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Order of events when starting up and logging on

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Order of events when starting up and logging on

The following sequence shows the order in which computer policy and user policy are applied when a computer starts and a user logs on:

  1. Network starts. Remote procedure Call System Service (RPCSS) and Multiple Universal Naming Convention provider (MUP) start.

  2. An ordered list of Group Policy objects is obtained for the computer. The list might depend on these factors:

    • Whether the computer is part of a domain and therefore subject to Group Policy through Active Directory.

    • The location of the computer in Active Directory.

    • Whether the list of Group Policy objects has changed. If the list of Group Policy objects has not changed, no processing is done. You can use a policy setting to change this behavior.

  3. Computer policy is applied. These are the settings under Computer Configuration from the gathered list. This is synchronous by default and in the following order: local, site, domain, organizational unit, child organizational unit, and so on. No user interface appears while computer policies are processed.

    For details about the order in which settings are processed when user or computer policy is applied, see Order of processing settings.

  4. Startup scripts run. This is hidden and synchronous by default; each script must complete or time out before the next one starts. The default time-out is 600 seconds. You can use several policy settings to modify this behavior.

  5. The user presses CTRL-ALT-DEL to log on.

  6. After the user is validated, the user profile loads; it is governed by the policy settings that are in effect.

  7. An ordered list of Group Policy objects is obtained for the user. The list might depend on these factors:

    • Whether the user is part of a domain and therefore subject to Group Policy through Active Directory.

    • Whether loopback is enabled, and the state (Merge or Replace) of the loopback policy setting.

    • The location of the user in Active Directory.

    • Whether the list of Group Policy objects has changed. If the list of Group Policy objects has not changed, no processing is done. You can use a policy setting to change this behavior.

  8. User policy is applied. These are the settings under User Configuration from the gathered list. This is synchronous by default and in the following order: local, site, domain, organizational unit, child organizational unit, and so on. No user interface appears while user policies are processed.

    For details about the order in which settings are processed when user or computer policy is applied, see Order of processing settings.

  9. Logon scripts run. Unlike Windows NT 4.0 scripts, Group Policy-based logon scripts are hidden and asynchronous by default. The user object script runs last in a normal window.

  10. The operating system user interface that is prescribed by Group Policy appears.

Important

  • Three special cases deserve consideration during migration:

    • If the computer account object is in a Windows NT 4.0 domain and the user account object is in Active Directory, only computer (not user) System Policy is processed when the user logs on. Then, user (not computer) Group Policy is processed.

    • If the computer account object is in Active Directory and the user account object is in a Windows NT 4.0 domain, computer (not user) Group Policy is processed during computer startup. When the user logs on, user (not computer) System Policy is processed.

    • If the computer and user accounts of the computer running Windows XP Professional or a Windows Server 2003 operating system are members of a Windows NT 4.0 domain, only System Policy (not Group Policy) for the computer and user is applied when the user logs on.

Note

  • Several of these events can be modified. You can set policies to:

    • Reverse the synchronized or asynchronized defaults for running scripts and applying policy.

    • Specify when scripts time out. By default, scripts time out after 600 seconds.

    • Change whether scripts are run hidden, minimized, or in a normal window.

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