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Milestones

slow revival of computer

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I've gotten into a strange situation with my computer lately--a Dell.  When I shut it off (generally for updates), it takes forever to come back on.  By forever, I mean about 4 hours.  I've never had anything like that before in 27+ years of owning PCs. 

Any ideas?  Is this a sign that the computer is dying?

  

 

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What operating system?  How much free disk space?  How much memory,  what processor?  Is it a really old machine?  If an old OS, do you defrag the machine?  Does it run slow after it comes up?

Edited by felser

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Here is some of the info, though I think I've updated Windows.  In general, it runs quickly; and there is plenty of space still on the hard drive.  I have had the computer since the summer of 2013.  

Inspiron 660s

 

Inspiron 660s

 

Operating System

 

Windows 8, 64-bit, English

 

Processors

 

3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i3-3220 processor (3M Cache, 3.3 GHz)

 

Memory

 

6GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 2 DIMMs

 

Keyboard

 

Dell KB113 USB Wired Entry Keyboard - US

 

Monitor

 

If accessories are purchased, they may ship separately

 

Video Card

 

Intel® HD Integrated Graphics

 

Driver

 

Dell SRV Software 1506

 

Hard Drive

 

1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive

 

Chassis

 

Inspiron660sChassiss,SFF,Blackw/8:1mediacardreader

 

 

Edited by Milestones

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it's likely you've run out of disk space.   Felser has good points, knowing more about what you have will help troubleshoot.   I'll assume you're running Win 10.  Here's what I would do before trashing the PC.

1.  Make a backup of your data.  Use the default OS backup program and point it to an external HDD.

2.  Reset your PC.   Under Settings, Update & Security.  Look for Reset this PC.  Click on the getting started button.   When prompted to remove personal files say yes.   This will factory reset your system.

3.  Relaunch windows.  Test your system for performance.  If it's working fine then you'll only need to bring back files from your backup.   When it's time to bring back your files, do it incrementally by folder, bring back only what you need.  If you save everything to My Documents you should be fine migrating all that data back.  Be more careful with system files and logs - most is unnecessary junk and what might be needed is often rebuilt by the SW program.   Save that backup drive, do not use it for anything until you've determined that you have all the files you want to keep. 

I tell everyone who is in a market for a new PC to wait as long as possible.  Spectre and Meltdown viruses are still not patched, and won't be until a new architecture is in place. 

 

WAIT....I just saw your specs post.   Windows 8???  They may have quietly re-launched the free upgrade to Windows 10.   After backing up your data try to upgrade.  If not, try to downgrade to Win 7.    If you're able to do either select the option that resets your PC.   In both cases you'll likely need to have freed up HDD space (delete your files after backup) before you upgrade.  Windows 8 is full of bugs.  Given you're on version 8, see if there is a windows 7 backup option on your windows 8 OS.  If it's there, use that for your backup.

Edited by Coda

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I'm pretty woeful on this computer stuff.

The Windows issue is interesting.  For what it's worth, it seems to be 8.1.  The thing is, if Windows is the issue, why this problem now after so many years?

 

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"Windows 8 is full of bugs"—yes, like any piece of software ever. (Also, Spectre and Meltdown are not viruses, they're hardware vulnerabilities. I'm a little tired of all the misunderstandings about these. Let the record show I deleted a three paragraph polemic in which I patiently explained why worrying about them is not worth your time.)

 

The number of things that can cause this is just too large to reasonably debug remotely, so best advice: find someone nearby who understands/likes computers, and have them look at it.

Second best advice: enable boot logging and take a look at ntbtlog.txt. This won't tell you much if you don't know what you're looking at, though, so see suggestion #1 above.

Third best advice: remove all extraneous devices (printers, webcams, etc.)—just leave monitor, keyboard, and mouse attached—and boot into safe mode. Did it go quickly? And back to the first piece of advice!:)

My first two suspects would be the hard drive (it may just be old and ready to give up the ghost) and networking (it may be that there's a demon that cannot (for whatever reason) get a connection and is holding everything up), but it can really be hundreds of things.

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If it were my computer, I'd back up all the data, wipe the existing HD, install Windows 10, and then bring my data back.

If that doesn't get it, hey, shopping trip!!!

Believe it or not, that might end up being your shortest distance between two points, AND you get to go shopping. Find a record store while you're out there consuming!

