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How Do I Tell What My Computer Is Doing?


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#1 rowan.bradley

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 11:17 AM

My PC (Win 2K Pro) has always taken a long time to boot up (15 to 20 minutes before the disk light goes off and I can use it effectively). This is probably because I have a lot of applications installed, many of which (I suspect) run startup or background programs. I have 22 icons in my system tray.

However, in the last few days it has started taking several minutes before the login prompt comes up (this used to be pretty quick). Also it's started taking even longer than usual to shut down.

This prompts a general question which I have often wanted to ask - how do I tell exactly, in some detail, what my computer is doing (or what it's waiting for) when it seems to be taking a very long time to do something, or when it seems to have hung? This may be during startup, during shutdown, or at other times. If I knew what it was waiting for, I might be able to diagnose the problem, and either fix it or avoid running into it next time. What's the best tool for doing this?

Thanks - Rowan

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#2 fozzie

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 11:33 AM

go to START RUN and type msconfig. You than can see what is going on during start up. To see what is running you could download Process Explorer from the freeware section in my link. A small tool which tells which excactly what is running.


Here is an excellent database on startup programs.



Perhaps afer uninstalling you might want to do the following :

Download install and update Ccleaner
After installing and updating go to options - advanced and tick prompt for registry back ups
This is very important!!! As a default they will be stored in My Dcuments
Now Start up in safe mode
Do two runs

1) Click on problems and tick all. Click on analyse. At the end you will be prompted for storing a backup.
This will be stored, as a default, in My documents.
2) Click on cleaner click on analyse and accept all files to be removed.

This will remove anything which has been left on your computer after uninstalling.
Back up your registry PLease look at this guide How to back up your registry prior to doing so



Please follow these steps :

• Defrag your system. Disk fragmentation slows the overall performance of your system. When files are fragmented, the computer must search the hard disk when a file is opened. Disk Defragmenter consolidates fragmented files and folders on the hard disk so that each occupies a single space on the disk. This speeds up reading and writing to the disk. Read "The Importance of Disk Defragmentation" for instructions.

• Check for disk errors by running CHKDSK. CHKDSK can be run from the Recovery Console, the command prompt or through the Windows GUI.
To run chkdsk from the Win XP GUI see these instructions.
To run chkdsk from the command prompt see these instructions.
To run chkdsk from the Recovery Console see these instructions.
The problem with running CHKDSK from Win XP is that it will not check files that are being used by Windows. Using chkdsk in the Recovery Console with the /r switch is a way to resolve this.

• Check for damaged, altered or missing critical system files by running the System File Checker. If SFC discovers that a protected file has been damaged, altered or missing, it restores the correct version of the file from the cache folder. You must be logged on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group to run sfc and it may ask you to insert your XP Installation CD so have it available.

• Clean up your hard drive by removing unused programs and transferring old data, pictures, music files to a CD or an external hard drive. When you have moved/saved the files you want to keep, run Disk Cleanup and let it scan your system for files to remove. "Don’t clean out the Prefetch folder" - This is a common myth that will not improve performance.

• Check for any unnecessary running services. If you have a typical installation, many services are configured as "automatic"; that is, they start automatically when the system starts or when the service is called for the first time. Use "Black Viper's Services Configuration" to help fine tune this area.

• Check for any unnecessary applications loading at startup when Windows boots with MSConfig. Some startup programs are necessary so be careful what you disable. If you are unsure what any of the startup entries are or if they are safe to disable, then search one of the following Startup Databases:
Startup Programs Database
StartupList Index

Note: MSConfig.exe is a troubleshooting utility used to diagnose system configuration issues. Although it works as a basic startup manager which allows you to enable/disable auto-start programs, msconfig should not be used routinely to disable startup programs.

A better alternative is to use a startup manager. If you have have Spybot S&D 1.4 installed, launch it, go to Mode and select Advanced. Then go to Tools, select System Startups. You will be provided with a list of programs that load when Windows starts. If you untick an entry it will no longer run at startup. This will allow you to experiment and see how your system performs with any of them disabled. Other startup managers you can download and use for free are Startup Control Panel, Autoruns and Starter by CodeStuff.

• Remove any third party "Memory Manager" or "Optimizer". Windows XP memory management was designed to make the best use of Ram and these memory management utilities defeat that purpose. They push applications out of RAM into the pagefile, creating holes in the RAM and by doing so, slow down your computer.

• Disable some visual effects. While visual embellishments that may be attractive, they don’t do anything else for you. Disabling some of them frees up system resources and makes the operating system perform better. Right click My Computer, choose > Properties > Advanced, click on "Settings" under performance...UNcheck all the visual effects, except for the last three. Click "Apply", then "OK", then "OK" again. Then right click your desktop and choose > Properties > Appearance > "Effects...Uncheck the first two boxes and hit "OK".




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