Long installation times or sluggish behavior in Windows 7 / 2008


Consider the following scenario:  You are installing Windows Server 2008 R2 to a computer using an optical drive.  The computer is not physically connected to any network.  You notice the following the following behaviors:

-          It takes an excessively long time (up to 8 hours) to finish the Windows installation.

-          After booting to the Windows desktop, sluggish behavior is encountered such as delayed input response or erratic mouse movement


This issue has been seen with computers that have an Intel(R) Gigabit ET Quad Port Server Adapter network interface card (NIC) installed where the computer is not physically connected to a network(cable is not plugged in).  The in-box driver for this card has a known issue where it may continually try to access the NIC hardware while it is in a lower power state (D3).  The NIC does not respond and the driver continually tries to access the NIC.  This affects system performance, either manifesting itself as increasing the installation time of Windows or causing sluggish behavior once booted into Windows. 

Note:  If the computer is physically connected to a network, the behaviors described above are not seen.  However, if the computer is initially attached to a network and then the network cable is later removed, the user may still encounter the symptoms.

For Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, a new feature called DeviceSleepOnDisconnect was introduced to improve power management of unused network ports.   This new feature for Windows Server 2008 R2 exposes a driver issue that was not seen prior to enabling this feature.  This feature causes the very slow installation process and computers not attached to the network during install may encounter the symptoms described earlier.   


To resolve this issue described above, obtain the latest drivers (11.4.7 or later) on Windows Update for the Intel(R) Gigabit ET Quad Port Server Adapter network card.  Alternatively, you can click on the link below to get to the Microsoft Update catalog that performs a search of all available drivers for this Intel network card:


If you are unable to obtain the latest drivers for your Intel network card, you can instead work around this issue by ensuring that all network ports for your Intel NIC have an active network link (i.e. network cable attached) before installing Windows.

More Information

To add an updated driver package to an existing Windows image, you can use the one of the following methods:

1.       Download and install the latest version of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK or WAIK). Once installed, you can review the documentation to create a customized installation media that includes the updated drivers using the DISM tool. This documentation will also give you the instructions and tools for different deployment methods using this customized installation.

2.       Use the Windows 2008 installation DVD with files on a USB flash drive (that needs to be available during boot from the DVD install media) where the Operating System will pull in the files needed based on file/folder location and information provided in an autounattend.xml.  You can use the following steps to add the files to the USB flash drive and autounattend.xml:

a.      On USB flash drive, create the following folder structure:  \$OEM$\$$\System32\OEM\Drivers 

b.      Download the Windows drivers for the Network Interface Card (NIC)

c.       Locate the“AMD64-zh-tw_de_en_es_fr_it_ko_zh-cn_pt_ja-nec-20327092_9d7b3dae9d142e630ad0c40bd364e464f90eb949.cab” cab file from the download and extract the contents of the cab to the USB\$OEM$\$$\System32\OEM\Drivers\ folder.

d.      Copy the following text to text document and save as \USB\Autounattend.xml

[Note: drive letters may need to be modified depending on partition creation and drive letter assignments, the following assumes 100mb system (active) partition has C: and OS (boot) partition has D: drive, section below for drive letter identification]

 [[Copy this to notepad to remove any formatting or unusual characters.]]
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="windowsPE">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
    <settings pass="offlineServicing">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsNonWinPE" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
                <PathAndCredentials wcm:action="add" wcm:keyValue="1">
    <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="catalog:c:/bin/win2k8r2_amd64/install_windows server 2008 r2 serverenterprise.clg" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />

In the event that you need to determine what drive letter(s) correspond to the boot and system partitions, you can use the Windows installation media and the diskpart.exe tool to get this information:

1.       With the Windows installation media in the DVD drive, after “Press any key to boot to DVD” hold down the LEFT <CTRL> Key during the boot process.

2.       Instead of booting to installation (Setup), you will boot to a command prompt. 

3.       At command prompt type following commands (pressing <Enter> after each) to list disk structure:

a.       Diskpart.exe

b.      When “Diskpart>” prompt returns, type “List Disk”

c.       Assuming that we are going to use Disk 0, type “Select Disk 0”

d.      “detail disk” <enter>

e.      “list volume” <enter>

f.        If you have the information that you need you can type “exit” to get out of Diskpart.

4.       Modify the autounattend.xml as appropriate using the drive letters you obtained from Diskpart.  Then restart the installation by booting from the Windows media on DVD.  Alternatively, you can copy the contents of the Windows installation DVD to a USB flash drive along with the Intel network drivers and autounattend.xml.

Article ID: 2383674 - Last Review: Aug 17, 2010 - Revision: 1