XP slow login on laptop with wireless: hangs at applying network setings. Sound familiar to anyone?

I could not find an adequate solution to this problem anywhere on the net.  People attributed it to DNS, but that was not the cause here.  In my case, I found the problem and wanted to share the solution with others and see if it solves their issues as well:

Symptoms:

Laptop with XP Pro, SP2, completely patched, hangs when user thries to log in when connected to the domain or stand-alone.  This behavior occurs when the wireless card is turned on or off.  The system hangs at "applying network settings."  DNS is configured without any problems.  This only effects 3 laptops on the entire network.

Solution:

In your wireless settings, check your list of "preferred networks."  Every time you connect to a hotspot, windows adds it to this list.  In my case, the affected laptops belonged to employees who travelled A LOT and had 50-60 "preferred networks" listed from airport hotspots to hotel networks.  I removed all of them except the ones used for the office and his home network, and it completely fixed the issue.

I am not sure of the technical reasoning behind it, but my guess would be that Windows checks each of these connections at some point during the boot-up (perhaps during the "applying network connections" stage) to poll them for availability. 3-4 preferred networks doesn't take long, but processing 50-60 of them causes the system to take a lot more time to do this.

If there is anyone else who is having similar problems, try this and see if it works.  I am interested to see if it helps other people as well.
mnmorencyAsked:
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CetusMODConnect With a Mentor Commented:
PAQed with points refunded (250)

CetusMOD
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MereteCommented:
Hi for a starting point please
look in control panel administrative tools event viewer applications note the event and id  number and post back here a couple to help us pin down the problem.
it could be that these 3 have the same ip address or not in the correct workgroup?

User Profile Hive Cleanup Service
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=1b286e6d-8912-4e18-b570-42470e2f3582&displaylang=en
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mnmorencyAuthor Commented:
Merete:

There is no problem any longer.  As stated, I have already solved it and was posting here because no one had offered this solution, nor had I found this particular solution to the problem listed anywhere online.  It seemed every thread I found on this web site and others were abandoned or forced closed without definitive resolution.  I am merely looking for others who may have this issue to see if my solution helps them as well.

For the record, though, when trying to solve this issue I did look at the event viewer and there were no errors or problems.  I also tried running the profile hive cleanup and it did not help.  DNS was configured perfectly, there were no duplicate IP addresses, and they were all joined to the domain correctly.
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MereteCommented:
lol ok thank you I am at work and its 3.13 am here, I do remember seeing similar situations here at EE, if I come across these posts will send you a link here if this is still active. :)
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dotsmitCommented:
Worked like a charm. Thanks for your post
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TECHDLSCommented:
Hello
This really helped us resolve the "laptop slow at network login".  In our situation, the user only had 2 wireless networks listed, but both of them were set to automatic.  Once we changed them to "on demand" the slowness went away.  Thanks for sharing this fix.
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