Friday, 27 December 2013

Speeding up Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 initial login times


  • Initial log on to a domain joined computer takes a long time. Symptoms of this on Windows 7 is the log in screen processing at preparing desktop.
  • Initial log on to domain joined computer takes a log time and can sometimes leave a black screen for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.


Through a lot of testing there are far to many variables that exist within a domain environment to truly commit to a sound solution. These are so far the proven solutions to speeding up initial login times for multi-user access computers.

1. Use of a mandatory profile

When you use a mandatory profile with customization's (as this is what a mandatory profile is used for or a standard profile for users) , this greatly improves log on times compared to using the default profile (if built with sysprep and the copyprofile xml  command). This should speed up the 'waiting for user profile' part during the log in process. If you don't have a customized default user profile you can skip this customization.

2. Use local profiles with mandatory profiles.

Combining these two together (if they work together at all) will help alleviate network traffic from roaming profiles. Also setting the mandatory path to a local source will greatly improve the load time as it doesn't look over the network for the profile.

3. Disabling active setup components.

Turning off the installation of select active setup components has greatly improved log in times on wired connections, has sped up the preparing windows/desktop part two fold or more.

To turn off the components, use group policy preferences for computer configuration and modify the registry keys from 1 to 0. You can find the active setup components at: "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ActiveSetup\InstalledComponents\GUID". Inside the GUID key you can find out what component is being installed during the initial log in process. You can stop the component from installing by modifying the coponents 'IsInstalled' key from 1 to 0. 

4. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 black screen problem.

The only resolution that has seemed to work for this so far is to disable to App Readiness service. Once disabled, you should no longer get a black screen after the 'Preparing Windows' phase.

This is only a start to improving initial log in times. There are also a lot more variables when it comes to initial log in times that can affect the time it takes to log in (network traffic, server traffic, hardware, wireless, etc.).

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