Once in a while I’m getting my hands dirty with Windows fixing PC problems for friends & family.
While the old tool machinery with HihackThis, CCleaner, Spybot, etc still helps to analyze the windows operating system, the Microsoft provided toolset did get better. Especially when it comes to performance analysis in regards of low-end hardware running with fancy graphics provided with Win8.
The windows performance analyzer for Windows 8 seems pretty good, you’ll only need to download the Windows Software Development Kit. Once asked which component should be installed, only choose “Windows Performance Toolkit”.
In order to profile the system startup and logon procedure, it’s necessary to stop working, save all data and let Windows handle its own reboot. Using Windows 7, search for “cmd” in the start menu and rightclick on it “Start as administrator”. In Windows 8, this is more shortcut driven using “Win + X” and selecting the Command Prompt being run as administrator.
Now type the following to trace the boot time and save the results directly onto disk C: – Windows will reboot after a while.
xbootmgr -trace boot -resultpath C:
After logon, let the countdown reach zero and allow capturing to finish and store the result set on disk. Open C:\boot_BASE+CSWITCH_1.etl with the Windows Performance Analyzer.
While it’s not very satisfying to google processes lasting long, an alternative tool is needed. Some years ago, Microsoft bought the SysInternals Developers and created the “Windows Sysinternals” collection, featuring AutoRuns. Download and extract it somewhere, and then run autoruns.exe as administrator.
Select the “logon” tab, and kick everything related to update checks, system tray icons (CYberlink, ATI CCC are quite nasty). Make sure to keep the sidebar, Antivirus software and audio controlling, if required.