I'm new to the community so if this has been discussed before please forgive me.
I have an Inspiron 530S, only a year old, but out of warranty. It runds Win XP. The computer worked fine yesterday and shut down like normal. This morning when I started the machine it took forever to boot. I'm talking 20+ minutes! After it does boot, everything seems to be fine. I run a real time virus protection, but ran a virus scan this morning anyway. I've tried changing the msconfig settings. I even tried restoring to yesterday morning. Nothing seems to shorten the boot time. Before today it took just a couple of minutes to be up and running. The power button light is blue, no blinking. Earlier there was a small steady blue light below the power button, but it is not lit at present ( after a reboot).
Is my computer dying? My last computer's hard drive died. I use my computer alot. We have a farm so all the farm books and records are kept on the computer, plus we follow the weather, grain market, stock market, headline news, etc. It seems we can keep a computer just a couple of years before something major goes wrong. I have a firewall and run up-to-date virus protection in real time. I really don't understand why our computers have such a problem lasting for any length of time. We use it often, turn it off at night and rely heavily on it for our business. Everytime something goes wrong my husband just groans and moans about quality and how they should last longer.
I'd really appreciate anyone's ideas on ways to clear up this slow boot. I'm afraid that a part is going bad, or that I have a virus, trojan, etc., that I haven't been able to identify.
Thanks for being a hard-working american farming family.
Have you run hardware diagnostics? You might be able to get to them via a boot up menu, F8, or F12, or similar.
Have you run anti-virus (AV) scans? Is your AV software up to date?
Have you run anti-spyware/malware (AS) scans? Is your AS software up to date?
Is your Microsoft and other software "patched"? http://update.microsoft.com and http://windowssecrets.com/2009/05/28/01-Shavlik-Secunia-top-Windows-Update-alternatives
Have you defragmented your hard drive? Run a registry/file cleaner? (e.g. free: CCleaner http://www.ccleaner.com/download/downloading ). You might also want to try SysInternal PageDefrag: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897426.aspx
Note: You should have a reliable backup system for your business data. There are inexpensive "hard drive toasters" for SATA disks. I just got a NexStar, and it has cabling capability for both SATA/eSATA and USB. This device is an "external" hard drive holder. You can pop backup hard drives in/out easily, with "hot swap" capability.
Also: I know this doesn't help with your current frustration, but please consider buying a "business" PC next time, if possible.
What would be the difference in personal versus business PC's? I use Microsoft Works, but otherwise the programs I use are just as if it was for personal use. I don't understand what the benefit would be.
I run a real time, automatically updated antivirus and antispam program continuously. I even downloaded a freebee to double check everything was OK. I have had problems in the past with this, so I try to stay up-to-date. I also have Windows on auto update. I ran CCleaner also with no improvement in startup speed. I have an external hard drive that copies my complete computer M-W-F. I had a hard drive die a couple of years ago, so I learned my lesson there, but I normally have always been fairly good at backups anyway.
After the computer boots, which takes somewhere near 30 minutes, the only other thing I notice is a slowness to open programs, and that when I click start and drop down the menu things fade in, like its taking a lot of power. I did check my CPU usage. With nothing obliously running other than the Windows Task Manager the CPU usage is routinely more than 50%, sometimes much higher. There are LOTS of processes listed under the Processes tab. They won't necessarily have anything under the CPU column, so I'm not certain that they're running. But I don't have anything unusual scheduled to run, except my antivirus/antispam, just the stuff that would make anybody's computer run. I think that the 50%+ is high, but don't know for sure.
I have not run Defrag lately. It takes soooo long for it to complete, so I don't do it often. I have a 160GB hard drive. Small by today's standards I imagine, but more than enough for what I need. My biggest program is TurboTax I would guess.