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Disabling Server Manager from startup at logon

One of the first things I do when I first logon to a 2016 server is always to disable server manager from loading at logon. Reason for me? annoying and not a tool I always need each time I log on to a server.

There are a couple of places you can disable this feature and I will walk through a few

To disable it for your current logged in user you would go to Manage > Server Manager Properties
Tick box Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon and click OK and this setting will apply for the currently logged in user.
Another GUI method would be to use group policy to apply the settings for all users that use the computer. On a workgroup server at the command prompt or at the run command type in gpedit.msc. This will load up the group policy editor for the server you are logged into. Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Server Manager. Here you will find the setting Do not display Server Manager automatically at logon and its status by default is Not Configured.
Click on the setting and change the value to Enabled and click OK

If you do a gpupdate /force at a command prompt or restart the server then go back in to Server Manager then Manage > Server Manager Properties you will see that Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon is greyed out and the user is not allow to make any changes.

To apply the setting to a server that has joined a domain then you would most likely need to speak to the person/team that manages your group policies for your domain. Tell them the setting you are looking to change is at Computer Configuration >Policies >Administrative Templates > System > Server Manager and the setting Do not display Server Manager automatically at logon

The next method is to directly edit the settings via registry which makes it more scriptable if you are applying this setting to a workgroup server. Microsoft provides a spreadsheet where it details all the group policies settings that you can apply and where they exist in the registry. You can download the spreadsheet from here.

To disable server manager from starting up upon logon, the path in the registry is HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Server\ServerManager with the name of DoNotOpenAtLogon and DWORD value of 1. The command line to modify this would be:

Reg Add HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Server\ServerManager /v DoNotOpenAtLogon /t DWORD /d 0x0 /f

The above command has the same effect as using the group policy editor but if you now launch the group policy editor you will notice that the setting is not reflected there. There are lots of talk around this on the web where when you apply the settings directly via registry you do not see the chamges reflected in group policy editor. I did find an article ( which explains why and the working around which I haven’t tested but the feedback seems good.

I found another location in the registry at HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ServerManager\DoNotOpenServerManagerAtLogon which does the same thing, so what’s the difference with this setting? From my initial testing it seems like this setting is only applied to a new user profile that gets created on the server when they log on. If the user has already logged on before you made the changes then the settings will not be applied to that profile. By using this setting in the registry it seems to give the user a choice if they want to enable or disable server manager from startup during logon. If you used the other methods and you enable the setting then the user can not change it. This might be a better option for people as when a server admin logs on for the first time they will not get server manager loading but at least they can check the setting if they have a preference.


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