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Can my start up time for Mathematica 10 be decreased?

Posted 10 years ago

Since about Version 6 it has taken longer and longer to start up Mathematica. In Version 10 on my HP Pavilion HPE Series it takes a little over a minute. Is this common experience? Is there some way to decrease this time? Does it have any thing to do with virus checking?

I guess that one possible solution is to just leave the Mathematica FrontEnd open all the time, say by keeping the Documentation Center open but minimized.

84 Replies
Posted 10 years ago

For me, Win 7 x64 MMA V10, it takes about 5 sec to get to the welcome screen. From there, opening a new notebook is almost instantaneous. I run Norton Security Suite, but I don't know that it's involved in this. --David

POSTED BY: David Keith

Five seconds would be great! I also have Norton Security Suite and Windows 7. There must be something in my system that is slowing down the start up. Mathematica appears to run fast enough after start up.

Posted 10 years ago

Very strange. My 5 seconds is on an HP Z800, Xeon E5530 CPU, 4 cores @ 2.4GHz. 24 Gbytes RAM.

Reasonably fast, but not nearly as fast as the latest Intel processors.

I wonder if your start-up is doing something, like autoloading packages, or some other custom activity.


POSTED BY: David Keith

I'm struggling with the same problems in Mathematica 10 while Mathematica 9 runs perfectly smooth. The startup in version 10 takes quite a long time and the application freezes from time to time so that I get no response. The documentation center is also very slow. Probably you're right with your suggestion that the Mathematica FrontEnd is the problem here. Already at the startup of version 10 I receive the message : "Formatting Notebook content"...

POSTED BY: Fabian Lux

Here Mathematica starts up in about 5 seconds too

In[1]:= $Version    
Out[1]= "10.0 for Microsoft Windows (64-bit) (June 29, 2014)"

possibly you wish to run a registry cleaner. For years I used to use

enter image description here

but they ceased to exist. This time it found 19 registry errors.

Just to mention it, after a Windows Update day or a switch from one Excel to the next one or from one Visual Studio to the next one, there might remain up to 1300 registry errors which could be cleaned out by a reliable tool of your choice. I have rich colleagues who fear to use a registry cleaner - instead they buy a new computer every couple of years ....

POSTED BY: Udo Krause

I clean my registry regularly thats not the problem with the startup I guess... It's something which is more related to this sort of problem:

Problems with the Mathematica startup

POSTED BY: Fabian Lux

Yes, I also get the Formatting Notebook Contents popup.

"In my Global Options I changed the option "CompatibilityToolWarning" from True to False and Mathematica now opens fresh in a few seconds."

On further investigation the above is incorrect. Global options appear not to be involved.

WRI has changed the entire top-level, start up interface. In the long run this is probably for the better, but in the short run, at least for Windows users, it sows much confusion.

The top FrontEnd Bar is gone and is now incorporated in each notebook. Notebooks are now minimized to the task bar just as other Application windows. (This might be considered a significant improvement.)

On my Windows, the initial start up is always about a minute. But after that, notebooks can be closed and reopened in a few seconds - provided it's done the correct way. The bad way is to right-click the Mathematica icon and open Mathematica 10. The right way is to get a small "Wolfram Mathematica 10" palette to appear. It has "New Notebook", "Open.." and "Quit" buttons on it. If you click "Quit" you will be back to the long initial start up. The problem is to learn how to get that palette to appear! If all notebooks are closed, then one method is to just hover the mouse over the task bar icon. Then several quick "Formatting Notebook Contents" windows appear and then the Mathematica 10 palette. You can quickly open a notebook from there, either from the File menu or the Open button. You can also quickly open a notebook from a library folder while the Mathematica 10 palette is open - but not if it is closed.

Another bit of confusion is when persistent palettes appear and when they don't. They appear only when you have selected a Mathematica notebook - which is probably for the good.

One possible method of operation is to keep the Documentation Center open, but minimized, all the time. Then notebooks will open quickly from most anywhere.

Starting Mathematica and opening notebooks is the top level primary interface. If I were WRI I would consider the fact that this is not quick and intuitive a major problem.

Sadly, this doesn't work for me..

POSTED BY: Fabian Lux
Posted 10 years ago

The load time is highly dependent on the memory available and the recent history of the machine. Windows has extensive caching logic. My load time can be 1 minute near startup when all sort of background tasks are getting in gear to 2 seconds just after mathematica has been run. Global options have no effect AFAIK. Benchmark your reload time.

POSTED BY: Douglas Kubler

Well. I had this problem in V9 also and it never varied. It didn't matter if Mathematica had just been run and closed.

The strange thing is that I never had these problems with V9... V10 however is so slow that I cannot work with it anymore. Independent of how many times I open and close it.

POSTED BY: Fabian Lux

There's a complaint about this on Mma.SE:

There were also complaints in the chatroom, with exactly the same symptoms. This seems to be a problem that is affecting many people on Windows.

POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvát
Posted 10 years ago

Next possibility is you're short on memory and using swap space (a lot). I'm using 8GB.

