A. A. Each dot is part of the boot-time chkdsk (autochk.exe), and each 3 dots represent one drive so there should be 3*<number of drives> dots. Sometimes if something is wrong with that drive the startup will be delayed. However there is a known problem with NT if your computer has one or more IDE disks and one or more SCSI disks which results in a pause of around 30 seconds. The problem is due to the detection code used by NT and is currently being investigated by Microsoft.