Netlogon service Stopped or set to Manual startup

For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling with an odd issue where a small subset of Windows 10 computer systems were having issues applying Group Policy and Application Deployments from Configuration Manager. 

I originally found the issue when monitoring some Configuration Manager deployments. A few machines were failing with authentication errors. While I was investigating the issue, I tried updating Group Policy on one of the affected machines with a gpupdate and received the error “The processing of Group Policy failed. Windows could not determine if the user and computer accounts are in the same forest.” That’s when I realized the Netlogon service was stopped. Investigation revealed it was the Netlogon service Startup Type was set to Manual. I checked a few other machines and sure enough, Netlogon was stopped and set to manual. So I set the Netlogon service to Automatic and rebooted the machines. But after rebooting, the service was set back to Manual. A mystery had to be solved…

The Google machine led me to numerous forum posts indicating the issue was likely the result of Anti-Virus software from WebRoot, Kaspersky, or Trend Micro. Sounded legit since we recently migrated from Kaspersky to Trend Micro. But that wasn’t the cause. Eventually I found this forum post which revealed the Dell Support Assist application sets the Netlogon service Startup Type to Manual during boot. I have no idea why Dell would need to do this. They’ve stated it’s because the utility is for consumers. But why they’d need to modify seemingly unrelated system services is mind boggling.

So, if you have Dell Support Assist installed on your domain-joined computers, uninstall it. Then make sure the Netlogon service is set to start Automatically and reboot the affected machine. 

But honestly, a mystery still remains. Why would Dell need to modify this service? 

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