POSTED BY: Douglas Kubler

I'm using 6GB. Should be enough to run V10. As I said: I never had any problems with V9

POSTED BY: Fabian Lux

Mathematica 10 starts up in a few (<5) seconds on both my computers, a 2013 MacBook Pro (16 Gbytes RAM) and a 2012 iMac (32 Gbytes RAM). Opening notebooks is also very fast, even those with a lot of graphics.

It appears that the problem show up on Windows only.

It would be nice to hear from some Linux users.

I have the same problem, but only on my Windows 8 laptop. Start-up on my Windows 7 desktop is ok (the laptop significantly faster and has more memory than the desktop). I was a Mathematica 10 beta tester, and I saw this problem from the beginning; it took 5 minutes for the first release to start-up. I sent as much information as i could to Wolfram Research, and they made various suggestions about how to speed up the start-up, but none worked. Each release, however, started a little more quickly than the last. I was helped somewhat by holding down both the shift and control keys while starting Mathematica. That returns various settings in your installation back to zero. The WR guys said this sometimes fixes mysterious problems that no one understands.

I have been able to narrow the start-up problem down to the front end. The kernel starts instantly in a dos box. Most strange that it doesn't show up in Windows 7.

Another observation: the notebook appears almost instantly, but it's frozen and inert for about one minute.

POSTED BY: George Wolfe
Posted 10 years ago

No problem on 2 systems, M10 startup in 5 seconds.
Installed M10 (upgraded from M9), accepted all defaults

(1) Windows 7 Pro, 64 bit, i5 desktop, 8GB memory, WD 2 TB HD

(2) Windows 8.1, 64-bit, i7 desktop, 8GB memory, Toshiba 1 TB Hybrid drive (8GB NAND)

Recommendation - if you have less than 8GB upgrade!

POSTED BY: Douglas Kubler

If the registry is clean, you could use Process Explorer - Sysinternals: during start up of Mathematica in an attempt to catch the performance eater@work

POSTED BY: Udo Krause

Didn't help for me either.

POSTED BY: George Wolfe

Furthermore, the raise of memory usage seems to be insignificant.

MM10 Memory Usage

POSTED BY: Fabian Lux
Posted 10 years ago

Disable Paging Executive.

{light-bulb} This may be a key change. Referring to the history of my machine, I tried an SSD as the system drive. It proved unstable so I went back to an HD. I copied the system image from SSD to HD. The SSD installation software had flipped to "ON" Disable Paging Executive. It is still on.

POSTED BY: Douglas Kubler
Posted 10 years ago

For me (Win 7 64-bit, SSD, 24 GB) the startup time increased more than three times from 17.3 s for Mma v9 to 58.2 s for Mma v10.

You can use

FE`Evaluate[FEPrivate`$StartTimes] // Column

wich I found here, to get more insight to the time consumption during startup.

In Mma 9 I get:

 {"Initializing kernel connections..." -> 0.312},
 {"Initializing cell styles..." -> 1.264},
 {"Initializing fonts..." -> 1.389},
 {"Initializing menus..." -> 1.404},
 {"Initializing defaults notebook..." -> 1.545},
 {"Initializing defaults clipboards..." -> 1.857},
 {"Initializing internal preferences..." -> 1.935},
 {"Initializing kernels..." -> 2.075},
 {"Opening Welcome Screen..." -> 3.776},
 {"Closing Splash Screen..." -> 4.821},
 {"Preloading Favorites..." -> 4.836},
 {"Handling CommandLineOptions..." -> 4.836},
 {"Opening Files..." -> 4.836},
 {"Do Startup Action..." -> 4.836},
 {"Finished" -> 17.316}

and in Mma 10:

 {"Initializing kernel connections..." -> 0.125},
 {"Initializing cell styles..." -> 1.248},
 {"Initializing fonts..." -> 1.388},
 {"Initializing menus..." -> 1.404},
 {"Initializing defaults notebook..." -> 1.56},
 {"Initializing defaults clipboards..." -> 1.778},
 {"Initializing internal preferences..." -> 1.825},
 {"Initializing kernels..." -> 1.919},
 {"Opening Welcome Screen..." -> 2.87},
 {"Preloading Favorites..." -> 28.33},
 {"Handling CommandLineOptions..." -> 28.33},
 {"Opening Files..." -> 28.33},
 {"Do Startup Action..." -> 58.204},
 {"Closing Splash Screen..." -> 58.204},
 {"Finished" -> 58.204}

Therefore the main problem seems to be "Preloading Favorites", "Handling CommandLineOptions", "Opening Files", "Do Startup Action", and "Closing Splash Screen"

A hard reset by renaming the ...Roaming\Mathematica folder didn't help.

POSTED BY: Karsten 7.

In my case 3 seconds in a MacBook 2.8 Ghz 16GB. Pretty fast.

POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta
Posted 10 years ago

Karsten picked -> "Preloading Favorites", "Handling CommandLineOptions", "Opening Files", "Do Startup Action", and "Closing Splash Screen"

Not all 5 are slow. The time displayed must be the total time since startup, not the time for the individual task. Somewhere in there is buried internet connection to check the license.

