An application does not start in a Windows Server Terminal Services RemoteApp session

This article provides workarounds for an issue where you can't run an application that relies on the Explorer.exe file in a Terminal Services RemoteApp session.

Original product version:  Windows Server 2012 R2
Original KB number:  951048

Symptoms

Consider the following scenario. You log on to a Windows Server Terminal Services RemoteApp (TS RemoteApp) session. The TS RemoteApp session includes the startup applications and the Run registry entry or the RunOnce registry entry. Then, you try to start an application in the TS RemoteApp session. In this scenario, the application does not start.

Cause

This issue occurs because you try to start an application that relies on the Explorer.exe file. By design, the TS RemoteApp session implements limited functionality. For example, the TS RemoteApp session does not process the following items:

  • The Run registry entry
  • The RunOnce registry entry
  • The startup applications

Workaround

To work around this issue, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: Run the startup applications as a part of a user's logon settings

To run the startup applications in the TS RemoteApp session, you can specify the startup applications as a part of a user's logon settings in Group Policy. Because Group Policy controls these settings, any startup application that you specify runs as expected when the user logs on.

To specify the startup applications as a part of a user's logon settings, follow these steps:

  1. In the server Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), click Local Computer Policy, click Computer Configuration, and then click Administrative Templates.

  2. Click System, double-click Logon and then double-click Run these programs at user logon.

  3. In the Run these programs at user logon Properties dialog box, click Enable.

  4. Click Show, and then click Add.

  5. Type the name of the startup application.

    Note

    Unless the startup application is located in the %SystemRoot% folder, you must specify the fully qualified path of the file.

  6. Click OK.

Method 2: Start the Runonce.exe file together with the /AlternateShellStartup switch

Some applications that rely on the Explorer.exe file may run in the TS RemoteApp session if you add the Runonce.exe file to a user's logon script. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In the server GPMC, click Local Computer Policy, click User Configuration, and then click Windows Settings.

  2. Click Scripts (Logon/Logoff), and then double-click Logon.

  3. Click Add.

  4. In the Script name box, type runonce.exe.

  5. In the Script parameters box, type /AlternateShellStartup.

  6. Click OK two times.