Firstly, and this may not have a direct bearing on the slow boot-up but will help keep the system clean, when was the last time you 'opened her up' and cleaned inside the case? If never, you may be in for a surprise,
Here's a video about that, Weekend Project. Clean your Grungy PC.
Next is Boot-up time. Rather than go through a list, let CNET TV offer some tips in this next Weekend Project, Speed up your boot time.
It is a series of short videos, but the 2nd video, (tools needed), may not be required in your case).
I hope that helps.
I've had a Dell XPS 400 desktop in my home for nearly five years. I run Windows XP. Lately, my computer is SUPER slow to boot up - it's sometimes nearly 20 minutes before I am able to work. I don't have much on it. I run Avast Home edition for my virus software. Whenever there's an update for Avast, there is a delay in the boot speed, but that delay is nothing compared to now, and there haven't been updates lately to slow it, so I don't know the cause of the delay. Here are some stats for the system:
C Drive Capacity: 70.5 GB. Currently using: 15.0 GB.
Last System Scan For Viruses: 7/4/10. None found
Last Defragment of C Drive: 7/4/10.
A couple days ago I bought an 1T external hard drive and moved a ton of files to it. I don't know if it's coincidence, but ever since I've used the external hard drive, the boot up has been very slow. I don't have the USB connected to my PC when I boot up - should I have the hard drive connected when I boot, could this be causing the delay? I always make sure to click on the icon and disconnect the hard drive that way when I use it. Do I need to make modifications to the software for that drive that is now on my PC?
The way the slow boot expresses itself is that I will have the arrow cursor on my desktop, but it will change to an hourglass, then back to a cursor, and so on. I try to move the cursor, but there is a delay of a few seconds. The Avast icon in the bottom right hand side spins, but then stops, then spins again a few moments later.
I also noticed today that I got a "you don't have a firewall set up, click here to fix this" message during the boot, but that goes away after Avast works for a bit. I don't think that means anything, but am I wrong?
Does anyone have any idea what I need to do to increase the boot speed? This process is taking way, way longer than it should.
Thanks for any help you can provide.