How about "Preloading Favorites" and "Do Startup Action..." as being the time consumers?


"Opening Welcome Screen..." and "Opening Files..." as the time consumers?

POSTED BY: Douglas Kubler
Posted 10 years ago

i5 desktop

         {"Initializing kernel connections..." -> 0.078},
         {"Initializing cell styles..." -> 0.187},
         {"Initializing fonts..." -> 0.312},
         {"Initializing menus..." -> 0.328},
         {"Initializing defaults notebook..." -> 0.39},
         {"Initializing defaults clipboards..." -> 0.515},
         {"Initializing internal preferences..." -> 0.546},
         {"Initializing kernels..." -> 0.609},
         {"Opening Welcome Screen..." -> 1.389},
         {"Preloading Favorites..." -> 1.981},
         {"Handling CommandLineOptions..." -> 1.981},
         {"Opening Files..." -> 1.981},
         {"Do Startup Action..." -> 2.262},
         {"Closing Splash Screen..." -> 2.262},
         {"Finished" -> 2.262}

Last try at getting this formatted..

POSTED BY: Douglas Kubler

I ran FE`Evaluate and got this result:

enter image description here

Which seems to say that Mathematica 10 is ready to use in less than 10 seconds, but in fact it isn't. The notebook window if frozen for a minute or more. At first, I can't even drag the notebook window. Then, the notebook title bar says "window not responding," and I can't use it. I can move it around, though.

POSTED BY: George Wolfe

For me, V10 start-up time is more than three times longer than V9.

I get this for V9:

enter image description here

and for V10:

enter image description here

Windows 7-64. 8GB, i7.

POSTED BY: Sjoerd de Vries
Posted 10 years ago

Desktop Win 7 Pro 64-bit, i3, 8GB

It actually takes about 1.5 minutes for MMA10 to be ready to use, but timings already show t(mma10) >3*t(mma9)... and I could swear MMA9 notebook opening is slower than it was...

enter image description here

enter image description here

POSTED BY: Julian Moore

from developers, two areas to check:

a) Check if shutting the network down makes any difference. I.e., they could either disable the network adapter under Windows, or put wireless connections into airplane mode, or yank the cable for any wired connections.

b) Another possibility would be to check the default printer. If it is on a network, switch to a local printer. "XPS Document Writer" is a safe default, at least for tests.


Does starting the computer in Safe Mode (by holding down F8 as Windows starts) make a difference?

Does resetting 10.0 FE caches by holding down the SHIFT key as Mathematica starts make a difference?

POSTED BY: Moderation Team

Acting on the developers suggestions, I tried starting Mathematica 10 in safe mode, and it started immediately and the notebook was immediately interactive. I can't work in safe mode, but I hope this result helps the developers to diagnose the start-up problem.

POSTED BY: George Wolfe
Posted 10 years ago

Re developer suggestions (detailed timings taken for all, but only given for last item; note that in all but safe mode startup, though timings say "finished" after ~30s, MMA is not ready to use until about t=70-90s; in safe mode finished = ready to use more or less)

  1. Disconnect network: no change (no wifi or BT, physically unplugged ethernet)
  2. Set default printer to XPS etc.: no change (default printer was local, but just in case)
  3. Hold down shift during startup: no change
  4. Startup in safe mode: huge difference, detailed timings follow

In[1]:= FEEvaluate[FEPrivate$StartTimes]//Column
Out[1]= Initializing kernel connections...->0.577
Initializing cell styles...->0.998
Initializing fonts...->1.575
Initializing menus...->1.638
Initializing defaults notebook...->2.23
Initializing defaults clipboards...->2.776
Initializing internal preferences...->2.87
Checking activation...->2.979
Initializing kernels...->3.868
Opening Welcome Screen...->8.751
Preloading Favorites...->10.046
Handling CommandLineOptions...->10.046
Opening Files...->10.046
Do Startup Action...->10.046
Closing Splash Screen...->10.108

If developers are interested in detailed system information e.g. an unhackme log to look for commonalities between systems suffering startup slowness, please let us know where to send them (this would be a bad place to dump such logs)


POSTED BY: Julian Moore
Posted 10 years ago

Only Safe Mode helps, although it is no practical option.
Mma 10 starts super fast (nearly 22 times faster than the results shown in my earlier post) and is much more responsive:

 {"Initializing kernel connections..." -> 0.11},
 {"Initializing cell styles..." -> 0.203},
 {"Initializing fonts..." -> 0.359},
 {"Initializing menus..." -> 0.406},
 {"Initializing defaults notebook..." -> 0.5},
 {"Initializing defaults clipboards..." -> 0.609},
 {"Initializing internal preferences..." -> 0.656},
 {"Initializing kernels..." -> 0.734},
 {"Opening Welcome Screen..." -> 2.122},
 {"Preloading Favorites..." -> 2.153},
 {"Handling CommandLineOptions..." -> 2.153},
 {"Opening Files..." -> 2.153},
 {"Do Startup Action..." -> 2.668},
 {"Closing Splash Screen..." -> 2.668},
 {"Finished" -> 2.668}
POSTED BY: Karsten 7.
  1. No difference for deactivated network adapters.
  2. No difference for setting the default printer as "XPS Document Writer".
  3. No difference for holding the shift-key during the MM10 start-up.

