How To Use Verbose Boot Messages to Troubleshoot Windows Startup Problems

If you’ve ever had problems with your PC starting up or shutting down slowly, there’s lots of different troubleshooting techniques that you can use—today we’ll talk about how to enable verbose messages.

Enabling these verbose messages is not going to magically solve your problems, of course—the point is to use this to identify a problem, which you can then solve through other means, generally by uninstalling a problem application or upgrading a faulty driver.

Enable Verbose Boot Logging for Drivers and Such

Open up msconfig.exe through the Start Menu search or run box, and then head over to the Boot tab. You’ll want to use one of these two settings:
Boot log: Use this setting to create a text log of all the drivers that are loaded during startup.
OS boot information: Use this setting to display the drivers on the screen while booting (note that this seems to slow startup a bit)

Once you’ve chosen your settings, click OK and reboot to see the change.

If you chose to enable the Boot log, you can just paste the following into your Run box to open up the file:

notepad %SystemRoot%\ntbtlog.txt

You’ll see something like this, which shows all the drivers that loaded, and even the ones that didn’t load.

If you chose the “OS boot information” option, you’ll actually see each driver as it loads. This can be helpful to see what is taking a long time to load.

Note: this option does seem to make booting take longer. You should probably disable the option once you are done.

Enable Verbose Service Startup/Shutdown Messages

Windows loads up the drivers first during the black screen portion of the boot process, but then once you are looking at the regular login wallpaper screen, it is loading up services in the background. To troubleshoot this part of the process, you’ll have to flip a registry switch.

Open up regedit.exe and head to the following key, creating it if the key path isn’t there:


Once you are there, create a new 32-bit DWORD on the right-hand side named VerboseStatus, giving it a value of 1.

Now when you start up or shut down, you’ll see more verbose messages telling you what is taking so long.

Of course, on a normal PC these messages will fly by so fast that you won’t see anything.
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