Slow logon? Look at these items

The Directory Services Team at MS has wrong two very good blog post about troubleshooting slow logons for workstations.

Here?s a clip from So you have a slow logon?? (Part 1)

  • Outdated drivers: Your network interface card (NIC) should use the latest drivers installed.
  • Outdated operating system (OS) patch level: Your operating system should have the latest service pack installed from windows update
  • Roaming user profiles: Roaming profiles change the way group policy processing is performed. When roaming profiles are configured the processing is changed from ?asynchronous? (background processing or multiple at a time) to ?synchronous? (foreground processing or one at a time). This disables ?Fast logon Optimization? which will delay the user getting the desktop by waiting for the network to initialize first.

Note: This is really important to understand that when roaming profiles are implemented, group policy software installations and folder redirection requires that the user is NOT logged on before the network is initialized and processes policy synchronously- ONE AT A TIME. This is the default behavior and changing it could cause inconsistencies with your logon.

  • Home folders: This could impact your logon times because instead of looking at a local location for system DLL?s, the client machine will look for them in the home folder instead. If that mapped network share is across a wide area network (WAN) link that is slow you can bet that your logon time is going to suffer even more.

Note: If home folders are needed with roaming profiles there is a registry key tweak (SafeDllSearchMode) that can be added that will change the behavior. If you?re not sure that this is an issue in your environment, take a network trace at logon and see if DLL?s are being queried across the network to the home folder. There is also another tweak on the same page (StartRunNoHOMEPATH) that will assist with applications doing this behavior.

  • Start up applications: Applications that are configured to automatically run during startup will slow the logon down.
  • Profile scanning: There are many antivirus software applications that will scan profiles at login and at their home location if they are roaming. This is not limited to just antivirus software but other applications will as well. (In the troubleshooting section we will review how to discover if this is happening)
  • Excessive group policies: Having a ton of group policies that perform extensive tasks or configurations (like software restrictions) will increase your logon time. A few policies that accomplish everything are better than many policies that do a handful of things each. If possible consolidate your group policies.
  • Excessive startup/logon scripts: Scripts that run at logon or start up can delay the process significantly if they perform a lot of tasks or use inefficient code
  • Excessive WMI filters: Having excessive WMI filters can slow group policy processing
  • No local domain controllers: Not having local domain controllers (users authenticating across a wide area network-WAN) will cause a logon delay

In So you have a slow logon?? (Part 2) they look at GPOs,services, and debugging for the user logon. A clip:

To dissect where it is slow is not that difficult to tackle?.

  • Is it slow from when you hit the power button to the point where you get to the login screen?
  • Is it quick to get to the login screen but then hangs for a while to get to the desktop?
  • Is it all users, and not administrators?
  • All the above

Troubleshooting will be dictated by the answers to those questions. We will start off with a slow boot that occurs when the power button is hit and it takes forever to get to the logon screen (even though a slow boot is NOT a slow logon). If the slowness occurs when the machine first boots up before you get to the login splash screen, then typically there is either an issue with the core OS, the applications installed, or a combination of both. A great place to start troubleshooting is to enable verbose startup, shutdown, logon and logoff messages (providing the operating system is XP or higher) according to KB 325376. With this enabled you will receive additional information during the boot/login process:

This is some great information and I?d encourage you to read both post in full at

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