How-To Geek

How to Use Event Viewer to Find Your PC’s Boot Time

Everybody that’s owned a PC has had to deal with the eventual system boot slowdown. Here’s how to use Event Viewer to track exactly how long your system takes to boot up and shut down.

The Event Viewer in Windows 7 provides us with an easy way to track any error or warning messages. What you may not know is that every event in Windows gets logged in the event viewer. If you know the right place to look you can even find boot and shutdown information.

Finding Your Boot Time

To open the event viewer type “event viewer” into the Windows Start Menu search box and press enter.

After the Event Viewer has opened, you’ll be greeted with an overview of whats going on in your system.

Since we allready know what we looking for you can drill into the Applications and Services logs on the left hand side. Then drill into the Microsoft section, followed by Windows.

Now we are looking for a folder called Diagnostics-Performance, this folder houses a log called Operational. Click on this log to open it.

On the right hand side click the filter option as pictured below.

To make things easier Microsoft gives each event an Event ID, with these you can filter the event logs to get to your information even quicker. You should tick the Warning box and specify an Event ID of 100, it should look exactly like the picture below. Once your screen looks the same, click ok.

The filter will sort through the log and only bring up events which have an Event ID of 100. Click on the header of the Date and Time column to sort the log in ascending order.

To get the latest boot time scroll to the bottom of the list and double click on the Warning message to open it. The boot time will be displayed in milliseconds so to get it in seconds you should divide it by 1000

In the picture above my boot time is 38889 milliseconds, to get that in seconds you have to divide it by 1000, so 38889/1000 = 38.89 seconds.

Finding Your Shutdown Time

To find your shutdown time, all that is required is to, apply a filter with different criteria. Like the startup time, the shutdown event also has an Event ID, to find shutdown events you should specify an Event ID of 200 as well as tick the Warning box.

Click on the header of the Date and Time column to sort the log in ascending order.

To get the latest shutdown time scroll to the bottom of the list and double click on the Warning message to open it. The shutdown time will be displayed in milliseconds so to get it in seconds you should divide it by 1000

In the picture above my boot time is 21374 milliseconds, to get that in seconds you have to divide it by 1000, so 21374/1000 = 21.37 seconds.

**Note that you will only be able to see a benchmark in the event log if you have installed a few programs on your pc.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 09/2/11

Comments (35)

  1. Midnight

    Great tips, there!

    Now, although Windows 7 boots up very fast due to some tweaks I performed, I wish there was a way to make it shut down much faster.
    It takes over 2 minutes to shut down and no matter what I do, I can’t make it shut down faster.

    Any ideas? :)

  2. mgo

    another clearly written and well illustrated article on a rather complex topic. well done!

  3. B. Moore

    Can you give us the same tutorial but for XP!

    Please & Thank You!

  4. Don Stratton

    This information is far from the full picture. While it may only take Windows 30-some seconds to load what Microsoft believes are the core services to make Windows, well, Windows the reality is it takes much longer for your system to become FULLY responsive, i.e. has loaded all the accessory services and apps you have specified for a new boot. In my computer’s case Windows claims it takes roughly 40-odd seconds to boot, when in reality my hard drive light is flickering like mad for at LEAST 90 seconds, and is not fully responsive (and no longer thrashing my hard drive) for about 3 minutes from the time I hit the power switch.

    So, to say YMMV in relation to this tool would be an understatement.

  5. Pezo

    It would be interesting at what times these measurements start and stop.
    The times I get are unreasonably high, my PC starts up pretty quickly but the event log has times in the range of 30-50 seconds.

    Thanks, Pezo

  6. magoo

    why do we need to tick the warning box

  7. Tom

    Typo (or sort of) under the last picture: You are talking about the “boot time”, but I guess you mean “shutdown tim”?

  8. trm96

    Very handy article.

  9. julian

    What am I meant to do with this information? What is a long time?

  10. harrison

    hello hopefully you can help, can u tell me how to do a wall topic on the home page of how to geek

  11. Rob

    Hey! That’s a Ford Focus gauge cluster! lol

    Don’t forget you can also set many useful “traps” for events from there as well. I have one on my servers for login attempt denials and it sends an email.

  12. David George

    I agree with Julian: Who cares if we aren’t advised how to improve boot time? What’s fast? What’s slow?Or is this just a “mine is faster than yours” sort of issue?

  13. Brian Carr

    i use MaaS360® Boot Analyzer Tool MaaS360® Boot Analyzer Tool

  14. Dustin

    Soluto does a pretty good job of gauging this information (well, startup at least) and identifies how long each process takes (and gives recommendations on ones to delay/disable).

