I am still using Windows XP Pro, and my computer started taking a long time to boot into the user screen in Windows, and then an even longer time to actually finish loading windows under my user account.
These are really two different problems, but the result is the same: it's taking too long for me to use my PC! It's not 40 minutes or anything, I haven't timed it exactly, but altogether it does come to 5-10 minutes before my PC is able to go online. The last issue is firefox, and I will deal with that after I've checked all the things that happen before I try opening my browser.
Regarding the bootup time as windows is loading - the guage moves for at least one and a half minutes, and then turns completely black for more than 40 seconds, before it finally opens to the user account screen. The truth is I haven't timed it yet, but it is significantly slower than it was just a few months ago.
I know that I only have 2 gb of ram, but until about 3 months ago, it was not nearly as slow just to boot up like this. I am using less than a quarter of my harddrive! I used avast as my live anti-virus, besides running malwarebytes and superantispyware almost daily, and no significant malware has come up. There WAS malware on my PC in the beginning of May, which was never identified. It turned off my antivirus, and locked me out of it, and corrupted malwarebytes. A system restore seemed to successfully get rid of it. I got help in your malware forum, just to be sure, but the conclusion here, after running a few diagnostic utilities, was that my system is clean. Some registry keys were deleted I think, but I was never given any sort of idea that there was a genuine known virus on my PC.
In the last few months, installed and uninstalled a number of firewalls, as well as installing and uninstalling vmware a bunch of times, and the same regarding macrium reflect. I was trying to use Vmware to connect to the web using Linux, but that didn't solve my safety concerns, so I stopped bothering with that, and I completely uninstalled it. Macrium reflect was giving me all sorts of problems, and I was not able to create a rescue disk with it. It was running resources in the background and I finally completely uninstalled it 2 days ago, but the problem hasn't gotten any better. I use revo uninstaller for uninstallation, and mostly use the strongest registry search and removal. When the amount of things in the registry seem too big, and I don't understand them, I move up to the third option, which is called moderate.
I also created two new user accounts, and a bit later I deleted two user accounts that had been on my PC before. I did transfer ALL information from the old user accounts to the new ones, according to instructions I found at a reputable site online. I don't know if I might have messed up something in that process?
I've used ccleaner numerous times, but it isn't finding much.
I tried changing from avast to avira yesterday, but avira seems to be using even more resources according to task monitor, so I will probably switch back.
Regarding the opening of user accounts: I'm going to give a bunch of information here, but I do not have an organized way of presenting these facts:
I have autoruns, and in the logon section there are only 3 items! the anti-virus, my firewall (online armor), and one more item (will check later). It is my understanding that these things are installing After I LOG IN to my user account. So the question is still what is cause of the slowdown before this point. There are many other entries, including lists of items in the codecs section, which I don't understand if I need at all. I certainly can provide more details if you can help me understand what these are for, and when they are loading (before or after logging in to a user account). I don't know if they are for a media player that I use or not. I also have stuff that loads, and I'm quite unclear about whether it genuinely needs to load. I have checked almost all of my items against your startup list, but the majority are not recognized by your search. Most of them seem to be valid according to google searches, but I'm not saavy enough to understand if they truly need to start up together with windows itself.
I have had K-9 web filter on my PC for more than 5 years, and it always caused a short lag on the startup, but nothing like I'm experiencing now. It is not considered to be incompatible with my anti-virus, nor with my firewall.
I installed Online Armor firewall, and it starts up with quite a few items. I had tried ZoneAlarm, and Comodo, and they seemed to be even more bloated, and complicated, so I got rid of them, and just settled for this. By that time, I was tired of trying firewalls, which I don't really understand! I'm not at my PC right now, so I can't tell you the amount of Ram being used by it. I'm sure the fact that a firewall and an antivirus are competing for low resources at the same time can't be a good thing, but I do not know how to set it up that one loads after the other, without compromising my safety. The web connection seems to be the first thing loading... I don't know if I can delay that until after the protections load.
I'm sure there are things running that don't need to, I'm just not sure what they are, nor when they load. I don't know why superantispyware needs to run in the background, if I'm only using it for manual scanning, the same as I use malwarebytes. But maybe there is something I don't know about this?
This post is quite disorganized, and I would appreciate if someone can help me with a step-by-step way of approaching this, after I've used all the steps that are posted in the pinned topic "slow computer" in this forum.
Firefox is another issue altogether, but I will deal with that after I understand why the startup process itself is taking too long!
For now I just want guidance, beyond the official recommendations, if possible. Thank you for any help that you can provide. Please do not suggest that I simply upgrade to Windows 7, and add more Ram! I understand that those would help, but due to my current financial situation, I'm stuck with my PC for now as is. I'm not ready to reinstall Windows from scratch (My Dell PC comes with a "reinstallation" disk" for Windows XP Pro SP1). The amount of updates I would have to install is ridiculous. I have considered switching to Linux, but I would really like to get to the bottom of this, if it is at all possible!