Slow Boot Up of Domain Joined Windows XP Client Machine…


I know… everyone is talking about Windows 7 nowaday and Windows XP is about to EOL.

However, my whole environment is still running on Windows XP under AD 2003. And what I see here is that knowing the fundamental is important. For all the recent issues I had resolved rather require me to re-visit all the fundamental of the technology. Therefore, I decided to share this with you all as this issue has link with the previous issue I mentioned before.

First of all, do take note.. Its a SLOW BOOT UP issue, not a slow login issue. The scenario I am talking about here is machine boot up till you see the login screen… Yes.. The Screen where you see “Press Ctrl Alt Delete to login”. Got it? 🙂

OK. Under this blog, I just want to share with you all on what can cause a slow boot up of Windows XP (Joined to Domain) – one of the possible reason that due a GPO setting!!

What GPO setting?


It is the setting under Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Logon – “Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon”

For this setting, it is “enabled”.

How can this setting cause the slow boot up? Maybe we should read the explanation of the GPO setting as follow:


Explanation extracted

Determines whether Windows XP waits for the network during computer startup and user logon. By default, Windows XP does not wait for the network to be fully initialized at startup and logon. Existing users are logged on using cached credentials, which results in shorter logon times. Group Policy is applied in the background once the network becomes available.

Note that because this is a background refresh, extensions such as Software Installation and Folder Redirection take two logons to apply changes. To be able to operate safely, these extensions require that no users be logged on. Therefore, they must be processed in the foreground before users are actively using the computer. In addition, changes that are made to the user object, such as adding a roaming profile path, home directory, or user object logon script, may take up to two logons to be detected.

If a user with a roaming profile, home directory, or user object logon script logs on to a computer, Windows XP always waits for the network to be initialized before logging the user on.

If a user has never logged on to this computer before, Windows XP always waits for the network to be initialized.

If you enable this setting, logons are performed in the same way as for Windows 2000 clients, in that Windows XP waits for the network to be fully initialized before users are logged on. Group Policy is applied in the foreground, synchronously.

If you disable or do not configure this setting, Windows does not wait for the network to be fully initialized and users are logged on with cached credentials. Group Policy is applied asynchronously in the background.

Note: If you want to guarantee the application of Folder Redirection, Software Installation, or roaming user profile settings in just one logon, enable this setting to ensure that Windows waits for the network to be available before applying policy.

Note: For servers, the startup and logon processing always behaves as if this policy setting is enabled

Extraction Ends……

Understand the explanation? In summary, if you enable this setting, the machine will boot up, tried to perform all the necessary GPO setting under Computer Configuration (Startup Script, folder redirection, software installation, Wireless Configuration and etc) before you see the logon screen. 🙂

If one want to determine if this setting should be enable? Just read the “NOTE” above!

So, how I resolve the slow boot up issue, change the setting to “disable” as the affected machine has the GPO setting as “enabled”.

By the way, if your situation is only one domain joined machine having such issue, you may want to check if the machine has local GPO. If not, it will be due to network card issue already!


This entry was posted in Managing Active Directory, Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Windows, Troubleshooting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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