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  • Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

    Hello,

    I am trying to diagnose a problem where workstations are taking a long time before you can push ctrl + alt + del. These machines are all part of a domain where the server (SBS 2011) is a virtual machine (using Hyper-V).

    Ever since we switched over from SBS 2003 (non virtual) to SBS 2011 (virtual), we have all suffered with a really slow machine start-up. Basically the message 'please wait' is displayed for quite a while before you can do the above and login. The thing is sometimes it can be ready in 15 seconds, other times you can be waiting over a minute. Apparently this is the PC loading the group policies, but why does it vary on how long it takes.

    The network is a bit all over the place. We have 2 x gigabit switches and 1 x fast Ethernet (100mb) switch. Most of the PC's are connected via Gigabit Ethernet, but unfortunately some phones also use these two switches. One thing I'm curious about is whether the use of cat 5 and 5e cables would make a difference. We have got a bit of both, but 3 out of the 4 which come out of the server are only cat 5. Would this have an impact?

    Basically I'm just trying to find the cause of what causes the slow start-up. If you disconnect the Ethernet cable before you switch the PC on, it takes about 5 seconds at the welcome screen before you can push ctrl +alt + del.

    What do you guys think?

    Thanks in advance
    Alex

  • #2
    Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

    The number of different things to look at boggles the mind with what little we have to go with, but I'll take a stab at a few things.

    Switching network: if you think Cat 5 vs 5e cables are the problem, look at the stats on the switch ports those cables plug into. If there are a lot of errors due to cable quality, the stats will show. The Cisco command is 'show interfaces <name>'. Assuming a gig port, the command will be something like 'show interfaces gi1/0/1'.

    If the networking which connects the VM SBS box to the physical network is not wide enough, that will definitely impact user login times, etc., because the SBS box is your DC, exchange, everything. It can't do everything, at the same time, without proper resources. Pls describe your hypervisor config, storage type, network paths, etc.

    How big is your user base? Do you have enough server horsepower for the functions of your SBS box?

    These are simply the first things that come to mind. If you didn't have the speed issues with a physical box that you have with the VM, I'd say it's how you're resourcing the VM: the hypervisor it runs on, the virtual-to-physical networking, and what functionality is running on the VM which is over/above what the original physical SBS used to do.
    *RicklesP*
    MSCA (2003/XP), Security+, CCNA

    ** Remember: credit where credit is due, and reputation points as appropriate **

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    • #3
      Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

      Originally posted by RicklesP View Post
      The number of different things to look at boggles the mind with what little we have to go with, but I'll take a stab at a few things.

      Switching network: if you think Cat 5 vs 5e cables are the problem, look at the stats on the switch ports those cables plug into. If there are a lot of errors due to cable quality, the stats will show. The Cisco command is 'show interfaces <name>'. Assuming a gig port, the command will be something like 'show interfaces gi1/0/1'.

      If the networking which connects the VM SBS box to the physical network is not wide enough, that will definitely impact user login times, etc., because the SBS box is your DC, exchange, everything. It can't do everything, at the same time, without proper resources. Pls describe your hypervisor config, storage type, network paths, etc.

      How big is your user base? Do you have enough server horsepower for the functions of your SBS box?

      These are simply the first things that come to mind. If you didn't have the speed issues with a physical box that you have with the VM, I'd say it's how you're resourcing the VM: the hypervisor it runs on, the virtual-to-physical networking, and what functionality is running on the VM which is over/above what the original physical SBS used to do.
      Thanks for the quick response! Unfortunately I don't know a huge amount about the switches etc, other than the two Gigabit are HP and the fast Ethernet is Netgear. Also I don't do any configuring on the server, so I can't give you much in the way of info on hypervisor. There are 4 x 1TB drives, 2 of which are mirrored but not sure on the other two.

      I believe the server has 24GB of ram, 10GB is dedicated to the virtual server itself, 1GB to a virtual terminal server, 8gb to something else and the remaining 6GB I honestly couldn't say. I do think there are definitely some cabling issues involved, and for the price of cables I'm wondering if it might be worth replacing them all?

      We have 50 people in the company, but around 20 of these are in an Ireland office. The server they have over there is linked in to ours.
      Last edited by ALEX0264; 15th September 2014, 20:26. Reason: Additional information to add

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      • #4
        Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

        Have you checked that the DNS settings are correct. This can result in slow logons.

