Fix Windows Server Manager crashing on startup
Recently my Server Manager began closing immediately after opening on my Management machine. It would do this both on automatic startup and activating manually.
What was weird is ServerManager.exe would just close, no prompts, no error dialog, no crash report…nothing…just closes. I use Server Manager daily for general administrative tasks and rarely leave my Management server. Insuring this tool was working is pretty important to me.
I checked the Windows Application Event Log and discovered the following event being logged which each crash.
I searched for hours trying to find anyone that had a similar Exception code or Fault offset and came up empty handed over and over again. Google, why have you forsaken me!
What I tried
Useless but I still tried it. Attempted to ‘Run as’, this did not work.
I tried the steps listed here, while old they seemed to be valid ideas. The article suggested running
dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth, I performed both tasks with no change.
What did work
I ended up looking for ways to reset server manager to defaults instead of looking for the exact error. My thought was that maybe something I added/removed or enabled/disabled is causing an invalid configuration and it just dies. This search led me to an article by Microsoft titled Export Server Manager settings to other computers. The article lists where the stored configuration files are for Server Manager.
I deleted the Serverlist.xml file and started Server Manager again and viola, it has been up and running the entire time I’ve spent typing this article.
Thats not all!
Deleting the Serverlist.xml file did let Server Manager start up, but as soon as I added my target servers back it crashed again. Now we are getting to the root of the issue. I deleted the Serverlist.xml file again, then started adding my servers back one at a time. AHA! My WSUS server, once added immediately caused Server Manager to crash while it was gathering data.
Once I logged in to my WSUS server I noticed that the Server Manager never finishes it’s refresh. Looking at the Application Log revealed this error occuring.
Researching this error DID get some hits, and they all pointed back to the following registry key.
Renaming this key to
ServerComponentCache.old and restarting Server Manager allowed the refresh to finish and the WSUS component to appear in the tools list on the left.
I re-added my WSUS server to my MGMT Server Manager list and everything works as it should.