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Win 7 slow boot problem

Started Mar 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Win 7 slow boot problem
Mar 15, 2013

Following a Win 7 clean install, I have a slow boot problem.

It only arises when one or both of my USB external drives (WD MyBooks) are connected. However, this is not a BIOS/boot order issue -- the delay arises after the system has already booted parts of Windows from the correct SSD drive.

Visually, I see the delay after the "Starting Windows" message and the animation of the Win 7 logo has finished. Then (with a USB Drive connected) the screen goes blank for 30 seconds (actually it goes into power save mode) and then the login screen pops up.

As expected, the problem does not arise in Safe mode. I have checked for updated drivers and removed a number of non-essential devices/drivers without any progress.

I installed the MS Windows Performance Tools to run some more detailed tracing on the boot sequence. There's almost no CPU utilization during this 30 second pause. It seems to start right after smss.exe is launched and it ends as wininit.exe is launched.

So it looks like smss.exe is the culprit. It may be trying to assign drive letters to partitions and maybe it's waiting for the USB drive(s) to spin up?

Google reveals many similar problem reports (although many are not well characterized) but no solutions.

Any thoughts?

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