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Trying to Speed Up the Boot Process


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#1 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 11:23 AM

Hi All

I was given a used computer by a friend of a friend the other day and while I was trying to get it into a usable state I noticed that it seems to have 3 hard drives. I guess this isn't too odd but I'll explain anyway.

One of them is call Local Disc ©, the next one is called Win XP (E) and the third is called Win 98 (F).

C is 37.2gb with 22.7gb of free space.
E is 16.7gb with 15.9gb of free space.
F is 1.8gb with 1.25 of free space.

Not being all that smart with the inner workings of computers I don't know if there are 3 hard drives on the machine or whether there is only one that has been split. I don't know how to check either.

To be quite honest the set up isn't bothering me to much. But what does bug me is at start up there is a Dos type screen comes up and asks me which OS I want to load. The two options are Windows Xp or Windows Xp! I've selected both on different start ups and the machine seems to boot up normally no matter which one I choose.

The thing is this Dos screen waits for 30 seconds before self-selecting the first option if I don't hit Return. What I would like to know is - is there any way I can reduce this 30 second wait down to 1 or 2 seconds by changing some setting or other. I know the easy answer is - hit Return - but that isn't always convenient so to be able to change the setting would be great.

Can anyone help me with this please?

Thanks in advance.

Regards

Paul Eamonn
Regards

Paul Eamonn

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 11:58 AM

Hi :thumbsup:.

<<But what does bug me is at start up there is a Dos type screen comes up and asks me which OS I want to load. The two options are Windows Xp or Windows Xp!>>

That can be corrected. But are you saying that booting into either selection...puts you in the same Windows install?

In any case, the suggested correction procedure: Removing the invalid entries from Boot.ini - http://windowsxp.mvps.org/bootopt.htm.

Note that this should be done after you have booted into the Windows install you wish to keep. Normally, two entries at boot time...indicate two installs of Windows, but there are times when two installs may be indicated at boot...when there is really only one. The above link addresses that aspect.

<...is there any way I can reduce this 30 second wait down to 1 or 2 seconds by changing some setting or other.>>

Yes, there is. On that same tab you just used...there is a box to the right labeled timeout. You can reduce that to whatever number of seconds you want to. Reboot the system.

Let us know if these accomplish what you are trying to do.

Louis

#3 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 12:46 PM

Hi Louis - many thanks for your swift reply.

The story so far is that I went into msconfig and clicked the 'Check Paths' button and the answer came back that all was Ok. While I was in there I also changed the time out to the minumum which is 3 seconds. Much better than 30!

But then I decided to make sure that I wasn't deluding myself and I rechecked the boot up in both options. Lo and behold, the second one doesn't work. I'm sure it did earlier - maybe I was wrong. The message I get is -

Windows could not start because the following file is missing of corrupt

\Windows\System\vgaoem.fon

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM
Select 'r' at the first screen at start to repair.


So. while you've sorted out my original problen which was the 30 second wait, can anything be done about this missing or corrupt file that boot.ini can't find? Bearing in mind that I don't have the original CD-ROM or, in you opinion, is it best left alone for fear of breaking something that essentially isn't really broken. I guess the reason I'm asking this is that I'm trying to get the boot time down to the minimum and am wondering if, by sorting this out, I might acheive a bit more of a saving.

Thanks once again.

Regards

Paul Eamonn
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#4 hamluis

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 01:12 PM

You should not have been able to even see two boot options...if you followed the instructions in the article I provided.

But...there's always another way.

Go back to msconfig and the boot.ini tab. Use the Print Screen key to capture that image and upload it in your next post as an attachment.

Also...post a screenshot from Disk Management (Start/Run...type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter), as an attachment.

Louis

#5 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 01:35 PM

Hi Loius

Here are the screen captures you requested; I hope they are clear enough.

Regarding the article, let's be honest, it wasn't exactly difficult to follow and so I am quite sure that I carried out the instructions correctly. Maybe the attached images will throw some more light on it.

Thanks again.

Regards

Paul Eamonn

Edited by hamluis, 02 October 2010 - 10:28 AM.

Regards

Paul Eamonn

#6 hamluis

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 02:07 PM

OK, what I see...two installs of XP Pro (one on each hard drive) and an install of Win 98 on the second hard drive.

All of which means that you really have two installs and should get two boot options.

If you want to eliminate one of the installs of XP, that's up to you.

Go to My Computer, Explorer view...what is the stated size of the C: partition?

Louis

#7 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 02:11 PM

It says that the total size is 37.2GB with 22.7GB of that free.

Regards

Paul Eamonn
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#8 hamluis

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 02:26 PM

So you are now currently booted into the XP install on C:, while the XP install on E: is unbootable.

What I suggest...is that you take a look from Explorer view...move any data files you want from E: to C:, then delete that partition and create a storage partition on what is now E:.

A more time-consuming alternative would be to simply delete the Windows folder on E:, delete the Docs & Settings folders...and then use E: partition as storage.

I have no idea what the value of having 2 XP installs was...but it appears to me that one partition was possibly cloned to the other drive.

I have no idea why the partition is FAT32, rather than NTFS...other than the fact that it may have been an external hard drive.

I have no idea why Win 98 exists on that drive, least of all as the second install and it's not a boot option.

It's your system...you decide what direction you want to go in.

