Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have recently been given the task of trying to work out why the login time (not machine boot time) for some of our users seems slow.

The vast majority of clients (95%) are running on XP sp3, Windows 2003 domain controlers. Most users have the same model of machine.

I would like to be able to see how long each of the polices are taking to load (if possable split user and computer) and any other info that might help (services starting etc) I changed the userenvdebuglevel reg option to generate the userenv.log file but it didn't contain very much info.

UPDATE I have been investigating the problem this afternoon. I managed to get some info more info out by turning on userenvdebuglevel. For some reason i'm not sure of yet, there is a 20 second gap between two processes

alt text

Its only affecting a certain subset of users, so i think its something happening in a policy, only problem is i'm not sure where it is happening. The error is pointing at a dns issues so maybe a path is wrong somewhere

share|improve this question
What's the user listed before the DNS messages? If it's anything except the actual user then the DNS message can be ignored. – joeqwerty Jan 14 '11 at 18:24

Turn on User Environment Debug logging.

share|improve this answer
That only works up to XP / Server 2003. – Helge Klein Mar 12 '13 at 16:05
Right. The OP stated that 95% of the clients are XP. – joeqwerty Mar 12 '13 at 16:39

First grab a good PC and a bad PC and bring them to your lab... You can work in the oder that I listed.

  • Is it slow for all users on the one PC?
  • Try get gat hw to be the same - could be extra USB devices connected or USB cable length (HP printers require 6ft for example and sometimes cause performance issues if you use 10ft cables...)
  • If it's only one user on a PC, is it resolved if you delete/recreate the windows profile? (very common)
  • Make sure basic things like IP settings are the same on both
  • Make sure the slow PC is clean - UBCD to chkdsk/defrag/delete temp files
  • Use a boot cd to check for viruses and malware.
  • Compare good/bad machine with MPSReports from MS
  • Is there somethings about the network connection itself, is bootup slower if you plug a good PC into the same jack?
  • Check Boot.ini and MSConfig for differences
  • Make sure other settings (like Visual effects) are the same on both PC's
  • compare installed apps and drivers including their versions
  • Cleanup unused hidden drivers
  • Does a rebuild fix the issue? This is sometimes faster to resolve the issue, especially if you have images of the machines. It's cool to tshoot the real cause, but sometimes business demands the simplest solution.
share|improve this answer

See if you can pin it down to individuals or whether it's really the machines. I generally see these issues being related to the user profiles. This can be verified by logging on to a single machine with various accounts and observing the results. If necessary you can copy profiles between machines for the tests.

When I've had the same problem it's most often been related to shortcuts or mappings to files, shares or even printers on the network that are no longer there.

share|improve this answer
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I have managed to get to the bottom of this, it is a problem in the way the GPO is applied as the user logs in. more info at

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.