Speed Up Software Installs on a Terminal Server

I’ve been researching some slow installs on one of our terminal servers for a while now. An install, which normally takes a couple of minutes, had been taking close to an hour; giving me time to complete other installs and come back to it. It seemed like a registry issue for the longest time, but I wasn’t completely sure where to begin. I found a posting on an HP forum about an older version of the Universal Print Driver leaving a ton of garbage in the registry when it was installed. Checking the tree (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Hewlett-Packard, HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Hewlett-Packard) and there were quite a few keys with GUIDs (100a6cf5-1f38-4593-558c-306404c054e2) running down the list. [more]

Following recommendations from http://www.rb303.net/2010/01/terminal-server-2003-msiexec-high-cpu.html, I deleted all the HP printers, deleted all the HP drivers from the local print server properties, and then backed up and deleted the trees listed above as well as the HP Universal Print Monitor key (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Print\Monitors\HP Universal Print Monitor). I then reinstalled the necessary HP printers, one of which installed the Universal Print driver again, and checked the registry. Much cleaner.

After running a test install, it appears that removing those entries really cleaned up the registry quite a bit and is speeding up the installs. To give you an idea of the sheer size of the exported entries, in the default .reg format, the export took nearly 40MB. In plain-text (.txt) export, the size doubled. That's a lot of HP garbage.