I'd boot using another OS. Either a WinPE or Linux rescue disk or any Linux distro with a live disk. If you still have a slow boot then you know there is a hardware or firmware problem. If it boots fine then I'd try a clean install of Windows as timmmay suggested.
yep booting from an ubuntu usb stick is the same ... super slow.timmmay:yeah i could do that but i think it would literally take a life time to complete
Lost track there, slightly confusing post, but have you tried reinstalling from fresh media?gzt:theres a couple of options regarding what to do on failures during boot, nothing for this. It's not so bad as i've eliminated the drive at least by using a clone.MadEngineer:
yep it's the same on a windows 7 usb stick. the loading files at the start with the block sized progress bars at the bottom zips through fast enough but as soon as the windows logo appears it chugs almost to a stop. It's like the machine is running at a tiny fraction of the usual clock speed.
a harddrive must be physically in the machine else an annoying hp diagnostics screen comes up
That's annoying. No way to disable in bios?gzt: Or set boot order set to USB only?nein
Never seen that happen I'd expect a disable but never seen it
Reason to unplug the drives is to reduce any contribution from the sata controller or whatever. No drives mean less initialisation.