The system log shows The Group Policy Client service failed to start due to the following error:
The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

That tells me nothing. I can use the computer because I am the administrator, I can access files, programs, etc. from the task bar or the start menu, but my desktop is blank. I have no idea how to troubleshoot this.

What happened was I shut down the computer this morning because I kinda thought there were some windows updates yesterday. Turned it on this afternoon and it booted fine, but I got the error shown above.

It's been suggested in my searching that there are keys missing now from the registry regarding the Group Policy Editor because of the windows update. This link says Vista, but the gentleman who posted the info posted it in February 2013:


The crash of your computer after Windows Updates most probably caused that. It has nothing to do with Antivirus or anything else.

I had this issue on my laptop since November, and it really bugged me. I sifted through the event log and found the pattern of events that preceded the issue, and, probably, caused it.

In short, the pattern is as follows: Windows updates run automatically as scheduled, and when reboot is initiated after the updates are finished, the computer crashes (probably during reboot sequence). When it boots up, it reports that the last shutdown was unexpected, and the issue begins to occur.

I spent 2 days trying to dig out a solution from the Internet, to no avail, until I came across this page. It doesn't say anything about this particular problem, but it gives more information about SVCHOST process that starts many services, including Group Policy Client. It looks like during reboot a vital registry settings were lost during crash and Group Policy Client "don't know" how to start. Let me explain:

There are two places to look in the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services this path should contain gpsvc key (a folder), which is responsible for service parameters and configuration. I found that the key was intact, so, you do not touch anything here - just check that the key exists.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SVCHOST This is the most important path you should look into, as it must contain the keys and values referred in the key #1. Below are descriptions what must be present there.

There must be Multi-String value called GPSvcGroup. My laptop was missing it. So, you should create multi-string value named GPSvcGroup and assign it value GPSvc.
Next, you must create a key (a folder) and name it GPSvcGroup - this key normally should be there, but, again, it was missin on my laptop.
Then open newly-created GPSvcGroup folder and create 2 DWORD values:

First called AuthenticationCapabilities and you must give it a value of 0x00003020 (or 12320 in decimal)
Second is called CoInitializeSecurityParam and it must have value of 1.

Once you complete all steps above, reboot the computer and the problem will be fixed.

Video walkthrough for those who are not very technical is here: "Windows could not connect to Group Policy Client services" how to fix. Firewall failed load 0x6d9 - YouTube

I am so relieved I was able to fix it, and hope this will help others with the similar issue."

Does that sound as though it's something worth pursuing?