But there is big difference when starting MM10 in the safe mode. There is no "Formatting notebook contents" popup and MM10 runs smoothly.

POSTED BY: Fabian Lux

Starting V10 with the shift key pressed cuts timing by a factor of about 6.

enter image description here

Compare that with my timings earlier in this thread.

POSTED BY: Sjoerd de Vries
Posted 10 years ago


thank you very much to everyone in this thread for contributing and sharing your findings.

I am to let you know that we at Wolfram Research are very interested in fixing the slower start-up times in Mathematica 10 by its first bug-fix release.
Unfortunately, except for the prerelease feedback George kindly provided, we had not received any other such reports at the time nor have we been able to reproduce the phenomenon in-house so far.
The more we appreciate all your contributions here.

I have reviewed with our developers everything you have posted in here up to now. This lead us to asking you the following:

  1. Does turning off the Welcome Screen (uncheck checkbox in its bottom-left corner) considerably speed up your Mathematica 10's start-up? If so, does then opening the Welcome Screen later-on (menu Help -> Welcome Screen...) take a long time?

  2. As a double-check: does starting your Mathematica Local kernel take considerably longer in Mathematica 10 than in Mathematica 9? E.g. evaluate Quit[] in a notebook, then 2+2 and measure the time for the second one to finish.

  3. What processes are running on your Windows machine before and after starting Mathematica? If the according list on the Processes tab of your Task Manager fits in its window, please provide us with a screenshot.

For any information you preferred not to post publicly, please feel free to send it to with a reference to this Community post, so we can recognize the context of your email right away.

Any help of yours will be highly appreciated and I would like to thank you very much in advance for all efforts!

Peter Fleck
Manager, Wolfram Technology Group

POSTED BY: Peter Fleck

Turning of the Welcome screen also helps tremendously. A factor of 6 again.

In[1]:= Column[FE`Evaluate[FEPrivate`$StartTimes]]

Out[1]= Column[{"Initializing kernel connections..." -> 3.9, 
     "Initializing cell styles..." -> 4.088, 
  "Initializing fonts..." -> 4.244, 
     "Initializing menus..." -> 4.275, 
  "Initializing defaults notebook..." -> 
       4.368, "Initializing defaults clipboards..." -> 4.54, 
     "Initializing internal preferences..." -> 4.587, 
     "Initializing kernels..." -> 6.818, 
  "Opening Welcome Screen..." -> 8.159, 
     "Preloading Favorites..." -> 8.175, 
  "Handling CommandLineOptions..." -> 8.19, 
     "Opening Files..." -> 8.19, "Do Startup Action..." -> 8.19, 
     "Closing Splash Screen..." -> 8.378, "Finished" -> 8.393}, 
   ItemSize -> {Automatic, Automatic}]

The kernel starts in about 1.5 secs.

POSTED BY: Sjoerd de Vries
Posted 10 years ago

I was having trouble with slow start up, and also the notebook freezing when it was trying to autocomplete symbol/function names (it always froze after entering two letters, seemingly looking up the autocomplete menu, however "strings", numbers etc didn't cause a problem, and evaluation seemed OK).

Unfortunately after several ctrl-shift starts, and quite a few crashes, the kernel wouldn't start because of a licensing error. Furthermore, trying to re-activate the copy via the menus caused a load of notebook error messages. I've had to uninstall it, now looking forward to v10.01!

It's a Win7 laptop, with Intel 4000 HD integrated graphics + NVidia GPU, i7 2.10 GHz CPU, 8GB RAM. Video drivers are up to date. My list of processes are rather too large to fit in a screenshot.

POSTED BY: Robert Ferguson
Posted 10 years ago

Opening the Welcom Screen by Help -> Welcome Screen... takes extremely long. The small Progress Window with "Formatting Notebook Contents" is shown most of the time. During this time the main notebook window is not responding.

POSTED BY: Karsten 7.

Dear Peter Fleck,

On an HP Desktop, Windows 7:

Normal startup: 62 seconds.

With the Welcome Screen turned off: 27 Seconds

Quit[] and 2+2: Just one or two seconds.

Bringing back up the Welcome Screen from the Help menu: 39 seconds;

With Welcome Screen turned off and Holding down Shift key: 27 Seconds.

Also, there is one other annoying feature. With just a single notebook and clicking it off by the X button the task bar shows no open notebooks but after a few seconds two successive Formatting Notebook Contents windows flash on and off, and then the Wolfram Mathematica 10 window (with New Notebook, Open and Quit buttons.) appears. It happens every time and is a bit annoying. It's like after you shut down, Mathematica won't take no for an answer and opens up again with this window. I can sort of see the logic but it would be much better if the user could open this window on his own and keep it open (but minimized) if he expects to do further work with other notebooks. An equivalent way (for me) is to just open the Documentation center and keep it minimize when not actively using Mathematica.

