Windows 7 - System start failure - hourglass - "Start" won't respond. It stall

Asked By Tom B on 23-Aug-10 08:53 AM
This XP-Pro SP3 system tries to start, but will not proceed.  It stalls with
an hourglass in the tray at the bottom of the screen.  As the system tries to
start, it displays the proper desktop icons, bottom tray icons, plays the
startup music, shows the clock and AVG Anti-virus, etc.  Windows task manager
responds to display its window with no applications listed.  The performance
tab shows 1 to 3 % CPU usage and 696 MB of PF usage.  None of the icons on
the desktop, nor the "Start" control (bottom left of screen) will respond.
Attempting to click on "Start" or any of the desktop icons results in a total
lockup and need to re-power the hardware.  The machine that used to start
normally has now failed to start after hours of trying to re-power and
re-start.  The hourglass in the bottom tray remains.

ruic replied to Tom B on 23-Aug-10 01:57 PM
Can you restart in Safe Mode. If you can then try a system restore to a time
before this started happening.

MowGreen replied to Tom B on 23-Aug-10 02:47 PM
Is the system opted into Microsoft Update ?
If yes, then opt it out of MU back to Windows Update -

Is it faster now ?

wuaudt.exe is really bogging down my computer

Automatic Updates memory hog on XP SP3. Updates not working

*-343-* FDNY
Never Forgotten
Tom B replied to ruic on 24-Aug-10 06:20 PM
I managed to get the system to start in Safe Mode.  After it started I was
able to use MSIE and various other programs.  Next I tried re-starting the
system.  Only part of the usual desktop icons were displayed as graphics.  I
re-started again.  It displayed all the desktop graphics and was slow but
eventually did re-start OK. It responded to accessing the "Start" menu. So I
am puzzled about the whole thing.  Once the computer does re-start, it
appears to run OK for hours.  Since it is now running I have not gone the route
of a system restore from an earlier time.
Tim Meddick replied to Tom B on 24-Aug-10 06:39 PM
If you have problems starting Windows, but it is running fine just now, you
could always use the "Hibernate" feature, to power-down your PC.

Hibernate, writes an "image" or "snapshot" of the system to a file on your
hard-drive then turns of the power to your PC so you can completely unplug

When you come to power-on your PC again, the system sees the file is there
and loads the system from the "snapshot" rather than going through the
normal startup or boot process.

So everything that was open on your desktop when you "hibernate", is still
open when you turn your PC back on again.

Sometimes I do not actually turn of my PC using the normal "shutdown" and
the PC thinks it is been running for months.  But obviously, I have to
unplug it every night, but use "hibernate" to accomplish this.

Tip: Create a shortcut on your desktop that sends the PC into Hibernate.

Make a new shortcut on the desktop and copy / paste the following into the
command-line box :

RUNDLL32.EXE  PowrProf.dll,SetSuspendState

Change the icon by clicking on the "Change Icon" button and browsing to :


...and choosing the red power-button icon, or one you prefer...


Cheers,    Tim Meddick,    Peckham, London.    :-)
Tom B replied to MowGreen on 24-Aug-10 06:41 PM
download."  I do manually review these before accepting them.  The problem
did not occur right after one of these updates.  I do see wuauclt.exe
running. I am now accessing Windows update at
and it has stalled.  I am sending this message on to you.
MowGreen replied to Tom B on 24-Aug-10 07:10 PM
There is a known issue with XP systems w/512MB of RAM installed and
Microsoft Update. MS is well aware of this issue.

If you checked those links I posted previously you would have found that
you are not alone.

For a temporary fix, opt out of Microsoft Update -

How To Disable Microsoft Update and Use Windows Update

You'll notice the system is considerably faster now.

*-343-* FDNY
Never Forgotten
Tom B replied to MowGreen on 25-Aug-10 04:37 PM
This may be the answer - - I will be watching it.

I have 3 other computers running under XP-Pro, and they do not have problems
MowGreen replied to Tom B on 25-Aug-10 05:56 PM
This was posted 4 hours or so ago in the Windows Update forum by Keith,
MS Support Engineer:

to the wuauclt.exe using too much memory, we are interested in hearing
from you. Please send an email to  and include your
forum display name and contact information.

Important:  When you are composing the email, be sure to include ???XP
Wuauclt.exe??? in the subject line.  In the body of the email, please
describe the exact symptoms that you are experiencing, your forum
display name, a link to any forum thread that applies to your issue, and
any other information that you feel is relevant to your issue.

Also include the following information:

XP Service Pack level

Antivirus Installed

Amount of RAM

Please note that this is not a normal support channel and you may not be
contacted for a follow up.  In the event that you are not contacted, you
may find additional support options at"

For those who do not use the new forums, include the Subject, Author,
Date and Time of the thread you have posted in this NNTP newsgroup -

Also, please include whether the system has been opted into Microsoft
Update (MU) or if it is updating from Windows Update (WU).

If Internet Explorer lands here, the system is updating from WU:

If IE lands here, the system is updating from MU:

*-343-* FDNY
Never Forgotten
Tom B replied to MowGreen on 29-Aug-10 12:41 PM
Sometimes wuauclt.exe is listed as taking a large amount of memory.
Sometimes its just the regular listing.

I think you are on the right track.

I find if I can get a response other than an hourglass from the "Start"
control the system will run OK.  Sometimes it takes 30 minutes to an hour of
trying over and over to get there, though.  I am going back to "hibernate" - -
that seems to work as you said.  I also find that if I can get the machine to
start in safe mode, it will come back and load OK the next time, even though
I do not make changes while in safe mode.

Sometimes I have pressed F8 50 times but safe mode does not start, and the
machine attempts to start as usual, but with another failure and hourglass in
the bottom tray and no desktop icon response.