Windows 10: Extremely long and incomplete boot

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  1.    12 Jan 2017 #1

    Extremely long and incomplete boot

    Greetings. My PC was working fine until yesterday. Today upon boot, it hung on the login screen (no password required) for about 25 seconds, displaying "preparing windows." When the desktop appeared, it was incomplete, as was the start menu. My sense is that programs that run for "all users" started, but nothing from my own user account. After about 10 minutes, the programs that are in my "startup" folder finally started, although much is still missing from the start menu. Overall, the machine does seem to be working once the desktop appears.

    Booting into safe mode gives similar results. I tried to restore to the last restore point of a few days ago, but Windows said the restore failed, and nothing would be changed. I ran the repair tool from the installation disk, but it reported that it couldn't repair the problem and offered to reinstall Windows.

    I'm hoping someone can help me solve this, otherwise, I foresee a complete reinstallation of Windows. Thank you.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 10,593
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1803
       12 Jan 2017 #2

    Welcome to the TenForums.

    First I would back up all data to a drive independent of OS drive. Better safe than sorry.

    I would then recommend that you run chkdsk and repair any errors. From command Prompt(admin) chkdsk c: /r

    I would also look at CrystalDiskInfo from CrystalMark as a quick assessment of disk health.

    Download Center - Crystal Dew World

    Should you need to re-install you will want to know you are on sound foundation.
    Last edited by Caledon Ken; 13 Jan 2017 at 09:32.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    13 Jan 2017 #3

    You should only see "Preparing Windows" after logging on for the first time after a major update - have you done that? These issues are often due to a corrupted profile. Can you log on to other accounts without problems?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4.    13 Jan 2017 #4

    Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't had time to run checkdisk yet, but I will this weekend. All of my data is fully backed up.

    I have not done any sort of "major update" recently. (I started building this machine about a month ago.) The most recent change I made was to install my printer driver/software the day before these troubles started.

    I turned "verbose status" on a couple weeks ago I was when analyzing a slow shut-down problem, so it is not unusual for me to see "preparing windows" for a very brief moment during each boot. Obviously, its duration is now quite excessive.

    I tried to log in under the Administrator account that Windows sets up during installation. It also displayed "preparing windows" for about 25 seconds, but then the screen went black. The only thing that seemed to work after that point was ctl-alt-del. I am going to see if I can create a new user account this weekend.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 10,593
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1803
       13 Jan 2017 #5

    If you can pinpoint day this started a system restore may very well be the way to go.

    I would also recommend Macrium Reflect. It is free and more importantly it provides a reliable way to restore a system Image. You can keep versions as a back up to the back up.

    While you may not have installed anything, MS is always helping. Have a look at installed updates. Are any of them drivers? If so evaluate it and consider rolling back. You can disable driver updates as well, something worth trying.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    13 Jan 2017 #6

    Caledon Ken... Thanks for the new ideas.

    I know exactly when the problem began. I immediately tried to use system restore with a restore point from a couple of days prior, but Windows reported that the restore operation failed, and that nothing was changed. I tried an even earlier restore point, and got the same message.

    I uninstalled the most recently installed programs (my printer software, and a couple of development tools I use for work), but that had no effect.

    I booted into safe mode, but the system still misbehaved in the same way.

    About a week before this started, Windows was driving me crazy with updates, so I turned them off by setting my Ethernet connection to metered. I also implemented a couple of other techniques to minimize or stop updates. Since I am still building out and testing this PC, I didn't want Windows updates confusing things. I will turn it back on once I "launch" the machine for routine use.

    I will look at Macrium Reflect once I get this solved. (Or I reformat the SSD and start over! <ugh>)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    14 Jan 2017 #7

    This may be a long shot. My PC hung at boot yesterday after typing the password - see Can't Login - Further Troubleshooting Steps?

    I ran chkdsk c: /spotfix and all is now fine. Someone has also suggested running chkdsk c: /r.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    14 Jan 2017 #8

    Thanks Steve C... I did run chkdsk on all partitions, and no problems were found.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 10,593
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1803
       14 Jan 2017 #9

    Rather than booting to safe mode from storage have you tried booting and running routines from external media, iso / USB key?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    14 Jan 2017 #10

    Caledon Ken... Not sure what you mean. I can boot from the Windows installation DVD, but that's really "running Windows." I don't have a bootable Windows flash drive.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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