Computer slow to access network on start-up

Don't see a specific place for your hardware question? This is the forum for you!

Moderators: mac_h8r1, Nemesis

Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:12 pm

Apologies if this is the incorrect forum for this problem; I'm just not sure if it's hardware or software related.

So one of my work computers has a weird issue. It starts up and gets into windows quickly enough (well, for a cheaply-made Win XP machine on 512 megs of ram), but it takes somewhere between 3-5 minutes before it can access the local network (which is needed to access our inventory system). A second computer, which has the exact same specs as the first, does not have this problem. The little Network Access icon doesn't even pop-up to tell me there's no network access. It's just NOT there, but then poof, it appears after a while and everything's fine. If I try to access "My Network Places", the window is slooow to open, and then it just does the "searching flashlight" thing for a while. Heck, it's even slow to access the items under "My Computer", now that I think about it.

What are some areas of investigation I can look into to try to alleviate this issue? Hardware bottleneck? Too much software loading? Is there any info in particular you guys would need to help me pinpoint the problem (I forgot to write down the specs on my way out today, I'll get the full skinny if needed tomorrow)?

Now, we DO have an I.T. guy who we can call on for these sorts of things, but he's not always around, and it seems the way he figures it, as long as it works EVENTUALLY, it's not a big enough problem (He'd probably just replace the machine and charge my boss a grand, anyway; something I'm looking to avoid).

I'm only asking for ideas because it's not like I can just take the machine home and play with it; it's gotta stay in the building for second shift to use, and I don't have a whole lot of time during my shift to dedicate to trouble-shooting. Thanks in advance for any info/help/ideas!
-Steele ^_^ \/,,
Steele
Gerbil
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:58 pm

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:25 pm

That ram is really tight.

Well, I'd start with the hard drive and see if it's crammed. See if it can be cleaned up and defragged.

Can people use the computer to browse the web? If so then it's possible it has a few 'bed bugs' giving the computer the itch.

That's about all I know.
I'm clueless about computers.
Smoking catnip in the litterbox.
ThatStupidCat
Gerbil
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:18 am
Location: your litterbox

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:29 pm

Is this a new issue or has it 'always' (for a long time) been like this?
MadManOriginal
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1431
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: In my head...

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:26 pm

Try changing the network cable. Or the port to which it is connected.
PhilipMcc
Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:15 am
Location: Pittsburgh

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:09 pm

Can you open up Task Manager during those first few minutes, to see which processes are consuming CPU and/or whether it is exhausting the available physical RAM?

Also check in Device Manager to make sure the disk has not dropped to PIO mode.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37739
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:46 am

I second checking the cabling, keeping in mind that there are likely four possible failure points. The patch from the PC to the wall, the structured cable in the wall, the patch from the panel to the switch, and the switch port. If you have access to the network closet and a second run nearby, you should be able to eliminate all four pretty easily. If you don't have a second run, if you're capable you can try re-punching at the wall and patch panel, and see if it behaves better with the lights turned off.
Ethyriel
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 6:41 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:25 am

So...

Check HD (space/defrag/PIO - btw, I never knew that was a thing and reading up on it, it sounds a lot like what's going on!)
Check Task manager on start-up
Check network cable(s)

Okay, sounds pretty comprehensive but also nothing too time-consuming. I'll report back if I'm still having issues. Thanks again for the tips!
-Steele ^_^ \/,,
Steele
Gerbil
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:58 pm

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:04 am

I'd say normally topics like this would go in our networking forum, but General Hardware is fine too.

I would suggest that you open up a command prompt and try pinging the server immediately after startup. This will tell you if the network connectivity is down or if it is the Windows Networking stuff. If ping works then you have eliminated all the network hardware and some of the Windows software.

What type of network switch do you have on the other end of the cable? If it is a managed switch then I wonder if it is running spanning-tree without port-fast configured. This would mean that the link comes up but no traffic flows for about 30 seconds. Can you try adding a plain unmanaged gigabit network switch so the PC plugs in to the new switch and the new switch plugs in to the cable going to the wall? The link lights will help show if there is any problem with the link coming up, and the unmanged switch keeps the managed switch port up so that the spanning-tree doesn't block the traffic.
notfred
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3736
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:10 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:15 pm

Well, after spending several hours on the problem (thankfully we were slow today), I got it sorted.

Turns out, the computer was taking a REALLY long time to boot. I never noticed this previously because it's not the station I usually use. I couldn't even ctrlaltdel for several minutes while looking at a blank desktop. When I finally DID get it up, it didn't look like anything was taking up a whole lot of juice. Half of the regular XP suite of background programs hadn't even started after several minutes. So I went about with your suggestions: The HDD -was- on PIO, but switching it back barely helped =( Cleaning out the machine, Scandisk, Defrag, and disconnecting the network cable and printer had no effect.

Ultimately, it turns out that there was an old Avast! AV install that was clogging up the works and failing to start up properly every-other minute. After getting rid of it and all the associated registry entries manually (damn program didn't come with an uninstaller I guess, and the workstations don't have access to the outside internet -preventing me from DLing an installer-), everything works great now. I figured it out because the Event Viewer was coming up with several errors pointing back to the program on startup. I tried using msconfig to just not let it start with Windows, but that wasn't sufficient. So I had to go in and gut it manually. Fun, but nerve-wracking!

Anyway, thanks again for your suggestions, guys! It actually helped in a round-about way: While looking up how to see if my disk was in PIO mode, I ran across a post where someone had a similar issue and they had talked about using the Event Viewer, which is where I got the idea.
-Steele ^_^ \/,,
Steele
Gerbil
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:58 pm

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:59 am

Yeah, I think I dumped or upgraded the RAM for all production XP machines that had less than 1GB of RAM when SP3 came out.

512MB may have been adequate back when XP was launched but XPSP3 is a far more complex OS that does a lot more than the initial release. As such 512MB is so little memory that it will be unusably slow without some very serious trimming and selective startup of services and installed programs/features.
<insert large, flashing, epileptic-fit-inducing signature (based on the latest internet-meme) here>
Chrispy_
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1887
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:49 pm

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:42 am

I've also seen this sort of behavior when there are multiple on-access virus scanners installed; was this the case here? Having more than one anti-virus tool running real-time on-access scans -- especially on a machine with limited RAM -- is a sure-fire recipe for system gridlock.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37739
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Computer slow to access network on start-up

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:43 pm

What's the built-in utility for checking what is on the boot list? That's usually the next step on seeing what is taking so long on boot.
Usacomp2k3
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 21301
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 4:53 pm
Location: Orlando, FL


Return to General Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests