Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Is Nwiz.exe (part of nVidia) a culprit in slow Microsoft XP boots?

Okay, last week I wrote about Regcure. First, I found that in a few days, some errors (about 50 of them) came back, and I had to do another clean. I also did a disk cleanup (it did not need complete defragmentation). Once the Dell 8300 is up and all services run, it runs quickly with few problems.

My biggest problem seems to be much longer boot times, that started suddenly. This morning, a complete cold boot cycle took about nine minutes. The “Windows XP” progress bar runs longer (about 90 seconds), the blackout lasts longer (about 30 seconds). Then the blue Windows start up screen, inviting sign on comes up. That responds OK, with the courtly E-major musical trademark, but then the screen is blank blue for about a minute. Finally, the desktop icons fill in, the screen blinks black a couple times (I think that’s a registry check from McCafee), McAfee itself starts, and then the desktop arrow comes up. Mozy backup starts.

Then, it takes about two minutes for any web browser to connect to Google. The first time that I key in another URL (like aol.com or yahoo.com) the key board process is slow. Then, suddenly, everything is working just fine until I have to reboot again.

Following instructions online for desktop icon problems, I find that Mirosoft has given me “nVidia” I no longer have the “appearance themes” on my control panel (as in Microsoft’s support document for Desktop issues here ). So I ran msconfig and unchecked nviz.exe.

The boot process is still slow, but unchecking nviz means that the icons remain populated during an entire session. It does seem that the computer runs fast and efficiently once everything is up.

McAfee advanced scan doesn’t find any (unexplained) problems. The updates run normally, but McAfee still makes me verify the subscription once in a while, or makes me restart System Guards. (It does that on my laptop, too).

The browser startup is slow on my Dell Inspiron XP Pro laptop, too. But the basic boot process is still OK.

The problems with slow boot and slow service startup have generally gotten worse in the past six months. I see a lot written about this online. But I can’t come to any conclusion.

Here is a writeup I found about nVidia on Winhlp. Please feel free to suggest other references. I think it may be a major culprit. It seems as though it keeps polling the registry unnecessarily until everything is running. It may be processing “sequentially” because it can’t find an accurate registry record. That’s like processing a VSAM file sequentially on the IBM mainframe when the index is corrupt. Is that what is going on?

I would appreciate comments if anybody understands what Microsoft has been doing recently, especially with NVidia. I wish they had left this alone. I don’t need multiple desktops.

I’ve noticed in general, at least on Dell XP machines, that processes run in random order during boots. There is some variation normally in how long a cold boot process takes, but it should never take more than two minutes total on a healthy machine. I’ve also noticed that McAfee was always the last process to start on my 2003 8300 desktop, until I ran Regcure and unchecked nwiz. Now it is always the first to start. Does this make sense?

For reference, I’m also giving the link for Safe Mode boot, in case I need it myself. It’s this.

Later today, I found this post on the screen being blank, suggesting that it is possible that there can be a power issue. I don't know if this makes sense.

Here's another one, "no advice is better than bad advice," and it's pretty complicate.

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