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How do I identify this flashing window at boot time?


When I boot my machine, Windows 7, the command prompt will flash up on my
desktop, but does not stay long enough that I can see what’s going on. Is this
something I should be worried about? It just started happening in the last
month or so.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #52
, I look at ways to capture and read an error message that
flashes at boot time.

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Boot up error

I honestly don’t know if it’s something you should be worried about, but it
is something that I would probably investigate.

I’m going to share a tip that I learned. I think it was from Fred Langa who
did the old Langa List. He’s now over with

He had a wonderful solution for these kind of flashing things that happen on
your computer. If you’ve got a digital video camera, great!

Video record the screen

If you’ve got any kind of a digital video camera… those are perfect for
this kind of thing. (If you don’t, see if your phone has some kind of digital
video capability.)

Where I’m headed of course is:

  • Take a video of the screen as your computer is booting (during the time that
    window pops up and then goes away).

  • Then later, take that video (maybe even to the same computer) fire it up
    and see if you can slow motion through it or pause it at the point that window
    pops up.

That’s one way of determining what that window said. That way, you can slow
it down effectively and see what the contents of that window are. From there,
see if perhaps you can determine what it is specifically and why it’s

Monitor the boot

Now, the other approach to this problem that’s more traditional (more
high-tech as opposed to this low-tech) is to use a program called Process Monitor.

Now, it’s difficult to use it properly at boot time. What it does is… when
it starts, it starts collecting everything that happens on your machine.

So if you have a way to get it started before this happens during your boot,
then you can:

  • Go to Process Monitor after you finished booting.

  • Stop it from collecting more data;

  • And then examine the data that it has collected for you.

It will be complex. It collects just a ton of data. It’s really very
valuable if you are at all technically inclined.

The one thing I would point out real quick is, I believe, there’s a
Summary option in the Tools menu of Process
Monitor. That may actually give you a very nice run-down of exactly what’s been
going on

But if nothing else works, then that can certainly identify exactly what
process was started during the boot, if you can get it to run before this
flashing window does.

Next from Answercast 52 – Why
does Save As not work in my web browser?

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3 comments on “How do I identify this flashing window at boot time?”

  1. My desktop started doing exactly the same thing when I replaced an nVidia graphics card with a new AMD. It is absolutely nothing to worry about. That is unless it started suddenly with no hardware or software changes. Then I would suspect malware.

  2. If you want to slow down (or speed up) a video use VCL Media Player’s Playback/Speed option. You can do it with three or four (or five or six) clicks. It works on the audio portion, too.
    It’s free and I’ve used it for years, no problems.

  3. Well, i’ve experienced such a thing a few weeks ago, i looked in the running processes and i’ve found and killed it. It was something to do with my VGA.


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