For a quicker Windows start-up

So your Windows machine runs slow? Don’t despair, it just happens. Even though Microsoft has been doing a great job on trying to avoid third-parties from impacting the “Windows experience”, there is too many of them doing all sorts of crazy things!

One of the most enerving things is that moment when you keep waiting for Windows to start up, and keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting,…

Turns out Microsoft has some tools for us, thus this self-reminder post.

The tool

“Windows Performance Toolkit” is the name.

Install it in your Windows 7 or higher and you’ll get a few tools for measuring your system’s performance. Most importantly:

xbootmgr

AKA: Performance Analyzer Power Transition Performance Testing Utility

The utility we’ll use to create a dump of the startup process.

xperfview

AKA: Performance Analyzer

Using the dump (generated by xbootmgr), this utility will show us some nice graphs and help us understand what’s going on. OMG, what’s going on!

Installation

No matter what your Windows is in, try to use the standalone installers for the Windows Performance Toolkit:

If the appropriate link from above doesn’t work, download the Windows 7 SDK, choose to perform a “Custom install” and untick everything except the two entries for WPT:

Usage

Beware: make sure you saved all your info, as this procedure will restart your system!

Run the command:

xbootmgr -trace boot

Your system will restart.

After the restart, login to your account (if your system asks for login, that is) and you’ll see a dialog created by WPT.

Wait for the dialog to close.

Once closed, another dialog will appear and you’ll hav eto patiently wait for several minutes (go have some coffee, might be more than 10 minutes). Once it is done, another dialog will tell you that a dump of the start-up process has been stored in your home folder. In my case, a 300mb file was stored in:

C:\Users\mikel\boot_BASE+CSWITCH_1.etl

Now, you can try double-clicking it. For me it just didn’t work and I had to open the Performance Analyzer application and open the file with the Trace -> Open... menu entry.

Once done, you’ll see a good bunch of graphs being generated. Scroll down until you find something like:

In this case, the graph shows how sftlist.exe is responsible for most o fthe delay in the start-up.

In your case, you’ll have some other slow processes there. Now, search Google and decide whether to uninstall the process, update it, modify it in Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Services & Applications -> Services to stop it from automatically running on the start-up, … your choice.

The original sources of truth

I first learned about this when I found Mark Morowczynski’s article: Dipping my toe into the Xbootmgr water. I also took his images to use in this post, as his were much more representative of the result you can obtain than mine (my system was already booting up pretty fine :) ).

Anand Khanse collected the WPT download links for us in his article: Analyze performance problems with Windows Performance Toolkit

Thanks a lot to both of you!

© 2017 Akaita development