Here is my evolving list of things that could be responsible for slowing down the start up, running and shutting down of your computer. Not all of them will apply to you but look through and try those that seem appropriate:
1. Indexing takes a day or so to settle down on a new Vista computer.
2. Positive steps that you can take are to turn off ‘automatic defragmentation’ via Windows Orb (Start) > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmentation. Also, stop Windows Defender from auto-scanning and check if your antivirus program is scanning at boot time.
3. You’ll get a slightly faster start up if you optimise the boot files and applications by running a defragmentation from an elevated CMD prompt, i.e. click the Windows Orb (Start) > All Programs > Accessories and right-click Command Prompt, then ‘Run as Administrator’. Type defrag C:\ -b (note the two spaces) and press Enter.
4. When you have a slow boot, check that no external drives have media in them. If they have, experiment by booting with it inserted and without. If you have a built-in card reader remove the little plastic cover that protects the slot, which can occasionally cause a slow down.
5. To check if a particular program is slowing the machine when you switch on, e.g. an antivirus program or when you shut down, go to Control Panel > Classic View > Performance Information and Tools > Advanced Tools in the left pane. On this screen the problem is sometimes shown. If not, click View Performance Details in Event Log (Event Viewer). Events in the 100 series are boot events and I believe those in the 200 series are shut down events. These can be followed by double-clicking them, then clicking Event Log Online at the bottom. Lots of information on Event Viewer click here
6. Try Microsoft’s Process Explorer. There is an explanation and a link to Microsoft’s site click here
7. I don’t agree with all of these speed improvement tips but you may find something that looks familiar, read through the list click here and/or click here
8. Reduce the number of programs that start up when you switch on the computer. The program Startups.exe contains a list of programs that are either needed at startup, not needed at startup, optional at startup or contain malware, download it click here and then run it, allowing space on the screen to run the msconfig program window alongside it.
Click the Windows Orb (Start), type msconfig and press Enter. Go to the StartUp Tab and make a note of all programs that have a tick against them. These are the programs that startup when the computer is switched on. Type the names into a search in the Startups program and then in msconfig‘s StartUp Tab, remove the ticks from those programs you don’t want to run when you start the computer. Don’t remove the ticks from any that you are unsure about or which appear in StartUps as essential (identified with a Y in the leftmost column). When you’ve finished removing the ticks, close msconfig and let the computer restart. You will get a reminder that you’re running Selective Startup, just tick ’Don’t show this again’ or similar wording.
Windows Defender can also be used instead of msconfig to identify which programs are loaded at start up and two other programs can be used instead of Startups.exe. They are Startup Inspector from click here and Autoruns from click here