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There was a short time that my desktop PC took forever to boot and it was related to an external drive I had hooked up via USB. It was doing some kind of scan every time I booted and it took a long time. This particular PC was running Windows 8 and it was only after one of their updates, so it may be related to your issue. I unplugged that hard drive and it booted quickly thereafter. FWIW - this was my first PC with a small (16 GB) SSD "boot drive", which was supposed to dramatically speed up the boot process. Ha ha ha.

Also, once I migrated to Windows 10, the problem went away. Other annoyances showed up with 10 but at least now I can boot the PC with the hard drive attached.

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Kevin,

That is interesting, the business with the external hard drive.  I've had an external drive for some time now--a couple of years, at least.

Maybe it would be good to disconnect that drive each time I shut down and restart?  

 

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I had a performance-affecting issue with my external, not in booting, but with slowing everything waaaaay down while it ran it's random(to the best of my knowledge) backups. Sometimes they do what they want to do and make it none too easy to tell them otherwise, at least I couldn't figure out how to stop it. It went away when I got a new machine and got 10.

My lesson learned was to never install an external's own backup software. It seems a little..."territorial" once it gets on there.

Also/possibly food for thought - I had been a lifetime Dell user, 4 desktop units, going back to the days of Windows 3.5 and 5" floppies. When it came time to replace the last one, both of my kids came down really hard on me to not buy another Dell, as was my instinct, but to get one built instead. They told me that it's pretty easy now, really, and you can save beaucoup bucks.

Well, uh....no, not me. But my daughter's boyfriend is a serious geek, and he said he'd be happy to do it for me. So we went to MicroCenter (shopping!), bought the good stuff, and the next day, voila, a really good system that does everything I ask it to do at a significant fraction less than a Dell equivalent. So if you have access to that option and the Dell is about ready to RIP, do not despair about the budget.

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4 hours ago, Milestones said:

Kevin,

That is interesting, the business with the external hard drive.  I've had an external drive for some time now--a couple of years, at least.

Maybe it would be good to disconnect that drive each time I shut down and restart?  

 

Yes, it may be initially trying to boot from that external drive, which of course ain't gonna work.

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8 minutes ago, felser said:

Yes, it may be initially trying to boot from that external drive, which of course ain't gonna work.

But why?

Serious question, trying to figure this one out myself, like with Car Talk... :)

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

But why?

Serious question, trying to figure this one out myself, like with Car Talk... :)

There is a boot order set into the bios of the machine, telling it what order of sources to try to boot from.  They tend to default to external drives first, the reason being that if your hard drive crashes or becomes infected, the machine can be recovered from an external boot disc.

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Right...but if the problem has only recently developed, has it been established that the external was only recently plugged in at boot time, or has the external long been plugged in?

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1 hour ago, felser said:

There is a boot order set into the bios of the machine, telling it what order of sources to try to boot from.  They tend to default to external drives first, the reason being that if your hard drive crashes or becomes infected, the machine can be recovered from an external boot disc.

Um, no. They don't "tend to default to external drives first", exactly because people boot with drives attached all the time.

Should your boot disk become inoperable, you simply enter the BIOS screen on boot to change the boot order. There is no need to default to external drives first.

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My only guess is that some Windows 8 update added some sort of security scan to any external media to prevent auto-loading of viruses. I simply left the external drive connected and switched off and it booted fine. I only turned it on after boot and only when I needed to access it. After I upgraded to Windows 10, I tried leaving it attached during a boot and it was fine. It was definitely something that started after a Windows 8 update.

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12 hours ago, lipi said:

Um, no. They don't "tend to default to external drives first", exactly because people boot with drives attached all the time.

Should your boot disk become inoperable, you simply enter the BIOS screen on boot to change the boot order. There is no need to default to external drives first.

Then I stand corrected, thanks.

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On 08/01/2019 at 5:59 AM, JSngry said:

If it were my computer, I'd back up all the data, wipe the existing HD, install Windows 10, and then bring my data back.

If that doesn't get it, hey, shopping trip!!!

Believe it or not, that might end up being your shortest distance between two points, AND you get to go shopping. Find a record store while you're out there consuming!

I think that would be my solution too.

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A system re-install is often the best option for a Windows PC that starts crawling but not necessarily for one that isn't booting quickly. Only certain things can mess with your boot sequence. Sure, a rebuild might stop that, but there are enough ways to check that it might be a bit overkill. I'd also add that no matter how particular I've been at backing up my data, there's always something I forget and by the time I do, it's gone. :)

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It turns out that the thing died.  I could never get it back on, and then I did have a computer guy look at it--and he figured motherboard and at least $350.

I now have a new computer, and I may put up some concerns on a new thread.

 

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