        Also need to know what speed NICs are on the Host Server and what switch they are plugged into.
        1 1 was a racehorse.
        2 2 was 1 2.
        1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
        2 2 1 1 2

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        • #5
          Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

          Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
          Have you checked that the DNS settings are correct. This can result in slow logons.

          Also need to know what speed NICs are on the Host Server and what switch they are plugged into.
          I have checked that the IP address is correct for the DNS on ipv4 (if that makes any sense?).

          The server is plugged into the gigabit switch. We then have things such as the phone controller which plugs into this switch, when really that and all VoIP related devices could use the fast Ethernet switch. I'm wondering if a starting point might be new cables and to reroute different items to different switch'?

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          • #6
            Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

            Setup iPerf on the Server and run a test from the client. This should give you an indication of how much bandwidth is available.

            Are the clients loading Profiles from the SBS server?
            1 1 was a racehorse.
            2 2 was 1 2.
            1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
            2 2 1 1 2

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            • #7
              Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

              Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
              Setup iPerf on the Server and run a test from the client. This should give you an indication of how much bandwidth is available.

              Are the clients loading Profiles from the SBS server?
              Everybody has a roaming profile, but most people tend to use the same workstation. We also have redirected folders, which has been another issue in the past!

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              • #8
                Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                If things were working well before the SBS change, DON'T go throwing money at replacing cables unless you can point at something which tells you that network connectivity is your only problem!

                Roaming profiles are loaded to a PC when a person logs in, from a network file server. Redirected folders is good for speeding up logons/logoffs because you don't transfer nearly as much data during those 2 events, but if the overall spec of your file server isn't up to it, the constant demands of the redirects in real time will bog things down. But that's as much up to network settings (file server to virtual switch to physical NICs) as it is to how the file server accesses its storage, and what type of storage it is.

                If you don't administer the server(s), and you don't deal with the switch configs, what do those who have those jobs say? I'm assuming you are primarily a desktop support person, then? I'd say those others should be in the middle of this, esp. if the desktop configs didn't change when the server did.

                VoIP wants to be on fast switches, and theoretically that traffic wants to have a higher priority than 'traditional' server-client packets. Assuming that was already in place before the change, don't change it now until the rest is ironed out. Overall, it's beginning to sound as if this change wasn't planned or managed as well as it could have been. The server/network admins have a lot to answer for, from my perspective.
                *RicklesP*
                MSCA (2003/XP), Security+, CCNA

                ** Remember: credit where credit is due, and reputation points as appropriate **

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                  Small update. As a test I decided to investigate how the start-up scripts were set to run on a single workstation. They were set to run asynchronously rather than synchronously. I have changed this to synchronously, which has actually had a noticeable impact. One start-up resulted in ctrl + alt + del appearing within a second and then the next time roughly 20 seconds, which is definitely progress given some machines take in excess of two minutes to do this.

                  I can confirm that the migrating from server 2003 to SBS 2011 did cause some issues, one in particular being folder redirection, which was leading to a different server name that didn't exist and mega problems regarding offline files and peoples documents not actually getting back to the server!

                  So do you think the VoIP controller and all phone sockets should be connected to the gigabit switches then? The trouble is its mix and match amongst the three we have, and I wondered if it would be better to have VoIP and I.T. on completely separate switches to one another?
                  Last edited by ALEX0264; 17th September 2014, 22:37. Reason: Spelling mistake.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                    I keep seeing mention of replacing cables, and does it matter baout gigabit vs 100mb etc in this thread.

                    Honestly, given your environment and the originally described issue, I'd hesitate to look at cabling, or the switching infrastructure.

                    If you were seeing latency and poor performance during logon, as a direct result of switching infrastructure, you'd see it at other times as well, when Fred opens the big Invoices database on the server for instance.

                    Yes - you probably have a fairly finite window of say 8am to 8:30am when everyone is logging on, but I still doubt it's going to be network congestion, even if everything was only 100Mb.

                    I think the more likely scenario is going to be either:

                    -- DNS
                    (make sure the DHCP Scope assigns the correct DNS Servers, and that DNS server responds with correct domain details.)

                    -- Memory IO.
                    (anything less than 16GB for SBS 2011 is going to be terribly painful - especially for 50 seats. Give the SBS virtual guest more RAM.)

