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I have a Samsung Galaxy S with stock Android 2.3.3 (with carrier modifications, regretfully).

Usually, when I reboot the phone, it shows the boot animation for a few seconds, then goes to the lock screen while it finishes booting. Every once in a while (though more often lately than it used to), the boot animation screen gets stuck for about 5 minutes before showing me the lock screen.

This happens both on clean boots (i.e. shutting it down from the power button menu and then restarting) as well as when the phone freezes and I restart it, or when it crashes.

What is the phone doing at this time?

Why does it do it sometimes and not at other times?

How can I avoid this?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Download and install the Android SDK. On your handset's manufacturer website find and download USB drivers for your device, and install them. On your phone go to Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Development and enable the USB debugging option. Now when connect the phone to your PC via USB, you should see the "USB debugging connected" ongoing notification.

On your PC (I'm assuming Windows) start command prompt by going to Start -> Run, typing "cmd" and pressing enter. Navigate to the "platrofm-tools" sub-folder of where you installed the Android SDK (e.g. "C:\AndroidSDK") by typing the following:

cd C:\AndroidSDK\platform-tools

and press enter. Now issue the following command:

adb devices

and press enter. If everything was installed correctly, the adb service will start and show your connected handset's serial number:

* daemon not running. starting it now on port 5037 *
* daemon started successfully *
List of devices attached
HT035xxxxxxxx device

You can now issue the adb logcat command to review your handset's logs in real-time. Reboot while your handset is still plugged into USB (you will need to re-issue the adb logcat command when the phone restarts) and you will be able to see what your phone is doing during those long boot-up sequences.

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If I had to guess, I would guess it runs fsck. On Linux and EXT3/FAT filesystems there's no way to check the file system when it's being used, so it's usually checked on boot.

However, it taking 5 minutes on such small disk sounds abnormal. Be sure to have backups of all data you have on your phone, it's possible that the hardware is failing.

If you have a memory card in it, it might make sense to take it out and run some diagnostics for it on a real computer. If the problem is in internal memory of the phone, then, well, apart from rooting the device it's hard to know.

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AFAIR Samsung does not use EXT3. It uses a proprietary file system called "RFS". – Robert Aug 17 '11 at 17:50
Ext3FS is not a "de-facto" standard in stock ROMs (including Carrier modified ROMs, ie with carrier's bloatware) and assuming that it exists - see this answer I posted previously on different but similar subject matter. Ext3FS is more commonly seen on full-blown Linux desktops - not smartphones... hence -1 from me :) – t0mm13b Mar 10 '13 at 23:39
t0mm13b: If the phone runs FAT variant, the result is the same. Linux cannot check filesystems when they are mounted, thus root filesystem can only be checked on boot time. – Zds Mar 11 '13 at 9:10

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