  15. Brandon

    Not reading through the whole article, I started the tutorial…I always enjoy learning new things and speeding up my system and enjoyed the nuts & bolts of how to get these times but I have to admit, I was let down by the lack of info at the end. How do we fix a slow boot time? What is slow? What is fast? Why is it a warning, warnings aren’t good, right? Left me with too many questions…

  16. Lester Allen

    Excellent article. Thank you!

  17. Geathan

    And for you Powershell nuts here is the equivalent.

    Get-WinEvent -LogName Microsoft-Windows-Diagnostics-Performance/Operational -MaxEvents 1 | Where-Object {$_.ID -eq 100} | Format-List

  18. Frank B

    I liked the article but we need more info on what to do with this. If my PC is slow to boot then what…

  19. TaylorGibb
  20. Chris

    Interesting but way, way too much trouble. There are many free utilities that will report your boot time for you. Just Google it.

  21. RvdP

    It’s a good benchmarking tool.
    When you decide to cut certain windows services or other boot programs, you can use this tool to benchmark any effects :)
    Of course everything is relative and like many have said before, most PC’s remain unresponsive for quite some time after they already booted.

  22. AMalePoet

    As I am in the over 40 and under 50 age range i have watched many common devices move faster. The first color TV I watched took nearly a minute to warm up. Now it happens in less than a second. The first computer with a hard drive i used had a big red switch in the back. It was ready by the time you sat down if not sooner. As they (computers) progressed they had more you had to do to get it started and took longer to do it. Why do IBM/ MOS based computers seem to be moving slower? Every time a new bit rate is reached the whole system seems set to enslave those who didn’t buy the best and fastest. I knew a guy in the 1990’s who built his computer to use a gigabite hard drive for RAM. Untill the machine overheated it flew. Now with 2 gigs of RAM one hopes your netbook can handle word processing.

  23. Scott

    Another vote for Soluto.

  24. Trev

    This is very interesting,but would realy apreciate some tips on how to reduce my boot time.

  25. Brad Hoschar

    I use Soluto. You can chop the boot time, pause or delay startup items. Before I installed, I was 1:24….after I am getting a startup time of 43 seconds! Great install~!!!!

  26. Joe

    or type “net stat srv”

    or just use unix which will tell you with ONE command “uptime”

    Thanks, I hate microsoft even worse now. Didn’t think that was possible.

  27. Maggie

    I have no “Filter Current Log” in my choices in the right-hand panel.

  28. Veronica

    @Maggie – You need to click on the “Diagnostics – Performance” folder and then SELECT THE LOG to open it. The “Filter Current Log” will then appear. :D

    Well, as I was already aware, my ‘puter is pathetically slow to start up (~170 secs). BTW – I had to leave everything unchecked to find this, as all my issues are “Critical” and “Error”, with only one boot up “Warning” back in May.

    So what do I do about it? How do I find what’s causing the problem?

  29. Sunil Bagalur

    good article………….

    u can use soluto which is a good program for finding boot time shopping it off……….

  30. Anand Tulpule

    I am running Windows 7 and my boot time is 43 seconds and shutdown time is 14 seconds.
    I have disabled all start up items and I am very happy.
    I am using Microsoft Security Essentials which is a superb software and its free.
    It dose not interfere in start-up.All other Security softwares take a long time on start-up.
    Please try this tip. Enjoy!!

  31. Tom

    Security software often causes shutdowns to be slow, as well as startups.

    I recently helped someone who was experiencing 10-minute (!!!) shutdowns. Event Viewer showed that a McAfee component was the last process to write to the log before the shutdown. Uninstalled McAfee, rebooted (experiencing another 10-minute shutdown), and the *next* reboot shut down in 15 seconds.

    That’s one more person who will never again use any security software other than Microsoft Security Essentials.

  32. Bob-El

    Interesting. The only boot event logged on my system is from September 21, 2010.

  33. Paul

    In my experience McAfee seems to be about the worst of the lot when it comes to slowing boot/shutdown to a crawl. On the PCs at work: with McAfee, up to ten minutes to become responsive (and regular freezes while it checks processes out during the day); without McAfee (NOD32, MSE etc), less than one minute. Unfortunately my MD insists on using McAfee because he pays for a site license… the tech support guys install it and I follow along surreptitiously removing it in the interests of productivity and staff morale :)

  34. FlightDreamz

    Very informative article – bookmarking for future reference… Gotta echo B Moore on this though, I would love to see an equivalent Windows XP article.

  35. ahsan

    Wonderful sharing
    I just need to customize startup/bootime and shutdown how can i do that ?? 45 seconds with Core i3 350 2GB ram, no application running at startup ..
    any suggestions?

    Thanks keep sharing..

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