Windows XP delay before Cntrl-Alt-Delete screen

I have a Windows 2003 Domain and just about all of my member PCs have a long delay after the Windows splash screen and the Cntrl-Alt-Delete screen (about 1-2min).  I have Noticed that newly joined members do NOT have this problem and load right up.  I don't have any startup scripts but I do have some logon scripts (which shouldn't be causing this).  I have check to see if any of my PCs have DNS issues and can not find anything wrong and all of my PCs get their DNS from DHCP server.  All of my clients are Windows XP: Pro.  I have several group policies but no one computer processes more than 2 different group policies (one PC policy and one user policy).  The newly joined PCs develop this issue over time but not within the first couple reboots of the PC after joining the domain.  I have no errors in my logs to point me to a problem.  Also I use a product called DeepFreeze but their tech support says it doesn't cause a problem with booting and I know I don't have any viruses/spyware.

Is there some kind of tool i can use to log what is going on between the splash screen and moment I get the logon screen?  Or anything I can change to make these PCs (over 100) boot faster (already checked BIOS).
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I have experienced similar problems in the past and normally this has been attributed to the Global Policies being implemented. Even when nothing in the global policy has changed these delays have been observed, however the machines experiencing the delay should have an "Updating ...." message displayed. However, once the systems are given time to update, they usually do not have the delay again for several months. A quick way to test the Global policy update is to use "gpupdate /force" from the command line.

With over 100 users connecting, I will assume at all roughly the same time, are you using a single Domain Controller? Is the DC also handling DHCP, DNS, WINS requests or are these services provided by another system?

If the OS running in system is XP, try the following: (These may work for Windows 2003 also (registry paths may be slightly different))

Using static IP (instead of DHCP) will greatly reduce waiting time during "preparing network connections".

-> go to the following registry path:
HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\
Modify/create the DWORD with the name "SyncForegroundPolicy" to value "0".

-> go to the following key:
add here a dword with name "DisableDHCPMediaSense" and with value "1"

-> go to run, type "services.msc", double click "WebClient" service and change the startup type to "disabled"

-> go the following key:
here if you find any scripts whose address in a network, that will slowdown bootup showing "running startup scripts"
here delete unnecessary scripts (or) copy the scripts to local system and point to local scripts.

Above steps will greatly reduce the bootup time of Windows.

To enable status messages during windows startup/shutdown:
go to the following key:
Add a DWORD with name "verbosestatus" with value "1"

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kathy_harveyAuthor Commented:

I have 4 DCs all are global catalog servers, I have 1 server that is local to each of my "sites" and that server serves as a DHCP/DNS/File Server (roaming profiles).  I don't have a WINS server
kathy_harveyAuthor Commented:
The delay I am seeing is in the "blue screen" before the Cntrl-Alt-Delete box comes up.  The mouse moves but it just sits there for 1-2min then all of a sudden I see hard disk activity and the log-on window pops up.  Once that window comes up my users don't have much issues logging in.  I have all my computers disable the windows firewall and since I have roaming profiles I have to wait until the network is fully initialized before I can allow my users to log in.
So the problem is likely either DHCP, DNS or in accessing the global computer policy (which loads before logon - I believe). With more than 100 computers I wouldn't recommend using the policies locally as changes to these would become a larger burden to update on the computers.

I would check the server logs for any warnings in the event logs for DHCP, DNS or replication problems. Any of these could further point you toward an underlying problem, so hopefully there will be some warnings in there to help locate the problem.

On a side note: I know that Microsoft has stated in theory your network will function correctly and without problem without a WINS server provided no legacy systems are in use. WINS is a small service that can reside on the same server as your DNS service, with little additional overhead, thus I have made it a practice to have a WINS server at each location that I have a DNS server.
"Always wait for network at computer startup and logon" could be modified through GPO

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kathy_harveyAuthor Commented:
All logs are pretty much clean and no errors wit DNS/File Replication/Directory Service.  I also have to have the "Always wait for network at computer startup and logon" enabled to ensure my users are working with their roaming profile not the temporary profile.
kathy_harveyAuthor Commented:
I have done some more testing and found that when I remove the PC from an OU in Active Directory that has a Computer Policy applied to it to an OU that doesn't have one applied the computer boot up fast but once it is put back into an OU with a computer policy it takes 1-2 mins to get the Login Screen to come up.
Todd GerbertIT ConsultantCommented:
Is that delay not normal when always wait for network is on?
Do you have any startup scripts, or possibly mapped drives that are inaccessible?
Lukasz ChmielewskiCommented:
It seems that the policy does something wrong, I've seen this sometime ago on EE and it was about GPO slow network connection login (has to be set to 0).
Lukasz ChmielewskiCommented:
kathy_harveyAuthor Commented:
is there any tool that I can use to see what is going on between the windows splash screen and the login screen?  I am going over my GPO for the slow network connection but so far I am finding that I do NOT detect for them nor are they configured.
kathy_harveyAuthor Commented:
I found my issue, it looks to be the Computer policy "Always wait for network at computer startup and logon".  Thank you all for all of your suggestions.
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