Fix: Applying Group Policy Registry Policy Hangs

Many corporations and schools use Microsoft Windows as their default environment. Sometimes, a computer on the network may get stuck at "Applying Group Policy" while you attempt to log onto the PC. Truth be told, it should not take more than a few minutes for the process too complete. However, if you notice that Windows is stuck on applying group policy local users and groups policy, here's what to do.

Reset Network

Try disconnecting your network cable if you’re connected via a wired network. If you’re connected via Wi-Fi, try turning it off. Once you disconnect from the network, you should be able to log in. Reconnect the network cable and proceed. Furthermore, you can restart your computer and let Group Policy apply at another time (preferably overnight while you're asleep).

Troubleshoot Group Policy Settings Problems

  • Enable Group Policy Debug Logging.
  • Ensure the “usermode” folder is in “C:\Windows\Debug".
  • Restart the computer, then wait for the computer to stick at “Applying Group Policy." Note where exactly it gets stuck (i.e. “Registry Policy”, “Drive Maps Policy”, “Files Policy”, "Internet Settings Policy" etc.).
  • After a few minutes stuck, disconnect the computer from the network.
  • Once the computer proceeds to log in re-connect the network cable.
  • Check the debug log. Find it at “C:\Windows\Debug\usermode“.
  • Check the timestamps in the log file to see where Group Policy freezes/sticks.
  • Use the log and info on where exactly things stick help to figure out what group policy you need to modify.

For example, if you are trying to log onto to your server (Windows Server 2008) and see "please wait for user profile service" which then leads to applying group policy shortcuts policy that sticks at applying group policy printers policy,  you can:

  • Take off the group policy for the printers on the servers
  • If you need to print on the server, add it manually

Fix Group Policy Issues

  • Use the command “gpresult.msc” to see the list of group policies that are being applied to the computer.
  • Check for patches or updates released by Microsoft that may fix your issue.
  • Troubleshoot connection issues as drive mapping policies are usually a problem if there is a weak network connection.
  • If all else fails, contact your IT department for help.