Windows Vista Freezing After Log On

I recently had an issue with my laptop. For some reason when Vista loaded, I was able to log on, but then it would stay on the Welcome screen. While I couldn’t see anything on the screen, I did notice that there was a lot of hard drive activity, so I knew that something was executing on the system. A funny thing is that when I pressed CTRL+ALT+DEL to try and restart, Vista would instead continue to load and I was able to view my desktop.

After doing a quick search online, I couldn’t find a solution to my problem, so I began to try various things to try and find the problem. After some testing I did manage to correct the issue and Vista no longer hangs at the Welcome screen. I’ll explain the process I used to solve this problem.

Solving the Vista Hanging Problem

I have had operating systems error out before they are loaded, but I have never experienced an operating system hanging after I logged on. Here are some steps that I took to help solve the problem:

  1. I checked the boot log to see if there were any issues during Windows startup. Nothing seemed to have had problem during boot up.
  2. If you encounter application or system errors within Windows, then the EventViewer may provide information about any errors. This is where I checked next. Unfortunately, there were no errors that point to my issue.
  3. I then proceeded to check the Device Manager to see if there were any hardware issues. Many times Windows may hang if there is a device issue. I found no problems there.
  4. Thinking a service may have caused the issue, I viewed the services. All services that were supposed to start, did without any issue as they were all started.
  5. Knowing that many applications like to launch another application at startup, I decided to view the startup list in msconfig. I noticed there were many unnecessary applications loaded. Adobe, Apple, Google, and ATI were just some of the vendors that were loading applications on startup. I disabled all the non-essential programs in the list by unchecking the checkboxes, and restarted the machine.

Once Windows had restarted, I logged back on to the system. This time Windows logged in without any freezing. There was an application loading after log on that caused Windows to hang. Due to time constraints, I haven’t figured out which application was causing the issue, but when I get the chance I’ll find out. I’ll keep you posted on the outcome just in case you are affected too.

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