Middlebury

Computer is slow during BIOS startup

A desktop or a laptop computer may load (start) slowly (or slower than usual) during the initial startup process/sequence. The symptom is usually that the BIOS progress bar is progressing slowly or slower. This may happen with any laptop or desktop, but we have noticed it with Dell Latitude laptops and Dell Optiplex desktops. There could be several reasons for this:

  • During the computer's first startup (i.e. after it's been unboxed) there is a longer one-time startup procedure and you just have to wait through it.
  • If a device was added, removed or reseated, the BIOS may be spending some time configuring the device. Common devices that are added, removed or reseated/reinserted:
    RAM
    Hard disk
    Optical Drive
    USB devices
    In this situation it is sufficient to wait for the computer to fully start up (even if that takes longer), then properly shut it down and try starting again. If the issue is gone, then you should be all set - the computer successfuly reconfigured whatever devices was added or removed. If the issue persists, read on.
  • If the computer was not shut down correctly, the POST procedure takes longer as the computer may automatically test the RAM to determine if there is a problem with the RAM. In this situation it is sufficient to wait for the computer to fully start up (even if that takes longer), then properly shut it down and try starting again. If the issue is gone, then you should be all set - the computer successfuly reconfigured whatever devices was added or removed. If the issue persists, read on.
  • A large number of wireless networks and/or bluetooth devices, or misconfigured wireless access points/routers or misconfigured bluetooth devices may cause interference with laptops. To troubleshoot this, you can enter the BIOS to disable to wireless and bluetooth adapters to test if they are the cause.
  • Faulty RAM or a faulty hard disk can cause delays, so ran diagnostics on those devices.
  • Remove non-essential hardware (one by one) and power on the computer. Removing a RAM chip (if there are two or more) is a good start. You can also remove any USB devices (except keyboards) and optical drives.
  • As a generic solution, you can always try updating the BIOS.
  • Faulty AC/power adapter may cause delays. Try running the computer just on battery or with another AC adapter of equal power (W).
  • An AC adapter with a lower wattage (power rating) can cause slow downs. E.g. a laptop designed to run at 90W or 120W may run with a 65W AC adapter, but it will run slower. Ensure that you always use the correct AC adapter.
  • Laptops normally run slower when powered only by a battery (running slower is a way of saving battery charge).
  • Almost empty batteries can cause slow downs.
  • Failing or failed batteries can cause slow downs.
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