Startup trouble, slow performance, and more...

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Well-known member
Apr 21, 2010
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I said I'd make this thread for someone but never got round to it. It's just some basic things you can try to troubleshoot some common problems, such as slow startups, corrupt files, hal.dll problems, etc...

Disk Checking

In my experience, any file corruption errors or random freezing can be fixed with a simple check disk, and this is the first thing I do when troubleshooting some problems.

So you can do this by going to My Computer and right click on your main drive (Typically C: ) and click Properties;


Click on the Tools tab, in the Error-checking area click on Check Now, make sure Automatically fix file system errors is checked and click Start.


At this point it won't actually do anything since the drive needs to be dismounted (Which isn't possible at the moment) so it'll ask if you want to schedule a scan, after you click Yes restart your computer and it should start scanning before it starts Windows. After this has been completed, it should restart and boot into Windows as normal.

Program Management

When you install programs and applications they can come with extra baggage you don't know about, they also may set themselves to run each time your computer starts up, clearly if there's an amount of programs that startup it'll slow your computer down. There's two easy ways you can use to manage these, one of them (The "easiest") is by using a program that comes with Windows called msconfig aka "System Configuration".

Go into Administrative Tools (Via Control Panel or Start Menu) then double click on System Configuration (Or alternatively if you have Run in the Start Menu type msconfig and press return), when it loads up click on the Startup tab.


Here are all the programs that load when your computer starts up, if you have a lot you may want to reduce them for better performance. As you can see you can normally see what it is from the Item Name, along with the manufacturers, the path of the program and the registry location. In order to stop them from starting up simply clear the check box on the left and click OK when finished.

If you're unsure of what to remove or weather you should the best thing to do is use Google to look up what it is, simply enter the item name or path into Google and information about what it is should come up, you can then decide weather you should remove it or not. OR even better you can use this site by simply entering the program name (Or look it up) for information.

Another way to tune your system is by editing the system services through the System Configuration Utility too. System Services are an important part of system operation, basically they're more important programs that start when your computer starts up, but a set amount are always enabled by default that most people don't need. So if you click on the Services tab next to the Startup tab you can see the list of services than run once your computers starts. Note that this list will be considerably longer (This is normal) and you can disable them by the same way as last time: unchecking the checkbox on the left.

Be aware that you need to be more careful when removing a service as it could be an integral part of another service or program, but like the normal startup programs you can use this site to see what's safe and what isn't.

Not many people bother with the services since they're more tricky to decide weather you "need" it or not, but it's handy to tweak so I thought I'd put it in here. It's understandable if this is something you decide to overlook.

Once you've finished making changes and you restart your computer, annoyingly the system Configuration Tool pops up again to tell you it's applied the changes you made (Pointless, I know), just uncheck "Show on startup" or whatever it is and click OK.

Another way you can edit the startup programs (though more advanced) is through the Windows Registry Tool accessable via the same way as the System Configuration Tool. Though this looks scary to use I find it much better, the UI is a simple tree view and to remove an item you simply delete it.

The Registry is where all settings for your programs and operating system is stored, there are thousands of these settings and included in these are paths for items that run at startup (What the System Configuration Tool reads). There's a lot of stigma attached to the Windows Registry about it being dangerous since you could mess things up, but if you're not messing with settings you don't know about you should be fine. You literally cannot go wrong with the locations involved in these steps.


The startup locations are as follows:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

64bit Systems:
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER:SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER:SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

Again, the same system applies in order to understand what each item is by using this site.

"Cleaning" Your System

This is something you can do yourself - manually. But there's only one handly program you need for this and that's called CCleaner. Many people would have heard of this program but it really deserves the recognition it gets. Basically this can remove all the dead (Unused, outdated, pointless) files that shower your system. It also cleans your internet history while it's at it which is mostly what it's used for.


Once you have it installed and loaded up you simply click Analyze which will go about compiling all the crap safe to remove from your computer and display the results for you, depending on how severe it is it normally takes 5 - 15 seconds, but this can take longer. Simply click Run Cleaner to remove all the garbage it finds, I always feel a weird sense of satisfaction seeing it remove it all - maybe that's just me.

Because this clears all cookies from your system (Website settings), it's worth setting CCleaner to ignore the sites you visit regularly. To do this just click on Options and then Cookies, all the cookies on your system will be displayed on the left, simply scroll to the ones you want to keep, click on them and click on the -> to move them into the Cookies To Keep section, so next time you remove all junk it will keep the settings for your selected sites.


Anyway apart from cleaning junk files from your system it can clean registry entries too, over time your registry grows naturally and the system takes longer to process it in it's normally running routine so by removing unused entries (sometimes there can be hundreds and thousands of these) you're helping the situation by reducing it's size. Although this isn't something you need to do every week, it still can be helpful.

I basically works the same way as before: Analyze first then Run Cleaner, the first time you do this there should be a lot of entries, each time afterwards it shouldn't be as bad (unless you regularly remove/add programs).

So after all this cleaning of the system it's up to you weather you want to run the system Defragmentation: basically when files (especially large ones) are saves into your hard drive they're broken up into little peaces (or "chunks") and scattered all over your drive, so the drive has to do a lot of searching to put all the "pieces" together in order to run a program or file, realistically the drive is very efficient at doing this but drives are so dense now that you can have minor performance gains from defragmentating your hard drive (Especially if the drive is big and contains a lot of data).

The way to do this is similar to the way you schedule a disk scan; go to My Computer right click whatever drive you want to defragment and click Properties again, click on the Tools tab along the top and in the Defragmentation section click on Defragment Now.

When it loads up click on the drive you wish to defragment and you can make it analyze the drive to see if it's something that actually needs doing, if you feel it needs doing simply click Defragment Disk, this can take hours depending on the size of the drive and the data contained, and because of this it's normally neglected.

Well that's it for now, if there's anything I should add then I'll look into adding it.


Well-known member
Aug 4, 2013
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Thanks 9006, perfect timing, someone was just asking me about this because they have been having issues. ;)

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