Windows 2008 R2 hangs on WELCOME screen

There are a lot of complaints about Windows 2008 R2 hanging on the Welcome screen when connecting via RDS.

First of all, make sure you check “Active Directory Site and Services” to ensure the subnet where your XenApp servers live are part of the proper “Site” where your local Domain Controllers are.

You can check the authentication server on your XenApp servers in command line by typing “set logonserver“.  This will provide you the information about the DC you are authenticating against.  If you see something wrong there, then head over to Active Directory Site and Services and make modifications.

In a Xenapp environment any authentication delays will end up becoming a big issue.  Now lets assume you already sorted out that you don’t actually have any domain, site or DNS misconfigurations.

Welcome screen

Welcome screen - XenApp



Disable “Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon” policy under Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Logon in the Group Policy.

Install Hotfix:

According to Microsoft Knowledge Base article 977346, set a solid color as your desktop background will cause Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to displace the Welcome screen for 30 seconds during logon. Why? Apparently, the pause occurs because of a time-out interval that sometimes occurs when Windows switches between sessions. Microsoft Knowledge Base article 940452 discusses this time-out interval in greater detail and explains how it can also cause a 30-second delay if you enable the “Run logon script synchronously” Group Policy.

Apply Microsoft hotfix

A hotfix is available from Mircosoft to fix this issue. You can download the hotfix using the “View and request hotfix downloads” link on MSKB 977346.

Set an image file as your desktop background

If the hotfix doesn’t work or you just don’t want to install it, using an image file as your background is the easiest way to eliminate the 30-second delay. You can even use an image file that’s a solid color.

Edit the DelayedDesktopSwitchTimeout registry entry (This made a huge difference)

According to MSKB 977346, the value of the DelayedDesktopSwitchTimeout registry entry “determines the time-out interval of a session before Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 switches between sessions.” By default, the value of this entry is set to 30 (for 30 seconds). To reduce the delay, you can reduce this value.

  1. Click Start.
  2. Enter “regedit” in the Search programs and files box.
  3. Navigate to the registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
  4. Double-click the DelayedDesktopSwitchTimeout entry.
  5. Type 5 in the Value data box, and then click OK.
  6. Close the Registry Editor.

Disable the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager service

As a last resort, you can also disable the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager service. This action should eliminate the delay, but it will also disable all the Windows Aero visual effects.

  1. Click Start.
  2. Type “services” in the Search programs and files box.
  3. Select Services from the results and press Enter.
  4. Double-click Desktop Windows Manager Session Manager.
  5. From the Startup type dropdown list, Select Disabled and click Apply.

Disable TCP hardware offloading on the RD Session Host (if you roam)

Issue was due to the RD Session Host having problems copying user profiles from the profile server to the RD Session Host.

Open a command prompt with Administrator permissions, enter the following one at a time, the output for each should show as ok




About CyberRuiz
Highly motivated with over 12 years experience on Citrix/VMWare/Microsoft/technologies. Exceptional communication skills and team player. CCIA – Citrix Certified Integration Architect. CCEA – Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator. VCP – VMWare Certified Professional in ESX 2.x, VI3, VI4 MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer

7 Responses to Windows 2008 R2 hangs on WELCOME screen

  1. Citrix Guru says:

    This is f’ing great…! pardon the language! Thanks for taking the time and posting this. Fixed my issue. Hey you want and come work in our company?

  2. Pingback: Windows 2008 R2 hangs on WELCOME screen « Robert Busscher

  3. JamieT says:

    Does this only apply to XenApp? Wondering if it made any difference on a xendesktop image?

    • CyberRuiz says:

      JamieT – It certainly applies to Windows 7. This is not a XenApp or XenDesktop thing. It is OS related.

      Take a look at the Windows 7 Optimization guide from Citrix located under This will help you get the fastest Windows 7 VDI’s.

      Here is some of the optimizations automated from the doc so you don’t go too crazy.
      however make sure this is actually what you want, and pay attention to the GPO’s mentioned on the doc as well.

      Disabling services:

      net stop BITS

      sc config BITS start= disabled

      net stop UxSms

      sc config UxSms start= disabled

      net stop FDResPub

      sc config FDResPub start= disabled

      net stop HomeGroupListener

      sc config HomeGroupListener start= disabled

      net stop HomeGroupProvider

      sc config HomeGroupProvider start= disabled

      net stop CISVC

      sc config CISVC start= disabled

      net stop CscService

      sc config CscService start= disabled

      net stop wscsvc

      sc config wscsvc start= disabled

      net stop SysMain

      sc config SysMain start= disabled

      net stop Themes

      sc config Themes start= disabled

      net stop WinDefend

      sc config WinDefend start= disabled

      net stop WMPNetworkSvc

      sc config WMPNetworkSvc start= disabled

      net stop WSearch

      sc config WSearch start= disabled


      Computer Registry Optimization:

      The next section of the guide lists registry settings that are applied to the HKLM and HKU of the registry of the master image which can be easily applied via the following lines in a .reg file:

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00














      [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop]


      If you are running Citrix Provisioning

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

      HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]












      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power]



      “CrashDumpEnabled”=dword:00000000 “LogEvent”=dword:00000000
















      Boot Animation:
      bcdedit /set bootux disabled

  4. MonkeySquirrel says:

    Any ideas why the Welcome screen would sit there for approx. 20 secs when using ICA (XenApp 6.5), but only approx. 7 secs when using RDP??

  5. Lee says:

    WOW! I wish I would stumbled upon this sooner! This drastically reduced my XenApp login times from approx. 60sec to 11sec. Thank you!

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