I created boot logs for both a normal Windows 8 startup and a Safe boot. Perhaps a comparison will provide a clue about why my Mathematica 10 startup is almost instantaneous after a safe boot, but takes about a minute after a normal boot:
The normal boot log can be examined here::

The save boot log can be examined here:

On a windows machine you can set msconfig to make a boot log and also control how your computer boots. enter image description here

I also experience hesitations after entering the first two letters of a function. This problem is not severe for me. Let me know if it would be helpful to see the boot log of various kinds of boots, e.g. minimal, alternate shell, active directory repair, network (I'd better find out what happens before I do this, but I think "network" means a save boot with networking).

PS. Why is the community website so slow?

POSTED BY: George Wolfe
Posted 10 years ago

Turning off the welcome screen also accelerated startup considerably; displaying Welcome from theHelp menu subsequently took ~30s.

Timnigs were (note: MMA not actually ready to use until t=30s, but still much faster (1/3 of time) than with Welcome screen automatically shown)

In[1]:= FEEvaluate[FEPrivate$StartTimes]//Column
Out[1]= Initializing kernel connections...->0.078
Initializing cell styles...->0.218
Initializing fonts...->0.359
Initializing menus...->0.374
Initializing defaults notebook...->0.483
Initializing defaults clipboards...->0.655
Initializing internal preferences...->0.702
Checking activation...->0.764
Initializing kernels...->2.106
Opening Welcome Screen...->3.291
Preloading Favorites...->3.323
Handling CommandLineOptions...->3.323
Opening Files...->3.323
Do Startup Action...->3.323
Closing Splash Screen...->5.273

i3, 8GB, WIn 7 Pro 64-bit, onboard Intel graphics

HOWEVER... attempting to enter Quit[] showed a huge lag in bringing up autocomplete; re-attempting, it was fast (obviously cached?) so I tried a different funciton Tan(n[...). It took 30s for the autocomplete options to appear, during which time MMA was using 30-50% of CPU, and was marked as "not responding". This unfortunately means that for me, MMA10 is unusable as it stands :(

Calling up Help on e.g. AbsoluteTiming took 15s - after 5s "formatting notebook" appears and help content appeared at t=15s

POSTED BY: Julian Moore
Posted 10 years ago

Thank you very much for all your comments.

It looks like the Welcome Screen might not be the only source of delay, but definitely a large contributor.
Follow-up questions, if turning off the Welcome Screen considerably sped up your Mathematica 10's start-up:

a) Is the time it takes to start the Welcome Screen from the menu the same as the time by which the start-up shortened by turning the screen off? (I interpret most of your comments along these lines.)

b) If you close the Welcome Screen and reopen it again via the menu several times (without closing Mathematica inbetween), does the Welcome Screen get faster at opening up or does that time remain the same?

Thank you very much in advance for all your help to get to the root of this problem!

Peter Fleck
Manager, Wolfram Technology Group

POSTED BY: Peter Fleck
Posted 10 years ago

a) Yes, approximately.
b) Welcome Screen doesn't get any faster.

I also tried switching of everything except the microsoft services in "msconfig". Unfortunately no speedup.

POSTED BY: Karsten 7.
Posted 10 years ago

Hi Peter,

In answer to a) yes, very similar timing b) 10 open/close Welcome screen timings in seconds: NB figures in () give the time at which the "formatting notebook" message appeared[1].

30.59 (12.86)
30.41 (12.82)
30.87 (13.00)
30.85 (13.17)

All very close, no obvious trend: "by eye" consistent with there being no difference at all (background CPU usage <5%, no significant network activity)., i.e. no, it doesn't seem to get faster here.

[1] which raises the question, what is happening before notebook formatting takes place - as well as why the formatting should also be slow?

i3, 8GB, Win 7 pro, 64-bit.



POSTED BY: Julian Moore

I have done my best to log exactly what happens when I start 10 both with and without the "Welcome Screen." I need a term for the smaller "New Notebook" "Open..." "Quit" dialog box. I'm going to call it the "Choice Screen" to distinguish it from the "Welcome Screen."

If 10 is supposed to open Welcome Screen, the scrolling text on the spikey stops when it gets to "Opening Welcome Screen." After about 30 seconds a "formatting notebook contents" dialog box appears. After about one more minute a blank notebook frame appears. After about one more minute the blank Welcome Screen is suddenly formatted. At this point, clicking on "new notebook" produces a working new notebook within 5 to 10 seconds, sometimes proceeded by a "formatting notebook contents," sometimes (AFAIKT) not. The complete process takes about 3 to 3.5 minutes. When I close the open notebook, "formatting notebook contents" appears after about 15 seconds, disappears, and then reappears. Then it closes and the Choice Screen appears. If I click "quit," there are no further dialog boxes.

