Windows Firewall/Norton pokieness
March 12, 2006 4:56 PM   Subscribe

My PC lags a bit on booting up. It's fine at first, my desktop comes on screen quickly and the start menu programs load normally. But then when the Windows Firewall and/or Norton Antivirus kick in--I guess the last on the start menu list--it locks up other programs for a full minute or so. I can click on icons, but double clicking doesn't do anything until the WF and Norton do their thing. Anything I can tweak to get this lag to go away?

BTW, I'm running XP, 2.6 Pentium, 1.5 Gigs RAM
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Set Norton not to load automatically and reboot, to see if it's the culprit?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:59 PM on March 12, 2006

Or, if you know that it's Norton, ditch it and use other safe net habits (no IE, no OE, never open an unexpected attachment, etc).

Or set it to do nothing but a scan once a week.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:01 PM on March 12, 2006

Download and install Microsoft Bootvis: It lets you see exactly what gets loaded during startup and how much time each process takes.
posted by skwm at 5:04 PM on March 12, 2006

Working in a PC repair shop, I can almost guarantee it's Norton hanging and lagging your system. Norton has so many headaches from what I've seen that I can no longer recommend it to most of my customers (I do enjoy F-Secure, BTW)

I would try a full Norton removal and re-install. Go to Add/Remove and remove Norton, then follow these instructions. Re-install Norton and see if it helps any.
posted by ilikebike at 5:10 PM on March 12, 2006

Remove Norton. It's a terrible piece of software. Any number of replacements are suitable. AVG is my choice, and that's only if I suspect something, it doesn't run every night or every time I boot up. Virus protection is over-rated if you know what you're doing. HijackThis is a great little app that will also tell you what is set to run when your computer starts up and it gives you the option to remove any or all of those items.
posted by airguitar at 5:51 PM on March 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice, everyone. I didn't know Norton was problematic. Any freeware alternatives?
posted by zardoz at 6:21 PM on March 12, 2006

This happens on one of my two laptops (the faster one, ironically) and is quite frustrating ... but not on my desktop. It drives me nuts too.
posted by pmurray63 at 6:22 PM on March 12, 2006

Mine used to do this as well. I discovered the problem was my Wi-Fi card.

I worked this out because after I went through everythingI I could think of to fix the problem, I essentially nuked the whole computer and did a fresh install. After doing so, I found I had misplaced my Wi-Fi driver CD (An Asus@Home Wi-Fi card, if it matters), so it wasn't installed and I kept using the system as per normal. WinXP booted up nice and quick everytime for weeks.

One day, I found the drivers and installed them. The very next time Windows booted up? The lag was back. And once I removed the drivers for it, WinXP booted up nice and quick again.

So if you have a Wi-Fi card, it may be possible it has something to do with this. But of course, every system is different, as you know. Hope it helps.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:38 PM on March 12, 2006

zardoz, I use AVG and it's free. That said, I only use because I have broadband, which means my computer is always open to the world. I wouldn't use it because I don't use IE, I don't open attachments unless I know the recipient (and not even then, sometimes) and I always know what I'm downloading.
posted by ashbury at 6:55 PM on March 12, 2006

It's likely that the delay is a timeout of some kind, and I would definitely believe that Norton is involved. Windows has some truly ridiculously generous retry/timeout settings which can make some handshakes take upwards of a minute to finally fail and timeout, and if they happen in certain parts of the boot process they can indeed essentially lock up the machine for the duration, because Windows is stuck in the kernel.

I gave up on Norton years ago.

It's amazing what kinds of things can do that to you. I had a problem for a while where I could not log off of my XP machine when I was logged in as a "power user"; the logoff would hang forever. I finally figured out what it was, and you won't believe it.

My DVD player program had installed a auto-loaded background monitoring demon for a piece of hardware I wasn't using and didn't have attached: a USB IR receiver for a battery powered remote control that I never used and didn't want. During logoff, that demon was stuck in a permanent timeout-retry loop with the USB driver. (Probably it was stuck in that loop the entire time I was logged in, too.) Once I figured that out and got into the registry to prevent that stupid demon from loading, the problem went away and never returned.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:43 PM on March 12, 2006

Another vote here for AVG!
posted by Lynsey at 11:42 AM on March 13, 2006

It's also useful to run msconfig, and disable unneccessary startup items, like quicktime, ipod service, etc.
posted by theora55 at 1:22 PM on March 13, 2006

Response by poster: ashbury, thanks for that, but I don't get the free part of AVG. Am I missing something?
posted by zardoz at 6:20 PM on March 13, 2006

This thread might help.
posted by SuperNova at 7:45 PM on March 13, 2006

i suggest removing norton and getting antivir...
posted by MonkNoiz at 12:23 AM on March 14, 2006

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