I have narrowed down my serious start up degradation on a Gateway ML3109 to spiking CPU and Disk activity as I start up and do almost anything on the notebook. Something is making various services, apps and drivers throw up errors about taking too long to start-up and shutdown. I thought I had narrowed it further to Sound drivers but updating and repeated reinstalls only reduced the sound-related errors. I'm almost sure this is hardware because I have done two clean reinstalls of just the Vista Basic system and it doesn't change. I thought it could be the generic drivers Vista's install disk uses, so I replaced every driver I could find on gateway's website for my model (only chipset wouldn't download, saying my system didn't "meet minimum requirements" even though it was downloaded from Gateway for my serial number) but the result is just fewer errors at each startup, or shutdown, in the Performance-Diagnostics>Operational log accessed on the Advanced Tools panel. These errors (sometimes Critical) are for different services/apps/drivers each time although Management Console, Prefetch, Error Reporting, Volume Shadow Service, Sound (including PCI slot, driver, and service) are frequent offenders. The startup and shutdown time are about 3 minutes each, up from 20 seconds previously. It is the critical error on each startup (degradation error 100) that bothers me. Can someone tell me the exact procedure to troubleshoot these as I watch the performance graphs spike for CPU, hard disk, Memory? By the time I get to the log after startup, it is too late, but the spikes continue anyway even though no additonal errors are thrown up except at startup and shutdown. The error log in Administrative View is clean. I have no viruses, now or previously. I run no startup programs except Avast. I keep it CCleaned and Auslogics Defragged daily. Thanks.