• Windows 7 Professional x64
  • Intel Xeon E3-1226
  • Supermicro X10SAE
  • 16GB RAM (2x8GB)
  • 2x500GB RAID 1 (SSDs)

This is a workstation that I'm trying to troubleshoot. During Windows Startup ("Starting Windows") the hard drive activity light is solid and remains solid at the login screen, during login, and then on the desktop. During this time, the computer is almost completely unresponsive due to the disk utilization.

Attempting to use Ctrl+Alt+Del to get to Task Manager takes roughly 30 seconds to display a black screen and gives the message

"Failure to display security and shut down options. The logon process was unable to display security and logon options when CTRL+ALT+DELETE was pressed. If the operating system does not respond, press ESC or restart the computer by using the power switch."

After about 15 minutes of this unresponsiveness, everything I have tried to start or any startup programs come up and the machine's responsiveness returns to normal. The hard drive activity light stops remaining solid and goes back to blinking intermittently when the disk is being used.

The problem is that due to the responsiveness issue, I can't get any troubleshooting tool open (like Resource Monitor) during this time to actually figure out what's activating the disk. It seems like something is activating during startup before login and utilziing the disk during that time at 100%. SMART reports that the drives are healthy. The drives are about 2 years old IIRC.

Any thoughts on how to troubleshoot this?

  • 1
    Boot off of a Linux livecd and use that for troubleshooting.
    – EEAA
    Feb 17, 2017 at 15:09
  • How will that help me figure out what is utilizing the disk at startup with Windows? I don't think it's a hardware problem - I think it's a startup process or program.
    – Patrick
    Feb 17, 2017 at 15:11
  • Use a Windows System Repair disc if you prefer. It has startup repair and some recovery options. Feb 19, 2017 at 20:13
  • It sounds like one of disks in your RAID array might be faulty and is having trouble reading some sectors that are in use by the OS. You might like to backup the array. Once you have a solid backup (assuming you can), you could then remove one drive. If the system is still slow, swap to the other drive. If still slow then you may need to reinstall. If one drive is fast, and the other is slow - then you know which drive is causing you issues. If you go wrong anywhere along the way, restore your backup.
    – Dave Lucre
    Feb 22, 2017 at 5:19

1 Answer 1


Use windows boot performance diagnostics to troubleshoot the issue. Here's a link to one of the many articles on this: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/make-windows-boot-faster-using-windows-boot-performance-diagnostics

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