yes i'm fully up to date, i think i need to be more specific, when i say its slow to start i mean the startup BEFORE the logon screen comes, as i have two logins for the computer, after i type my password in the icons load in about 10 secs
The fact that the slowest portion of the startup is before logging in seems to indicate that it is a system level service. I use Mike Lin's Startup Control Panel to check the things that start up via registry...might be useful to try checking that tool out (http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml).
One other thing that can make a computer start up slowly is if there are a lot of fonts installed. Windows will load all the fonts in your fonts folder since a person could have any number of fonts as part of the GUI. That has been the cause of slow startups for me in the past.
Ok just so i'm ultra clear, the slow part is when you have the knightrider effect going on with the green line going back and forth or however it moves, the computer doesn't have any more fonts than anyone else. i haven't installed any more.
My computer at work starts a lot quicker and it has more fonts and startup programs than my pc at home, I have a lot of very large games installed, maybe 10-15 and they collectively take up about 60gbs, would this make any difference, perhaps the drive is defragmented, although i only did a clean install about 3 months ago.
To disable unneeded startup services for a safer faster XP, use the "Services" Admin Tool (Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services). If you are a single user of a non-networked machine, you can disable the following items, with no ill effect. (Right click - Stop - Right Click - Properties - Disable)
Fast User Switching
Human Interface Access Devices
Indexing Service (Slows the hard drive down)
Net Logon (unnecessary unless networked on a Domain)
Netmeeting Remote Desktop Sharing (disabled for extra security)
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager (disabled for extra security)
Remote Procedure Call Locator
Remote Registry (disabled for extra security)
Routing & Remote Access (disabled for extra security)
SSDP Discovery Service (this is for the utterly pointless "Universal P'n'P", & leaves TCP Port 5000 wide open)
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
Telnet (disabled for extra security)
Universal Plug and Play Device Host
Wireless Zero Configuration (for wireless networks)
Workstation (if not on a network)
Make sure that you personally don't use these before disabling. You can always go back to make changes if you have to.
Is your machine at work really shutdown or is it just hibernating? Ours at work are set to hibernate and they boot fast to the log on screen.
Once booted do a ctrl-alt-del and see how many processes are running. All teh ones that don't have your useer ID have to be loaded before the login screen so you will get a feel for why it takes so long.
Do a google to check each process name. You may find some spyware thats's causing the delay.
Make sure your antivirus is set to check floppy files only on access.
Your 3 gig of RAM may be slowing down boot also. Antivirus checks RAM during boot.
PS My comp takes about 90 seconds to shutdown which is what hacks me off most.
Have you tried Bootvis !? It's really good.Run it once to analyse your system and them once more to fix it.You will see some difference in the speed. Despite the fact that is a MS program, it does it work well. Try it.
I have seen this on many machines. First run Ad-Aware and Spybot on your machine to get rid of any spyware. Then defrag the drive. Another good idea is to check out this web site: http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm
This is a list of all the services running in XP, it's description, and if you really need it or not. It will make a HUGE difference in your load-up time, and overall performance.