call the client.
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Old 07-12-2004, 03:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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THe only thing I know that Ghost does to drives (unless you tell it not to) is it marks the drive as a Ghost Copy which makes it easier when restoring to that image you created.

That's really odd.

Its a frigging Laptop, not a Labtop!!!!
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Old 07-12-2004, 05:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think if it is really a HDD problem, you'd notice HUGE lags in software load time after xp is loaded.

Did you boot in safe mode to see if it's hanging on one of the drivers?
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Old 07-13-2004, 04:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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it's pretty strange, it does get slower as it heats up, but never exedes 3 mins to boot.

When it's cold it will boot faster. Since the ghosting, I havn't been able to get it to take over 5 mins like it was before.

The client has decided to try and get gateway to warranty the drive, if they won't, he's just going to get another HDD. He was pretty amazed when he first turned it on and it booted quickly, but did report back to me that since he's left it on, it's taking longer and longer to bring up programs and such.

Well, thanks for the input guys, maybe I'll get a chance to put this little fix to the test again later.

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