                    -- Disk IO.
                    Look at what sort of disks are in the Virtual Host. You mention 4x1TB disks, possibly mirrored. Based on the workload you've described, I'd hope to see AT LEAST 3Gbps SAS 15K disks, with hardware RAID. If you've got shitty sata disks and a shitty software raid controller it's going to be horrible.



                    you need to get onto the Virtual Host and figure out what's assigned to what and what the physical hardware actually is. It sounds like it's not correctly resourced. (Although that's based only on what you've told us rather than investigating it.)
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                    • #11
                      Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                      Thanks for the info regarding cables. The only real reason I want to replace them is so I can colour code for data and VoIP and the fact that pretty much all of them have been squashed in place by the door of the cabinet! For now though following what you've said, I will put this on hold.

                      Unfortunately the SBS virtual machine is allocated 10GB and I'm sure I've actually read somewhere before that the recommended amount for SBS is 16GB?
                      I can confirm that there are two mirrored 1TB drives which are 7.2K 3Gbps SATA drives. The other two for some reason are WD Green 1TB drives which I believe are 5.4K RPM? I really don't know what green drives are doing in there. The two 7.2K drives are proper enterprise/HP drives. 15K SAS disks would be very nice!

                      The overall spec of the physical machine is 24GB DDR3 1333 MHz with an AMD Opteron 6128 8 core CPU. The model is a 1U HP DL165 G7. I am guessing that the RAID controller is the standard HP Smart Array B110i.

                      Something to note though is the fact that the unit never really seems to be stressed, i.e. it doesn't really get hot. The only real hot or to be honest warm air comes out of the PSU, all of the drives etc are cool. Rarely do I hear the fans spin higher to accommodate for higher demand, perhaps during the night when the backups are performed but that's about it.
                      Last edited by ALEX0264; 25th September 2014, 18:01. Reason: Extra information

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                      • #12
                        Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                        Originally posted by RicklesP View Post
                        If things were working well before the SBS change, DON'T go throwing money at replacing cables unless you can point at something which tells you that network connectivity is your only problem!

                        Roaming profiles are loaded to a PC when a person logs in, from a network file server. Redirected folders is good for speeding up logons/logoffs because you don't transfer nearly as much data during those 2 events, but if the overall spec of your file server isn't up to it, the constant demands of the redirects in real time will bog things down. But that's as much up to network settings (file server to virtual switch to physical NICs) as it is to how the file server accesses its storage, and what type of storage it is.

                        If you don't administer the server(s), and you don't deal with the switch configs, what do those who have those jobs say? I'm assuming you are primarily a desktop support person, then? I'd say those others should be in the middle of this, esp. if the desktop configs didn't change when the server did.

                        VoIP wants to be on fast switches, and theoretically that traffic wants to have a higher priority than 'traditional' server-client packets. Assuming that was already in place before the change, don't change it now until the rest is ironed out. Overall, it's beginning to sound as if this change wasn't planned or managed as well as it could have been. The server/network admins have a lot to answer for, from my perspective.
                        Sorry, just to clear up do you mean VoIP on fast switches as in fast Ethernet (100mbps) or actually on the faster 1gbps switches?

                        Thanks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                          That would be a good question for the VoIP equipment vendor.
                          1 1 was a racehorse.
                          2 2 was 1 2.
                          1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                          2 2 1 1 2

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                          • #14
                            Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                            OP: run some performance monitoring on the SBS server.
                            I'm assuming you don't have a baseline, but still it might be useful.

                            Set performance counters on memory, cpu, physical disk, to start at say 8:00am and run for 2 hours.
                            Then run it again from say 11:40 to 1:40pm (lunch time)
                            then again at say 7:00pm to 9:00pm (after work, but before your backups or other disk intensive load starts)

                            What you can then do is look at it and say "well, at 7pm it's doing nothing, so this is a "adjusted baseline". and at 1:00pm, everyone is on lunch.

                            but at 8am, everyone is logging on, so you can see where your resource contention is going to be.

                            I'm leaning toward memory, then disk. (not enough memory will cause paging, which will cause thrashing on disks that are already under-specced if they are on a B110)
                            Please do show your appreciation to those who assist you by leaving Rep Point https://www.petri.com/forums/core/im.../icon_beer.gif

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                            • #15
                              Re: Slow Win 7 Startup on domain

                              I would definitely go through the Group Policy settings with a fine toothed comb. The inconsistency when starting up can be attributed to the caching and refresh of the polices.

                              Main thing to look for is invalid references to resources.
                              Regards,
                              Jeremy

                              Network Consultant/Engineer
                              Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
                              www.gma-cpa.com

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