Windows XP hangs at logon, both local and domain profiles.. irritating!

Posted on 2006-04-13
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hi all,

This is a recurring problem that I seem to have with many PCs I encounter.  Very frustrating.  

When you log on to Windows XP, the PC hangs.  The wallpaper shows up, but no start menu, no icons.  It hangs there for maybe 30 seconds - 1 minute.  
Here's the fixes I've tried various times on different PCs - the group policy fix, where you change the "wait for network at logon" setting.  I've tried it in safe mode.  I've tried local vs. domain profiles.  I've tried new profiles vs. pre-existing profiles.  There really seems to be no smoking gun every time I encounter the issue..

..especially when it's my PC.  I'm a control-freak minimalist, only have 20 processes running, no AV or spyware protection.  The only thing I have noticed is that I've encountered it a lot on Dell Latitudes - a great laptop, in my opinion, that I reccomend to other clients.  Only problem is, no matter how much time and effort you put into tweaking a PC for someone, all they see is that 1 minute freeze and think your work is trash.

Any ideas or suggestions very welcome.
Question by:TechAssist
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    hi there

    if its about dell systems ur talking about then check in the bios for usb emulation and if its set to ON set it to OFF or disable this should resolve the issue.

    when ever the computers boots up it tries to boot from the usb devices.

    remember dont disable the usb.  only usb emulation is to be changed

    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    have you checked your event viewer application log?

    If your system hangs about 2 or 3 minutes at startup, where you can't access the Start button or the Taskbar, it may be due to one specific service (Background Intelligent Transfer) running in the background.

    1. Click on Start/Run, type 'msconfig', then click 'OK'.
    2. Go to the 'Services' tab, find the 'Background Intelligent Transfer' service, disable it, apply the changes & reboot.

    How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows XP

    Slow logon to domain in XP Pro

    Fast Boot / Fast Resume Design
    BootVis.exe Tool

    Is the machine slow logging into the a Domain? See

    If all else fails, maybe a system restore will help
    Start the System Restore Tool from a Command Prompt in Windows XP

    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    Like Bhanu, I have seen this caused by USB. In one case it was a USB joystick a friend had plugged in. Unplugged system booted right up.

    A couple things to try...
    Open regedit and create the keys listed at....
    You might be able to see what Windows is doing during this "freeze"

    To possibly narrow some things down....
    Try unplugging any external devices and see if problem still persists.
    Unplug the network cable and see if problem persists (even when logging in locally XP will still try to validate things on an active network, if the cable is disconnected this will not happen. If it works fine with the cable disconnected, then we can narrow down the search for the cause).

    Expert Comment

    If this is on a network, make sure your DNS settings are correct. If you are running Windows 2000 / 2003 server, make the primary dns of your workstation the IP address of the server. Are you getting any errors in the event logs?

    Author Comment

    Thanks, will give some of these a try and let you know.

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