What causes slow startup in Windows 2000

A Windows 2000 system can slow to a crawl on startup if it has too many partitions installed in the Disk Management MMC snap-in. The system appears to hang while the Starting Windows 2000

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message is displayed and the status bar reaches between 50-70%. Eventually the system will finish loading but it can take a long time.

There are a lot of possible causes for slow start up in Windows 2000, ranging from having the pagefile someplace other than drive C: to the effects of adware or spyware, but this particular behavior is characteristic of a simpler problem: Failure to keep your service packs up to date.

This problem shows up on systems with 30 or more devices defined in Disk Management. It does not show up on RAID arrays where the entire array, no matter how many drives, is addressed by a single drive letter. The slowdown occurs because the system has to enumerate and mount every disk partition and the time to do that grows at least linearly with the number of partitions. The problem has been corrected in Service Pack 3 and subsequent service packs. Microsoft's recommended fix is to install the latest service pack.

Microsoft discusses this issue in Knowledge Base Article 274349: Computer With Large Number of Partitions Starts Slowly, which is available at Microsoft's support web site http://support.microsoft.com

For more information:

Tip: Restore and recover with Windows 2000

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About the author: Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in March 2004

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