Analyze boot time performance on Vista

Microsoft have created the Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT), which can perform several kinds of transition traces to measure the different phases:
  • Startup/Boot time tracing
  • Shutdown tracing
  • Standby/Resume tracing
  • Hibernate/Resume tracing
The WPT includes 3 different tools:
  • xbootmgr - The On/Off Transition Trace Capture tool can capture the transition trace
  • xperf - The Trace Capture Analysis tool can filter/convert the captured trace
  • xperfview - The Visual Trace Analysis tool can display the trace data using a graphical representation
To capture a boot trace:

xbootmgr -trace boot -noPrepReboot -traceFlags BASE+CSWITCH+DRIVERS+POWER -resultPath C:\TEMP

After having captured the trace then one can get a graphical view of the boot process, by starting xperfview and browse to the trace-file (*.etl) in the result path.

More Info Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT)

Note before pulling out this big gun to diagnose boot times, then one should check the following to speed up the boot time:
  • Open Problem Reports and Solutions from the Control Panel and check if have found a solution to your problems.
  • Open the Event Viewer from Administrative Tools and check for events generated during startup.
  • Pull the network cable (disable the network connection) and see if the slow boot times are caused by network timeouts or domain logon authorization.
  • Turn off or unplug USB / Bluetooth devices, and see if the long boot times are caused by one of the attached devices.
  • Be aware that if having installed Windows Vista on top of Windows XP, then the trouble can be caused by the old XP drivers (It is seldom recommended to perform an upgrade install to Vista). More Info Clean install of Vista using Upgrade CD

Updated: 17 November 2008

Comments:

  1. Cathal says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for your desciption of the Performance Toolkit. I think your initial advice on troubleshooting prior to breaking out the 'big guns' :-) is well warranted. Many thanks.
    Cathal

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