Windows Server 2016 Start Menu Options Disabled on Admin Login

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A server stack is the collection of software that forms the operational infrastructure on a given machine. In a computing context, a stack is an ordered pile. A server stack is one type of solution stack — an ordered selection of software that makes it possible to complete a particular task. Like in this post about Windows Server 2016 Start Menu Options Disabled on Admin Login was one problem in server stack that need for a solution. Below are some tips in manage your windows server when you find problem about windows, remote-desktop-services, , , .

Installed Windows Server 2016 and set up Remote Desktop services.
After the RDS installation, the following occured:

  1. Logging into the session host server as admin, no matter with which domain login, seems to be interpreted by Windows as a RDS user login – I get a cut-down start menu. Is there a way to change this?
    (This is a VM on XenServer – so the way I log into that RSH is via Remote Desktop – but Windows should be capable of distinguishing that RDP login from a RDS user session or not??)
    Only if I login with the default local admin account (computernameAdministrator) I do not have this problem. All domain users are interpreted as RDS users, no matter if they are outside or in the RDS user group for my session collection.

  2. I cannot pin any application to the Start menu. There is nothing pinned, it only shows some sort of preconfigured list of apps. To be precise, I can pin apps but when logging off and logging back in to that sesion host as administrator, the apps are all gone again.
    That is very annoying as admin, as I have to do some administrative tasks.

  3. I understand the Start menu is restricted for RDS users but the local login to a session host (via RDP) seems to have the same restrictions. Apart from what I said in (2) above, the restriction is also that most of the items in the few apps shown on the Start menu list are disabled – I cannot select or click on them. Only SEARCH, SERVER MANAGER (!) and SETTINGS are enabled (and this is also the case for users – why would they have SERVER MANAGER enabled, of all things …?)
    How do I change this?

Tried to find any hints, Google, etc, but I find no documentation on this anywhere. I understand this is a rather new OS but shouldn’t there be some documentation?

Basically what I need is:

A. I want a simple way to configure the Start menu for RDS users.

B. I want a way to ensure the Start menu for RDP sessions which are NOT RDS sessions is disconnected and separated from RDS users settings, so I can configure what I want there manually.

I get it that Nano Server is all the rage but I don’t need all this stuff and want a simple way to administer my server.

Take a look at this blog post from MS a few months ago: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askpfeplat/2017/05/08/mysteriously-disappearing-start-menu-tiles-and-roaming-user-profiles/

Like you, in our environment I found that Domain based Admin users were affected when logging into RDS servers via RDP. Local login was fine. This is because we have a GPO which applies Roaming Profiles to all RDP sessions on RDS hosts – it’s a Computer setting, not a user setting so you cannot restrict the GPO to only users, and it doesn’t seem to distinguish between normal user and /admin sessions.

Hope the blog post and the SpecialRoamingOverrideAllowed reg value it talks about helps you get the Start Menu issues sorted.

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