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Windows Thread, Laptops freezing after login in Technical; We've had a problem on our network over the last few weeks and I can't fathom what's causing it. A ...
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    Laptops freezing after login

    We've had a problem on our network over the last few weeks and I can't fathom what's causing it. A member of staff will log in to their laptop, the desktop will appear but the machine then freezes and has to be powered off to get going again. Sometimes the second time it'll be fine, others it'll take three or four attempts.

    This seems to happen to some staff more than others (either that or they're the only ones that bother to tell me there's a problem...) - some with laptops only a few months old, others that are older I could understand. All laptops are running XP SP3 with Office 2010, servers run Server 2003 R2 standard. One server holds the staff emails and shared documents, the other holds profiles for staff and students.

    Problems seem to be getting worse since we had some network upgrades - gigabit switches installed at various points in the school. I can't see why this would cause the issue to get worse, but it's the only thing that's changed recently. Nothing showing up in the server or laptop logs as far as I can tell, does anyone know what the problem may be?

    Sorry that this is a bit vague, but school broke up on Friday and the last few weeks of term are so busy I haven't had much time to look at the problem.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    It might be something running on the clinets. Try killing off some stuff in MSconfig?

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    FN-GM: The machines should have all unessential (that is, everything except AVG and file synchronisation) switched off in msconfig. I'll check just to make sure though.

    Forgot to mention they're connecting over wireless, which has patchy coverage in some places. However, one of the "afflicted" staff has his machine directly under an access point...

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    Try a few logins with the wireless off and connected via ethernet. If it all works then I would look at GPOs possibly. Just try disabling them all and see if it makes a difference. Might not but for what it is worth you can test it in the space of 5 minutes, just remember once you disable the GPOs login to the machine as admin and run "gpupdate /force" in cmd. Do the same once you re-enable them. That forces a refresh of the GPOs otherwise windows holds on to it's cache like a one armed man on a cliff.

  5. Thanks to shadowx from:

    smurfomatic (12th July 2012)

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    Thanks shadowx, I'll take a look at your suggestions.

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    A mis-configured switch can create problems like you describe, but it would affect everything - wired and wireless.

    I'd agree with the above suggestion - disable the onboard wireless and plug in an ethernet cable. If this works, then clearly the problem is isolated to wireless.

    Then I'd recommend upgrading the wireless drivers on your notebooks. This can make a huge difference.

    You mentioned the switches were gigabit. What make/model are they and likewise what make/model are your wireless access points (WAPs)? Are your WAPs capable of gigabit speeds? If you can manage the switch, try reducing the port to auto 10/100 and see if this makes a difference.

    If the cabling in your establishment is flakey, running at gigabit will create many problems and drop outs. You could temporarily reduce all ports to auto 10/100 temporarily and see if the situation improves.

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    Plenty of ideas to try out, thanks - hopefully will get some time tomorrow or Thursday to see if they clear up the problems.

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    Is it able to boot in safe mode, rule out some software and driver problems then before changing startup programs and drivers. Can you log on to these laptops as a local user? How about a AD user with a different profile and GPOs maybe try a blank GPO and profile?
    Last edited by bondbill2k2; 11th July 2012 at 09:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    A mis-configured switch can create problems like you describe, but it would affect everything - wired and wireless.

    I'd agree with the above suggestion - disable the onboard wireless and plug in an ethernet cable. If this works, then clearly the problem is isolated to wireless.

    Then I'd recommend upgrading the wireless drivers on your notebooks. This can make a huge difference.

    You mentioned the switches were gigabit. What make/model are they and likewise what make/model are your wireless access points (WAPs)? Are your WAPs capable of gigabit speeds? If you can manage the switch, try reducing the port to auto 10/100 and see if this makes a difference.

    If the cabling in your establishment is flakey, running at gigabit will create many problems and drop outs. You could temporarily reduce all ports to auto 10/100 temporarily and see if the situation improves.
    I agree with Michael.

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    OK, definitely not the wireless as I've just "frozen" while plugged into an ethernet cable. Still nothing unusual showing in the logs. Next step, disabling the GPOs - thankfully the school's pretty empty at the moment so won't cause any issues!

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    witch's Avatar
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    But as @Michael said, it could be a misconfigured switch and as you have had new switches lately, I think I would start there.

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    Well, do the laptops freeze if you use them with no network? (apart from the obvious errors)

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    I know this sounds like a typical IT Crowd suggestion, but have you tried restarting the new switches? We had some similar problems which led us to believe were switch-related, and with my Networks for Dummies hat on I tried Step A: Restart Device.

    Worked a treat.

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    Seems it was completely unrelated to the new switches.

    The problem only came to light when I sent a message around saying "new switches installed - let me know of any problems." Turns out the freezing has been going on for a while but no-one bothered to tell me...

    Seems that disabling all the GPOs stopped the freezing, so it's got to be a conflict there of some kind.

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