Category: Hotfix

Follow-up to TechEd session WCL326: Five infrastructure changes that will boost performance for the Windows Client

So to summarize the key areas which you can look into when optimizing performance from an infrastructure point of view here is a summary of the key takeaways from TechEd session WCL326: Five infrastructure changes that will boost performance for the Windows Client.

1. Slow machine boot and login / GPOs and scripts

Use Windows Performance Toolkit (part of Windows 7 SDK) to troubleshoot what is happening during boot. Specifically narrow in one Group Policy in the section in the Generic events and look for and enable only the Group Policy provider to see what’s going on with group policies. Group policies and scripts are most often the bad guys when having performance problems with boot and login.

Also use Event Viewer > Applications and Services > Windows > Group Policy > Operational log to look for instance events with id 5326, 8000, 8001or 5016. In particular the last one is of interest as this will quickly show you which Group policy extension is taking most of the time to finish.

Cleanup, remove unnecessary settings and GPO objects. Convert scripts to Group Policy Preferences as necessary or make scripts running scheduled after startup or login to minimize the boot and login times.

2. Optimizations for RDP

Activate asynchronous login for users to speed up login for Remote Desktop Services and RemoteApp. Go to Administrative templates > Policies > System > Group Policy and set the setting for “Allow asynchronous user Group Policy processing when logging in to Remote Desktop Services”.

Three other really great tweaks found in Administrative templates > Policies > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Remote Session Environment:

Do not allow font smoothing = Enabled
Limit maximum color depth =  Enabled, set it to 32-bit
Set compression algorithm for RDP data = Enabled, set it to Optimized to use less network bandwidth

3. SMB 2.1

To get full use of performance improvements in SMB2.1 protocol you need file servers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 or if you are running a third party storage solution to activate SMB2.x support as that is not always activated by default and sometimes a firmware upgraded is needed.

Performance increases based on my own performance measuring are varying from 10-80% performance increase.

4. BranchCache

Activate BranchCache feature from Server Manager on the content servers you want to use with BranchCache. Require windows Server 2008 R2 on the content server. For file shares make sure to enable the BranchCache feature on the share(s) you want to use with BranchCache. Also set the group policy “Hash Publication for BranchCache” on the file server(s) found in Administrative templates > Policies > Network > Lanman Server.

To activate BranchCache on the Windows 7 client look in Administrative templates > Policies > Network > BranchCache and activate the required GPO settings.

5. Upgrade key servers to Windows Server 2008 R2

To gain use of RDP improvements, SMB2.1 improvements and actually make performance better for file handling the simple thing to do is to migrate to Windows Server 2008 R2.

BONUS 1. Microsoft tool to measure performance:

WDRAP (Risk and health Assessment Program for Windows Desktop) is a tool designed for enterprise customers that verifies overall performance, including bad drivers, apps that are causing the machine to start slowly etc. Contact your Technical Account Manager at Microsoft to get more information and analyzing the results with this tool. Microsoft themselves used this tool some time ago to improve performance in their environment, more on this in the Microsoft IT Case Study.

BONUS 2. Hotfixes related to infrastructure and performance, Windows 7 Post-SP1:

You experience a long domain logon time in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2 after you deploy Group Policy preferences to the computer

Unexpectedly slow startup or logon process in Windows Server 2008 R2 or in Windows 7 (WMI issue)

Slow performance when you browse the My Documents folder in the document library in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2

Improved interoperability between the BranchCache feature and the Offline Files feature in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2

General Q and A

Q: Can I use this tool to measure performance and troubleshoot on Windows XP?
A: You can run the tool on Windows XP by copying xbootmgr and xperfctrl.dll to an XP machine. You can then analyse the results on a Windows 7 machine. However do not expect the same amount of detailed data as Windows 7 has introduced new features that are not available in Windows XP.

Any further questions around the session or the topics, feel free to leave a comment to the article or send me an email on

SLIDES: Download the slides from the session WCL326


HOW TO: Search non indexed libraries in Start menu

By default when you search using the search box in the start menu in Windows 7, it only returns indexed content. This is by design. However there might be scenarios where you might want to also search libraries which are not indexed and for this scenario there is a hotfix that enables a registry settings that controls this behavior. It is documented in Microsoft KB article 2268596.

Workflow problem in SharePoint finally resolved

In my latest posts I’ve been talking about the now released infrastructure for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, an update that would solve the automatic workflow problem once and for all. The problem with workflows not being run automatically is now solved, but be aware that installing the infrastructure update (KB951695) alone does not resolve the problem.

To permanently resolve the problem one must also apply the command that is mentioned in KB953289: A declarative workflow that is configured to start automatically when e-mail enabled items are created does not start automatically after you install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 1.

Fix for automatic workflows in SharePoint WSS 3.0

So finally Microsoft have released the infrastructure update which once and for all fixes the problem with automatic workflows not working in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

More information: Description of the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: July 15, 2008
More information: Issues that are fixed in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 by the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Infrastructure Update
More information: A declarative workflow that is configured to start automatically when e-mail enabled items are created does not start automatically after you install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 

Source: SharePoint blog

Hotfix for annoying SharePoint issue on the way!

Many users that are using automatic workflows in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) have experienced problems with the workflows not running automatically after applying Service Pack 1 for WSS. According to Microsoft this is a feature because of changes to security. Anyway, Microsoft have had a KB article out (see KB947284) for a possible workaround on this since February but many people including myself has found this KB article to be useless as the problem remain after performing the steps mentioned in the article.

Anyway, after working with Microsoft Product Support Services on this issue for some weeks it seems that Microsoft soon will be done with a hotfix that once and for all will resolve the automatic workflow bug. I’m holding my thumbs!