7 ways to solve a slow network logon
Updated: Nov 15, 2018
If you've ever worked any place where you need to sign in to a computer when you arrive, you've probably experienced the dreaded...
...SPINNING CIRCLE!! (OR HOURGLASS!!)
I mean, with the two long waits (ever been asked to fetch one of those from a hardware shop?) - switching on, then perhaps you've got time to wander before needing to enter the credentials. And then the potentially even longer wait..
...where you feel like you can go make tea and toast, and still get back before your PC is ready for action!
Luckily there are several potential solutions for this common network logon problem. Check out the points below, and ask your friendly IT support team for help in actioning them. Unless of course you're in the IT team, in which case, go for your life!
1. Low performance PC disks
The majority of PCs still have traditional hard disk drives (HDD) inside them. They're mechanical in nature, and therefore can struggle when attempting to load multiple local system files and access the network at the same time. So, upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD) which can handle multiple operations more easily. This single component change alone can revive an ancient and seemingly struggling PC.
2. Your point in space and time
Nothing to do with the T.A.R.D.I.S. but a big factor! If you're in an office where everyone arrives and does their network logon at 8am, then try logging in a bit earlier, or even better, later than everyone else. Also look at your environment - are you plugged into a wired connection, or using Wi-Fi? All but the latest wireless standards are usually slower than wired equivalents, and if everyone in your room is using the same wireless access point or router, then it will be slower still!
3. Roaming profiles
Not that your network profile is off gallivanting wild and free.. More the opposite in fact. It follows you around! Less and less common these days, but still happens. Your settings and sometimes your actual data files are stored on your PC, and are copied to and from the network every time you log on or off. Since every bit of data transferred takes time, all these do is increase the negative effects of points 1 and 2 above.
4. MS Active Directory sites
Perhaps one just for the IT team - teccy spiel follows.... Chances are your company network uses Microsoft products (just a hunch!). And if your company is more than a few people strong, you probably also use Microsoft Active Directory (MS AD). So it's here where the problem can creep in, If your network is spread across more than one location. It can happen when there are domain controllers (DCs) at other sites, and the AD logical site with your local network logon DC has not been configured with the IP subnet addresses of all the client computers. So AD doesn't know to direct you to the closest DC for logging on. It's best guess might be correct, but at busy times you may find yourself logging on via a server in another office. Almost always slower!
5. System tray start-ups
You know the ones we mean. Those little bits of software you've been collecting over the years. Their icons are sitting in the Windows system tray next to the clock... It's everyone's guilty pleasure to collect those, and some of us in huge numbers! Sadly, they do slow things down, as they all need to load as you log on to the network. It's made worse if those apps are going out to the Internet and downloading "crucial" updates.
6. Now where did I put my performance?
Not forgetfulness, but rather a lack of memory, certainly! So if your PC has a small amount of memory, also known as RAM, then the HDD or SSD performance could drop. Consequently, this will affect your network logon too. This is because most PCs are set to compensate for low memory by using the storage devices as virtual memory. Think about the HDD being asked to act as memory as well as loading all the local and network data, just when you need to log on, and you can see why this is bad. Buy and install as much RAM as possible in your PC.
7. It isn't plugged in
OK, so perhaps your PC's plugged in. What we mean is that you might have a genuine IT fault somewhere between you and the network. So if all the above don't really apply, then this is the likely situation. Contact your favourite IT engineer now for more details! If YOU are the favourite IT engineer, please share your most common network logon support service request in the comments.