When I try to open the Welcome Screen from an open notebook, I get a "formatting notebook contents" that lasts for about one minute, and then the Welcome Screen appears fully formed.

If 10 is not supposed to start with the Welcome Screen, a notebook appears immediately after "initializing kernels" shows up in the spikey, but the notebook unresponsive for about one minute. During the period, I can't move the window for about 20 seconds. Later I can move the window, but it is unresponsive to input.

When I close the notebook, "formatting notebook contents" appears and disappears twice, but it does seem to be a bit faster than when 10 was supposed to show the Welcome Screen at startup.

POSTED BY: George Wolfe
Posted 10 years ago

Possible answer: yes.

At Wolfram's suggestion I removed the wireless USB device that connects my keyboard and mouse to my i3, Windows 7 pro 64-bit machine (since I wasn't able to use a physical keyboard and mouse, I used RDP from Android to connect to the machine)

In the single test I conducted last night following this, startup became "normal", no "formatting notebook" messages appeared and invoking the Welcome Screen from the help menu was also fast again.

Being late, I did not test e.g. autocomplete delay.

If others who have been experiencing this problem find similar results it could be useful to know.

POSTED BY: Julian Moore

I also have a wireless mouse and keyboard, and slow startup. But I don't have an easy replacement at present.

David, Julian,

A user interface developer tells me for you to try this:

Options[$FrontEnd, DisableControllers]

This will list your current controllers (usually "GenericDesktop" mouse and keyboard, but possibly different for you.

You can disable all controllers like so, and this may help with the slowness (please let us know if it does):

SetOptions[$FrontEnd, DisableControllers -> All]

If the wireless keyboard/mouse is indeed at fault here, we will include a fix in the next bug fix release.

Note: To reset this option use this:

SetOptions[$FrontEnd, DisableControllers -> Inherited]

(Also, can you let us know what brand/model of wireless keyboard/mouse you are using?)

POSTED BY: Arnoud Buzing

When I tried this, I got this result: enter image description here

Can I assume that I don't have the controller problem?

POSTED BY: George Wolfe
Posted 10 years ago


Thanks - alas disabling the controllers made no discernible difference: it took 41s for the Welcome screen to appear from Help menu invocation, the input still hangs after typing two characters of a a keyword; on restart, startup was not faster (with Welcome screen disabled, it was 17s to the appearance of a notebook window and 42s until it was ready for use)

One new observation: with the newly opened notebook, I was typing PrimeQ and of course it hung at "Pr"; I then dragged the window to my second monitor and discovered that the desktop did not refresh where the window had been - the window image remained there, but the active real window was moved where I had dragged it.

I find it interesting that completely unplugging the wireless keyboard adapter avoids the problems, but "disabling" it does not.

POSTED BY: Julian Moore
Posted 10 years ago

Wireless mouse and keyboard (Microsoft wireless desktop receiver 3.1). Win7.

Is the start-up time problem occurring at any time during usage or only after booting the system? During the startup of windows any program is slow. (affected by all sorts of code starting, virus scanner,etc.)

When I stressed the virtual memory of my PC and started M10 then for one time only I saw "Formatting Notebooks."

The result below is after using the system for more than an hour switching between M8 and M10.

 {"Initializing kernel connections..." -> 0.078},
 {"Initializing cell styles..." -> 0.219},
 {"Initializing fonts..." -> 0.578},
 {"Initializing menus..." -> 0.593},
 {"Initializing defaults notebook..." -> 0.702},
 {"Initializing defaults clipboards..." -> 0.812},
 {"Initializing internal preferences..." -> 0.843},
 {"Initializing kernels..." -> 0.905},
 {"Opening Welcome Screen..." -> 4.431},
 {"Preloading Favorites..." -> 5.148},
 {"Handling CommandLineOptions..." -> 5.148},
 {"Opening Files..." -> 5.164},
 {"Do Startup Action..." -> 5.164},
 {"Closing Splash Screen..." -> 5.226},
 {"Finished" -> 5.226}
POSTED BY: Douglas Kubler

But wait. If I disable my mouse and keyboard controllers will I still be able to input to the computer?

Posted 10 years ago

I wondered about that a) at PC level and b) MMA level when it came to trying to renable them... but I thought it was worth trying :)

I don't know how MMA is working but when I disabled the controllers I was still able to interact with the system and MMA... of course "disabling" them did not cure the problem (as physically removing the wireless interface did) so maybe they weren't disabled at all... in which case my experience is no guide... but, I expect a reboot would cure any issues, and without MMA to kill the i/f again I doubt you could be locked out forever. It would be nice to get more info if possible. Your risk though!

And again... who knows? ;)

POSTED BY: Julian Moore

When I evaluated

SetOptions[$FrontEnd, DisableControllers -> All]

I received no messages so it appeared to work. The Options showed DisableControllers -> All.

Bringing up the Welcome from the Help Menu now took 35 seconds vs. the previous 39 seconds. Exiting Mathematica and restarting took 29 seconds vs. the previous 27 seconds. (Welcome screen turned off.)

