When I do an initial login to Windows Server 2003 after a reboot it hangs on blank desktop (no icons or taskbar) for 15-20 seconds. This doesn't happen if I close the RDP window and login to the same session. But if I login to a second session it hangs again.

Any idea why the initial login hangs for so long before displaying anything but desktop background?

  • Same here. Iappens rarely. It seems like for example a lost IP packet that then hangs the connection until the TCP stack decides to resend it or something like that. I can so far not put a finger on it - happens on many machines, rarely, but it seems not to be a driver / hardware issue.
    – TomTom
    Oct 13, 2010 at 8:44

4 Answers 4


Did you check the event log for hints? Is this a domain controller? If not, is the server in the same network as your domain server(s) or on a low-bandwith connection?

Or maybe there is a program starting (antivirus?) and delaying the logon process.

  • Nothing in the event log. It did have an error about printer drivers but I disabled sharing printer and that didn't fix the delay. Not a domain controller. No domain, just workgroup with local users. High bandwidth and everything else is fast. Checked msconfig and elsewhere and nothing appears to be running to delay it. Any other ideas?
    – thelsdj
    Oct 13, 2010 at 8:39
  • Maybe this (though that problem was not only login related - all was slow...): blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/microsoft/…
    – splattne
    Oct 13, 2010 at 8:48


o Does it happen if you leave the server for 5 mins following the reboot? i.e.: allow any service / driver issues to timeout.

o Try logging on as another admin account and delete your [original] user profile. See if it still happens.

o Does it happen if you use the console session (session #0), i.e.: MSTSC /V: /ADMIN (or /CONSOLE if you're running XP pre-SP3).

o Logon as an admin, with a "working" session. Use SysInternals ProcessExplorer to monitor the activity of a "duff" logon. Look for CPU intensive processes, Etc.

o Use SysInternals AutoRuns to see what's running on Logon. Try disabling things and see whether the situation improves.


Desktop Background may be downloading when you log on (is it a bitmap not jpg), anyway edit your RDP connection and set your experience (from the Experience tab) to 28.8Kbps - this turns off all the unnecessary options that increases network traffic (including downloading the Desktop Background) - remember to save this setting in the General tab.


The problem turned out to be a disconnected mapped network drive from an old subnet that for some reason was trying to reconnect to whenever I logged in. Manually 'disconnecting' it so it no longer tried to reconnect made the problem go away.

I found this using Process Monitor when I noticed that the first thing it did on the session when it "caught up" was to RegCloseKey HKCU\Network\y.

Thanks for all the good suggestions hopefully this will help others with similar problems.

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