We have a Virtualized Terminal Server running Windows Server 2008. When the admin user logs in, everything is fine. When anyone else logs in, their desktop and start menu is blank (they have the taskbar, start button, and quick launch links though). If I go into Windows Explorer, I can see icons in their desktop folder (although the icon image is missing and it is just displaying the generic icon), but can't run any of them.

If I login with a user that is part of the Administrator group in Active directory, I get the same behavior except I can launch the programs found in the Desktop Folder of Windows Explorer. I cannot drag these items out onto the desktop though - The cursor doesn't allow me to drop them. From Task Manager I can see that explorer.exe and dwm.exe are both running.

The Authenticated Users and Interactive groups are both under the Users group, along with our network's Domain Users group.

Does anyone know why this is happening and how I can fix it?

Also, not sure if it's related but about 1 in every 3 logins just hangs at a completely blank blue screen (no start button, taskbar, or quick launch buttons) and needs to be disconnected / reset by an admin.


I just noticed that the desktop itself doesn't even respond to click events. It's almost like the entire desktop is missing. At first I thought it didn't respond to right-click events because of an AD policy, but then I noticed if you open the Start Menu and click the desktop, the start menu doesn't shut like it should


It sounds like you may have more than one issue here. You might have to break this up into smaller issues that are easier to tackle.

Permissions might be one thing thats causing an issue here. Assuming the same group policies apply to users that are members of the Administrators group and those that aren't, this might explain the difference in behaviour.

Getting a gpresult /H based report for affected and non affected users will show what if any group policies control the behaviour of the desktop and whether folder redirection for the desktop is configured.

I am also not sure if you were trying to move icons from the desktop to the desktop? Source and destination seem to be the same in your explanations.

Please see http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/tags/terminal+server/ blog for more troubleshooting ideas. http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2009/05/14/ts-blank-desktop-in-rdp-session.aspx is one good link that is applicable here.

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