So disabling the controllers did not appear to help.

Julian, we're ordering the nearest possible hardware we can find so we can reproduce the issue in-house and make a fix for it. At this time, I am not aware of a fix or workaround for your issue.

POSTED BY: Arnoud Buzing
Posted 10 years ago

Thanks for the info Arnoud... sounds like a plan! Will be happy to test anything you come up with prior to release if that would help (assuming I'm around; support has a direct email if you want to get in touch directly). Lack of workaround is a nuisance but can't be helped... I have no urgent work work with MMA10. Good luck and thanks for the efforts.

POSTED BY: Julian Moore


We're always looking for prerelease testers, please do sign up at and mention this post.

POSTED BY: Arnoud Buzing

I noticed that Arnoud Buzing said something about pre-release beta testers, so perhaps I don't need to mention this, but if Wolfram wants to beta a 10.01 (or whatever) release specifically with us slow start-up sufferers, I'm sure we would be happy to help. It wouldn't be good to have a fix-it release that didn't actually fix-it.

POSTED BY: George Wolfe

The start up time for Mathematica 10 on my Computer (Intel Xeon E31225 3.10 GHz, Windows 7 64bit) is extremely slow. Takes more than a minute to get the Welcome Screen. It is busy all the time with "Formatting Notebook Contents". It occurs only on one of three similar installations in our group. What is causing this problem? How can I fix it? I need a solution! I installed the latest NVIDIA driver, did a Registry Cleanup, removed and reinstalled Mathematica ... with no success

POSTED BY: Thomas Koeppel
Posted 10 years ago

Do you use a wireless mouse and/or keyboard? (and do the other "similar installations" not? ) if so, read above and switch to wired devices if that is practicable for you. Info on wireless usage would be of interest to all...

POSTED BY: Julian Moore

I removed my wireless mouse and receiver, stick, and switched to a wired mouse and keyboard, but it does not improve.

POSTED BY: Thomas Koeppel
Posted 10 years ago

You should also check if there are any other usb receivers pluged into your computer. For my PC removing the usb receiver of a wacom tablett decreased the startup time. However, it didn't solve the other issues where "Formatting Notebook Contents" pops up and the main notebook window gets unresponsive for a way too long time.

POSTED BY: Karsten 7.
Posted 10 years ago

Thomas, I too have trouble with v10.0. I tried removing my USB receiver for my Microsoft wireless mouse, and doing a fresh install of v10.0, but it hasn't helped. I suspect that any conflicting software the USB installed on the first time I used it is still running on the machine.

My observation is that any action that causes Mathematica to open a new 'window', defining 'window' to include a new notebook, the welcome screen, the code completion 'pop up' menu, or the documentation via F1, causes a freeze that sometimes eventually resolves itself, and sometimes results in a crash. I've had to revert to v9.0.1.

POSTED BY: Robert Ferguson
Posted 10 years ago
POSTED BY: David Keith
Posted 10 years ago
POSTED BY: Robert Ferguson
Posted 10 years ago

Hi Robert,

I am also running Aero, and also Norton Security Suite, and also NVidea graphics. This is true for both my Z800 and for a Lenovo T410S laptop. Both have start-ups of <5seconds. I seem to remember a time when 9 was released when I had a longer start-up, but it's just a vague memory.


POSTED BY: David Keith
Posted 10 years ago

David, thanks for your reply. Your setup seems similar to mine, I have a Lenovo Z580.

So, back to square 1!

POSTED BY: Robert Ferguson

Though I have non of the described start-up delays on OSX, I can easily produce this "Formatting Notebook content" popup, that brings MMA 10 down to a halt. Just by opening the help page for "Classify" and then trying to open the "Neat Examples" on that page. It's not an issue for me, but maybe this info helps finding / fixing the problems discussed here.


Posted 10 years ago

Just in case anyone is still following this thread, I tried playing with Windows' settings, turning off programs and services at startup to try and catch any clash. In the process, I corrupted my Windows 7 installation, and had to reinstall everything!

The upside is that MMA 10 is now running very nicely on my machine. As such, I can rule out my USB mouse, Norton 360, Chrome and Google Drive as causing MMA 10 to crash. I've left my graphics drivers on the same version that shipped with my computer, perhaps that was the cause.

POSTED BY: Robert Ferguson
Posted 10 years ago

I too had the slow startup and "Formatting Notebook Contents" issue on my Lenovo Y580 laptop. I have an NVidia 660M GPU and after updating the drivers to the latest version directly from Nvidia's web site I no longer experience this issue. MMA 10 starts up just as quickly as it does on my desktop. Both machines are running Win 8.1 x64.

POSTED BY: manzur1

I updated my NVidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti Drivers (they did appear to update and install) and it made no improvement on my computer. So perhaps this is not a complete solution.

I updated my AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5000 display adapter, but it did not resolve the MMA 10 slow startup and "formatting notebook contents" message and delay when opening help and going to each new help topic.

