Seemed like old times again, but this is a new issue: When Windows XP shipped, previous MSI packages that installed from a group policy application assignment to the computer failed – matter of fact in a blink you were at the ‘press C+A+D to login’ prompt for Windows XP.
In the case for Windows XP – Microsoft changed the behavior of the OS from Windows 2000 Professional in order to speed up computer start time at the expense of finishing processing of group policy (before the NIC fully initialized, got IP communication with your DCs, queried for GP changes, and started to apply application installs WinXP would jump to “I’m ready for you to login now” like some Jack Russell Terrier…)
This was fixed by … wait for it… Group Policy also:
But here we are with some Vista and Win7 machines and some not. There is another optional registry setting that determines the time to wait before trying to run the GP startup script again if a DC cannot be contacted initially. This fixed my problems by setting to 60 (I’m sure you can massage that number to fit your network and NIC timing). The DWORD is GpNetworkStartTimeoutPolicyValue – I set to decimal 60 in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Then I created an Administrative Template to do this for me (*.adm file)
KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon"
PART "Seconds to wait for GP applications" NUMERIC REQUIRED
Although I really should start writing these things only in XML (*.admx)…