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I have a fairly standard Windows Server 2012 R2 domain with Windows 10 Pro clients.

Pretty much everything has always worked well enough.

There was something that worried me at the beginning, many years ago, but that I since began to see as normal, but it recently occurred to me to confirm it.

Normal logins for most users are relatively quick: under 10 seconds for the slowest computers and most are under 5 seconds.

However, if a user is logging into a computer for the first time (i.e. it is the first time that user has logged into that specific computer) then that first login process can take quite a long time - anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes (possibly depending on the computer speed, but I'm not sure).

Any login after that first login is quick and snappy. I'm assuming that the delay is because the computer is setting up the users Domain profile on the local machine, but it still sometimes seems... excessive... to me.

What are your experiences with first-time logins?

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Login times of 5-20 minutes, even for the initial login, are not normal.

There are some things that can be causing this:

  1. Are you using Roaming Profiles? If so, does that user have very large files in the profile? This may be why, as they have to synchronize to the new computer. Even with roaming profiles, folder redirection should still be used for places where users store data, such as the desktop or documents folders to prevent this.

  2. Do you have any group policies, run-once registry keys, login scripts, etc that only run the first time a user is logged in? If so, these may contribute to the problem.

  3. Is there a domain controller which is "local" to the user? If the nearest domain controller is on the other side of a slow/unreliable network link, the initial application of user GPO and other login items may take an unusually long time.

As mentioned in a comment on your question, Microsoft has tools to profile slow login performance. You should utilize the Windows Performance Toolkit here, as it will give you great insight.

  • 1. I'm not using Roaming Profiles (I wonder if I should). 2. I do have GPOs (some edit registry keys), but no login scripts, and nothing that is set to only run at first login. 3. My Domain consists of many offices, all interconnected via VPN (VPN connections can be slow). All offices have 2 local DCs, and all workstations and DCs are correctly assigned to their local Sites. I'll check out the Performance Toolkit, thanks. – Daniel Jul 7 '17 at 17:41
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If you are using roaming profiles (IE: have the profile path set to a unc path), then there is potential to take time to set up the local profile when logging on to a new computer for the first time (I used to see this with users that had large files saved to their desktop). Also if you have a lot of user GPO's, they are being downloaded and applied at first login.

  • 1
    That's why the desktop on all accounts at my institution is read-only. – wizzwizz4 Jul 7 '17 at 20:44

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