Due to the fact that you don't have any install disks for this "gift", I would suggest that you delete everything on the second drive (FAT32) and use it to clone you current C: partition, thus providing yourself with a backup for those times when things go wrong on C:.

Out of curiosity...have you looked at the contents of the partition designated as Win 98?

Louis

#9 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 02:45 PM

Attached are screen shots of each of the C, E and F drives. I don't know if they help to explain anything to you.

As for your suggestions................

What I suggest...is that you take a look from Explorer view...move any data files you want from E: to C:, then delete that partition and create a storage partition on what is now E:.

and

Due to the fact that you don't have any install disks for this "gift", I would suggest that you delete everything on the second drive (FAT32) and use it to clone you current C: partition, thus providing yourself with a backup for those times when things go wrong on C:.

I don't know how to do any of these. As far as I'm aware everything that I'm interested in is in the C: section. Can you tell how to do the simplest of these options or, if neither is simple, can I just leave it as it is? Or maybe just add the memory from E: and F: to C:. Or would that wipe out the stuff on C:?

Thanks for all your help. I really appreaciate it.

Regards

Paul Eamonn

Edited by hamluis, 02 October 2010 - 10:31 AM.
Removed 2 attachments ~ Hamluis.

Regards

Paul Eamonn

#10 hamluis

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 03:07 PM

<<As far as I'm aware everything that I'm interested in is in the C: section.>>

If that's accurate...then we can simply delete everything on E: and F:, sweet and simple and quick.

That leaves you with your 40GB hard drive which contains your current XP install...and a 20GB hard drive.

I can tell you how to do any number of things. If all you want is your C: partition and faster boot time...that's attainable within a few seconds.

What you do with that 20GB hard drive...is up to you, it's part of the onus of owning a system. You decide how that drive is to be used or even if it is to be used.

A 20GB drive is pretty small by today's standards. If you intend to save video files, you need a larger drive. You could save music files or graphics on it, if you like.

What do you intend to do on this system you now have? What are you going to use it for?

Let's understand...a hard drive is nothing more than an electronic/digital storage cabinet. We store things on hard drives. It is not the same as memory, which is more dynamic and is comparable to a workspace. You cannot add memory from a hard drive, but you can add storage capacity for current/future files.

I suggest that you take tonight to think it over. The system boots as is, which is the most important thing. Tomorrow you can tell me or someone else what you would like to do, which direction you want to go.

Louis

#11 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 03:15 PM

Ok Louis I'll give it some thought. Many thanks for your help this far.

Regards

Paul Eamonn
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#12 Gabrial

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 07:17 PM

Actually Luis, looking at the boot.ini, the two installs of XP look like they are on the same partition. One in \WINXPPRO and one in \WINDOWS. The first one (the default \WINXPPRO) boots and the second one (\WINDOWS) doesn't. I assume at some point the \WINDOWS install got corrupted and someone did a parallel install in the same partition in \WINXPPRO to get a windows OS booting again.

Also, as the two installs are both on the C: drive, it's plausable that the second hard drive (with the other two installs) was set up as a dual boot system drive at one point, two partitions one with XP and one with 98.

If you look for the hidden system file E:\boot.ini and load it into notepad with:

Start -> "Run"
type "notepad E:\boot.ini"
press Enter

you will be able to copy and paste the boot.ini into your next post (if it exists) and we can see if that is the case.

Edited by Gabrial, 01 October 2010 - 07:22 PM.


#13 hamluis

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 07:38 PM

What a mess...actually, you are right...I see two Windows folders on C:...and I see another on E:.

So there really are 3 installs, not 2 of XP...this is all starting to sound very familiar from prior forum traffic.

I saw that boot.ini but my mind ran away with the idea that the boot.ini reflected attempts to install...I should have looked at the contents of all the partitions for Windows folders.

Louis

#14 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 12:50 AM

Hi guys

I did as Gabrial suggested - btw Gabrial, thanks for joining in the discussion - and have attached a screen shot of the result of the E:\boot.ini search. As Gabrial suggested and you can see from the attachment, there isn't one.

Just so I don't take up anymore of you time than is really necessary on this, I just want to outline the situation here so as to make things clear.

This machine, I realise, is pretty old by computer standards and so I'm not expecting warp factor 6 speed from it. Just for it to boot up in a reasonable time and for it not to freeze up on me when I'm using it. I'd also like as much space as possible to store stuff but it isn't necessary to have loads and loads as we have another computer and that has a 1TB external hard drive attached to it where I store all the family photos.

The main thing I'm after from the machine is a bit of speed and reliability. I want to surf the web at a sensible pace and keep a few files on it. I'm not into gaming so there won't be any high end usaga like that. At the moment it only has 248MB RAM so, provided you guys can help me to get it into some sort of shape, I'll buy some more RAM to help out with the processing side.

And that's about it. Once again, thank you very much for all your efforts. I really do appreciate it.

Look forward to reading you comments later.

Regards

Paul Eamonn
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#15 hamluis

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 07:09 AM

Then...I suggest deleting the Windows folder on C: which relates to the install that you are not in...and deleting the entire contents of the smaller drive.

Once the deletion of the unwanted Windows folder is done...running the original solution I posted for removing invalid installs...should set the boot.ini file right. It could also be done manually.

I, personally, believe in having a backup of the O/S. Whether using backup software or cloning the current system partition...that seems necessary. I would put this backup/clone on the 20GB drive.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 02 October 2010 - 07:12 AM.
Added comment.





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