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Could faulty RAM cause a delayed Windows startup?

Could faulty RAM cause a delayed Windows startup?

I've had an issue with some older hardware I have. When starting Windows, during the "progress bar" screen during boot-up, as the screen fade's in, the computer freezes. After about a 2-3 minute pause, the screen fully fades in, the progress bar does it's animation, and Windows boots fine. This made it very inconvenient to turn the computer on at times.

Asked by: Guest | Views: 31
Total answers/comments: 1
Guest [Entry]

"Quick Answer:

Check DIMM module SPDs (if you can)
Try a different hard drive and different SATA plugs
Turn on boot logging to see where it pauses for the 2-3 minutes
Boot into Safe Mode to see if it also takes a long time (rules out most of the extra drivers)

There is an Microsoft KB Article similar to what you describe, but it states that it should be only a 10s pause for Windows XP. Also, Microsoft provides a tool to help with boot times called BootVis. Here is a D/L link (but I haven't tried it).

Long Answer:

From my experience, it is unlikely that faulty RAM would cause the OS to boot slowly. Your system has unbuffered DDR2 memory which does not have ECC (Error-Correcting Code). If non-ECC memory was failing, then a blue screen or a system freeze would be much more likely. Still, testing your memory is a smart thing to do if you suspect it is the cause of your problem.

Memory being set to the wrong voltage and running at a lower frequency can be caused by the DIMM module SPD (Serial Presence Detect) settings and/or BIOS. Be sure to update your BIOS to the latest revision.

I have seen an issue like yours where Windows XP booted very slowly compared to Windows 98/ME. The reason for this turned out that noise was on the IDE bus causing the high speed modes to have lots of errors. IDE can detect errors and retry, but Windows XP's IDE driver added a feature where it would ""down-shift"" the IDE modes when there were errors. So, Windows 98/ME booted relatively quickly because the retries were successful enough that the system could boot, while Windows XP lowered the IDE mode to such a slow speed, it took something like 10 minutes to boot."