HP dv2500t Booting Slowly

by on November 7, 2007

Q: I bought an HP dv2500t equipped with 2GB of RAM and a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor. I am experiencing extremely long startup times (3 minutes or more) and it has been like that since day one. I have checked my startup folder and it is empty. I also used msconfig to disable startup apps. Any advice you can give would be helpful.

A: Checking the startup folder and running msconfig are both great things to have tried. But regardless if it is a PC running Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, I always reinstall the operating system on a new computer. I have two reasons for doing this. First, there have been several reported incidents in recent years of computers shipping from the factories with viruses in them. Second, the boot time on a new PC is often slower than it should be due to the way in which the PC has been “imaged”. Imaging is a process whereby operating systems and software are installed on multiple computers simultaneously. I have witnessed firsthand how imaging can fail to install Windows and applications correctly. So in your case, I would recommend reinstalling Windows.

I assume that you are running Windows Vista since you purchased this laptop recently. Most of the information in this answer is also applicable to Windows XP. Vista is indeed slower than XP in most situations. However, a boot time of three minutes in unacceptable even for Vista. Ideally, you would reinstall Vista with a Microsoft Windows Vista DVD. This would reinstall Windows without any of the extra “junk” software that comes pre-installed on your new machine. Junk software is notorious for being incompatible and/or making Windows run more slowly. Unfortunately, I can tell you from personal experience that HP will probably not provide you with such a disk. An HP customer service representative told me that HP does not make such disks. HP will send “recovery disks” to you for a fee. But these disks will also reinstall all of the junk software onto your computer. See the article called HP Notebook PCs – Obtaining a Recovery CD or DVD set for additional details. HP much prefers that you be in charge of creating such backup disks. To do so, you will use the HP Recovery Manager. It is also possible to use the Recovery Manager to reinstall Windows without making recovery disks. See the HP article entitled Using HP Recovery Manager for more information. Reinstalling Windows using and of the Recovery Manager options will also reinstall the junk software. Follow this procedure to reinstall Windows:

  1. Insure that you have either a Microsoft Windows Vista DVD or a set of recovery disks. Step #3 may erase the HP Recovery Manager, but probably not.
  2. Backup and data that you need to save. Use CD, DVD, or an external drive for this, as you internal hard drive will be totally erased in step #3.
  3. Use the free GWSCAN utility from Gateway Computers to “write zeros” to your hard drive. Writing zeros is the most secure way to delete the data on a hard drive. It may also help to eliminate inconstancies that were created during your computer’s imaging.
  4. Use the Vista DVD or recovery disks to reinstall Windows. For maximum security, do not have your computer connected to any network during the reinstall. Note: If you are reinstalling XP and are given the option, format your hard drive in the NTFS format. Vista automatically uses the NTFS format.
  5. Once Windows has been reinstalled, restart your computer twice before applying updates and installing programs. The first restart will allow Windows to finish preparing itself for use. The second restart is to allow you to observe the real boot speed of Vista.
  6. Update Windows and all programs.
  7. You may also want to make sure that your BIOS is up-to-date. You can check for this and several other updates on the HP Support and Drivers website.

If reinstalling Windows and updating you BIOS fails to solve your problem: you are either experiencing a software conflict between Windows and other software and/or your laptop’s hardware is damaged. Both of these possibilities require you to Contact HP.