POSTED BY: George Wolfe

Classify's "Neat Examples" section is weird indeed. In my case, even ten minutes after opening, Mathematica is still having difficulties displaying it. I get the "Formatting notebook contents" dialog every few seconds.

POSTED BY: Sjoerd de Vries

I just found the problem! It's the Classify["Language"... inside the Dynamic. If you've not done a Classify["Language"... before, MMA tries to download the according data from Wolfram's servers. But it somehow seems to cancel / timeout this download when it is inside a Dynamic - ending up in a kind of endless loop. If you just run let's say Classify["Language", "Hallo Welt", "TopProbabilities"] in a notebook first, the according help page will then open with no delay!

Thanks! I confirm Matthias's method solved the problem in my 10.0.0's documentation for Classify.

ps. My configuration: windows 8.1 x64, NVidia GeForce GT 730M.

POSTED BY: Silvia Hao
Posted 10 years ago

Having similar responsiveness problems running the system on my Windows 8.1 PC. A new notebook opens quickly (<2 seconds) but the system hangs for about 30 seconds before accepting any input.

After the first few characters of input, it then hangs again for 30 seconds while attempting to perform autocomplete.

Disabling Preferences.../enable autocompletion with a popop delay of __ seconds eliminates the hang while typing, and results are generated in an expected amount of time, but does not improve startup time.

POSTED BY: Joseph Hatfield
Posted 10 years ago

No slowdowns here: version 10.0 starts up in a few seconds under CentOS 7.0 64-bit. Core i5 laptop with 8G RAM, Intel graphics, wireless USB mouse.

POSTED BY: Chris Pemberton
Posted 10 years ago


I was wondering if there's been any recent activity on this issue? I installed 10.0.1 on a 32-bit Windows 7 PC about a week ago and it worked fine. Today I installed 10.0.2 and it pauses for a long time (over 60 seconds), saying "Initializing kernels..."

Grateful for any ideas!


POSTED BY: Graham Carter

I installed 10.0.2 on both my Macs, and start-up -- even the first initialization -- is instantaneous. Sorry to learn that this (probably) Windows-specific issue is still present.

Personally, I would do the following:

  1. Start Task Manager
  2. Start Mathematica
  3. Once the formatting dialog shows up, immediately right click on Mathematica in Task Manager
  4. Select Create Dump File
  5. Send the file to Tech Support

If the formatting dialog disappears before the file has finished being generated, you will need to start over.

POSTED BY: Ian Hojnicki
Posted 10 years ago

Hi Ian,

Thanks for that - I've created a dump file, seems to be too big for the Wolfram website to cope with, but will persevere! Thanks again.


POSTED BY: Graham Carter

Were you trying to send the dump file via ? That can take large files.

For the "Recipient:" field, put "". In the "Additional notes:", mention this Community discussion number, 291612. Sending a follow-up email to with a description of the behavior and mentioning that you sent a dump via upload would be helpful. Include "Community discussion 291612" near the top of the email.

POSTED BY: Bruce Miller
Posted 10 years ago

Since about Version 6 it has taken longer and longer to start up Mathematica. In Version 10 on my HP Pavilion HPE Series it takes a little over a minute. Is this common experience? Is there some way to decrease this time? Does it have any thing to do with virus checking?

I guess that one possible solution is to just leave the Mathematica FrontEnd open all the time, say by keeping the Documentation Center open but minimized.

Earlier this year I installed an SSD. See my 73 minute YouTube SSD install video. Previously, when I used a Seagate 7200 RPM HDD as the system drive, my system was incredibly slow. I had to wait for everything, including the audio drivers, to load. Now, with my SSD, everything loads extremely fast. My Windows 7-64 bit, i7, 16 GB RAM, system boots in about 30 seconds. I haven't timed it in awhile.

I just installed Mathematica 10.0.2 today. I am basically a new Mathematica user, rarely using previous versions 8 and 9. I have not loaded any extras for M10. This fresh install loads the main screen in about 8 seconds, even if I include the time for getting past the Welcome Screen.

I do have Norton Internet Security 2013 running. To make sure NIS does not affect my timings, I take the precaution of pre-loading NIS by right-clicking on the NIS icon in the TaskBar and clicking "Load Norton Internet Security." NIS does not immediately load when booting up and it does take a few seconds.

Also, while I do have a SanDisk Extreme II 480GB SATA 6.0 Gbit/s installed, the motherboard Intel controller is actually a SATA II 3 Gbit/s controller. However, I don't believe this affects my speed by much. See my YouTube video above. My SanDisk Extreme II, which I bought a year ago, is the previous generation. The latest generation is the SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB SATA 6.0GB/s. I highly recommend anyone replace their HDD with an SSD. You don't realize just how slow HDD's are, especially with demanding Windows 7-64 and later O/S's, until you upgrade to an SSD. Upgrade your RAM to whatever the maximum amount your Windows and motherboard can handle. If you have a 32 bit Windows O/S, your maximum is probably 4 GB. If you have a 64 bit Windows O/S, you are limited by what your motherboard can handle.

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